What't the deal with Boondocking...

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by bandc12, May 18, 2011.

  1. bandc12

    bandc12 New Member

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    I get the concept.. dry camping... and would love to try it.. I HATE crowded cgs. What are the basics? Do you do it in State Parks.. National Forrests.. Is it "legal" to just park and start camping? Where is a good place to start in Western PA?
     
  2. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    Not sure about Pennsylvania specifically.....

    Here in New Mexico you can do it on and National Forest land or BLM land unless posted otherwise. You generally cannot boondock within a State or National Park/Monument or private property on NF or BLM land (unless you have owners permission).

    It is dry camping (no hookups) but goes even beyond that IMO. I generally consider boondocking to be camping outside a developed CG. Usually on some forest road, fire road, or logging road. Not only are there no hookups....there are no toilettes (not even pit), no dumpsters, no water, etc. Though I have camped at some developed but still very primitive CGs that have a dispersed (boondock) camping feel in that sites are well spread out and not many people visit.

    You are for the most part self sustained and self reliant. Depending on where you go, you may or may not see a single soul. Other times you may have neighbors, but often they are well dispersed sometimes by miles. You pack it in and pack it out and bring everything you need/want. Often the nearest civilization can be hours away.
     
  3. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    Also, because you are not hooked up and using your own p'ups power and water supply and whatever other water you bring, conservation is necessary depending on how long you're out for. For us that means....as an example.....washing up, we will turn the water on to wet our hand and turn off while we scrub....then turn back on to rinse. I prefer camping next to a mountain stream and will also utilize the stream water to fill my pot to boil for doing dishes, etc.

    I always pack a shovel and water pale (filled with stream water) to leave near the fire for easy access in an emergency. Before we had the p'up and now a porta potti (not inside the p'up) we also used the shovel for digging the cat hole (usually a good walk from camp and definitely no where near the stream as to not pollute). Coolers and food, etc are stored inside the TV (good practice anyway)...though we do store a few items in the fridge of the p'up, but generally these are sealed items like DS baby food, beer, etc.

    Also....almost forgot, and this was a biggie for me when I first started boondocking.....a plastic folding table (like those church pot-luck tables only they fold in half and are lighter weight). Unlike a CG, there are no picnic tables, so you have to bring your own if you want one. First time I boondocked, I didn't think about that and I sure missed that picnic table.....Also, a hatchet....I'm getting a little lazy in my old age and often bring my own wood, but it's usually not enough so I have to go on a wood hunt for medium sized fallen branches, etc that I can easily chop up with the hatchet.
     
  4. hakrjak

    hakrjak Member

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    Get a recreational map of your state and look for forest rds and logging rds, etc. Drive around in National Forests listed on the map and look for dirt roads that go off into the woods, etc. You will find some great camp sites! Finding them is half the fun sometimes....

    I have a few that are only accessable by 4x4 and my off-road PUP here in Colorado. I know I'm the only one who knows about them, because I can tell nobody has been there or built a fire in my ring between my trips.

    [CP]
     
  5. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    Ok...sorry...I'm a little bored; been at home with DS because he's sick the last couple days.

    A good place to start locating boondocking areas in your area is to call around to the various Ranger Districts and ask them if and where there is dispersed camping....and get a good map that shows forest roads, etc. You could also start a thread calling out Penn Boondockers (I did that when I first joined to get some new ideas here in NM)

    IMO it is the greatest way to camp....it is far less crowded, and even in a p'up you still feel like you're roughing it (at least a little). It is very quiet and peaceful....often the only noises I hear rustling leaves, the movement of the stream, and birds chirping.

    The next time you're at a CG, make a list of things that you utilize at the CG and then figure out how you would supplement that particular thing if you were boondocking....(i.e the folding picnic table, porta potti, etc). The first couple times you boondock can be a little daunting, but once you do it and get settled in, you'll never want to go back. Staying at a CG in June with my dad for father's day (he won't go boondocking with me)...I'm really looking forward to it, but at the same time........

    Also, you'll want to look for boondocking sites that have already been used as much as possible.....it's just good etiquette. They're usually identifiable by a a fire ring (usually granite boulders around here).
     
  6. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    bandc12, your best bet is the Allegheny National Forest. HERE is a link to their website. Contact them and ask about dispersed camping. That's what the NF people call boondocking. As cwolfman13 has pointed out, you need to be 100% self-contained, bringing everything you will need. Try it -- boondocking is GREAT!
     
  7. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    As the others point out, it really is the finest way to camp. You do need to be self sufficient. You won't have a picnic table or a grill or a fire ring or a toilet unless you tote one along or rig one up, but on the other hand, you won't have neighbors with dogs off leases, yapping kiddos running through your site, lights on all night, or listening to Lynard Skynard's collected works. Instead, you'll have the sounds of wind in the trees, you'll see more stars at night, and you'll sleep like a babe.

    We do boondocking and campground camping both, and much prefer boondocking. Try it, you will love it.
     
  8. hvac1877

    hvac1877 Old Dominion Iron Chefs Highland Springs, Va

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    we boondock about 4 to 5 times a year in a field next to a river. Love it going to get a genny for those trips in mid summer so we can sleep in comfort it gets a bit hot and humid in Virginia
     
  9. bandc12

    bandc12 New Member

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    My husband has done this in his younger days tent camping and has a place that he used to go in West Virgina near Black Water Falls. We would never be able to get the pup there. He just does not call it boondocking.. he calls it camping!!!

    I have the porta potti, lanterns, head lamps, a Coleman stove and a folding picnic table... The pup has 7 gal fresh water holding tank and I have another 5 gal collapsible. I think this is a good start at being self sufficient!

    We are actually leaving on Friday to go to Kooser SP, which is near Forbes State Forrest. Would it be a waste of time to ask about disbursed camping there or do I need to stick to National Forrests?
     
  10. FC

    FC Central Florida

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    We are doing our first dispersed camping in Cades Cove Smoky mountains next week. Look foward to it. We have spent alot of money on leds and water cans, ect. It will open up a hole new realm of camping. Can't wait. [:D]
     
  11. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Am I the only one who thinks this sounds scary? I would, without a doubt, pack along an arsenal of weapons and ammo. Maybe I watch too much true crime TV and read too many true crime books.

    In addition to human predators, I have generally had the creeps since we moved to Florida. Maybe it's just because it's unfamiliar territory. Or maybe it's the gators, wild pigs, fire ants, poisonous snakes, and vertical lightning... [:O]
     
  12. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Oh dear! There's no dispersed camping allowed in the park... [{:)]

    What you are going to be doing is a bit different; we call that "dry camping" and it's fun as well [:D]. Here are some simplistic definitions.

    1) Dry camping: camping in a site in a designated campground, but with no hookups. (Cades Cove CG, like most but not all campgrounds in national parks, is a good example of this.)
    2) Dispersed camping: a term used mostly by the U.S. Forest Service, this usually means camping in a site of your choice away from developed areas in national forests, or maybe on BLM land. It may be in some designated remote camping spots and there could be a fire ring or a porta-pottie (doubtful), or it may just be a clearing by a roadside you like.
    3) Boondocking: You choose a place on public lands where remote camping in non-designated areas is allowed, you set up, and there you are, all on your own. You and no neighbor to worry about. Once you try it a few times, you will be hooked. Long live the weeds and the wilderness!
     
  13. FC

    FC Central Florida

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    Yea dry camping is what we are doing. Got it corn fuzed. Told you it was out first time...Lol Looking foward to it. :)
     
  14. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    You're going to have a great time FC. If you have bicycles, consider getting up early before they open the loop road and ride the 11-mile loop. It's absolutely amazing without the cars. You will lots of lots of wildlife and enjoy that magical cove to its best. It's an amazing place in an amazing park.
     
  15. FC

    FC Central Florida

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    Been there several times but never camped there,only in tremont. Looking foward to it. [:D] Thanks for the advise.
     
  16. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    I use the Monongahela Nation Forest, and Dolly Sods, with the favorite being Spruce Knob due to the trout streams in the vicinity. The FS does operate a campground on the Hill. but it is W/O hookups.(no electric or even cell service within 25 miles) These is dispersed camping in both areas. Both areas are cool even in the summer as you are above 4000ft
    This is God's country!!
     
  17. bandc12

    bandc12 New Member

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    Joet, WV is one of my DH's favorite places to go.. He has been to Dolly Sods and Spruce Knob I believe. We have been to Bear Haven and I LOVE it.. I believe it is a sp.. but it only has 8 sites no hook ups but they do have pit toilets. Unfortunately this year I don't think we will make it to WV with the Pup. We need some work done to the TV and wouldn't be able to tow after the repair.. have to put on at least 500 miles.. so we have decided, instead of missing out totally on the camping season, to keep it close to home.
     
  18. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    Folks don't know what they are missing at these locations. I will start in at Spruce Knob in January ice fishing. The first week in Jan. the lake had 31 inches of ice on it. We will fish till the snow gets so deep we can't get in.
    Yes these are in the boonies, but some of the most beautiful wilderness areas you can ever see.
     
  19. GetOutSide

    GetOutSide Let's go get lost...

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    Okay, this is just my humble [::)] opinion, but:

    Campgrounds with hookups are like mothers and their milk, so when you grow up and wanna leave the nest go BOONDOCKING! It just opens up so many more options, and better views to boot. I've been to lots of places where the best campsites (better fire rings, right on the water, etc.) are out in the wilderness in BLM or NF land. Of course, there's always the price: free. [:D]

    And yeah, Orchid, after watching Dexter I would be a little skittish out in the glades there - but in reality you're safer than in a park. Never hurts to protect yourself.
     
  20. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 Active Member

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    Couldn't hurt to ask.
     

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