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Critical Tips for Dispersed Camping on Forest Service Land

The thrill of camping is a cherished pastime for many, with the beauty of nature providing the perfect backdrop for an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. While some may prefer the comforts of a developed campground, others crave the primitive experience of dispersed camping in the great outdoors. 

In this guide, we explore critical tips for dispersed camping on Forest Service land, from understanding the rules to picking the perfect campsite and having the proper equipment. Whether you are a seasoned camper or new to adventure, this guide will help you make the most of your time in the great outdoors.

Table of Contents

What is Dispersed Camping?

Peron Sleeping In A White Boony Stomper

Dispersed camping is a form of camping that involves staying outside of designated campgrounds on Forest Service land. Unlike traditional camping, dispersed camping provides an opportunity for campers to enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from other campers and developed facilities. 

However, it also means that no services such as trash removal, water, restrooms, or tables and fire pits are provided, making it necessary for campers to be self-contained and responsible for their own needs. Some popular dispersed camping areas may have toilets, but it is important to note that these are not always available. 

Dispersed camping allows campers to experience the beauty and serenity of nature in a unique and rewarding way. However, it also requires extra responsibilities and skills, making it important for campers to be well-informed before embarking on this adventure.

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Rules for Dispersed Camping

Camping with a Boony Stomper

Rules for dispersed camping on Forest Service land exist to ensure campers’ safety and keep the natural resources scenic and unspoiled for other campers. Understanding and following these rules is essential for a successful and enjoyable experience.

Firstly, it is important to note that groups of over 75 people who wish to use the forest need to obtain a special use permit. This permit is free and can be obtained at the nearest District Office.

Secondly, campers must be self-contained. As noted earlier, no amenities are provided, including water, restrooms, or trash cans. Campers should plan ahead and bring everything they need to minimize their impact on the environment.

Boony Stomper camping in the woods

Additionally, campers may camp in a dispersed area for up to 16 days. After 16 days, campers must move at least five road miles to camp in another dispersed area. Moreover, campers may not spend more than 16 days of any 30-day period in the same dispersed area. 

Placing your campsite at least 100 feet from any stream or other water source is also important. This helps to protect fragile vegetation and prevent contamination of water sources. Campers must pack out everything they bring in and avoid damaging the natural environment. This means avoiding digging trenches or leveling ground at your campsite and following proper waste disposal procedures.

Be sure to contact the local Forest Service office to see if any restrictions, especially fire restrictions, are in place. Be aware that there are bears in the National Forest, so campers should take precautions and camp accordingly.  

Where Can I Disperse Camp?

White Boony Stomper

Choosing the right location for dispersed camping is important to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The best way to find out what areas are open to dispersed camping is to contact the nearest Forest Service office to the area you wish to visit. Typically, dispersed camping is NOT allowed in the vicinity of developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, or trailheads.

Many people drive out on Forest Service roads into the woods and find a clearing or a spot near a stream or with a view of the mountains. It is important to avoid driving on meadows to access your camping site and to drive on existing roads to prevent resource damage.

To prevent resource damage, campers should keep their campsite within 150 feet of a roadway. It is important to note that some areas may have specific restrictions, such as limitations on group size or camping duration.

Boony Stomper on a mountain trail

When selecting a campsite, it is recommended to choose a site that has been used before to minimize environmental impact. If no existing campsites are available, it is important to follow guidelines and camp on bare soil if possible to avoid damage or killing plants and grass. Campers should also avoid camping in the middle of a clearing or meadow, as this can disrupt the natural environment.

By selecting a suitable campsite and following the guidelines set forth by the Forest Service, campers can enjoy the beauty and serenity of nature while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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Importance of Proper Equipment

orange Boony Stomper on a mountain trail

When it comes to dispersed camping on Forest Service land, having the proper equipment is crucial for a successful and enjoyable trip. One option that stands out is the Boony Stomper teardrop trailer from Sunnyside Offroad.

The Boony Stomper is specifically designed for off-road adventures, making it an ideal choice for dispersed camping. With a starting price of $10,250 or $125/month, this trailer is affordable and functional, too.

boony stomper suspension

One of the standout features of the Boony Stomper is its extreme suspension system. The custom-fabricated, long-travel, independent trailing arm suspension has load-adjusting shocks and has been built and tested to give you the smoothest riding trailer out there. This means that you can confidently take on rough terrain and still get a comfortable night’s sleep.

boony stomper on trail

The trailer is built on a 2 x 2 steel tube frame and features a 2” SAE-rated, class 4 locking ball coupler hitch. It also includes DOT LED lights with brake, turn signals and running lights, ensuring that you’re visible to other drivers on the road.

Inside the Boony Stomper, you’ll find a finished interior with carpeted walls and headboard, linoleum floors, and storage cabinets with self-latching doors. The interior measures 6’4” in length and 46” in width, providing ample space for you and your gear.

boony stomper interior

In addition to its standard features, the Boony Stomper can also be customized with various add-ons to fit your specific needs. These include a custom-fit 6″ dual density foam mattress with poly cover, Jackery portable power stations, a custom Boony roof rack, a CVT Pioneer Series Awning in various sizes, a spare tire with matching wheel, and more.

boony stomper

Overall, the Boony Stomper is an excellent choice for dispersed camping on Forest Service land. Its off-road capabilities, comfortable interior, and customizable features make it a versatile and practical option for those seeking to explore the great outdoors. For more information on the Boony Stomper, check out our review here.

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