By Bob Difley
If you follow the rest of the snowbirds to the southwestern deserts in winter, you will find that most of them stay in he same RV resort or campground for the entire season. A small number of RVers decide to so some boondocking in the open desert to really experience the desert in its wildness and beauty.
As you roam around and talk to other boondockers you will find more desert boondocking locations than you ever imagined. Many are just places where an RVer has pulled off onto an unnamed, unpaved desert track and found a nice spot behind a hill, overlooking a wash, or hidden in a grove of desert willow or mesquite trees.
Others become popular simply because one boondocker spots another and decides to join and soon there are half a dozen RVers, though they space themselves apart from each other, but still enjoying the proximity of other boondockers. Iff you would like to try this open desert camping, here are some of the basic rules and tips you need to know.
- The BLM allows free camping for up to 14 consecutive days out of every 28 days on open land.
- After 14 days, you must move at least 25 miles away from your current location and cannot return for another 14 days.
- Camping is legal except where specifically prohibited by signs or fences.
- No camping within 300 feet of a man-made watering hole or tank to allow wildlife access.
- Use existing routes and trails.
- Camp at previously used sites.
- When there is no danger of rain or flash flooding, camp in washes where signs of camping will wash away.
- Pack It In, Pack It Out: Pack out your trash and any that was left by others.
- Leave What You Find: Protect cultural resources by leaving all artifacts as you find them.
- Leave natural objects and avoid damaging vegetation. Pick a spot that has been camped in before.
Check out my boondocking ebook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands