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Campgrounds or boondocking: Which do you prefer?
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aswah
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:06 am    Post subject: Campgrounds or boondocking: Which do you prefer? Reply with quote

Moderator edit, April 2017: Title word of "stealth" changed to "boondocking" to reflect more accurate terminology of the topic, as referenced on page 9.

I just got back from an aborted trip into the Mendocino National Forest. Aborted because it was dumping snow and I really wasn't looking to make snowmen in May. I ended up driving to Richardson Grove near Garberville and camping at an overpriced pay per view.

I prefer the solitude and views one gets with stealth camping. There is something wonderful about waking up in the Valley of the Gods or what I termed Serene Plateau in the Sierras with only the sound of the wind.

Whenever I camp at campgrounds I am always struck with how much they remove you from nature. Asphaulted everything. Always some drunk yelling at a kid or a generator running because someone cannot live without their TV set or microwave. I personally think they ought to pay you to stay at a campground as an apology.

what your take?
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I HATE pay campgrounds and refuse to use them.

But I dont travel with women and children that need showers and bathrooms. And I dont static camp for multiple days.

If Im going to have to pay to sleep somewhere, I expect to be provided with a bed with clean sheets, a bathtub with clean towels, and a TV with movie channels.. as in Motel.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've stayed at some nice pay campgrounds such as some of the Washington State Parks, and some very poor ones like the BC Provincial Parks.
Sometimes on road trips we'll overnight at a private "RV Resort" for the security and the showers, but never for real camping.
Last year we tried camping along Washington's Olympic peninsula and stayed at some absolutely horrible RV places near the beach. White trash families getting drunk all day and yelling at their kids and dogs (probably couldn't tell them apart), lighting bonfires with gasoline, drunk driving on the beach, drunk driving their cars from one big rv to the other, making fun of my tiger stripes... Evil or Very Mad
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's a to each their own and they all serve differant purposes.

there also aren't really that many places in some areas one can stealth camp (on the eastern coast per se)
then add in travel with family & kids it's barely practicle.

when I was a kid mom took us to family camps, for the security and other kids to run amuck with
as an adult I prefer state parks, then national parks (we've few in the northeast) then I've had very nice accomodations with KOAs actually.
and YES they're NOT about getting out with nature.. (well maybe for the deep city slickers)
*edit, I may have wandered off on a tangent here, but.
I've never really figured out this whole snobish heirarchy from the extreme hikers (tents a luxury) to the bicyclists (cabin tents a luxury) to the van campers (nestled between a tent & a RV) to the trailer campers to the Class B van campers to the Class A motor homes..
man I thought Indian society had it's complicated Caste system Rolling Eyes .
let other's do as they may, and be grateful that they don't do as you like.
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bitingspider
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly love the solitude of primitive camping - mainly on Nat'l For & BLM land. And there are many many amazing places like that in the western US. But since I live in southern california, it takes planning to get far away from people. I prefer it, but it's not a prerequisite.

There are some nice pay campgrounds (Plaskett Creek, Southern Big Sur comes to mind)- and often those campgrounds are not busy off-season mid-week. I've been to Kings Canyon (Cedar Grove) in Nov and there was only 1 other campsite taken out of 300+. There is nothing more magical than feeling like you've got a National Park entirely to yourself. Zion is another place that is incredible- especially when you can hike the narrows- and it's best visited in summer when it's busy. I can't imagine missing that, though there are other watery slots around.

Wife & kids do alter the equation a bit. But as I get older I find we're often on the same page. Sometimes Westy trips are ADVENTURES! and other times they're simply vacations.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, East Coast camping is far more challenging. There are some fantastic spots in Vermont near Stratton and a bunch in Maine but that is all I seem to find. Out West, especially in Oregon and somewhat in California there are lots of spots... Thank god my wife likes to crap in the woods and five month old Beau doesn't know the difference of crapping in his diaper stealthily or not...
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bitingspider
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something else I've been thinking about - I've had bad experiences (with obnoxious neighbors) at many pay campgrounds, but only like once or twice way out nowhere (noisy dirt bikers mostly). But I haven't had them in a long time and I think it's because we avoid the unpatrolled (or lightly patrolled) pay campgrounds in summer. Cold does a lot of things, but one thing it does well is drive you into shelter before it gets god-awful late.

There are also times when something spectacular is happening that it is fun to have other folks around. Camping at Refugio beach in January when its 80 degrees for a day or a tremendous thunderstorm in Yosemite- the camraderie enhances the experience for us (we're pretty social folk).

I guess it's just that diversity of experience is one of the things I live life for.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends where I'm at. I've camped in National Park campgrounds, State Park campgrounds, RV resorts, RV parks, and boondocked. I've met a lot neat people at all of them.

I've stayed at really nice National Park campgrounds, really crappy State Park campgrounds, luxury-but-inexpensive RV parks and really sh*tty but expensive RV parks. Sometimes, you have no choice where to stay at 10:00 at night. A good majority of campgrounds and RV parks today do not allow generators to run from 10pm to 7-9am, which wasn't the case back in the '80s (back then, staying in a campground was a nightmare thanks to generators running all freakin' night).

National Park:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


RV park operated by Forever Resorts:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Both of ^those places were wonderful, and I'd go back in a heartbeat. This so-called 5-star RV park in Fresno, no way in hell:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I might be a woman, but I'm one of those rare ones who doesn't need a shower or flushing toilet, so I can stealth camp no problem. Wink You have to remember that, in many instances, going to a pay campground is the only option.

danfromsyr wrote:

I've never really figured out this whole snobish heirarchy from the extreme hikers (tents a luxury) to the bicyclists (cabin tents a luxury) to the van campers (nestled between a tent & a RV) to the trailer campers to the Class B van campers to the Class A motor homes..
man I thought Indian society had it's complicated Caste system Rolling Eyes .


I can tell you from experience that Class A people are the snobbish of the snobs. Not talking Meanwhile tent, camper van and small trailer campers are the friendliest. Cool
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Last edited by kamzcab86 on Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Timwhy
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am on my first camping trip of the year at a pay State Park. Not too bad as far as price goes,
just $16 per night with electric/water/free wifi. Hope there would have been better weather but it
hasn't been the case. It has been rainy/crappy weather since Sat. and it doesn't look to change
anytime soon. Well I didn't want to waste my time off sitting around the house so here I am sitting
at a deserted campground with my dog enjoying the time off from work and not worrying about
what needs to be done around the home. Whether it's a pay or no pay campsite, any day/night
camping is a better day than work!
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly those who travel the Rocky Mountain west have great choices as camping-at-large (aka dispersed camping) is available almost everywhere in the National Forests. Combine that with the plethora of National Parks and the basic & cheap National Forest & BLM CGs and you're never far from a place to camp. And if the neighbors don't suit you, move on.

In a self-serve fee campground I never pay right away so I can see what develops (i.e. the jackass next door) and move if needed.

Many national parks segregate RVs and tents, in which case I claim to be a tent. Parks where there is lot of hiking or rock climbing are also good as most people wear themselves out by day's end.

Plumbing is over-rated (our home has an outhouse).
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The present way to route stealth campers in national parks and national forests are to threaten you with a huge ticket for 1) not camping in an 'designated campsite' and 2) not storing your food in an 'approved' bear box. If they get you on either you are dealing with a federal offense - a minor one albet, but a hassle if you want to challenge it.

Though I don't have a Westy, I often spend the night in a wallmart parking lot near a large RV if one is there. I have a portapotty inside, so their security won't rouste me for not being self-contained!

I do like the stealth side of camping though. Going up to Big Sur from Los Angeles area I often melt into the overflow on the street of Westys in front of Go Westy in Los Osos, draw all the curtains, and have a great night!
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like the unformated place. Even a field, set up camp and just stay put for days at a time. I'm hoping to find no fee camping except I do hope to take in a few meets. I don't need showers and can do without electricity. As said difficult to find unformated places in the East.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:15 am    Post subject: stealth Reply with quote

I always thought stealth was more defined as in parking overnight in a hotel parking lot,residential street, behind a firehall, etc. Finding a nice camp site in a field or in the woods is just free camping Very Happy .
"I can tell you from experience that Class A people are the snobbish of the snobs."- Class A people probably come off as snobs or rude because they are fed up looking for parking and paying $100 a night at KOA!!
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon_slider wrote:
I HATE pay campgrounds and refuse to use them.

...


all USFS CG's used to be free

the pay to camp in USFS CG's was brought to us by Pres. Ronald Reagan

Now, USFS wants to charge you to just hike or otherwise use public land -- i.e. YOUR land.
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aswah
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

weren't they also trying to charge a fee for using BLM land?
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pioneer1 wrote:
Class A people probably come off as snobs or rude because they are fed up looking for parking and paying $100 a night at KOA!!


For some, that may be the case. But for most*, they're just complete snobs who look down on folks not in their "elite" class. My parents' Corvette club had an RV outing last summer to Durango. I tagged along and took my Westy for the 3 of us to travel/live in for a couple of weeks. We were all parked in the RV section of the RV/tent park. Everyone who went on this trip had Class A motorhomes or humongous 5th-wheel trailers... except for us. Because the Westy was small, we were given a front-row, corner spot (great view of the train!), so we were just down the row from the club folks. Not once during that 7-day stay did any of those Corvette people -- people my parents know quite well, mind you -- came over to shoot the breeze; not one. Then, months later at a club meeting, my mom overheard one of those snobs say to a new club member: "Oh, you don't want to associate with those people, they're campers." That wasn't sarcasm; that was a dead-serious comment. Snobs, in the complete sense of the word. Rolling Eyes

*When I say "most", I mean most of the Class A's who are snobs; there's a decent amount out there who aren't.

randywebb wrote:

Now, USFS wants to charge you to just hike or otherwise use public land -- i.e. YOUR land.


A) Gotta pay down that debt somehow. Laughing
B) Just be glad you can actually use said public land, fee or not. A lot of public land is off-limits altogether. Evil or Very Mad
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have the history a little twisted. The big push for USFS fees was implemented by Congress and signed into law in 1996, late in the first term of Clinton. It was called a Fee Demonstration Program. It was renewed and expanded during the second term. Look it up. It was a sordid affair, with no actual member of congress wanting to put their names to it but somehow it made it through anyway.

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randywebb wrote:


all USFS CG's used to be free

the pay to camp in USFS CG's was brought to us by Pres. Ronald Reagan

Now, USFS wants to charge you to just hike or otherwise use public land -- i.e. YOUR land.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all about the stealth
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have looked it up - when not being a biologist, I'm an attorney working on public lands issues.

You are thinking of the pay to use public lands for hiking, etc. issue -- it is implemented via a pay to park fee (with tickets if you don't) but is not limited to a parking fee.
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not sure re BLM - would not surprise me if they were trying to charge tho.
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