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Old 09-11-2021, 12:00 PM   #1
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Competition for boondocking spots?

How easy it it to still find free camping on forest lands?
If a person with a small travel trailer wants to stay on BLM or whatnot, and they are not to picky (read, not hunting for the perfect spot, just somewhere near the main road) is this still easy to do?

My goal is to visit multiple states, camping on free or under $30 per night. Not looking for the perfect view kind of thing. Just a place to stay while I sightsee and drive around town.
Is this doable still? Or is the competition as bad as it is for paid campgrounds?

One of the reasons I gave up on the idea of just staying in campgrounds is the uncertainty of availability.
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Old 09-11-2021, 12:04 PM   #2
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There are apps you can use to help you find free spots. Try RV Parky. I’m sure there are others.
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Old 09-11-2021, 12:06 PM   #3
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There's always room on public lands.
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:19 PM   #4
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All over the place. I'm in what's considered to be a very popular national destination National Forest area right now. I could have chosen between 20 or more good spots that I passed when I pulled into the area. But my favorite Great Spot was empty, too! Not so sure all of the new buyers have really had time to discover boondocking yet. Next year might be harder.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Berryfarmer View Post
There are apps you can use to help you find free spots. Try RV Parky. Im sure there are others.
I am currently using RV Trip wizard, Dyrt, freecampsites.net and compendium.

Even though I have zero experience, I am going thru the motions of finding campsites and planning trips.
I have a lot of unknowns to think about. Don't want to learn after I have purchased a Truck and TT that I cant stay for 2 weeks in one spot without having to make reservations months ahead of time.
For me, boondocking gives me the potential freedom of travel without schedule.

The thing I have noticed when it comes to BLM land is the lack of info.
Your not going to see reviews or directions like you would for campsites.
I think Dyrt and freecampsites.net so far are the best I have for boondocking.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:37 AM   #6
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All over the place. I'm in what's considered to be a very popular national destination National Forest area right now. I could have chosen between 20 or more good spots that I passed when I pulled into the area. But my favorite Great Spot was empty, too! Not so sure all of the new buyers have really had time to discover boondocking yet. Next year might be harder.
That is good news. Thank you.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:38 AM   #7
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thank you
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Old 09-12-2021, 06:52 AM   #8
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Public land camping is widely available in the west, but not so much in the east. Also note that those unimproved roads can get muddy or snow covered pretty easily, so think of going south in the winter, not north. The smaller your rig, the more opportunities of course, but you can find spots for 40’ rigs if you need to. It just might take more looking.
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Old 09-12-2021, 10:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Alikair View Post
I am currently using RV Trip wizard, Dyrt, freecampsites.net and compendium.

Even though I have zero experience, I am going thru the motions of finding campsites and planning trips.
I have a lot of unknowns to think about. Don't want to learn after I have purchased a Truck and TT that I cant stay for 2 weeks in one spot without having to make reservations months ahead of time.
For me, boondocking gives me the potential freedom of travel without schedule.

The thing I have noticed when it comes to BLM land is the lack of info.
Your not going to see reviews or directions like you would for campsites.
I think Dyrt and freecampsites.net so far are the best I have for boondocking.
Ok. So, what I'm hearing is you haven't yet purchased your rig (trailer and truck) yet. Correct? If that is the case you're making a smart move. You've probably researched what truck and trailer you're looking at. Care to share you're thoughts on those? Boondocking isn't for everyone. Many of us that choose that recreational lifestyle are generational campers and have progressed through tenting, backpacking, slide in truck campers etc. Common thread prevails...if we can see (let alone hear) our camping neighbors we aren't at our happiest. Finding the perfect spot is challenging and staying there for any length of time can be more so. Therefore, to make this a little shorter, pick your rig with boondocking in mind. Plenty of water capacity, way to recharge electrical, plenty of clearance, and short turn radius. If bear country is in your future hybrid (foldout) campers should not be on your list. Also important..have a way to scout the potential spots like an electric bike, small light motorcycle etc. Best of luck and hope to hear more!
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Old 09-12-2021, 12:32 PM   #10
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Join Escapees RV Club and then you can get the Days End Directory which gives tons of free spots; many with GPS coordinates.

One reference we used a lot were the Benchmark series of road atlases for each state. We had them all because we boondocked mostly and traveled those states as full-timers. The scale is very large so easy to see the roads. It's geared for public lands and the various lands are marked. Honestly, we never had an issue just taking off down a BLM road. National forest roads are a little different to judge but looking at a map we didn't choose the tiniest print road on the map. We chose a little heavier line and again, had no issues with our 40' MH. Once you get into it and use the maps a lot you'll soon be able to pick out good RV roads and by reading the boondocking sites. We've driven a maximum of perhaps 20 mi or so down a gravel road without checking it out first and did that by studying what others have written about the area.

Benchmark has an atlas for all western states and I believe now some eastern states. I will say boondocking is a lot easier in the West. They are pricey but if you typically travel in a couple states they are well worth it. I like paper rather than a GPS. I can pick out good roads easier because they give the whole picture at a glance. I use a GPS for navigation but never to plan a trip. I want to go the way I want; not what a GPS suggests.

https://www.amazon.com/Utah-Road-Rec...1471322&sr=8-3
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Old 09-12-2021, 03:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Join Escapees RV Club and then you can get the Days End Directory which gives tons of free spots; many with GPS coordinates.

One reference we used a lot were the Benchmark series of road atlases for each state. We had them all because we boondocked mostly and traveled those states as full-timers. The scale is very large so easy to see the roads. It's geared for public lands and the various lands are marked. Honestly, we never had an issue just taking off down a BLM road. National forest roads are a little different to judge but looking at a map we didn't choose the tiniest print road on the map. We chose a little heavier line and again, had no issues with our 40' MH. Once you get into it and use the maps a lot you'll soon be able to pick out good RV roads and by reading the boondocking sites. We've driven a maximum of perhaps 20 mi or so down a gravel road without checking it out first and did that by studying what others have written about the area.

Benchmark has an atlas for all western states and I believe now some eastern states. I will say boondocking is a lot easier in the West. They are pricey but if you typically travel in a couple states they are well worth it. I like paper rather than a GPS. I can pick out good roads easier because they give the whole picture at a glance. I use a GPS for navigation but never to plan a trip. I want to go the way I want; not what a GPS suggests.

https://www.amazon.com/Utah-Road-Rec...1471322&sr=8-3
Thanks twogypsies, will look into this atlas.
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:33 PM   #12
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Ok. So, what I'm hearing is you haven't yet purchased your rig (trailer and truck) yet. Correct? If that is the case you're making a smart move. You've probably researched what truck and trailer you're looking at. Care to share you're thoughts on those? Boondocking isn't for everyone. Many of us that choose that recreational lifestyle are generational campers and have progressed through tenting, backpacking, slide in truck campers etc. Common thread prevails...if we can see (let alone hear) our camping neighbors we aren't at our happiest. Finding the perfect spot is challenging and staying there for any length of time can be more so. Therefore, to make this a little shorter, pick your rig with boondocking in mind. Plenty of water capacity, way to recharge electrical, plenty of clearance, and short turn radius. If bear country is in your future hybrid (foldout) campers should not be on your list. Also important..have a way to scout the potential spots like an electric bike, small light motorcycle etc. Best of luck and hope to hear more!

I am stuck on two completely different paths.
A. a class B+ that I dont stay very long in any one place or
B. a travel trailer that I try and stay 2 weeks at a time.

In the event I chose option B my choice of truck and trailer are;

Truck: ford F150 hybrid with 7.2KW built in 120/240 30 amp generator that uses the hybrid battery as storage. The truck engine only starts once in a while to charge up the battery then shuts off again. its cleaner burning and much more quiet then a Honda generator. Max tow package and cameras. Truck gets 24MPG both highway and city. (not when towing) Great for sight seeing.

Travel trailer: Grand Design 17MKE. it has one slide out and a murphy bed that can be converted in less then 30 seconds. The inside of the 17ft TT is huge.
Fresh water: 43 Gals.
Grey water: 45 Gals.
Black water: 37 Gals.
I'm not sure what suspension upgrade I want yet.

Incase anyone is interested in my option A, its a Coachmen Cross Trek 21XG
Not sure I would be boondocking with this B+. The idea of driving this van in and out of a boondocking spot each day would not be healthy for it.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:51 PM   #13
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You need to decide what kind of RV'ing you want to do before deciding on a rig - or the rig will decide for you.

I tried the B option long ago. Great for urban "camping" - i.e., hiding in plain sight while touring the area. Not so good for out in the wilds - just wasn't enough room - FOR ME. You might be different.

I now set up somewhere in the boonies, drive my Honda PCX off the hitch-mounted ramp, and spend days exploring. You could do the same exploring in your truck. In a B, you pack everything up first before you move or your interior looks like a tornado hit. I leave my breakfast dishes until I get back.

It's really just personal preference.
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:55 PM   #14
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Alikair, with a flexible attitude of anything that's thrown at you whilst RVing you will do fine. For sure fresh water, grey and black tank capacities and how you can extend them will come into play the longer you want to be "off grid" without moving. Also electricity/solar system/generator use needs to be considered for your adequate needs.

We haven't done much boondocking/dispersed camping (just a few days here in Alberta this year), since we returned from a 4 month across Canada and USA both sides of the great lakes back in August 2019. We never stayed in one official CG during those 4 months, as is the norm for us for two decades, and had no problem then. Apart from 2 x $10, we even found gas stations, Canadian Tires, Municipal water treatment places and so on to dump, and get our water replenished. Check out Sanidumps.com or similar sites others report on. FWIW: We can but typically don't, go up to 3 weeks easily on our 50 gal waste tanks and 100gal Fresh.

There are numerous other resources besides the apps you've already mentioned that everyone tends to use. With a bit of deeper digging, if you go direct to the USFS, BLM, AZ Trust Lands, and other official MUV's maps info, you should be able to also zoom in on satellite/earth view on google and you will likely see many spurs off a main leading in artery to these lands, and often an RV in some of the photos. This will give you an idea on the lay of the land so to speak, as well indicate what size rig has stayed there before.

Just other options we've used in case that helps. Happy Travels, it's beautiful out there
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