Budget (no cost?) overnight camping - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-17-2021, 06:45 AM   #1
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Name: Steve
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Budget (no cost?) overnight camping

Hoping this has been discussed before and if not lets talk about it. When traveling I am looking for small cost, or no cost to stay overnight. I like the idea of any state park system, however there is usually a cost from $40 and higher. I know about the Walmart and/or Cracker Barrel options. Just wondered if there is other ways to use the Scamp in places that are budget friendly and where to find such a resources. This is where the "van-life" people have an advantage - yet I really like my Scamp!

ThAnKs ! -steve
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:52 AM   #2
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There are numerous internet and phone app venues for finding budget, and no cost campgrounds out there, many on state and municipal lands. Just because you are in a travel trailer, does not mean you cannot partake. Class B RVs are not exclusive.
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Old 06-17-2021, 07:10 AM   #3
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Here's a site I use for free sites:

https://freecampsites.net/

These are not free but may be helpful:

US AND CANADA CAMPGROUNDS - FORMAL AND DISPERSED PUBLIC CAMPING LOCATIONS - Home

https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US
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Old 06-17-2021, 07:13 AM   #4
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If you're a member of Facebook, there's a huge group "Boondocking & Free Camping USA". They post lots of pics and GPS coordinates.
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Old 06-17-2021, 09:12 AM   #5
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Before you cast an envious eye on the "vanlife" community, realize they face the same issues. Off-grid needs are similar, regardless of what kind of box you put it in and whether you’re headed to the backcountry or the back lot. A bed is easy, but what do you do about power, cooking, refrigeration, climate control, and sanitation when you're setting up house in undeveloped spots? A purpose-built van for extended off-grid use runs $70K and up, way, way up. You can spend a lot of money to avoid spending money!

As an alternative to a full off-grid RV, you can do some relatively inexpensive things to improve what you have for off-grid camping, including a larger battery, LED lights, a solar panel, and possibly upgrading your charge line to the tow vehicle. Add a powered roof vent to improve ventilation for those stuffy nights. Carry a small porta-potty for times when a bathroom isn't available. Portable “blue boy” waste containers and jugs of fresh water in your truck can extend off-grid time.

Plan on splurging for a campground every so often to dump and refill, take a hot shower, use your electric appliances, run A/C during a hot spell… Some state parks are totally worth a splurge for the scenic location and on-site recreation. The linked resources can help find free and less expensive alternatives, but sometimes you will spend money because you didn't spend money.
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Old 06-17-2021, 04:43 PM   #6
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Homeless vagrants

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebell View Post
Hoping this has been discussed before and if not lets talk about it. When traveling I am looking for small cost, or no cost to stay overnight. I like the idea of any state park system, however there is usually a cost from $40 and higher. I know about the Walmart and/or Cracker Barrel options.ThAnKs ! -steve

Boondocking is getting harder to do. Many of the YouTube nomads were posting locations of the sites that they use but stopped because many of the places had local ordinances passed shortly after the posting that forbid over night PARKING not camping. Many Walmart’s have banned over night parking, some banning trucks totally (my f150 is a truck) some are putting low bars across the entrance to limit the parking to cars only. A recent nomad video claimed that Cabela’s and some casinos have started to forbid over nighting.
The general public sees us as homeless vagrants and wants us banned. The local La Crosse, WI TV station just had a story about the public wanting homeless people camping in a park removed and most see us in the same category. There are many ways to restrict us, like banning the parking of any vehicle over 6 feet high along the Mississippi river in parts of Wisconsin.
This has been a problem in the east for years, but it is moving west. It is getting common to pay $50 to park for the night because it is the only site left and everything must be planned months in advance.
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Old 06-17-2021, 07:06 PM   #7
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Hip Camps. . .

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Seems like Hipcamps are rather expen$ive. Some are quite expen$ive !
David in Fresno and Sonora
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Old 06-17-2021, 10:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
Boondocking is getting harder to do. Many of the YouTube nomads were posting locations of the sites that they use but stopped because many of the places had local ordinances passed shortly after the posting that forbid over night PARKING not camping. Many Walmart’s have banned over night parking, some banning trucks totally (my f150 is a truck) some are putting low bars across the entrance to limit the parking to cars only. A recent nomad video claimed that Cabela’s and some casinos have started to forbid over nighting.
The general public sees us as homeless vagrants and wants us banned. The local La Crosse, WI TV station just had a story about the public wanting homeless people camping in a park removed and most see us in the same category. There are many ways to restrict us, like banning the parking of any vehicle over 6 feet high along the Mississippi river in parts of Wisconsin.
This has been a problem in the east for years, but it is moving west. It is getting common to pay $50 to park for the night because it is the only site left and everything must be planned months in advance.
wow, that sign would include most pickups.
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Old 06-17-2021, 10:26 PM   #9
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Mine is

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wow, that sign would include most pickups.
My f150 is 6'2" and the new ones are taller.
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Old 06-18-2021, 04:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
My f150 is 6'2" and the new ones are taller.
Not trying to out do you but my Jeep is 6'3". You got me by a long shot on length though. Point is, I couldn't park there either.
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Old 06-18-2021, 12:29 PM   #11
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Point is so-called "stealth" camping in populated areas is under pressure from local communities overrun with the voluntarily nomadic and involuntarily homeless. I'd argue a van isn't really any better than a Scamp. Most van conversions aren't all that stealthy and unlikely to escape the notice of locals and law enforcement where such overnight parking is prohibited. In any case, trying to evade the law will only invite greater scrutiny and more restrictions.

Inexpensive campground options and free dispersed camping on national forests and other public lands are your best options, supplemented by overnight stops in parking lots (where permitted). I have found travel centers like Love's and Pilot better than Walmart (and less likely to be restricted). They have showers as well as restrooms, food, and gas. Most have plenty of room on the passenger vehicle side to park a short rig overnight; you don't want to steal space from commercial long-haul trucks taking their mandatory rest breaks.
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Old 06-18-2021, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
so-called "stealth" camping
I drove up the Tioga Pass highway from 395 last fall. The "stealthy" high-top white Sprinters with rooftop solar were so common, they looked like fleet vehicles at a plumbers convention.

When it comes to finding sites for RVing, first I was faced with all the other Boomers who are likewise retiring and want to travel. Then the more recent editions of younger folks who seemed to have recently "discovered" the outdoors. Then the pandemic sent the ill-prepared masses streaming outdoors, freshly outfitted in their affiliate-linked paraphernalia. Now, we're finding our dentist and doctors are booked out for months. We can't get bicycle parts, lumber, appliances, or rental cars. Suddenly everyone is going everywhere again!

Wait, what was the subject of this thread again?
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Old 06-18-2021, 02:29 PM   #13
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Camping discounts

If you're eligible for a Golden Age/Eagle Passport, it's a 50% discount camping in fee Federal campgrounds. The biggest problem now is locating a campsite reservation. Check out BLM and Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds, not many but maybe not so full. Some USFS campgrounds in wilderness areas, as well as those near National Parks now have reserved sites along with first come sites. Best to plan ahead and reserve where you can. Finding sites this summer is crazy, fall a better option.

Resources:
US AND CANADA CAMPGROUNDS - FORMAL AND DISPERSED PUBLIC CAMPING LOCATIONS - Home
https://nwtripfinder.com/guide-last-...fic-northwest/
https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping
Served in the military? https://www.militarycampgrounds.us/milcamps
Army Corps of Engineers: https://www.rv-camping.org/coecampgrounds/
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Old 06-18-2021, 02:46 PM   #14
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Sites are getting closed down because slobs have been camping there. Please take home all your garbage--there is no garbage service in these spots! If you have to poop, at least take a shovel along and bury it deep and away from any streams or wetlands!

I used to work in the woods and there are a lot of uncaring campers out there. Oh, and that carpet put down and left behind gets soggy and heavy and hard for a forester to load and pack out. For one spot, there happened to be a guy with an excavator so he picked up the big slab of soaked carpet and placed it in the back of my pickup. It took three of us to get it from the pickup into a dumpster. Yes, I cleaned up after people if I had time and the inclination to do so, but it wasn't my day job. Oh, and don't leave your garbage bag behind. Animals get into that and strew it all over.

The slobs are the reason dispersed camping is getting shut down in areas.
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Old 06-18-2021, 03:04 PM   #15
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Free camping is disappearing in Alberta. The provincial government just introduced fees for dispersed camping on Crown lands.

https://www.alberta.ca/public-lands-camping-pass.aspx
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:23 AM   #16
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Free or low cost

I have used Boondockers Welcome group and been happy.
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:29 AM   #17
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https://www.boondockerswelcome.com/

https://freecampsites.net/?utm_source=web_app_manifest
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:40 AM   #18
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Great RESOURCES and conversation -

Thank you for the resources, conversation and ideas to consider. The initial consideration for this topic is helping me figure out how to travel more using my Scamp rather than grabbing a room. I am hoping to reduce costs and jumping into semi nomadic, semi retired, work-camping situation sooner rather than later. Also my recent trip back to MN from FL I stayed two different hotels and these places were crappy. The hotel/hospitality industry doesn't have to the staff to make Tom Bodett's place clean and comfortable. I have also considered a new purchase on a little bit larger rig (not too big & my daughter who is 19 wants the scamp) but right now it seems the costs are inflated because people are not booking "traditional" vacations opportunities.
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Old 06-19-2021, 07:12 PM   #19
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I use to boondock in a truck camper for 4 years for work.

Boondock sites for small campers are all over. I've camped next to cemeteries, underneath overpasses in New Orleans by the superdome, random parking lots.
Usually if you stay inside quietly no one bothers you.
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Old 06-19-2021, 10:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Finding sites this summer is crazy, fall a better option.
I used to rely on and enjoy the shoulder seasons, both spring and fall. This has been a long-standing custom from the time I started backpacking in the 70's.

Then came the droughts, the late-season fires, and the smoky days due to fires burning hundreds of miles away, fires in Canada, Montana, etc.

We've even found ourselves in conditions with visibility limited to a few hundred feet while standing on the beach at the shore of the Pacific Ocean?!? What The Heck?!?

Another time we canceled the annual family camping trip here in Washington as half the state was suffering extremely smoky conditions. While the extended family stayed home, we selected a green dot of projected better air-quality amidst the sea of red and somehow managed to hit a small area with the clearest air in the western-half of the state. Meanwhile, folks in the rest of the west were best served by staying indoors.

And then came the Camp Fire, which started in early November 2018 and eviscerated the Town of Paradise with a loss of 85 souls. I've not been able to shake the image of cars trying to escape on the only roadway out of the area, jammed and helpless, then overtaken by flames.

In September 2020, they airlifted 60-some people out of the Creek Fire. As intriguing as that might sound, I've personally never been a fan of rotary-wing aircraft.

While on one hand we have made trips to Yellowstone and Yosemite and observed seasonal fires burning in or adjacent to the parks, we have also cancelled and rescheduled several other trips due to the extreme fire and smoke conditions which have become the new normal.

Bottom line, while we're hanging on to the trailer for the time being, I am taking pause to consider how it can best be employed - safely.
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