Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Expert Advice

Boondock Basics: Your Guide to RVing America’s Bureau of Land Management

Nate and Christian from Project Trek give their tips for finding a boondocking spot located on Bureau of Land Management land.

Boondocking is a wonderful adventure that every RVer should try at least once! Wondering where you might find places to boondock? Our first recommendation is to look for land maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

A huge number of the best boondocking sites across the country are located on BLM land. Here’s everything you need to know before you use these campsites.

What is the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)?

Never heard of the Bureau of Land Management? You’re not alone, but this is a shame because BLM land is such an incredible resource available to all of us.

Essentially, the BLM exists to maintain government owned public lands, ensuring these places stay as clean, natural, and beautiful as possible so they can be enjoyed for generations to come. These lands are open for public use and are used for a variety of recreational activities, including dispersed camping.

Absolutely anyone is welcome to use land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in order to enjoy the beauty and recreation opportunities offered by the great outdoors. Of course, it is important that visitors do their part to care for the land and the plants and animals on it.

How to Find Camping Spots

Our favorite way to use BLM land is to camp under the starry skies and really immerse ourselves in the wilderness. Here’s how you can find campsites and try BLM camping for yourself.

Developed Campsites

One option for camping on BLM land is to use the many developed campsites run by the Bureau. These campsites almost always cost money and usually include marked campsites, trash cans, and vault toilets. In some cases, you might even be able to find a BLM campsite with potable water, a dump station, and/or electric hookups.

Dispersed Camping

Many people actually prefer free dispersed camping on BLM land over staying on developed campsites. Dispersed camping offers a true off-grid camping experience, meaning you should not expect any amenities whatsoever.

Generally speaking, dispersed camping is allowed anywhere on BLM land that is at least 200 feet away from a water source. That said, you will want to make sure the area is not set aside for other uses and that there’s no signage declaring the spot “closed for camping.”

Dispersed campsites are rarely marked. Instead, you’ll want to look for flat spots off of the secondary roads that look as though they’ve been used for camping in the past. Reusing these campsites will help preserve the undisturbed parts of the land. Please refrain from creating new campsites.

Planning Ahead

While it is totally possible to head out onto BLM land and wander blindly until you find a spot to camp, we don’t recommend doing this. Instead, we recommend looking for camp spots on sites such as Campendium, Free Campsites, and iOverlander.

When you find something that looks like it might work for you, read reviews about it. Take the weather into account (muddy roads can be pretty rough to drive on) and also consider the size of your rig compared to the rigs that have used the spot before.

Of course, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for reviews that mention how crowded the place is, whether it feels safe, and if there are wild animals nearby or other dangers that you should be aware of.

Rules for Camping on BLM Land

Of course, you will want to make sure you’re following all of the rules while making use of BLM land. This helps ensure the land stays open for dispersed camping for others to enjoy.

14-Day Stay Limit

Unless posted otherwise, campers are allowed to stay in any one campsite for up to 14 days. After 14 days have passed, you must move at least 25 miles away from your original spot before setting up camp again.

Campfire Rules

Always use existing fire rings in order to prevent unnecessary damage to the land. Check for conditions before starting a campfire and follow local guidelines. Of course, you’ll also want to be sure all embers are cold before heading in for the night in order to prevent wildfires.

Leave No Trace

Leaving no trace is hugely important when camping on Bureau of Land Management property. Dispose of human waste properly—bury it at least six inches underground and at least 200 feet from water—and never dump tanks on the ground. Additionally, pack all trash and other items back out when you leave, and give wild animals their space at all times.

Be a Good Neighbor

While it is totally possible, you’ll be 100% alone while on your BLM boondocking adventure, it also could happen that you have neighbors. If this is the case, please be a good neighbor, keeping the noise level down between 10pm and 7am and being respectful of your neighbor's space.

Boondocking on BLM land is an awesome experience! Why not find a BLM campsite near you and give it a try to see what all the fuss is about? You won’t regret it!

Project Trek Family

Project Trek

Nate and Christian, the husband-wife team behind Project Trek are a full-time traveling, vegan family who love to hike and backpack with their two kids Ella and Andersen. 

After suffering from the financial collapse of a failed business, Christian and Nate decided to take matters into their own hands. They began the process of pursuing financial freedom by paying off over 270K of debt!  After their successful debt-free journey they realized they never wanted to be bound by the burden of financial stress and they each deeply desired to travel while spending more time with their children. 

After a weekend trip to Asheville, NC  in a borrowed Minnie Winne, Christian and Nate felt the pull of the road. That sweet siren call was answered in April of 2017 when they launched their journey as a fulltime rv family. 

In an effort to bring hope to other families that felt trapped in their lives, they launched their Youtube channel, Project Trek. Christian & Nate both work from home as video content creators. They love creating video content for their Youtube channel where they share their unique lifestyle with the world, plus all the mishaps along the way. Their videos cover everything from; how to boondock in the best locations to exploring new places to visit in your RV. They produce high-quality videos that are published onto various social channels where they educate their audience about trip planning, rv living, destination highlights, and products that align with the needs of their community.

Every day presents new adventures which you can follow along with through videos on YouTube!