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Very detailed post on how to find free campsites
#1
Information 
Hi folks. I've made a blog post detailing some methods of finding wonderful free places to camp.

The post is here: http://mywilddreams.net/2017/10/19/how-t...campsites/

There's so much detail in here that I'm only willing to make it in a place where I have full and easy control over the creation and formatting... and I want to also share it with people outside of the forum  (So, my blog instead of the forum)

DATA WARNING -- it contains 46 images, so if your data is limited or really slow, wait to look at this until you're on some free WIFI. The advice I give focuses quite a lot on methods that require internet and data so much of it won't apply for or work for those on very limited data. It does also have some parts that will be useful for paper map users though (like how to find and use the Motor Vehicle Use Maps, and what to ask when you visit the National Forest Ranger stations)


Here's the overall gist of what it covers:
- Finding federal lands (I've found the ArcGIS map to be the best for this)
- Finding and using MVUMs for National Forests.
- What to ask the Forest Service employees (where to camp, road conditions, fire bans, and more)
- How to use Google Maps (or other) satellite view to find and scope out potential campsites
- How to use Google Maps (or other) topo maps to assess potential areas and find campsites with good views
- Once you go out to an area, some tactics for finding a good campsite - or the best one.


So - some questions for you:
- Do you already use these kinds of methods for finding campsites? If not, what methods do you use?
- Did you find the post useful? Are the amount of details I included good? Too much? Too little?
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The following 11 users say Thank You to FALCON for this post:
OGGWild (12-24-2017), ColdBrook (11-03-2017), Putts (11-02-2017), VagaboundSusan (10-24-2017), ValerieP (10-21-2017), ~Wes (10-20-2017), Minivanmotoman (10-20-2017), BobBski (10-20-2017), skyl4rk (10-20-2017), GypRat (10-19-2017), mert6706 (10-19-2017)
#2
(10-19-2017, 07:26 PM)FALCON Wrote: So - some questions for you:
- Do you already use these kinds of methods for finding campsites? If not, what methods do you use?
- Did you find the post useful? Are the amount of details I included good? Too much? Too little?

Let's see

- Delorme maps for any states that I frequent.
- National Forest MVUM maps. Don't usually have to ask the rangers although if they pass by I'll talk to them about other good spots that they know about.
- Freecampsites.com and their trip planner if I'm travelling.
- word of mouth from others here at CRVL and friends I've met.

Here in BC I use the trails and rec website to check out all their low cost and free campsites.

I also have an eagle eye out for good places as I wander around.
Worry is a misuse of imagination!
 
Build link: http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thre...g-Arabella
Full-timer again as of November 24, 2015 - 14 glorious years on the road before that!



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#3
(10-19-2017, 07:26 PM)FALCON Wrote: So - some questions for you:
- Do you already use these kinds of methods for finding campsites? If not, what methods do you use?
- Did you find the post useful? Are the amount of details I included good? Too much? Too little?

If you're old enough,  you might remember the " psychic hotline".

I call them and ask them where to stay. ...they're REAL psychics,  you know. 
Big Grin

Seriously,  mostly freecampsites.net,  and the occasional recommendation. 

Thanks, 

Pat
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#4
Nice info there Falcon. Great info for newbies. I have been full time for over one year. I learned this search technique from people I have meet.
GuitarVanMan
Have guitar will travel.
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#5
Cool post. I was wondering what resources people use to find places to boondock.
Unfortunately we live in South Carolina. Most of the land is privately owned and fenced. I absolutely hate staying at campgrounds. I'd rather camp in the back of my property surrounded by acres of forest on our land here. My wife and I went camping to the mountains once. we stayed at a campground and it was terrible. Some people pulled right next to us at 1:00 AM and started setting up their tent, talking out loud, yelling and laughing. We packed and left. Now we only camp at my friend's private land.
Camping sucks east of Mississippi. I used to live in Arizona and it was a totally different "ball game". Big difference.
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#6
(10-19-2017, 10:34 PM)Tomcor Wrote: Nice info there Falcon. Great info for newbies. I have been full time for over one year. I learned this search technique from people I have meet.

Yep, the newbies are who I wrote this one for. :-)


(10-19-2017, 11:11 PM)GypRat Wrote: Cool post. I was wondering what resources people use to find places to boondock.
Unfortunately we live in South Carolina. Most of the land is privately owned and fenced. I absolutely hate staying at campgrounds. I'd rather camp in the back of my property surrounded by acres of forest on our land here. My wife and I went camping to the mountains once. we stayed at a campground and it was terrible. Some people pulled right next to us at 1:00 AM and started setting up their tent, talking out loud, yelling and laughing. We packed and left. Now we only camp at my friend's private land.
Camping sucks east of Mississippi. I used to live in Arizona and it was a totally different "ball game". Big difference.

ahh, yeah. I get asked now and then if I'll be going out to the east coast, and.... each time I have to re-write my response to be a gentler version of how much better the western U.S. is for this kind of thing
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#7
Very nice write up. Great pictures!

Problem #1 in my very brief experience, Nat'l forests are listed in districts, and I have no idea which district i'm looking in w/o downloading maps randomly until success- Unless it's something like 'Tofte' and town of 'Tofte' is right there.

And, maps are large files; they take forever to DL and render poorly on my old devices.

For whatever reason the overlay you linked didn't render. I found another Federal lands by another author, and it worked- Extremely helpful now!!!


One experience was awful MVUM for an area near Estes Park- after DL several districts of large PDFs w/ 3G, the correct MVUM rules were so byzantine the IRS would be proud. I then left out several steps in frustration, ran out of daylight and failed.
Good thing you mentioned those dots are random- was like a mosquito couldn't camp here

So you're right about preparation- sitting with a laptop where there's WiFi, then choosing several contingencies are the steps i left out.
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The following 1 user says Thank You to UptownSport for this post:
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#8
(10-20-2017, 09:46 AM)UptownSport Wrote: Very nice write up. Great pictures!

Problem #1 in my very brief experience, Nat'l forests are listed in districts, and I have no idea which district i'm looking in w/o downloading maps randomly until success- Unless it's something like 'Tofte' and town of 'Tofte' is right there.

And, maps are large files; they take forever to DL and render poorly on my old devices.

Yeah, I used to just download them all and then figure out what is what with the MVUM vicinity maps, but that is tough. Like I wrote in the article, I've found that doing a google image search for "XYZ National Forest district map" quickly brings up maps showing which districts are which. I sure wish they had this on the Forest Service webpages. They also have a lot of other ways they could make their websites and maps work way better. I wish they'd hire a few (more) technical wizards to let loose on that kind of low-hanging fruit.


(10-20-2017, 09:46 AM)UptownSport Wrote: For whatever reason the overlay you linked didn't render. I found another Federal lands by another author, and it worked- Extremely helpful now!!!

Are you talking about the ARCGis map? That doesn't work for you?
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#9
(10-20-2017, 10:02 AM)FALCON Wrote: Are you talking about the ARCGis map? That doesn't work for you?

Didn't work for me.  MacBook Pro with Sierra 10.12.6  Tried the link in this thread and from your blog; no luck.

Map shows up in very light grey on white with the names of NF in light green, no boundaries.  None of the other colors in their legend show up.  And some of the NF are missing, I looked specifically at Custer NF southeast of Ekalaka, MT. ('cause I was just there).  In fact the highways and Ekalaka are also missing.  Looks nothing like the screenshot in your blog.

Screenshot shows SE corner of Montana where there should be 2 sections of Custer NF and a bunch of roads.
   
 -- Spiff


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#10
(10-20-2017, 10:30 AM)Spaceman Spiff Wrote: Didn't work for me. ..

Oh, dang it. They've changed it to a pay site. It doesn't work for free any more. Damn it, man. daaaaaang. My post is already outdated. Crapballs.

Thanks for the heads up :-)
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