Boondocking Rules

Well, maybe they’re more like guidelines. These should be common sense but that is all too lacking in our modern world, it seems. Follow these “rules” and everyone wins:

  • Respect the land and your fellow boondockers, first and foremost. Where few laws exist, we each must be responsible for conducting ourselves in a civil manner.
  • Follow the laws and regulations. Observe stay limits, fire restrictions and camping closures, among others.
  • Leave no trace and tread lightly  In fact, leave the site better than you found it. Camp in existing sites and on durable surfaces. Don’t alter or harm the environment unnecessarily. Take all your trash with you.
  • For the most part, follow the lead of those there before you as far as spacing, noise, activities, etc. For instance, you shouldn’t demand quiet in an OHV area. On the other hand, in a peaceful setting leave your dirt bike on the trailer.
  • Don’t camp any closer to others than you have to. A minimum of about 100 feet is a good start, more (much more) if room allows. Of course, there are exceptions where this isn’t possible but maybe find another area when it’s busy.
  • If you’ve got a smaller rig, take a smaller site and leave the big sites for bigger rigs when possible. Small rigs have more options. When busy or crowded, however, first come, first served.
  • Drive slowly. Speeding on dirt and gravel stirs up dust and damages roads and the land. It’s also unsafe for you and others. If you’re out recreating, so are others with pets and children.
  • Observe common sense quiet hours. 8am to 10pm is a good place to start. This goes for generators too. And in general, less noise is better when in nature.
  • Don’t pull in after dark. It can be dangerous, not to mention annoying to others. Consider staying at a Wal-Mart, truck stop, rest area, first available site, etc. for the night and finding a site in the morning.
  • Keep animals and kids under control. It keeps them safe from threats (snakes, bears, vehicles, etc.). It also keeps them from being annoying, causing property damage or, in the case of dogs, attacking other campers or animals.
  • Live and let live should be the rule…to a point. Report illegal or unsafe behavior. Speak with others about their poor conduct (if you feel safe doing so). Or just move if conditions become problematic.
  • Respect your fellow boondockers. Their rights are just as valid as yours. Remember, you rights to camp on public land stop where theirs begin.
  • Pay attention to visual impacts. Don’t block other boondockers’ views. Don’t use excessive lighting or leave lights on all might. Keep a tidy campsite.
  • If it’s legal, you may dump gray water on the ground. If you do so, release it slowly and over a large area. Never dump black water.
  • Never block access to watering holes. Follow regulations when they exist. Don’t feed animals, intentionally or otherwise. Secure your food and trash appropriately.
  • It your responsibility to research prospective areas, scout locations and choose sites wisely. However, it is also your responsibility to learn the laws, regulations and boondocking etiquette. Ignorance is not an excuse for thoughtless actions.