How To Find the Best Off Grid Camping Locations
Camping off-grid has been around forever. Also known as dispersed camping, dry camping, boondocking, off the grid camping are other names for camping without hookups including electric, water or sewage. It's a way to be close to the action, away from it all (and everyone) or to save on camping fees. However, it also means (and this is important to RVing) that you are running with little or no power options. At Bowlus, we were the first to use power wisely so you could be off grid with lights, heating, water pumps, and outlets truly working. We also pioneered (years ago) lithium iron phosphate batteries, and power management systems that meant you could truly run everything right down to the microwave (and even the AC for a few hours) without a generator. Why is this important? Because you are usually off-grid to enjoy peace and quiet.
Why is Bowlus The Only True Off Grid RV?
- Off Roading: When you go off-grid, you will generally want to “off road” or at the very least drive across some rough dirt roads. The Bowlus has some of the highest ground clearance to do this. The exterior aluminum we use is the strongest so dents and dings are not a concern.
- Weight: You need a lightweight RV or trailer to handle off- grid. Small roads and tight corners are just some of the features you will encounter at these amazing off-grid locations. It is so lightweight it will follow behind any vehicle, and it doesn’t get stuck like a RV over 5000 lbs will. The Bowlus is so light that you can even maneuver it by hand into exactly the perfect location. Additionally, you can do u-turns on a two-lane road. So focus on exploring and never worry that you’ll be stuck at the end of a dead end road. It really is true flexibility.
- Power Management: Our sophisticated lithium battery management system is better than anything else. Be off-grid for over a week (or indefinitely with the use of solar panels).
- Freedom: Use your Bowlus as your home base and take your tow car when heading out to the cool local restaurant in the middle of nowhere. You are no longer tethered to crowded campsites, complete freedom is yours with a Bowlus.
“I thought I had bought something that could off road but at 7,500 lbs who was I kidding! I spend a lot of time being stuck and not a lot of time having fun. I now am a proud owner of a Bowlus and I’m happy to report it can keep up to my off-road lifestyle”
“I had one of those beasts where someone said don’t worry about those dents it’s part of the patina. Beware that you want 2024 aluminum anything else can’t take the off-road lifestyle. Yes, you’ll pay for it but you’ll be glad you did. Despite my off-roading adventuring my Bowlus is still perfect!”
National Park Service
People are most familiar with National Parks. The first National Park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872. Since then, Congress has gone on to established 59 other National Parks. It’s the duty of the National Park Service to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Unlike other government agencies, the National Park System doesn’t allow resource extraction or off-roading vehicles. For that reason, the Parks remain some of the most beautiful places in the world, from the glacial valley of Yosemite to the coast of Acadia.
Did you know that most National Parks have RV length restrictions? You don’t want to end up buying an RV that will leave you having to camp outside the park. All Bowlus Road Chiefs can go inside all National Parks where an RV is allowed.
You typically reserve a space in advance as some spots book up 6 months or more in advance. With a Bowlus, flexibility is easy, so you can often find a spot on a first come first serve basis. If you are going to a first come first serve campsite during the high season we recommend you are there before check-in time.
A wonderful resource to book National Park campsites in advance is: Recreation.gov
While the National Parks get most of the attention, there are so many phenomenal state parks that are just as amazing. With more than 10,000 state park areas in the U.S., there are so many choices. It depends on the location, but sites are either best reserved in advance online or are first come first serve. Most states have their own website to reserve on.
BLM and U.S. Forest Service
National Forests and land managed by the BLM are “multiple-use.” That is to say, while they are vested in preservation, they also manage the land for resources and tend to allow more recreational activity. National Forests and BLM land will let you camp almost anywhere (usually for free). These sites are usually dog-friendly.
These sites do not require advanced reservations but to find the optimal spots, some planning can be helpful. In general, boondocking or off-grid camping is allowed anywhere on federal public lands within a specified distance of any established road, except where otherwise restricted. Each location may have different requirements, so please check locally or online. Keeping in mind to not camp closer than 300 ft of water and use Leave No Trace practices. The USFS offers a Motor Vehicle Use Map that shows where dispersed camping is restricted. The BLM offers Use Maps as well.
Other Campsite Resources
Free Campsites, a trip planner and hub that allows adventurers to share the campsites and grounds they’ve discovered.
Campendium, a searchable campsite directory that includes RV Parks, National Parks, State Parks, and National Forests.
FreeRoam.app is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on helping people enjoy nature in a respectful, sustainable way.