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  1. Default Desert Road Camping. Legal?


    3 friends and I are going on a road trip from Oklahoma to California this August and instead of spending a night in a hotel in Nevada we wanted to do something a little more adventurous. We thought we would just go off on a desert side road, put up our tents and just sleep the night (no fire, just sleep). When I think about it I don't see any problem with it and with 4 people i'm not overly concerned someone doing something to us (unless this is building the plot for some cheesy horror movie). I'm sure no one will be around. I'm just not from the area and don't know how things like that work as far as the police. Anyone know anything?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Far Less than Even Odds

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    In general, in the southwest, your chances are just about 50/50 that any randomly chosen piece of ground will be federal land of some sort: national parks, forests and monuments, BLM land, Native American lands, etc. But you will not be choosing land at random. You will be choosing land because it has road access, and that means that it will more than likely be privately owned. In this neck of the woods trespassing is taken very seriously. If you are lucky, you will be rousted by Border Patrol, Rangers, or local constabulary, checked for your right to be there and, when it is determined that you have none, told to move on. If you are less lucky, you will find yourself facing an armed posse comitatus, or irate land owner. Remember that it is perfectly legal in most, if not all, of the states you'll be driving through to protect property by the use of deadly force. It is easy enough to do some pre-planning to find state parks, national forests, BLM land, and other low cost or free camping, that presuming that you will be lucky enough that no one will mind that you are trespassing in a drug and human smuggling corridor is simply not worth the risk.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Think this through

    Make sure you take good note of AZBuck's advice. The risks are not worth it. Just google free camping, or free campgrounds, etc. and you are bound to find aplethora of information. Even if there is none in a particular area you will be travelling, do not be tempted to just for one night, camp by the road. It's not worth the risk.

    You don't say how long you will be on the road, but remember, it can become pretty uncomfortable in a car with four people who have been rough camping for a few days. Budget for at least every third or fourth night in a good campground or cheap motel, where you will be able to shower, and generally clean up.


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