Backwoods, Cowboy Camping, and Boondocking

Dispersed, or dry…..

Whatever you want to call it, and however you want to do it, it’s highly underrated, and highly underutilized.

Dispersed camping means camping outside of designated campgrounds. This can be in National Forests or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. It includes car camping, and backpacking to undeveloped sites.

There are no services or amenities. That means whatever you PACK IN, you PACK OUT. There are no bathrooms, no water spigots, no trashcans. Sometimes there are fire pits already dug from previous campers. Often, there is no cell service.

Lets talk dispersed camping…

Where to find sites

Apps and websites such as FreeRoam or Campendium are useful in finding sites. FreeRoam enables filters for finding BLM land, National Forest lands, as well as pet friendly areas, shade, cell service, fees, etc.

Explore! If you’re in a national forest, look around, you might just end up happening upon the perfect spot with spectacular views

Stuff to think about

Make sure to research the area you’re going Before you go.

  • Check the weather (more than once and close to travel)
  • Are there fire restrictions in place?
  • What kind of wildlife is in the area
  • Are there fees?
  • Do you need 4×4 or clearance?

Essential Items

  • Water!
  • or water filter/ treatment system
  • Food
  • Toilet paper
  • Trash bags
  • Shovel
  • Animal proof container
  • Dont forget, whatever you pack in, you pack out.

Keep in mind

Different areas have different rules for where you can camp. some examples may include

  • You must camp at least 200 feet from streams, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
  • You must camp at least 300 feet from developed roads.
  • You must camp 300 feet from developed trails.
  • You may camp at the same location for no more than 14 consecutive days

Extraordinary Experiences

Whether you cowboy camp, hammock camp, car camp, or set up a good ol fashioned tent, dispersed camping affords you with the opportunity to really connect with nature. You will be out in the wilderness where there are few if any other people. Make sure you come prepared. And make sure to look up at the stars.

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