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#115378 - 05/03/09 03:33 AM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
If you'd said "walk into town for supplies" instead of driving, I'd guess you were born to be a thru hiker. Months in the wilderness, that's the PCT or the AT.

Have you thought about renting a cabin somewhere remote?
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#115379 - 05/03/09 07:24 AM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
CamperMom Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1201
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
How remote do you wish/need to be?

I'm thinking you might be able to serve as a campground host or volunteer while staying in a park legally and free, in some places even recieving a stipend. If you are not necessarily looking to be away from other people, but merely with to camp in one place long term, it could be a consideration. Normally, you would have some tasks, possibly including checking on people having their sites paid/registered, trash pick up, bathroom cleaning, etc. The work load depends on the place and your agreement. These campgrounds are close to or off of paved roads, have some sort of communication available, and a margin of safety.

If you don't mind a background check, you might see if a Scout property would allow a long-term camp be set up in exchange for some work project, such as trail maintenance/building, and offer to let Troops visit for "Wilderness Survival" demonstrations. I do not know that their insurance situation would allow this, but it may be worth a shot.

Along some trails, such as the AT or Long Trail in Vermont, sometimes a volunteer stays in or near some site as a caretaker.

The other place I would check is National Forests. In many places, dispersed camping is allowed, at specific distances from trails and roadways. I do not know about any length of stay limits, and I would be concerned about something happening to my vehicle while parked in a remote place for a long time.

Please let us know what works out for you.



#115381 - 05/03/09 08:11 AM Re: long term camping [Re: CamperMom]
hoz Offline

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 138
Loc: midwest
AS I understand the National Forest and Wilderness Area rules you are allowed to camp in one place a maximum of 2 weeks and then must move, I don't know how far up or down the trail.

I'd just head into your favorite National Forest adn have at it.
We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking. Finis Mitchell

#115386 - 05/03/09 10:59 AM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
chaz Offline

Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Tennessee
isen, It is possible to camp somewhere longterm. The homeless do it all the time. If your camp is not extreamly far from supplies/town, you could hike in for provisions. I would consider moving to a new site every couple of weeks as the impact on your camp site will be very noticable unless your camping in an established site with tent pads. To practice bush craft I would want to be as remote as possible, (stealth camping),and carry enough provisions for at least 4-5 days. Maybe you could have someone drop off more supplies once or twice a week and make sure your still o.k. Others on this site have much more experience than I in long term situations. Jim Shaw or Phat could give you pointers and suggestions. They live in more remote places than I. BTW, you didn't mention any experience you have so it's hard to tell you to just grab a stick and a knife and survive in the wilderness.LOL grin
Enjoy your next trip...

#115391 - 05/03/09 12:03 PM Re: long term camping [Re: chaz]
hikerduane Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
National Forests only allow two weeks of camping on them until you have to move on to another NF. I don't know how they can keep track of that. I know one local out here in CA lives out of his '70 something, primer red, 4X4 Toyota with a camper shell, camps along the road or in the Forest all year or behind businesses. He just bought a brand new Harley-Davidson Sportster last summer, so he is able to save money on the little bit of disability he gets.

#115417 - 05/03/09 08:35 PM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2951
Loc: Portland, OR
Any time a camper occupies one spot for two months they will have an impact on their surroundings that could take a fair amount of time to disappear.

If you do camp in one place for that long, you should definitely choose a place where the damage has already been done. In other words, where the tent site is packed hard by countless feet and the trail to the water source has already been established in the same way.

Then there are issues of whether or not you will be burning wood, and whether you are depleting the wood supply for campers who come after you. And the issue of squatting in a spot where other campers might legitimately want to have their own turn to camp there.

A two month stay in one place is a lot to ask. You would be better advised to stick to the two week limit and adjust to moving on from time to time. Those rules are not arbitrary. They have a purpose.

#115420 - 05/03/09 09:04 PM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
MattnID Offline

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
Well, I've always kind of wanted to do what your're talking about and probably will one of these summers just to do it. I however live out West and we've got thousands and thousands of miles of public land that you can hide in if you really wanted to. I mean, there is a place here where you can get 15 miles away from any kind of road, which is pretty far these days in the lower 48. Only a spot in Yellowstone let's you get farther.

Though my recommendation is to camp as far away from roads and trails as you can so nobody comes upon you and rats you out, so you'll have to do some research. Two miles from a car is too close in my mind, but that is of course up to you. I say this because if you're close to a road you're probably not too far from trails, and trails of course mean more people traffic.

I mean, if you can arrange with someone who owns private land to do something like this, that's all the better because you don't have to worry about Forest Service or anyone telling you you've stuck around too long.

If I were you, I'd find a fairly sparsely populated state where there is a lot of public land, Google Earth or find some maps of the public land and study roads, ATV trails and hiking trails, and go from there. And I'd suggest moving your vehicle around every few days if you choose public land.

That's my two cents...
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

#115421 - 05/03/09 09:15 PM Re: long term camping [Re: MattnID]
Howie Offline

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
I guess I am pretty fortunate too. I could walk just 2 blocks, climb an 800' hill and on the other side is miles of open space. I could camp just about anyplace. Semi-desert with sagebrush. Not too much a person could damage.


#115459 - 05/04/09 10:09 AM Re: long term camping [Re: Howie]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By Howie
I guess I am pretty fortunate too. I could walk just 2 blocks, climb an 800' hill and on the other side is miles of open space. I could camp just about anyplace. Semi-desert with sagebrush. Not too much a person could damage.


Sounds like my home here in Utah. For National Forests and BLM, I believe we have a 14 day limit, like others have said. I know that BLM has a 14 day limit. I think that aimless said it best, there is a reason for the limit.

Edited by finallyME (05/04/09 10:10 AM)
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#115521 - 05/05/09 11:57 AM Re: long term camping [Re: finallyME]
Haiwee Offline

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
The 14 day limit isn't always enforced -- depends where you go. My Dad is retired and spends his entire winter at a lake in Arizona, hunting and fishing. He comes home every month and a half or so to sort his mail and do laundry, then it's back to the lake. Since October 1st I think he's spent a total of five days at home. This lake is managed by the BLM.

It's finally getting too hot there, so he's headed home this week. He'll be here just long enough to see his granddaughter graduate high school, then it's off to Wyoming, where the Forest Service does enforce the 14 day rule. So all summer he and his friends move to a new lake every two weeks. Do I sound jealous?

Edited by Haiwee (05/05/09 11:57 AM)
My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors:

#115525 - 05/05/09 12:55 PM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
ohiohiker Offline

Registered: 07/20/07
Posts: 127
Loc: Ohio
I think your best option is a National Forest area. Do you really want to spend all of that time in one place? I'd be ready to move on to at least a different campsite after a week, if not an entirely different forest or even region. You would gain more and wider bushcraft experience by moving around to different areas. The flora, fauna, terrain, and resources at one site will differ slightly from the other sites.

There are people in your area on this forum who might have some ideas:


Edited by ohiohiker (05/05/09 12:55 PM)

#115605 - 05/06/09 07:59 PM Re: long term camping [Re: finallyME]
GDeadphans Offline

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
A friend of mine has a cabin in the woods on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Its close to a town where you can purchase stuff, or about 20 minutes away from a nice restaurant. They rent it weekly, or monthly, let me know if interested!
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

#115606 - 05/06/09 08:05 PM Re: long term camping [Re: Haiwee]
MattnID Offline

Registered: 06/02/07
Posts: 317
Loc: Idaho
Wow, that is the life, lol. I'm ridiculously jealous. Just another reason I need to win the lottery, as easy as that is.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle

#115626 - 05/07/09 01:57 PM Re: long term camping [Re: MattnID]
hoz Offline

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 138
Loc: midwest
That reminds me,last year a group of "alternate lifestyle" people camped all summer long under a bridge in my hometown. They had 3-4 dome tents and even a couple children. The group spent their days "spanging" locals at the nearby "hot spots", (it's a yuppie haven).

Early fall they were found out, a story was run in the daily paper and someone called the local health department. Before the inspector could get out there they had cleared out, even picked up all their trash, leaving nothing behind.
We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking. Finis Mitchell

#115636 - 05/07/09 05:22 PM Re: long term camping [Re: ]
jpanderson80 Offline

Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Memphis, TN
I think that you could find plenty of areas in local parks that would allow you to dwell for a while. I imagine that some land owners might even let you hang out on their land. Do you know any? I was just thinking... after a few weeks in the woods, I bet you'll want to be close enough to get out and grab a burger and milk shake!

Everyone is mentioning the damage to the campsite when staying in an area for several days... I suggest a hammock for stealth and less damage to the ground. Also, with the nice ~warm~ temps in TN in the summer, a hammock will be nice!
I always forget and make it more complicated than it needs to's just walking.


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