7 Unspoken Secrets That Will Make You A Better Boondocker

PublishedMarch 30, 2017

Pfff. You think you know?

You know juuuust what all the rules are out there in boondocking land, eh?

You might. Are you sure?

Over and over, we see folks breaking bad in this category.

We are MORE than happy to enlighten you with the unspoken rules of boondocking.

It will help keep the peace out there in the land of serenity. 

How To Not Ruin Boondocking For others

1. Keep It Down

Really? Does this have to be mentioned?

Unfortunately, yes. Most people who are camping in a National Forest or out on BLM land are trying to get away for a while.

It's quiet. It's peaceful.

They're enjoying it.

Maaaaaaybe you should leave the party at home...

Now is not the time to come buzzing in with your vehicle blasting your tunes with the windows open.

Come on, guys, seriously.

We have SEEN this happen again and again.

It's unfathomable that people can be so clueless, but for sure, some are. 

It shouldn't happen, yet it happens over and over again. 

Yes, you should probably leave the fireworks at home.

We all get that it's 'public land', so everyone has the rights to be out there and do whatever is legal, no doubt.

Just, try to be at least a LITTLE considerate of the peace and avoid disturbing others.

2. Parking Proximity And The 'Personal Bubble'

You know how when you have a conversation with someone, you and that person each have an unspoken 'space' around your body that no-one but your mother or your lover are invited into?

Of course you know about it. 

It's the same unspoken rule that applies to movie theaters.

You don't walk into a fairly empty movie theater and sit in the seat right next to the only people in there. 

Well, guess what?

This type of bubble also applies when camping.

And guess what else? It's a LOT bigger space than the other bubbles. 

For some reason, some campers don't seem to understand that when someone is boondock camping, they likely are there to get away from society and people.

This doesn't apply to EVERYONE, but it should be assumed, until and unless you ask the people you are looking to park near.

However, asking someone if you can park near them also puts them in the uncomfortable position of having to say no. 

Please just assume that a person parked out in a remote area would like to keep it remote.

This makes for happy neighbors.

This may seem like an obvious assumption, but time and time again, there is the clueless person who comes along and parks RIGHT NEXT TO OTHERS when there are thousands and thousands of acres of other space available!

DON'T do that!!!

The cherry on top is that because these people are usually clueless that way, they are also clueless in other regards.

These are the people that have 5 dogs running around, peeing on your stuff and barking when they are away.  

Then they blast their music all day and night.

They talk loudly all day or have their TV on too loudly.

It never seems to fail!  

It's not cool. It's rude and inconsiderate.

Now sure, there are times when space is LIMITED, and there's nowhere else to park.

At a time like that, it's expected that you will be parked next to.

No harm, no foul.

Still, try to be considerate and don't go fixing your flat tire with your butt crack out and facing your new neighbor's rig all afternoon. 

DON'T DO IT!

Oh, you feel 'safer' parking near someone?

You're not safer.

You will find out, through experience, that you are way WAY safer boondocking in remote areas than you ever will be in a city.

You heard us right. There's nothing to fear out there as far as people go, 99.9999999999% of the time.

We're not talking about boondocking in a back alley.

We're talking about being way out on public land. Criminals don't reside out there.

They look for low-hanging fruit in cities.

So we just blew that excuse out of the water.

Bottom line is, either give plenty of space or ASK the people if you can park near them if for some reason you feel ridiculously compelled to park near them.

Be prepared to hear a 'please don't'.

People usually boondock for the getaway from people and for the peace and quiet that it offers.

If they say yes,  let them tell YOU where it would be OK to park.

3. ATV's and RZRs Who Disrespect

There's nothing wrong with riding these vehicles out on public land.

That's what it's there for!

People camp and bring them all the time.

However, there are a few things some riders need to hear. 

Just yesterday, a group of about 5 ATV's parked for lunch less than 50' from my rig. 

That would have been fine, I understood.

I was parked right next to some ruins that I figured they wanted to explore.

(Oops. My bad. Won't do that again!)

The problem I had was that they really disturbed the peace with their loud talking, RIGHT outside my home, they kept their vehicles on, AND blasted their music.

Right. Outside. My. Door.

For just over 30 minutes.

Couldn't they have come and looked things over, then moved to ALL OF THE  AVAILABLE OPEN SPACE to hang out and be noisy for lunch?

Folks, nobody wants to go camping and amidst the beautiful serenity of nature, only to listen to your noise-making machine and music outside their door for half an hour. 

It truly was incredible, the complete and utter lack of respect or awareness.

A kid was driving one of the vehicles and he came inches from driving over my outdoor mat. I couldn't believe it.

So riders, have fun, but respect that when someone is camping, just try to give them a little front and backyard space!

4. Littering

Come on, right?

Do people still need to be TOLD not to litter?

Apparently so. If you have ever boondocked, you have likely been to a place where there is a ton of litter around.

It's extremely sad and embarrassing as a species that we have lowlifes among us who would do such a thing. 

However, the reality is that we do.

Please, take your trash with you.

Pick up litter around your site if you see any.

National Parks, National Forests and BLM lands should be preserved and left in their natural state.

Please, please, please, don't be 'that guy'.

Be a good human and don't litter.

5. Be A Good Passer-By

This one is easy and straightforward:

If you are on a dusty road and someone is camping close to it... SLOW DOWN as you approach and stay slow until you are far enough to not dust them out.

It's simple consideration, but some people either don't care or aren't thinking about it.

Just, be kind to others.

6. Man's Best Friend May Not Be Your Neighbor's Best Friend

Yes, most dog owners who are camping in the wild let their dogs off-leash. 

However, if you are near enough to other campers that they will go over and investigate, please don't let them off-leash. 

Why?

First, some people are scared of dogs and don't take kindly to being greeted (or barked at) right at their front door.

Another, even better reason is that many times your dog WILL  go and pee on their stuff.

Quit turning that blind eye.

That is really rude, and not to mention, extremely gross!

No-one wants your dog's pee on their front mat or their solar lights.

They don't even want it on their tires.

Sorry, not sorry.  

No-one EVER wants to step in your dog's feces, either. 

Still, we've seen it happen a lot.

Just use your head.

Keep your dogs leashed if you aren't in full control of where they are at all times.

ESPECIALLY if you have male dogs or dogs who go bounding up to people/other dogs.

You don't know what kind of people your neighbors are- you just might end up with a black eye or worse, a hurt dog.

7. The Great Generator Debate

Contractor. Generators. Do. Not. Belong. In. Camping. 

That is unless you can guarantee you will not have neighbors, ever. 

Good luck with that. 

Yes, they are cheaper than inverter generators. This is no excuse.

No, nobody wants to hear that droning god-awful sound for hours at a time out 'in the wild'.

You may as well be wielding a chainsaw if you're using a contractor generator.

Now especially if you are one of the clueless wonders above and YOU park close/next to others, you DEFINITELY shouldn't be pulling out your contractor generator.

If you do, you are an a-hole. 

Plain and simple.

It shows no respect for others.

We have to be very blunt here because the numbers of people who still do this means that they aren't hearing it and still don't understand. 

Conclusion

It's all about just having a little common sense and having consideration for others.

There's a ton of wild land out there.

Wait, what?

You still want to go meet the people around you?

Sure, most people boondocking probably want their privacy, but if you feel like you want to meet up, and they seem to be friendly, then please make sure you pick appropriate times to do so.

Introducing yourself during set-up (arriving) and especially during hooking-up time (leaving) are no-nos. 

That's not social hour, they have a job to do.

Striking up a conversation with them at these times may distract them enough to make them forget a crucial step. Be logical about this.

If you're feeling especially open and friendly, be smart about when you approach, keep it short, and let them offer an extended stay.

If they don't, carry on.

You never know, you might just make a new friend if you do it right!

Just don't leave your brain at home, friends!

Let's keep boondocking beautiful, serene and free.

Camp on, Addicts!

Camp Addict Kelly

Kelly Beasley is co-founder of Camp Addict and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since May 2015, Kelly's playful writing style helps make learning about the sometimes dull subject of RV products a bit more interesting.

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  • You are totally cracking me up only because I have been wanting to write those same words for many years. I appreciate your honesty. It is hard to believe that the people who present challenges for others just don’t care, but unfortunately I believe that is true. Thank you for talking about Dispersed Camping. Peace and quiet are always my goals so that’s what I will look for.

    • Hi Lora,

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Yes, unfortunately, ‘those’ type of people will always exist. (And they likely aren’t the people who are reading posts like this, grrrr)

      Still, there’s plenty of (for the time being) private, quiet spots to be had out there.

      Enjoy and thank you for being one of the good ones, and also for taking the time to comment here. We truly appreciate it! ????

  • Unfortunate that the people who SHOULD be reading this article are not the ones who ARE reading it—clueless!

    • Probably very true! You can help other boondockers out by sharing this article in relevant places on social media. Maybe one or two of them will catch on! ????

    • Thank you, Gary! We never get tired of hearing such things. ???? And we are happy that you are getting value out of them. Camp on, Addict!

    • Ha! Indeed… we do think most people who are boondocking aren’t super into total strangers rolling up on them. MOST of the time, you are left alone. We DO meet up with people, all the time, but it’s only because we previously connected on instagram or least knew them. Hey, thanks for commenting, and Camp on, Dawn!

  • It seems like lack of respect and awareness is getting to a common occurance nowadays. We have had just about all those things happen to us. Nice article .

    • Unfortunately, it’s true. Hopefully, this article will help a few out! Thank you for the nice comment and Camp on, Michael!

  • Great article. Currently, my house is on the market, I live in a “nice” neighborhood, but there are still some clueless people here. Part of life??
    Anyway, my question;
    Or concern, do you have to deal with life-threatening wild animals, i.e. Poisnus snakes, bears, or the like?

    • Hi Dan- Good luck on your house sale! The animal life out here is WAY better behaved than most neighbors in a neighborhood. ???? No, generally, the animals stay away from you. I did catch a moose walking right down my campsite once in Silverton, Co. THAT was wild! But, he was minding his own business. I haven’t seen a single live snake in my 2 years, though they are around. (Staying where it’s cooler probably helps) Great question- animals are hardly a concern out here. Just be aware of your surroundings and carry bear spray if you are in bear country. Camp on, Dan!

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