THE BEST PLACES TO GO OFF-GRID CAMPING IN A BOWLUS
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, off-grid camping is the perfect way to unplug from the world and connect with nature. Often called boondocking, dispersed camping, dry camping, or wild camping if you’re north of the border, off-grid camping has none of the amenities you’d typically find in a RV park. There are no hookups (electric, water, sewer), no bathrooms, and typically no other people.
There’s also no shortage of scenic places to park your RV, especially when you’re in a Bowlus. Off-grid camping is most often done on public lands managed by the government. In the US, the two organizations you need to know about are the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Some private landowners may also be willing to let you stay on their land.
With millions of acres of public land just waiting for you, deciding where to go may be the hardest thing about your trip! Read on to learn more about how to find the perfect off-grid campsite.
Off-Grid Camping on Public Lands
National Forests or National Grasslands can be found in nearly all of the 50 states and all have areas for dispersed or off-grid camping. There are stunning places to camp from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the shores of the Great Lakes. In the middle of the country, you can park your RV on the sweeping prairies of the National Grasslands found in Oklahoma. Out west our National Forests put the rugged beauty of the US on display as the landscape transitions from the lush green forests of Washington and Oregon to the arid mesas of New Mexico. No matter your destination, if you’re off-grid camping in National Forests and Grasslands you’ll have no problem finding an amazing campsite to call your home away from home.
Off-grid camping is typically free when you’re on land managed by the Forest Service. There are areas where dispersed camping is not allowed, but they’ll be marked. Generally, you’re allowed to set up your off-grid camp anywhere except for established recreation areas or developed campgrounds. It’s best to set up on a site that’s been used before, keeping undisturbed land in its natural state. Most sites will be found along forest service roads and in pullouts. National Forests typically allow a 14-day stay, though this can vary based on the location; some areas permit longer stays. More popular areas, such as around Moab in Utah, mandate shorter stays. You’ll want to check out the specifics on the Forest Service website before you go.
It’s important to note that each National Forest sets its own rules not only about the duration of your camping trip but also around things like campfires and how far your camper must be from a stream or water source (usually 100-200 feet). If you have any questions, be sure to check at the nearest Ranger Station. Even if you don’t have any questions, it’s a great idea to chat with a Ranger. These folks work on the land and know it intimately. Looking for the perfect sunset, wildlife, or a stunning vista? Let them recommend the best camping spots.
The National Forest Service also has an app (Apple or Google) with an interactive map to help you find potential campsites on their lands. Use the filter to make sure there’s no fire activity in the area where you want to camp for an extra level of safety. You can also use the US Forest Service website, which provides downloadable motor vehicle maps that show where there are dispersed camping restrictions.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are typically found in the western part of the US. Like National Forests, they’re almost always free for off-grid campers; camping is allowed in most pullovers and along secondary roads. The sites may not be marked, but BLM also wants you to find one that’s been used before. Camping is limited to 14 days to prevent damage to the natural habitat that would come from continuous use.
BLM has 245 million acres under their management, but not all of it is available to campers. Land is often leased for cattle grazing or mining operations, so be sure to keep an eye out for signs prohibiting camping. But even with some restrictions, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect place to camp. In Colorado, there are 8.3 million acres alone under BLM care and they are in some of the most scenic parts of the state. From alpine tundra to stunning canyons and rolling grasslands, BLM has something for everyone in Colorado.
Finding suitable campsites on BLM land can be a challenge. BLM boundaries aren’t shown on Google Maps, so you’ll need to prepare ahead. BLM does provide a handy interactive map that shows grazing areas, recreation sites, and more.
Off-Grid RV Camping on Private Lands
Apps like Harvest Hosts provide another interesting off-grid camping option. For a low annual fee, Harvest Hosts members can camp for free at nearly 2,000 wineries, breweries, distilleries, or farms. While you may be setting up camp in someone’s vineyard, you’ll still be off-grid as hookups are very rarely available. Note that you can only stay for one night and it’s expected that you’ll purchase something from the host. But if you’re staying in a vineyard because you love wine, then that shouldn’t be a problem!
Why Bowlus is The Best RV for Off-Grid Camping
Now that you know more about the amazing off-grid camping options available, you’re no doubt ready to hit the road. But before you go, make sure your RV can keep you comfortable. Camping off-grid is an amazing experience, but being in nature without sacrificing the creature comforts of home are what make Bowlus an exceptional luxury RV for all your off-grid adventures.
First of all, every Bowlus is lightweight and easy to tow. It’s also maneuverable, which means getting in and out of off-grid campsites will be a breeze. At 26-feet long, the Bowlus is small enough to get into the scenic spots, but spacious enough that you won’t feel cramped. Flexibility is one of the great benefits of off-grid camping. If you don’t like your site, simply hook up and move on to the next one. When you’re in a Bowlus, you’re not tied to one place because of a reservation or because your camper is hard to move.
It’s the mechanics of a Bowlus that make it the best off-grid RV on the market. Designed for a lifetime of adventures, Bowlus luxury RVs have an intelligent power management system that you can monitor with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Our best-in-class lithium ion phosphate battery can power your unit off-grid for up to two weeks. The battery will even run the air conditioner for up to two overnights. Our power inverter partners with our long-lasting battery to create reliable power and the ability to use multiple outlets at once. The Endless Highways Edition has a 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter and the Performance Edition a 3,000-watt pure sine wave inverter. Bowlus also has a built-in propane tank to power the heater, the Euro style cooktop, the instant hot water system, and the luxurious heated floors. Plus, every Bowlus is solar panel ready so you can generate your own solar power.
Water management is critical when you’re off-grid, and your Bowlus has that covered with its instant hot water and low-flow flush toilets. The Bowlus comes with a 19-gallon fresh water tank and a 21 gallon grey water tank. Each Bowlus is also outfitted with a cassette toilet, eliminating the need for a blackwater tank. Rule number one for off-grid camping is to leave no trace, so you’ll never want to dump your grey or black water on your off-grid campsite (it’s illegal in most places).
Handy Apps for Off-Grid Camping
So now you’re ready to be one with nature and soak of the peace and quiet offered by off grid camping. Before you go, here are a few other handy apps you should put on your phone.
· Campendium is a free app that allows you to search for free campsites by state.
· iOverlander is a free app that’s crowdsourced, which is both good (know what to expect before you go!) and bad (but beware because the data may not be 100% accurate).
· FreeRoam is another free app can connect with other off-grid campers.