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Boondocking Etiquette—Do It Right!

Don't be that guy! You know the one—the noisy neighbor who blasts his stereo all night or the coworker who leaves a cooked-on mess in the microwave. Bad behavior isn't popular at home and it's not tolerated in the great outdoors either! There are rules and regulations when it comes to boondocking, and there's just plain common sense too. Just because you've left civilization behind doesn't mean you can act like a wild animal when you go dry camping. Follow these tips on boondocking etiquette so you do it right and help protect the land we all call home!

Know When It's Time To Go

Nobody likes people who overstay their welcome, and this includes the Bureau of Land Management! You can safely assume that most public land that's open for dry camping or boondocking has a 14-day limit. After your 14 days are up, it's required that you move at least 25 miles on down the road. This rule is enforced to avoid people "squatting" on the land for an extended stay. While there are a few sites around the country that allow summer or 6-month stays for a small fee and offer some basic amenities like trash and dump, most BLM land has a stay limit.

Don't Get Too Close For Comfort

Most people go boondocking because they want to surround themselves in the peace and quiet of nature and not be bothered by other people. They want to feel the vast expanse of the land around them, not you breathing down their necks! So when you choose a spot to set up camp, be mindful of how close you are to other boondockers. Chances are, there's enough open space that you can set up camp a good distance away where neither of you will be bothered by the other.

Stay On The Road That Is Traveled

This is a big one! While the Bureau of Land Management is totally open to people boondocking in approved areas, they'll tell you right off the bat to stay on existing roads to help preserve the area. Don't drive off the beaten path to venture somewhere new if no one has gone there before. And don't set up camp in a pristine spot that hasn't been used before. As a boondocker, I'm sure you're concerned with the footprint you leave behind on Mother Nature, so abide by this rule and you'll be doing your part to maintain the land we all love.

Don't Create Noise Pollution

The wonderful sounds of nature can transport you to a world of peace and relaxation ... until it's ruined by a barking dog or the pounding bass of a nearby stereo system. If you head out into the wild with your furry friend who barks at everything or set up camp to party with your college roommates, make sure you don't park anywhere even close to other boondockers. Find a spot so remote that you can crank your tunes or do keg stands all night long without disturbing a soul. And while the middle of nowhere doesn't have restrictions on generator usage, try to limit yours to daytime use if there are other campers nearby.

Follow the "Leave No Trace" Principle

Respect Mother Nature by leaving no trace behind! This means that whatever you bring in with you, you bring out with you when you leave. Bring along plenty of trash bags so there's no excuse for leaving trash behind. And if you notice refuse lying around from boondockers before you (tsk, tsk!), pick it up to do your part in making the planet a cleaner place. And if you're traveling with an RV that has a black tank, there is absolutely no dumping it when you're dry camping! If your tanks fill up, take it as a sign that it's time to pack up and keep it movin!

Be Socially Aware

Just like in your every day life, you're going to come across all types of people in the wild. Some may be boondocking because they're loners and don't want to be bothered. Other boondockers may love the wide-open spaces but still crave the social interaction that often comes with camping. This is where being good at reading social cues comes in handy. You can usually tell pretty quickly whether a person wants to say hi and chat or is hoping that you turn and go your separate way. Respect people's boundaries and base your interactions with them on the body language that they're giving off. If someone is avoiding eye contact and turning his back to you, it's safe to say he probably wants to be left alone. But if he's smiling and calling you over, you might have a new beer-drinking buddy.

Do you have any other boondocking advice? Do you have any good boondocking stories to share where one of these tips might've come in handy? If you love going off the grid and enjoying the beauty of untouched land, check out all the campers at TradeWinds RV that are prepped for solar power for easy dry camping. We offer special no-money-down financing and nationwide delivery! It's never been easier to leave the modern world behind and reconnect with nature. Shop TradeWinds RV in Clio, MI, today!

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2019 Grand Opening
2019 Grand Opening