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How to Get Started Boondocking

By Kelly Beasley, Camp Addict Co-Founder

Boondocking may sound like a scary way to camp before you have tried it. This is understandable. It’s fear of the unknown.

However, once you have done it, you will know that there’s nothing to fear, as long as you use your head and read reviews about boondocking locations.

Just make sure the first place you choose is not a sketchy spot to get into. Quartzsite, Az is great for beginners because there is so much wide space and it’s flat and hard ground.

Still, there are LOTS of places out west that are easy to get into and to turn around in. Let’s look at how we find these spots.

1. Campendium.com

 This is my #1 go-to website for finding free camping on public lands. It’s user-reviewed complete with user-submitted photos, so you can see where you will be parking. Also, people comment on how the internet was for them and what conditions are like. Simply filter for ‘free’, and you will have thousands of reviewed sites available at your fingertips. There will be coordinates for the site which you enter into your maps, and boom, you are guided there. Avoid going to sites that are not yet reviewed if you are just starting. You may also leave your review if you so desire. 

2. freecampsites.net

This site I rely much less on. I hardly use it. Why? Often, the reviewed sites don’t, for whatever reason, let you know how large of an RV can fit into any given place. Seems this is a better site for van dwellers or people staying in tents. Still, it can sometimes show you a spot that isn’t on Campendium.

3. AllStays App (Camp & RV)

This is a GREAT app for finding lots of things including unique overnight places to park. We’re talking Army Corps spots, Elk clubs, military campgrounds, Moose places and more. It also lists public land spots, state and national parks, and Walmart parking. The bonus is that you can also search for low clearance bridges by height, stores such as Cabela’s, different types of truck stops, and the filters for these places is amazing! If you can figure it out, you can also find propane and water spots here. This is the only one that costs money. Still, it’s worth it.

4. iOverlander App

This app is similar to the others, though there are no photos. Sometimes you can find a spot here that is not listed anywhere else.

5. Scouting On Your Own

You can always look for dispersed camping spots using Google Satellite view. You should make sure that the land is public land that you are shooting for. Use Google Satellite to find openings that look like camping spots. Sometimes you can see an RV that was there when the view was taken. Then, drive the road and see if any of the spots are open and useable. There are a LOT of spots that are not listed on any website or app. Just make sure you are within the law and are allowed to stay there. Speaking of this…

6. Public Lands App

Use this app to see what type of land you’re looking at is labeled. The app isn’t 100% accurate, but it can certainly help you stay within the boundaries of the law. 


There are many ways to pluck this bird. It’s all about knowing what resources to use to find what you are looking for. There is so much available these days online, your possibilities of where to stay are almost endless. (At least out west!)

Now get out there and enjoy your camping time!




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