How to Find Free Campsites for Car Camping & Van Life (2023)

If you are planning a road trip or are a new van-lifer, you might be surprisedby how much camping fees add up over time, especially if you end up staying at National Parks or privately owned campgrounds. I realized this when I got my first Sprinter Van in 2016, and I quickly learned that paying $15-50 every night forestablished campgrounds was not going to be an option if I wanted to be on the road long-term.

Since then, I’ve been using a variety of tools to find free campsites, also referred to as dispersed camping or boondocking.Whether you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path place to set up your tent awayfrom crowds or are trying tostick to a budget, this blog post on how to find freecamping will help you find great campsites during your road trip.

Get outside and enjoy a quiet night of camping under the stars on a budget with this guide to finding free campsites across the U.S.

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If you’re going to be camping on your road trip, get aFREE 30-day membership to The Dyrt PRO, one of our favorite apps for finding campgrounds (use the code “Bearfoot” if you’re signing up on mobile!). You can read reviews, view photos, save your favorite campgrounds, view maps offline, plan a route, and more!

What Is “Free Camping”?

While most established campgrounds require a fee, free camping means you can camp for free in your car, tent, camper van, or RV. Free camping doesn’t allow for advanced reservations, and it means you’ll most likely be without amenities such as potable water, picnic tables, trash cans, showers, and toilets. You’ll need to come fully prepared with everything you need, pack everything out, and abide by Leave No Trace principles. So why would anyone want to give the comforts of an established campground? Here are some of the positive trade-offs of free camping:

  • Easy way to save money
  • Offers more solitude and remoteness than a traditional campground
  • Sometimes you’ll have better views!
  • Greater flexibility with travel plans
  • Ability to make or change last-minute plans

We think the benefits of free camping well outweigh the negatives, but we know that planning a free camping trip can be a little overwhelming at first. We’re going to break down everything you need to know, starting with a few common names that are used for free camping:

Dispersed camping

This is the official free camping term used by the National Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the two agencies that oversee the majority of free camping lands in the US. If you stop by a National Forest office, ranger station, or call one of these agencies, you’ll want to ask about dispersed camping options in the area.


Boondocking is a blanket term for all free camping used by RVers, roadtrippers, and long-term travelers. It can be used interchangeably with any other term for free camping.

Stealth camping

Stealth camping is the act of camping in an urban area that is not primarily used for overnight camping. Residential neighborhoods, industrial areas, and big box stores like Walmart and Cracker Barrel are common places to get some shut-eye for free.

Dry camping

Dry camping refers to camping without potable water access or electrical hookups. It is interchangeable with boondocking, free camping, and dispersed camping.

Where Can You Camp For Free in the US?

Understanding different public land designations will help you find free campsites. Not all public land agencies manage dispersed camping in the same way. Some, like the National Parks, offer mostly paid campgrounds, while other agencies – like the BLM – typically have a 14-day free camping limit.

BLM, or the Bureau of Land Management, and US Forest Service land are the two types of public land where free camping is most easily found. Regulations vary by location and you’ll typically find signs at the start of the dirt road telling you how long you can stay, any fire restrictions in place, and any other important information that you’ll want to know. Any areas that are off-limits are generally marked by signs. Be sure to follow all rules and regulations and apply for a camping permit if one is required.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land is mostly found out west, and dispersed camping is allowed on most BLM land for up to 14 days, although in popular areas that limit can be shorter – always follow posted signs.

Unfortunately, the BLM doesn’t have a comprehensive map on their website showing where all of the free BLM campsites are, but you can get a feel for what’s available in your region by browsing their regional maps found here. Some states have pretty handy guides, like Idaho, and you also contact the local BLM office to get more info on where you can camp for free. The tools and apps we talk about in the next section will also help you identify where free BLM camping is.

Forest Service Land (USFS)

Similar to BLM lands, dispersed camping is allowed in over 175 national forests and grasslands in the United States. For information on camping at USFS locations across the country, you have to check with each ranger district directly. On the USFS website, you can search by state and select a specific forest or grassland to learn more about.

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While BLM and USFS land are the most common places to find dispersed camping, you may also find free campsites on state forest land, certain state parks, national recreation areas, and city parks.

Best Appsfor Finding FreeCampsites

There are more tools available than we list here, but after 5+ years of road tripping in my van, these are my favorite online resources and apps for finding free campsites:

The Dyrt & The Dyrt PRO

The Dyrt is currently the top-rated camping app for Apple and Android and one of our favorite tools for finding campsites. It has listings of all kinds of different campgrounds including public and private ones as well as some free dispersed camping options. Their listings include reviews, photos, information on amenities, and more. You can also search by required amenities. Let’s say you need Wifi to get some work done or need a location with showers or even a pet-friendly location, you can narrow your search down using all types of parameters.

There is a free version, as well as a Dyrt PRO membership upgrade for $35.99/year. The Dyrt PRO membership provides all kinds of additional benefits like:

  • The ability to search for campsites and read reviews offline – no cell service or wifi needed (this is huge as not having service can be stressful if you don’t have a plan for the night).
  • Map layers that tell you where BLM, Forest Service, and National Park land are located (amazing feature for finding dispersed camping!)
  • A trip planning tool that allows you to build your trip before heading out and then exports it all to google maps
  • You can save campgrounds you’re interested into lists so you have them handy for when you’re on the road.
  • Up to 40% off camping reservations at 1,000s of campgrounds. Many of these campgrounds are in areas where free camping on public land isn’t available, and the discount alone can pay for your annual membership.
  • As a PRO member, you’ll also get discounts on outdoor gear from their brand partners.

*The Dyrt is currently offering a FREE 30-day membership to The Dyrt PRO to Bearfoot Theory readers (use the code “Bearfoot” if signing up on mobile!). Try it out and see how you like it!*

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iOverlander is a FREE app that you download to your phone. Users submit information about places they’ve camped, and it’s one of the most comprehensive crowdsourced databases of free camping that I’ve found that covers all of North America (including Canada and Mexico). Users can upload photos, a description, and other information, like internet availability, along with GPS coordinates. There are also some paid campsites on iOverlander as well that you can toggle on as a layer.

Because iOverlander is crowd-sourced, the app is constantly updated with new info. Maybe a dispersed area was recently closed or perhaps someone had a sketchy encounter at a campsite. Users in iOverlander are very good at sharing important information like that in the comments section for each site. More recently, they’ve added amenities like water refill and propane stations, dumps, and more. While iOverlander doesn’t officially work offline, you’ll still be able to see your location and nearby dispersed camping areas when zoomed out. You just won’t be able to see any user photos or the map background when you zoom in or be able to get directions – a feature that hopefully will improve in the future.

All Stays Camp & RV

All Stays Camp & Rvis a paid app that you download to your phone. All Stays includes paid and dispersed campsites, but for dispersed it’s not as comprehensive as the previous two apps I mentioned. What I like about All Stays is that it also has other types of places you can park for free, including Walmarts, rest-stops, and casinos, as well as other amenities. In addition, you can find places to fill up water, RV dumps, and other services that you often need on the road.

Once you find a campsite, there is a button that links to Google Images, and you can automatically open up directions in Apple or Google maps. The basic functions of the app even sort-of work when you are off-the-grid and have no cell service.

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Sēkr(formerly known as The Van Life App) is a women-owned app built by fellow van lifers. Similar to iOverlander, Sēkr uses crowd-sourced data to provide campsite information, including reviews and photos. Sēkr also has a “Community Calendar” where you can find upcoming van life meetups and gatherings, caravan invitations, and other opportunities to connect with other van lifers.With your Sēkr profile, you can also opt-in to see other Sēkr members in your general area and send friend requests based on shared interests.

Recently, Sēkr launched a premium version (called Sekr+) which allows users to download maps and campsite info for offline use, adds overlay map layers for US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land, and includes overlays of coverage maps for major US carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

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If you don’t want to download a paid app or prefer to search on a computer or browser, is a desktop tool that allows you to zoom in on a map to locate campsites or search by zip code. Additionally, it also has a trip planning option that will allow you to create a route using free dispersed camping options. You can even search by the type of access road to the sites. When you select a site, you’ll be given the GPS coordinates, elevation, and the local weather so you can pack accordingly. I’ve found that sometimes has free dispersed sites that aren’t found on iOverlander or other apps.


Campendium is a free iPhone-only app or desktop tool that has thousands of campsites pinned from free dispersed sites to swanky RV parks. This app is tailored toward RVers who may need dispersed campsites that are larger and can be accessed with low clearance.

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Once you’ve found a spot you want to camp using one of these apps, open up Google Maps to get directions. I like to use satellite view to zoom in to see if I can tell anything else about the campsite. For example, if there’s more than one site in the area, I’ll see if I can scope out which one is going to be the best.

If you don’t have service, you can use your paper atlas or a GPS if you have one to navigate to the campsite.

Other Tools for Finding FreeCampsites

Road Atlas

A paper road atlas can be super handy when road tripping or doing van life and looking for free camping. In rural areas, google maps can be unreliable, and if your service cuts out, you’ll be happy you have an old-school paper map to navigate with.

Benchmark Road Atlases are my go-to paper maps. If I’m going to be spending any extended amount of time in one state, I will invest in a Benchmark Road Atlas. Each state has its own atlas and they generally run about $20. All maps show recreation activities, have categorized listings, and alsoshow public land ownership lines. These maps also have all the little backroads that you’ll want to know about for finding the perfect dispersed campsites, and what’s especially great is that they differentiate between 2wd and 4wd roads. In my experience, these indicators have been pretty accurate and when it says 4×4, the road really is rough. Just having a sense of the terrain and accessibility is a good place to start.

My method for finding free, dispersed campsites in a new area is to find a Forest Service road that appears to be well-maintained on the map and then take a drive. This is good not just for finding campsites, but for finding cool back roads to explore.

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National Geographic Maps

These topographic maps are great for backpacking as they are waterproof and tear-resistant. They come location specific; for example Big Sur & the Ventana Wilderness.The maps provide detailed information about specific lands and ranger districts while also showing all National Forest boundaries. They also often point out roads for dispersed camping, hiking trails, potential water sources, dump stations, and campgrounds that offer showers. You can generally find a great selection of National Geographic Maps atREI.

Free Maps

Don’t want to fork over the money for paper maps? Stop by the ranger station when you arrive at your destination. Many of them provide free public maps that you can take with you. If not, almost all of them have a big map on the wall of their jurisdiction. Use your phone to take a picture of the area you are interested in.

Google Maps

If you know an area that allows free camping, I like to switch Google Maps to satellite view and zoom in on the area. Sometimes you’ll find some “hidden” campsites or at least get a better idea of what the camping areas look like before you drive out.

Other Options for Free Overnight Parking

Before we move on, I want to quickly talk about other types of free places to park overnight.

Parking Lots

Not necessarily what you had in mind for your next great adventure, but if you find yourself caught in town refueling on supplies and need a place to sleep for the night, it’s important to note that you can find free, legal places to camp in cities that aren’t just truck or rest stops (although these are a great option in a pinch!)

When crashing in these types of parking lots, you have to stay (meaning sleeping, cooking, and hanging out)inside your vehicle for the evening, but if you’re in a bind, it can be a good option. Some truck stops even offer laundry services and coin-operated showers. Make sure to check with management if you are unsure or have any questions–not all locations in all states allow overnight parking.

Certain big box stores allow overnight parking – but not all. Below we’ve listed out the most common businesses that allow sleeping in your RV/van/car overnight (no tent camping), but we always recommend calling ahead or going in to speak to the manager. As always, follow any posted signs.

  • Walmart
  • Cabela’s
  • Cracker Barrel (most have dedicated overnight parking spots in the back)
  • Camping World (sometimes have free water, dump stations, and electrical hook-ups)
  • Planet Fitness/Anytime Fitness/24-Hour Fitness
  • Lowe’s/Home Depot/Menards
  • Costco/Sam’s Club

Tips for Stealth Camping in Cities

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Casinos, Truck Stops, & Rest Stops

Casinos, truck stops, and rest stops also offer overnight parking. Usually, their parking lots are well lit (which is nice for safety), and some will have a dedicated area for big rigs and even shower facilities. These can be noisy depending on their proximity to the road and the coming and going of big rigs, but if you’re in a pinch or just need a convenient place to overnight, these are good options. For casinos with overnight parking, use the map locator on to see which casinos allow overnight parking.

Harvest Hosts & Boondockers Welcome

Another great option is Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. An annual Harvest Hosts membership allows you to park overnight for free at a variety of wineries, breweries, farms, museums, golf courses, and other attractions. They do require you to be self-contained with a toilet, so keep that in mind. Use this link to get 30% off your first year with the code FRIENDS30. Purchasing something and supporting the small businesses you camp at is encouraged but not required.

Boondocker’s Welcomeconnects you with private property owners who welcome overnight campers. These are often in driveways, fields, or backyards and some allow multiple-night stays. You can add Boondockers Welcome to your Harvest Hosts plan for 30% off the first year as well. (Note: You also must be self-contained to use Boondocker’s Welcome).

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ImportantThings to Consider Before Free Camping

While free campgrounds certainly have their perks like solitude and saving money, there are some disadvantages as well. If you’re planning your first dispersed camping trip, it’s best to go in with the mindset that it is not going to be the same experience as a paid campground. Here are a few key things to keep in mind about dispersed camping:

  • Fire Regulations: Dispersed free campsites may or may not have a fire ring so it is important you do your research to find out whether any fire restrictions are in place and to come prepared with basic backcountry fire safety skills. If you find a spot without a fire ring, it’s best practice to not create a new one. For more on backcountry fires, check out our guide to having a safe campfire.
  • Road Conditions: Before heading out, you’ll want to find out what the road conditions are like, whether you need 4-wheel drive, and whether there are any road closures. Sometimes an app or map on your phone might not distinguish a paved road from a dirt one, and a graded maintained dirt road from a road that needs higher clearance and 4-wheel drive. Be sure to check the weather in advance too which can change road conditions.
  • Water Availability: Will there be any water sources nearby and are they potable? You’ll want to know this so you can bring enough water if there’s none available or a water filter if needed, and also so you can make sure to camp 200 feet away from any stream or water source.
  • Dump facilities: Unlike established campgrounds, dispersed campgrounds typically won’t have a dump station on-site or nearby. If you have a grey or black water tank, plan accordingly and make sure to look up the closest dump station for your trip.
  • Campsite Amenities: Generally there are no amenities such as picnic tables, trash receptacles, sinks, electrical hookups, camp hosts, or restrooms at free dispersed campsites. Bring a trash bag and be prepared to pack out your trash, and if there aren’t restrooms, know how to go to the bathroom outdoors while abiding by Leave No Trace principles.
  • Cell Service: A lot of dispersed free campsites are in remote areas where you may not have cell service to access maps on your phone. Be sure to let your loved ones know where you’ll be and we highly recommend carrying paper maps with you in your car which arealso helpful for identifying nearby hiking trails and other recreation opportunities.
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Tips for Finding Free Campsites

When you’re first starting out, finding free campsites might feel intimidating (I know it was for me). Here are some ways to ease into your first free camping trip:

  • Finding a campsite is much easier when you are still in service. So, if you know the general region you want to stay in, do your research before you get out of cell range. Again, my preferred apps have some functionality offline, but you can plan with more certainty when you have a signal.
  • Searching for campsites is easier and less stressful during daylight. If at all possible, try to be settled before it gets dark.
  • Adopting a mindset that you don’t have to have a perfect camping setup every night will make finding campsites while on the road a lot easier. Some nights you might be in the forest with no view or you might be parked in a big open area near a lot of other campers. If you are camping only one weekend a year, a view and solitude might be super important to you, but if you’re road tripping or doing van life for an extended period of time, you’re going to be camping all the time. Some nights, you’ll hit the jackpot. Other nights, your campsites might be mediocre, and that’s ok. You can pack up in the morning and move on to somewhere better. All you really need is a flat spot with enough space, and the biggest thing is that you feel safe and you aren’t blatantly breaking the law.
  • Ranger stations can be a great resource for information. If you are unsure about where you are allowed to camp, swing into the local ranger station for maps and advice.
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What To Pack For Free Camping

When dispersed camping, you’ll need to take into account the lack of amenities such as potable water, a picnic table, and showers. We recommend checking out our complete car camping checklist for the basics, and we’ve highlighted some of our essentials for free camping below:

  • Portable water jug: depending on the length of your trip, you’ll want to pack a few of these (filled with water) so you can wash dishes, rinse off, and have drinking water.
  • Folding table: you’ll want something to set your camp stove on to cook & a spot where you can play games, journal, etc. I love the GCI Slim-Fold Cook Station because it folds down flat and has tons of hooks for organizing your camp kitchen.
  • Portable shower: if you plan to boondock for an extended period of time or want a way to rinse off, we recommend the NEMO Helio Pressure Shower or the Geyser Portable Shower w/ Heater.
  • Safety items: including a portable car jumper, first aid kit, and tire patch kit
  • Poop kit: a small shovel, toilet paper (pack it out!), hand sanitizer, and a small Ziploc for your used toilet paper
  • Garbage bags: so you can easily pack out everything you bring in – there are no dumpsters on public lands!
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Is Dispersed Camping Safe?

Taking extra safety precautions when you’re camping is an important consideration, especially when free camping when you may be far away from other people and without cell signal. Here are a few ways to keep safety top of mind:

  • Trust your gut: If you have a bad feeling about a campsite, leave. Never second guess your instincts – you can always find another campsite.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to who and what are around you. If you’re camping alone, consider finding a spot with other campers nearby.
  • Download offline maps: Don’t put yourself in a position to get lost or stranded. Download maps ahead of time or grab a paper map as backup.
  • Tell someone your plans: Let someone know where you plan to camp and when you expect to return. Check in often, especially if your plans change.
  • Have an exit plan: Always keep the driver’s seat clear and have a designated spot for your keys. If possible, park where you can’t be blocked in and don’t need to reverse to get out of a spot.
  • Keep your doors locked: Especially when you’re sleeping!
  • Consider carrying a self-defense tool: Some people may feel safer if they carry pepper spray, a taser, etc.

Tips for Safety On The Road

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Leave No Trace & Dispersed Free Camping

One of the reasons you’ll enjoy dispersed camping so much is because of its lack of human presence. In reality, dispersed camping is camping at its finest-stunning backdrops and the brilliant night sky without the common distractions of our bustling world. Please follow Leave No Trace principles to ensure your favorite rugged locations stay wild for years to come. There are many public lands that are at risk of being shut down due to overuse and because campers are leaving behind trash, taking surface dumps and not packing out their toilet paper, and driving off-road to create new campsites. Here are a few ways we can ensure free camping stays free:

  • Pack it in, pack it out: You need to take EVERYTHING with you when you leave a dispersed campsite, including your camping gear, trash, and personal items. Bonus if you pick up any trash that was left behind from previous campers.
  • Know how to properly poop outdoors. This also extends to picking up your pet’s poop on public lands.
  • Do not drive off-road or create new campsites in free camping areas. Stay on durable surfaces.
  • Use already existing fire rings, do not make your own.

What questions do you have about how to find free campsites? Share your experiences and tips with boondocking, dispersed camping, and free camping in the comments below!



How to find free camping van life? ›

5 Ultimate Camping Apps for a Vanlife Road Trip
  1. The Dyrt. Best For: Free, public and private campgrounds nationwide. ...
  2. Best For: Federal Campgrounds (National Parks, Forests, BLM) ...
  3. iOverlander. Best For: Largest world-wide campsite database, mechanics/hardware stores for a pinch. ...
  4. HipCamp. ...

Is there an app for free campsites? › is your primary source for information on free campgrounds and boondocking locations. Free camping locations are often the most beautiful and peaceful camp sites. They are also a well kept secret and can be difficult to locate. Thankfully you have this app to help you find them.

Where in the United States can you camp for free? ›

Typically you are allowed to camp for free in US National Forests & Grasslands unless otherwise marked. Each national forest has slightly different rules, so check ahead of time, but generally speaking, you are allowed to camp anywhere outside established recreation areas and developed campgrounds.

What are the best websites to find dispersed camping? ›

The websites for most National Forests often list their main dispersed camping areas which further helps you narrow down potential campsites. Tools like Campendium, The Dyrt, and can also help you locate dispersed campsites with a convenient map search tool.

Where can I sleep in my van life? ›

Places to Sleep in your Van
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas, National Forests, and National Grasslands. ...
  • Some City Parks, County Parks, and Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) ...
  • Walmart. ...
  • Hotel and Motel Parking Lots. ...
  • Apartment Complexes. ...
  • Hospitals. ...
  • Businesses Open 24 hours. ...
  • Rest Areas.

Where do you park when living in a van life? ›

Places like hotel parking lots, 24 hour grocery stores, rest stops, and yes, even Walmart. However, in most cities it's totally fine (and advised) to park on the street where most local residents park their cars. As long as you obey local parking signs and laws, you won't have a problem.

What do you need to camp in a car? ›

Basic Camping Gear
  1. Tent. A tent is going to be your shelter for the trip, so it's worth trying out a few different brands, styles, and sizes to fit your needs. ...
  2. Sleeping Pad. Next up, we have sleeping pads. ...
  3. Sleeping Bag. ...
  4. Pillow. ...
  5. Headlamp. ...
  6. Kitchen Gear. ...
  7. Camp Chairs. ...
  8. Foldable Table.

Is FreeRoam app free? ›

Helpful tools and a community for boondockers, all for free!

What is stealth camping? ›

Stealth camping is the act of camping in an urban area that is not necessarily meant for overnight camping. While there are no “campsites” when you stealth camp, there are plenty of legal places to park overnight in your van without drawing attention to yourself.

What state has most free campgrounds? ›

1. Arizona. Not only do you get a one-of-a-kind landscape in Arizona, but you can easily escape the chilly winter months if you head this way. Much of Arizona is public land, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service, and there's free camping in many locations.

What is it called when you camp for free? ›

What is dispersed camping? Also known as free camping, pirate camping, boondocking, or just plain roughing it… whatever you call it, the rules in the US for vehicle camping in designated Forest Service Land are a godsend for any budget-minded traveler.

What does Boondocking mean when camping? ›

Boondocking in an RV is when you camp without hookups to electricity, water, or sewage. You can boondock in many different ways, like staying overnight in a business parking lot or camping on public lands.

Which is better Campendium or DYRt? ›

Like the Dyrt, Campendium offers a paid version of their service. A membership costs $20 per year and gives you cell coverage maps, public land overlays, and more. Personally, I like the Dyrt's app better than the Campendium App. But I like Campendium's website experience better than the Dyrt's.

Where is BLM dispersed camping? ›

The easiest and most efficient way to find BLM campgrounds across the country is at, which allows you to search for outdoor activities on public lands, including the national parks, national forests, and army corps of engineer projects.

What is the best app to find BLM land? ›

The Best Tool for Navigating BLM Land

The onX Hunt App helps you navigate BLM Land with confidence, so you always know where you stand. BLM land is shown in yellow in the App, and clearly marked property lines help delineate boundaries.

Where is the best place to Van life? ›

Best US regions for van life
  • West: Arizona.
  • South: Texas.
  • Northeast: New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • Midwest: Michigan.
Oct 24, 2022

How can I make money living in a van? ›

Below are just a few things you can make and/or sell out of your van.
  1. Jewelry. There are several excellent examples of this online. ...
  2. Art. Art is one of those great things you can sell from anywhere. ...
  3. Van Build Out Business. ...
  4. Coffee. ...
  5. T-shirts. ...
  6. Buying and reselling. ...
  7. Traveling Physical Therapy. ...
  8. Yoga Instructor.

What is stealth parking? ›

Stealth camping is when you park in a place not necessarily meant for overnight parking. This can be on a city street, residential area or a marina parking lot (we've done all three).

Is it OK to sleep in your car at a campsite? ›

Can I Sleep in My Car at a Campground? Many campgrounds, like KOAs, will welcome guests who choose to sleep in their car at a campsite. It's always good idea to call ahead so that you ensure you're reserving the right type of site for you car camping adventure.

Can I freedom camp in my car? ›

You can freedom camp in a certified self-contained vehicle on most council-controlled public land in Auckland, including most roadsides. To freedom camp in Auckland, you must: use a certified self-contained vehicle. stay a maximum of two nights in the same road or off-road parking area (for example a council carpark)

Can I stay in my car on a campsite? ›

This is a tricky question because the rules surrounding this will vary from campground to campground. There are many that welcome car campers with open arms but others that do not permit it at all. Some campsites will rent you a pitch and this will include a space to park your car for the duration of your stay.

How much is free roam? ›

If you haven't downloaded the FreeRoam app yet, what are you waiting for? It's free, and the team is genuinely invested in helping build communities of nature lovers and encouraging sustainable living.

Is Park4Night app free? ›

Park4Night. A great free app resource listing motorhome parking spots from aires and campsites to fields and lay-bys. We started off as seeing this as the last chance saloon but we now think it's the best of all the wild camping apps for Europe and the United Kingdom.

Is RV Parky a free app? ›

RV Parky is totally free! This app has no subscription fees, no in-app purchases, and no ads.

What happens if you get caught stealth camping? ›

Some areas have stiff penalties for getting caught stealth camping. If caught, law enforcement will likely knock on your window and ask you to leave. Additionally, law enforcement could issue you a fine or citation, depending on the situation or how you handle the interaction.

What are the 3 most common types of camping? ›

Today, there are several different types of camping, but the main camping methods are backpacking, car camping, and glamping. These top 3 types of camping styles provide options for every level of camper!

What are all the states that have BLM & free camping? ›

BLM Land

You can camp on most BLM land for up to 14 days, even if there are grazing or mining claims (just watch out for cow pies), unless otherwise posted. Most BLM lands are in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Why do campgrounds cost so much? ›

Some campgrounds charge more due to the amenities they offer. Campgrounds and RV parks that have all the bells and whistles such as dog parks, fancy playgrounds, pools, hot tubs, etc., cost the RV park money for upkeep, management, replacement.

Why is it called dispersed camping? ›

Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no services; such as trash removal, and little or no facilities; such as tables and fire pits, are provided.

What are the two types of camp? ›

Types of Camps
  • Republic Day Camp (RDC) ...
  • Combined Annual Training Camps (CATC) ...
  • National Integration Camp (NIC) ...
  • Advance leadership course. ...
  • Army Attachment Camp. ...
  • Hiking and Trekking Camp. ...
  • Thal Sainik Camp (TSC) ...
  • Youth Exchange Programme.

Where is wild camping legal? ›

The US term for camping in the wild is dispersed camping. It is permitted on BLM lands (Bureau of Land Management), WMA (Wildlife Management Areas), national grasslands, and state forests. It is free, often remote, and may have some restrictions.

What is camping on the side of the road called? ›

Boondocking is also known as dispersed camping, free camping, wild camping or roadside camping, depending on who you ask.

What is RV moochdocking? ›

At its most basic level, moochdocking is spending the night for free in your RV on the property of friends or family. Some people call it driveway surfing. Often it is overnighting in a driveway. Or out back.

What is the campground rule? ›

If you're a camper, hiker or nature lover, you're probably familiar with the campsite rule: to leave the campsite in better condition than you found it. And if you've ever listened to Dan Savage or read his column Savage Love, you know that he has applied this very same rule to sex and relationships for many years.

What is a BLM campground? ›

BLM camping is camping on public lands or in developed campgrounds managed by the Bureau of Land Management. You can BLM camp in an RV or tent.

Are DOC campsites free? ›

DOC has basic campsites where you can stay for free. Usually you do not have to be self-contained to stay at DOC campsites because there are facilities available. Check the individual campsite for more information. Search for free campsites.

What is the best free RV app? ›

Best RVing apps for finding campsites
  • Campendium.
  • iOverlander.
  • The Dyrt.
  • Harvest Hosts/ Boondockers Welcome.
  • AllStays.
  • Google Maps.
  • RV Life.
Jan 19, 2023

How do I find BLM land on Google Maps? ›

Google Maps does show BLM land for places like national monuments as well as many developed campgrounds. However, it does not depict all BLM lands. Otherwise, there are only two ways to find BLM land. You can use the “interactive map” on BLM's website, or use the BLM map overlay on FreeRoam.

How do you use the DYRT to find dispersed camping? ›

How to Find Free Camping with Map Layers
  1. Go to the map on The Dyrt app or website.
  2. Tap the Map Layers icon in the corner of the map.
  3. Select the Map Layers you want to see (Note that to turn Map Layers on you must have The Dyrt PRO, but you can try PRO for free to see if you like it)

Is Freecampsites net legit? › Simple, Yet Effective

It's a great resource that's simple yet effective. Because of the user reviews and submissions, it's also a trusted resource. So the next time you want to save some money on camping or find that perfect spot to watch the sunset, check out

Is there a BLM land app? ›

Public Users

The S1 Mobile Mapper provides the public with a simple way to download and view BLM and U.S. Forest Service maps for use offline while enjoying recreational activities on public lands.

Which state has the most BLM land? ›

Alaska had the most federal land (222.7 million acres) while Nevada had the greatest percentage of federal land within a state (80.1 percent).
Federal land by state.
[hide]Federal land ownership by state (as of 2018)Rhode Island
53 more columns

Is Campendium a free app? ›

Campendium is free to use and will change the way you find a place to call home for the night.

How do I find the other van lifers? ›

How to Meet Other Van Lifers
  1. The first place you can find van life community is on social media platforms. ...
  2. Facebook has many groups dedicated to van life, including location-specific pages that are free to join. ...
  3. It's especially helpful to join groups and pages for the places you're headed to.
Feb 13, 2023

Is there a van life community? ›

Project Van Life is the largest van life community in the world! We encourage a van lifestyle derived from your passion to explore. Our goal is to make your van life journey easier and more fulfilling.

How do I receive van life packages? ›

How Do You Get Your Mail While Living In A Van?
  1. Minimize Physical Items You Receive. ...
  2. Use a Virtual Mailbox with Mail Forwarding Available. ...
  3. Use USPS General Delivery Service. ...
  4. Use Amazon Lockers. ...
  5. Find Options to Ship to Stores. ...
  6. Ask Friends and Family.
Dec 28, 2019

How do I meet van life? ›

Van Life: How to Meet People While Traveling
  1. Tinder or Bumble. If you're looking for romance or maybe just some company or okay something ellllllse then apps like Tinder and Bumble should do the trick. ...
  2. Put your phone away. ...
  3. Meetup. ...
  4. Coffee Shops. ...
  5. Bars. ...
  6. Social Media. ...
  7. REI Classes and Events. ...
  8. Local Running Clubs.
Mar 6, 2018

Where is the best place to van life? ›

Best US regions for van life
  • West: Arizona.
  • South: Texas.
  • Northeast: New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • Midwest: Michigan.
Oct 24, 2022

Are people living in vans homeless? ›

In the HUD definition for homeless, cars are “not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation.” Though vans are not mentioned, generally speaking, they are “not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation.” Thus, persons sleeping overnight in cars or vans are homeless.

What do van life people do for money? ›

If you have any crafty skills, you can make your own products and sell them on the road! A lot of van lifers make and sell art items like paintings, jewelry, wood carvings, and more. Some also make and sell their own products, like sunscreen, coffee, clothing, and more!

What are van life people called? ›

The term “van life” is pretty self-explanatory—it literally means living out of a van. But the lifestyle behind it is so much more than that. Using a van as a mobile home, van dwellers (also called nomads) are able to live a simple life that allows them to travel the world on their own schedules.

Is it cheaper to live in van life? ›

As remote and hybrid work became widespread, the appeal of hitting the road for a few days, or full-time, became more enticing – and financially realistic. Coupled with record-high home and cottage prices, van life is a cheaper alternative for those with limited budgets.

Is it smart to live in a van? ›

Life in the van is undoubtedly cheaper than living in an apartment. For one thing, the expense of housing, be it rent or mortgage repayments can be eliminated. Other costs associated with running a home like electricity, phone and internet bills, water, plus maintenance and upkeep costs will be reduced if not deleted.

How do people who live on the road get mail? ›

Use an RV Mail Forwarding Service

These services provide a physical street address to ship mail and packages to. This is ideal for full-time RVers who need a physical address to establish residency for their mail.

How much does insurance cost for van life? ›

Depending on the level of insurance you have on the van, this could range from around $1,200 to $2,000+ per year, so budget for a van insurance cost of between $100 and $200 per month. Health or medical insurance cost will vary depending on your personal circumstances and what country you live in.

Do you pay taxes if you live in a van? ›

ANYWHERE you live, you will pay sales tax, and if you you work or have a taxable income, you'll pay federal and state taxes, if the state you claim for residence has a state tax.

How do you go to the bathroom in van life? ›

Van Life Bucket Toilet

Many van dwellers will use a bucket like this as the base for their toilet and they use composting material which keeps the smell down. Don't knock it until you've tried it, or at least tried living without a toilet!

Can you do van life alone? ›

Or you can pair a solo trip with a group trip or a visit with a friend, so you're not on your own the entire time. I personally LOVE solo travel and vanlife has only brought amazing things into my life. I say give it a shot– you only live once!

How do van life people get WIFI? ›

The easiest and most cost-effective method for van life internet access is your cellphone data plan. Smartphones have a hotspot capability that allows you to tether devices to your phone, utilizing the phone's data plan as the internet for your other devices including your laptop.


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