Boondockers unwritten rules

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If you don’t boondock, you might think that when you are truly boondocking – camping out away from any hook-ups 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 it 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.
  • 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.

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2 thoughts on “Boondockers unwritten rules

  1. Love reading all your posts! Sounds so common sense, but then again common sense isn’t common, is it? I dream of boondocking around the country someday. Right after I convince the wife it would be awesome! Still working on her. She prefers high-end resorts. Gag! 🙂

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  2. Thanks for an informative blog. My husband and I have debates about how to appropriately deal with gray water. While I like your unwritten rules, many states actually have written laws about gray water. Some prohibit dumping gray water altogether, others seem to be OK with “wash water” from the shower/bathroom sink, but not OK with kitchen dishwater. It’s important to know the laws of the state. BLM also has written rules for gray water dumping. So, the first unwritten rule for me is to research the written ones! (My husband not so much LOL)

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