Using Tent-only Sites? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-09-2017, 12:53 PM   #1
Jennifer in Denver's Avatar
Name: Jennifer
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 36
Using Tent-only Sites?

Hi. I'm still fairly new to Colorado, and trailering in general. I've discovered that spontaneous weekend camping here is challenging. It seems that most spots in the parks and forests are reserved WELL ahead of time. My next door neighbor just camped in a spot he reserved last January.

Usually the spots that are still available are "tent only." My Scamp is only a 13-footer. Has anyone tried to use the tent only sites at hosted campgrounds? Would I get kicked out?

Jennifer in Denver

Denver, CO
"The Napsule"; 2003 13' Scamp
TV: 2013 Subaru Forester
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:04 PM   #2
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Some "tent-only" sites are definitely not for trailers because you park your car and carry your camping gear into a field, down a trail, or (in the case of Ridgeway SP in CO) across a footbridge.

Some systems differentiate between "tent" sites (meaning primitive, no hook-ups) and "tent-only" (only accessible to tent campers). Designations and rules vary, so your best bet is to contact the campground directly.

Sadly, spontaneous camping weekends are becoming harder and harder to pull off. Here in Arizona, dispersed camping in National Forests is the best last-minute option on a summer weekend. Setting up your trailer for boondocking definitely opens up more camping spots.

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Old 08-09-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
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Even though you have a small trailer, often "tent only" sites have a very short parking area. You may not be able to park both the tug and tow at the site.
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 08-09-2017, 01:59 PM   #4
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
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Here a website I use that has great information about all camp sites.

Check it out.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:22 PM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
North Carolina
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There are tent sites (no hookups, fine with a small trailer) and tent only sites (not fine with a small trailer).

Many tent only sites I have seen were walk in sites where you parked in a lot, then walked to a spot with your tent to set up camp. No way a trailer would work.

Popular parks have gotten really busy. You have to learn the reservation game (when do they come available), plan way ahead and POUNCE! We are heading to CO in a month for camping, made reservations the first day they were available at 4AM and half the sites were already booked......

We did a lot of primitive camping at Forest Service campgrounds. Go where no one else is going....
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:26 PM   #6
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Name: Bryan
Trailer: Casita "Cozy-Casa"
Central Virginia
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I ran into a situation in a PA state park a few years ago. I reserved a tent site months in advance after looking at it on line and Google Earth - it suited my wants perfectly - I did not need hookups but wanted waterfront. ALL the other sites on the water were taken and no RV sites. I was driving a 17' Chevy Van (short wheelbase regular vehicle size) that was a Roadtrek conversion van. This was being used as a normal vehicle but the park management gave all kinds of trouble getting in on a full book holiday weekend. There were NO sites anywhere nearby and this was pre-paid months ago. They advised the tent side of the campground was for tents only - no matter what. This meant I could not camp there. After much discussion with the head ranger I was finally allowed to camp on the site I had paid for BUT I could not sleep in the van. They advised they would be checking on this to make sure. I had a tent of course and advised the staff I would be setting up the tent, overhead tarp, etc... but this made no difference. They AND the ranger bluntly said tents and RV's are segregated at this state park because tents and RV's DO NOT GET ALONG and it will cause PROBLEMS! This is their hard and fast rule. I have never heard of such a thing before or since. The site was a drive in site with plenty of room and no issues. I did walk around the campground and was floored when I saw several (20 or more) TENTS camping on RV sites on the RV side of the park intermingling with NO problems as well as another HUGE class A RV in the tent area. Obviously the staff we interacted with and the head ranger LIED to us for some unknown reason til this day. I have a bitter taste for this til this day. When I think about it today it still boils my blood and should call the park superiors to check in on the situation and call for a formal apology.
"Cozy-Casa" -- Visualize whirled peas
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:29 PM   #7
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
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Jennifer, camping on weekends can be a real problem near Denver. I gave up campgrounds because they are too noisy, too busy, and impossible in the summer. How do you find places? Well, check out the boondocker sites like and Almost every national forest access road has sites, you can spot them by the tracks and the fire rings. Also, I've found great places looking through the 300 State Wildlife Areas that are usually only visited during hunting season. Don't feel comfortable camping by yourself? Check out which has camping and RV groups. I lead campouts for one called Denver Trail Heads myself. Thirty five or so of us are headed up to see the meteor shower this weekend and you're welcome to join us.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:45 PM   #8
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Name: Bob
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W. Mass
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I see real small campers at tent only spots on occasion, I'd ask at check in and not just camp on one and hope for the best.
Bob & Deb
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:42 AM   #9
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Using Tent-only Sites?

The salient point in all this is rules and enforcement are all over the map when it comes to small RVs using sites designated for tents. You have to ask and/or observe local practices.

When planning a visit from a distance, you cannot count on being allowed to use a site designated for tents, so all you can do is ask. You may find after you get there that actual practices are different from the "official" answer you got on the phone. That's life in the real world.

Some reservation systems now include pictures of each site. That can help you decide whether it's even possible to fit a small trailer.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:58 AM   #10
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Escape 21 & Jeep GC 5.7 (Previous 2012 Casita FD17 & 2010 Audi Q5)
Puget Sound, WA
Posts: 709
In Washington, the reservation system offers pictures, but moreover specifically makes you search with a filter so you know if the site is suitable for your equipment. There are seven categories in the equipment filter including 1 to 3 tents, van/campers, and trailers of three different length brackets.
- "Character is what you do when nobodyís looking." -
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:17 AM   #11
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Name: mark
Trailer: 2017 , Casita 17' SD
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Here a website I use that has great information about all camp sites.

Check it out.
Byron, thanks for the link. Looks great!

Loving our 2017 Casita 17' SD.
If you have a choice, Please buy, "Made in America"
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:47 AM   #12
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Name: Gilda
Trailer: 2011 Scamp 13'
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I suggest looking at Harvest Hosts at, a club with a nominal fee, whereby people with self-contained RVs can park and camp overnight on the private properties of wineries, farms and other special places for FREE (They do ask that you purchase some item from their stores, which we gladly do.) Just a quick glance at their Colorado map shows at least 10 HH sites!

This is now our favorite way of camping as reservations do not need to be made well ahead of time, there are usually no other campers, the places are unique and the owners are very friendly!
The Gleeful Glamper
Gilda (Jill-da)
"Here we go again on another amazing adventure"
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Old 08-10-2017, 03:31 PM   #13
Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 ft SD
Posts: 38

There are BLM camping areas West of Colorado Springs that are first come first served. You haul everything you need in and haul all your waste out. You clean up your site before you leave.
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:36 PM   #14
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Name: Kathleen
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
Posts: 1,637
A photo of a trailer and a tent getting along fine

"...tents and RV's DO NOT GET ALONG and it will cause PROBLEMS!"

Wow, that totally sucks!

It reminds me of a song from Oklahoma!

"Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
Oh, The farmer and the cowman should be friends.
The farmer likes to push a plow,
The cowman likes to chase a cow,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends!"

Only you should change the words a little bit:

"Oh, the tenters and RVers should be friends!
The tenters and RVers should be friends...
The tenters like to sleep in tents,
RVers all are in-rig gents,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends!"

They do not get along. Wow. Just wow. I know this country is politically and racially and religiously and ethnically and economically and..and..and you name it, divided, yes siree bob, but RVs and tents cain't get along nowhere, no way, no how?

My best to the universe, SAD that it has come to this!
Just SAD!


Photo shows a fiberglass trailer VERY happily snuggled under a self-made "tent" fall of 2015, proving it CAN, yes it CAN be done!
Attached Thumbnails
Peanut 10 2015 to 6 2016 043.jpg  

Semper ubi sub ubi.
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