Off grid camping is exactly like the name suggests. This camping type is for those who want to reside in tents with minimal supplies without being connected to sewage, gas, water or source of electricity. When off-grid camping, you will have to pack a sufficient amount of water and utilize it shrewdly. With the absence of sewage, off grid campers have to use outdoor spaces to go to the toiler. Many campers tend to dig a hole in the ground for doing their business.
Needless to say, this camping style is incredibly simple and is especially ideal for those who want a break from the “normal” way of living. Off grid camping can provide you with a fantastic break from normal routines, allowing you to unwind and relax.
Also referred to as, dry camping, dispersed camping, boondocking and dry camping, off grid camping has been around for quite a while. People who want to be away from everyone and everything find this camping form ideal, especially because it requires minimal investment. While going for off grid adventures can bring the calm into your life that you are looking for, you must take your time when it comes to preparation.
Prepping for off grid camping includes things like searching for the best place, taking safety measures, and doing other important things that will ensure your camping experience is hassle free. In this piece, we will discuss the best places for off grid camping and other essential considerations to ensure your trip is a success.
Best Places for Off Grid Camping
Finding ideal places for off grid camping can be quite challenging, particularly for those who are new to it. Mentioned below are ideal places for your camping trick, ensuring you can find the peace and quiet you are looking for.
National Grasslands and Forests
Generally, people have the permission to set up camp without paying any fee in the national forests and grasslands in the United States (unless they are marked). That said, every national forest has different sets of rules. Therefore, it would be best to check beforehand to avoid any major inconveniences. Traditionally, however, you can camp freely outside campgrounds and recreation areas.
National forests and grasslands are ideal for car and tent camping, RVs, trailers and vans. You have plenty of options when setting up camp in national grasslands as you can back either set your camp up in the woods or at a spacious area along the forest service road. That said, you must be self sufficient, because national forests and grasslands do not have amenities like restrooms, trash cans or picnic tables. There are some areas where campers are allowed to light up fires as long as they have a fire permit. Also, while there aren’t any fire restrictions in this place, it would be best to confirm them as they can change quite frequently.
Finding national grasslands and forests is relatively easy as they are present on Google maps. You can also utilize the national forest map locator to search these maps or look for state specific information about the particular jurisdiction where you intend to camp. Once again, the camping regulations for each area are different, so checking beforehand would be ideal.
Some campers also utilize motor vehicle maps to search particular national forest areas for camping. These comprehensive maps show campground locations, open and closed days for roads and much more. You can find these maps on the national forest website for free. With these maps, you can learn about important things like whether the place where you want to camp in will have cell phone signals or not.
Crown Land is an ideal off grid camping place for Canadian residents. While it is free for the country’s residents, non residents can also camp there by paying for permit that varies according to province. Camping on Crown Land is free for around twenty one days but there are certain areas where it is completely prohibited. The reason behind it is that this location is divided in various subcategories managed on provincial and federal levels. Each subcategory has different restriction levels, which can be quite tough to navigate and understand.
Do not let all of this stop you from looking into camping in Crown Land, as the location is arguably the best for off grid camping. Your experience at Crown Land will greatly vary, depending on where you set your camp up. In certain provinces such as British Columbia, you will find campgrounds known as Recreation Sites that are function similar to traditional campgrounds with barely any amenities.
A massive portion of the Crown Land is present in remote areas of Canada, where there is minimal infrastructure. Since it can be challenging to access the land, many people kayak or canoe in public waterways. Locating Crown Land suitable for off grid camping depends upon the province. You will find online interactive maps for some provinces, while others have static ones.
Bureau of Land Management
You will find these lands in the western areas of the U.S. These areas are publicly managed and generally allow people to camp for free outside developed campgrounds. The bureau of land management takes care of a wide variety of activities, which include mining operations and cattle grazing, so you must conduct thorough research to learn whether they are camping-worthy.
While BLM land is present all around the west, a massive chunk of it covers the desert. Just like national forests, campers can stay reside at pullovers or find secluded areas along access roads to set their camp up. You will also come across certain semi established camping areas, which are often visited by RV snowbirds, particularly during winters. Like other off grid camping locations mentioned in this piece, there will be no restrooms, trash cans or picnic tables.
Campers can have a fire, as long as they have a fire permit. Also, while this place does not have fire restrictions, it would be best to check if things have changed and you can find that information from the field office.
Unlike most national grasslands, locating BLM lands can be quite tricky on Google Maps as they are not marked. Experienced off grid campers often use BLM’s map, Public Lands app etc. The map provided by BLM is particularly helpful as it can help you locate the right field office of particular areas. You can also use the map to spot areas managed by tribal land, national parks, national forests and other agencies.
There are certain details you must remember when camping in BLM lands. First off, you must camp outside developed campgrounds. Usually, there is a camping limit of 2 weeks but sometimes it is more. Also, you must set your camp up at a distance of 200 ft from any water source or stream.
The National Parks Service
National Parks are a camping site that campers are arguably the most familiar with. After the creation of the Yellowstone national park during the 1800s, congress has established over fifty nine other parks. The National Park Service is responsible to conserve the historic and natural aspects along with the scenery of these parks. These NLP is vastly different from other agencies of the government as it does not allow off roading vehicles or resource extraction, which is why the parks have been able to retain their beauty for many years.
In most cases, National Parks tend to have restrictions for the length of RVs, so the last thing you want to do is invest in a large RV that doesn’t meet the park’s requirements. Typically, you would want to reserve the space for your off grid camping trip in advance because some people tend to book their spots five or six months in advance (sometimes even more).
Also, if you are going to a campsite that offers space on a first come first serve basis, it would be best to be there prior to the check in time. While most campers tend to prioritize National Parks, there are plenty of fantastic State parks that are as good, if not better. With over ten thousand state parks in the United States, there are plenty of options you can choose from.
Off Grid Camping Safety Tips Worth Considering
Off grid camping is a fantastic way to spend time with your friends and family or even by yourself to experience the beauty of nature. That said, you must practice caution and take certain safety measures. Living in the wilderness, whether along or with company can be quite dangerous, even for those who come prepared. Harsh weather conditions, hungry animals and other unforeseen situations are among just a few things that you could encounter.
Let us discuss some important things to ensure you remain safe during your off grid camping trip.
Having First Aid is Vital
Not having a first aid kit for your off grid camping trip can be a massive mistake. Things like these can be quite easy to forget, but often lead to massive issues. Therefore, it would be best to keep plenty of supplies for bruises, bumps and other injuries along with other important medication. Having too much first aid essentials is better than not having them at all as you can require them at any time.
Pack Water and Food according to your Trip’s Length
The last thing you want is to cut your stay short because of insufficient food and water. Depending on the amount of days you want to spend camping, make sure you pack an ample amount of water and food (consider packing a bit extra if you plan to camp far from civilization). You can do this with careful prepping, ensuring you have enough to drink and eat every day.
There are plenty of excellent recipes available online if you are looking for ideas. Bringing a water filter along for your camping trip would also be a wise choice.
Don’t Forget the Power Backup
You don’t want to end your trip due to a lack of power, so its best to have sufficient backup that will last you the length of your stay. Packing things like a light bulb string, solar extension cable and folding solar panel will generally be enough to fulfill your power related needs during the trip.
Lock Yourself up If need be
You must protect your belongings and most importantly, yourself when camping off grid. Whether you’re living in a van or a tent, you must protect yourself in the best way possible to steer clear from unwanted guests. Carrying your valuables along, using locks on your RV or camper, using wheel clamps and keeping important items out of sight are excellent ways to safeguard your items.
Avoid Leaving Somewhere without Company
You must follow this tip if you plan to collect firewood, go for a hike or even for something as simple as going to do your business. Taking someone with you is always better than going alone and it can even prove to be life-saving in certain situations. Carrying a waterproof map for your trip would be a wise choice as well, and may prevent you from getting lost.
Satellite Phones Can be a Lifesaver
Cellular service often cuts off during an off grid camping trip. People often start losing their signals when they are only a few miles away from the closes gas station. Once your cell phone loses signals entirely, it is nothing more than a pricey camera. While many people prefer off grid camping because they want to disconnect with their regular, technology dependent lives, cutting yourself off from tech entirely could be dangerous if something goes wrong. Therefore, it is important to stay connected, which is where satellite phones can be incredibly handy.
While there are plenty of satellite phones that can do the job, there are some particular brands and models worth considering. For instance, the Iridium Extreme 9575 satellite phone is among the best out there because of its long lasting battery time, extensive coverage and waterproof material. This phone is especially ideal for people who go to different remote areas for their off grid camping trips, thanks to its vast satellite network.
Iridium utilizes military grade tech for providing the durability required for long adventures. As mentioned before. Besides being waterproof, this satellite phone is also shock and dust proof and can work fine even after enduring some blows. Iridium’s 9555 phone is another model off grid campers should consider because of its vast coverage and lengthy battery life.
While this phone is not waterproof like the 9575 model, it does not cost much and offers one hundred percent satellite coverage. Also, while this phone does not have the military grade material used in high end phones, it certainly is not frail, and good enough for camping trips. This phone has tons of handy features, along with a simple UI, and a hands free option.
Iridium 9555 is quite small compared to other camping phones and can easily fit your bag. There is a one button emergency calling option on this phone, which makes it a fantastic off grid phone for tons of adventures.
High Quality Tires
If you are going for off grid camping on an RV, you will most likely encounter things like poor cell services, lack of basic amenities etc. Also, you will be far away from main roads, which is why you must have high quality tires and a spare one in case things go awry. A punctured or flat tire could leave you stranded for hours, if not days.
High quality tires are a must, especially if you are camping in an area with rough terrain. Most camping spots are located down forests roads (which are mostly unmaintained) or rocky desert terrain. Make sure you carry the right equipment required for changing the tires to steer clear from trouble. Don’t forget to recheck your RVs tires prior to leaving, as finding out a flat tire while you are on the way could cut your trip short.
Maintain a Good Mindset When Camping
When you go for an off grid camping trip, you essentially become the custodian of the place you’re visiting. You will not have camp hosts around for managing and cleaning up the site, so you have to become responsible. Steer clear from littering the camping site by storing all the garbage in a box or shopper and taking it home with you.
You will have to maintain a positive mindset when going for off grid camping. Since your resources will most likely be limited, you will have to shift your mindset to conservation. Try to be mindful about how you use power and water and keep checking how much you have left regularly. If you do not think the supplies will last long, do not hesitate in going back for stocking up. Remember, the more off grid trips you have under your belt, the better you will get at it. You can always make trial runs if it is the first time you are going for an off grid camping trip.
Also, steer clear from taking unnecessary risks during your trip and do some research on the location you are going to so you can avoid getting lost.
While it may seem like a massive inconvenience initially, spending some time off the grid feels quite rewarding and satisfying. This is because it requires you to make things work without being dependent on someone else. Believe it or not, the off grid lifestyle has gained a fair bit of popularity recently and more and more people are trying it.
Living like a cast off for some days can help you go back in time and gives you a look into the lifestyle of primitive generations. All of the off grid camping locations mentioned in this piece would be ideal for your trip. Don’t forget to take the necessary safety measures to ensure your trip goes smoothly and remember to have fun. Off grid camping can seem quite uncomfortable for first timers, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll want to spend more time away from home.