Camping For Free In The USA
Whether you are new to camping or an old hand, it makes sense to know how to camp for free in the USA. Naturally, you need to know how to find the gear, equipment and camping gadgets but you can save yourself cash and time and enjoy yourself by understanding the concept of dispersed camping. Also called pirate camping, free camping and boondocking amongst other names, dispersed camping is all about camping without paying out a cent for the campsite. The only catch is fewer amenities than you’d typically get when paying. A campervan is an obvious solution with all you need in it, will ensure you can take advantage of every single camping opportunity.
Pros of Campervans
The campervan is a great camping solution especially for busy holiday seasons when the popular camps are pre-booked. Spending days in a van is a unique experience and has a beauty all of its own. Apart from a campervan, RVs are a camping option but there are factors that give a campervan an edge on any RV site.
1. Campervans are easily available and their campsites are cheaper than RV sites. They don’t occupy as much space. It is equipped with all the essentials but misses some advanced features you’d find on RV sites which are actually not all that useful or practical anyway.
2. The campervan is compact and practical. It can travel easily through narrow passes and along dirt roads to remote camping sites which is not possible with RV sites due to its size.
3. Dispersed camping is not just free but it is full of excitement and adventure as well. A campervan helps you maximize all the opportunities for free dispersed camping.
You don’t pay for anything on the site while you are in a campervan but there are guidelines you can follow to get the most from the experience.
Opting For The Best Campsite
Clear space between the woods with easy access to a natural water source accompanying serene natural beauty, is, without doubt, the perfect place for camping. However, it is a good idea to use some tips from the experts to help you find a safer and interesting campsite. For instance:
Take Assistance From Rangers
For finding a secure and legal camping site it’s always better to ask those who have local knowledge. Lookout for BLM Ranger Station or visitor center and take their assistance in deciding the next appropriate step. They are usually very welcoming and helpful.
Look In Google Maps
There are green areas marked in Google maps with the label public land. With the help of Google maps, you can easily locate the best legal spots for excellent camping.
Camping On Paved Roads
Camping on paved roads is regarded as an ideal choice since it’s in the interest of both your family and your campervan. Rough unbalanced surfaces may harm the campervan and also disturbs sleep and makes day to day chores uncomfortable.
Use An Already Used Camping Site
It is always better and safer to opt for a site that has been used by other campers than going for a completely new site. This way, you will not only be at peace mentally but will be doing a great favor to natural resources by not ruining a new patch of lush green forest grass.
Service Area For Camping
If you don’t want to go for woods and federal lands but still want to enjoy free camping than another option are service areas like the parking lots of superstores and truck rest stops. You can spend a great camping night in public rest areas in security and comfort.
Interesting Ways To Camp Free In The USA
Now that you know the basics of dispersed camping, let’s talk about some of the most common ways to camp free in the United States.
Campsites In National Forest
The national forest is wonderful for camping and completely free. While driving your way through the forest you can pull your campervan over anywhere within forest land for a night or two. It’s up to you to find the most suitable place that fulfills all your requirements and campsite goals. Exploring to find your ideal camping spot is a big part of the campervan adventure.
Look out for blue areas in your map within the forest as it indicates the water and a waterfall. A peaceful place with beautiful scenery will help make your camping trip a memorable one.
Search too, for places allocated especially for free campers with free restrooms, washrooms and bins for added convenience during your stay. This goes for people who don’t have their camping showers or portable camping toilets. These areas have marked spaces for campervans so more than one campervan at a time can take advantage of the benefits. It’s a fun way to meet new people.
National forest has various BBQ rules for the different areas of the forest. For safety, make sure you know the rules for the area you are in, especially if you are planning a lavish BBQ camping night.
Roaming around in the National Forest in search of an ideal campsite only works if you are confident about your map reading skills and can accurately interpret google navigations.
The Ranger Station
Ranger stations are located all over the national forest. They are your best place for seeking advice and help. Whether you need to know the nearest place for fuel or supplies or the best place for getting out hiking, they are there to assist and guide you. They are the most reliable people to take suggestions from for ideal wild camping sites within the National Forest that are not only safe but fit your requirements.
In this era of technology and smart gadgets, it is impossible to not have an app designed for the convenience and guidance of campers. Campendium is one such useful app. It is the ultimate camping guide for assisting with selecting the best campsite but also to help navigate the way through a site. It has reviews from campers who have stayed, along with their suggestions for improvements. Uploaded photographs of campers on each campsite provide a clear picture of the place.
Free Camping Outside The Forest
If you are unable to reach the national forest for free wild camping but are desperate, nonetheless, for a free and adventurous camping journey there is hope for you.
Many leading stores allow campervans in their parking lots for free night’s stay. There are other places too such as rest areas and truck stops and places for public transport. They are usually safe although not very welcoming.
Camping in a store parking lot gives you the benefit of clean bathrooms and options for dinner out too.
Two Important Things To Remember Before Going Wild
No one would blame you for thinking there are more than enough opportunities to camp free in the USA and it’s time to grab your stuff and hit the road, but you need to know a few important things to stay safe while exploring the great outdoors.
- Beware of bears: When wild camping, you need to educate yourself about where to expect When you opt for paid campsites you are usually given bear lockers but no such facility is available when camping for free. Therefore, you should take measures to avoid getting in any trouble by making sure all food is stowed well.
- Consider rental insurance: Never forget to carefully check the insurance small print if you’re going to rent out a campervan. Sometimes, you get no coverage once you’re off a paved road. Make sure to know what you can and cannot do to avoid voiding your coverage.
When the call of the wild is strong, with a campervan of your own, you can ditch the cares of the modern world and head out into the wilderness knowing you can go anywhere and you’ll have all you need. With forethought and planning, each expedition, short or long, will be an adventure that uplifts the soul to leave you with a new deeper appreciation of the wonders of the natural world and you won’t need to spend a dime on campsite fees to enjoy it.