Are you looking for low cost or free dispersed camping? Read on and learn the secrets to free and cheap campsites.
We drive a full size Ford Club Wagon outfitted with 2 platform beds made with inexpensive plywood. We store our gear conveniently under the platform beds. Nothing beats sleeping comfortably in our van.
It's so convenient sleeping in the van that we never set up a tent the entire trip. We only paid for campsites when we wanted the luxury of showers and doing our laundry. Free or cheap camping abounds if you know where to look and stay.
I started reading about free dispersed camping at Eugenecarsey.com. Eugene gives you detailed descriptions, GPS coordinates, and directions to free campsites.
How To Find Dispersed Camping In National Forests For Free
Have you noticed that camping at national forest campgrounds, national parks, state park, and other cheap places to camp has gotten down right expensive? We got tired of paying $18 for an outhouse and a picnic table.
Drive a few miles away from paid campgrounds and look for areas that show signs like rock fire rings or where a tent was set up. Most national forests allow dispersed camping. National parks do not.
I easily find spots by pulling into places where other people have camped. If you want to camp on the cheap while visiting national parks like Yosemite, drive a mile or two away and camp in the national forest.
Free Dispersed Camping
I bought the Vanabode Guide to live on $20 a day. We outfitted an in-expensive used white Ford Club Wagon van.
We carry light weight folding tables and chairs to relax in. I store all of our eating supplies in see through Sterilite storage boxes purchased from Walmart. We carry a tent, but rarely if ever set it up.
I bought a Big Berkey water treatment system to make our own purified water. I have a Coleman dual fuel stove that burns unleaded gasoline.
We are self contained for camping up to 5 days.
Best Dispersed Camping Van Set Up
I bought about $100 worth of lumber at The Home Depot and paid 2 handymen $60 to build a sleeping platform on top of the floor of our van behind the second row of seats. We had tons of storage place and enough room to sleep 4 people in our van including all of our gear.
For the ultimate privacy, I use insulated reflectorized Reflectix on the large windows. We have sleep all over for free.
Stealth Camping In A Plain White Cargo Van
To really fully utilize the Vanabode concept of camping, you are going to need a white or silver cargo or passenger van that blends in and is not really noticable. White cargo and passenger vans are as common as the common cold. Church groups, school groups, painters, contractors, plumbers, etc use the basic white vans for business.
The key is to blend in. A stealthy white van gives one the ability to pull into any legal parking place/spot and camp for the night when you are tired. There are times when it's not possible to find a campground before it's pitch dark. Other times you pull into a paid campground when it's pitch black and you don't want to set up your tent. No problem. We pay the fee and sleep in our comfortable stealth van.
Signs To Best Free Dispersed Campsites
My family and I never agree on what is the best free camping site. My favorite camp site for the summer was in the Cascade mountains of Southern Oregon. We happened to drive by a sign pointing to Huckleberry Mountain Campground located 4 miles up a narrow gravel National Forest road. It was absolutely beautiful.
Moss was hanging off the trees the entire way to the campground. The sites were huge. I found an old fashioned water pump with the coldest and clearest water t hat I have ever tasted. Did I forget to mention that wild huckleberries grew everywhere? We picked about 2 gallons of them! The campground was free. If I could have talked my wife and kids into staying longer, I would have set up our tent.
Dispersed Camping Equipment Guide
Self contained dispersed camping. Carry the essentials and become the campsite. We filter our water with a Big Berkey gravity fed water treatment system. I can stop at rivers, lakes, and garden hoses to make my own fresh water.
For cooking we rely on the a simple Coleman dual fuel stove or the wood burning Stove Tec rocket stove. The best part of this stove is that all the fuel is free! Read Amazon reviews for the Rocket Stove.