BLM Camping—Balancing ‘Off the Grid’ with RV Comfort

Does the wild call to you, tempting you to come find the places where mountains, coastlines and forests surround your campsite? Does that mean giving up the comforts you’ve found while RV camping? Good news—there’s a way to combine your love of wild places with the convenience of RV travel. Developed campsites on BLM lands help you balance the ‘off the grid’ experience with RV convenience.

But how do you find that happy medium, the campsites tucked away among the trees, along the shore or on a mountainside, that accommodate RV camping? A good place to start is at the Bureau of Land Management website, where you’ll find a map of public lands and a guide to recreational opportunities.

We’re going to be sharing more in future blog posts about special places where you can camp on public land. For now, let’s take a quick look at the kinds of places where the Bureau of Land Management has created opportunities for camping and other outdoor recreation.

From Alaska to Arizona, Colorado to California, the BLM manages wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas and national monuments. Some of these locations are set aside to allow study of eco-systems, some are preserved to allow outstanding outdoor recreation, still others center around preserving the habitats of threatened species.

These public lands surround more than five thousand miles of national scenic and historic trails. They’re home to more than two hundred protected wilderness rivers and national monuments as varied as the Grand Canyon and the California coast.

San Juan Islands WA

San Juan Islands WA

No matter which type of wilderness experience you’re hoping for, there’s a way to bring along the comfort of RV travel, if you do your homework. You won’t be camping in a paved campsite complete with full hook-ups, but you will be as close as it gets to the natural wonders of the American West.

Tips for BLM RV Camping

To completely enjoy your experience ‘off the grid’ camping on public lands, it’s important to follow the guidelines that are consistent for most of these wilderness areas. Here are the basics:

* Leave no Trace – in other words, pack out what you bring in, don’t leave trash and leave the campsites, trails and waterways as you found them.

* Follow Posted Restrictions – for example, if bear boxes are required at all campsites, make sure you have them for food and scented items. Same goes for rules governing where pets are allowed. Motorized vehicles such as RVs or tow vehicles aren’t allowed in all wilderness areas, so be sure you know the rules before you drive through. Ignoring posted restrictions like these can endanger you, other campers and the wilderness environment.

* Stay Aware of Fire Conditions – Smart campers check for up-to-date conditions where they’ll be camping, so they know if it’s safe to start a campfire or if there is heightened fire danger in the area.

* Camp Only Where it’s Allowed – By using the BLM website or contacting their regional offices, you can obtain maps that show both developed campsites and places

where dispersed camping is allowed. Make sure you know the rules about parking near water sources, roads and natural features.

* Prepare for ‘Off the Grid’ Camping – For the most comfortable camping possible, prepare ahead by emptying waste water tanks, carrying sufficient water for your trip (don’t assume potable water will be available), whether generators are allowed and if weather extremes are possible.

* Know How Long You’re Allowed to Stay – The typical limit on camping at a specific campground or dispersed camping area is fourteen days, so if you’re planning a longer trip, make plans to move to another area, if allowed within the management area.

Camping away from it all, in vast wilderness areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, can open a whole new outdoor experience for RV travelers. Don’t miss your chance to find your own balance between camping ‘off the grid’ and enjoying all the comforts of traveling by RV.

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