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With boondocking freedom comes responsibility

By Bob Difley
If you don’t boondock, you might think that when you are truly boondocking—camping out away from any hookups or other amenities, not in a campground, and on free public lands—you also don’t have any rules to follow.

Not so—though there are those who do not follow the rules and that hurts the rest of us. The rules are loosely defined, aren’t hard to follow or unusually restrictive, and generally don’t infringe on or detract from the boondocking experience.

  • Pick a campsite away from others. Most boondockers, until otherwise determined, value their solitude and privacy, and prefer not to have neighbors close by.
  • Upon arrival, walk the site with a bag and pick up any man-made trash left behind by previous campers. Just do it and don’t fret about it. It won’t take you long.
  • If you build a campfire, anything that will not burn to ashes, carry out.
  • Find ways to hang things other than driving nails into trees.
  • Keep your campsite neat. Put things away when not in use. Nobody wants to see all your stuff scattered about like a yard sale in progress.
  • Pick up only downed and dead wood for a campfire. Chopping limbs off trees or uprooting bushes to burn is something only clueless teenagers would do.
  • Think safety when building a campfire. Scrape all debris several feet away from your fire and keep your fire small. Build a rock ring or dig a depression to contain the fire.
  • If you dump the gray water from dishwashing and rinsing, wipe all food bits off everything with a paper towel first. Always use biodegradable soaps. Dump gray water on thirsty plants or bury in a hole away from your campsite, but only if allowed where you are boondocking.
  • When you leave, your campsite should appear as if no one had been there, just the way you would like to find your next boondocking site.
  • Remember that the way others—hikers, off-road wanderers, officials—see your site is the way all RVers are seen. Set a good example—that of a responsible, environmentally aware, and conservation-minded steward of the land. It’s good for all of us. And thank you for doing so.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.

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Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
1 month ago

And while it’s true that urine is a nitrogen rich liquid and especially out west there’s a multi year drought ongoing, please refrain from showering your surroundings. Just a couple of such “showers” and suddenly your whole site smells like a privy- and continues to do so after you’ve left. You don’t smell it, but others will. And it attracts the wrong sort of fauna looking to see who is trying to mark on their territory.

Thom R
1 month ago

We enjoy a small campfire once in a while, always felt guilty collecting wood. Just got a gas firepit from Costco, $100. Works good, no more guilt, no more need to find a previously built fire ring.

Michael Gardner
1 month ago

Rule 1: follow the rules for various public lands. Some things listed above violate common rules such as picking up firewood or dumping grey water.

Seann Fox
1 month ago

Besides not driving nails into trees don’t leave string or rope attached to the trees

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