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Free and Low Cost Camp Sites for "Poor Folks"

Old 02-23-17, 04:32 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
All real property is legally owned by someone.
Ya but if its alongside a highway or railroad tracks the entity that owns it is likely to be a government or large corporation and folks in the area are less likely to take your presence personally, if they even notice.
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Old 02-23-17, 06:24 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post

A note on Canada - "Crown Lands" are roughly the equivalent of U.S. federal lands. But, rather than being managed on the federal level, they are managed by each province - so policies vary. Generally, if it is Crown Land, you can free camp. But, there are ongoing negotiations with First Nations to settle long-standing land claims. The status of any specific area can change.
In Alberta you can camp on crown land but you are supposed to be 1 km from a road. And you can't camp on Crown land that is held by a grazing lease. How you determine that I do not know.

In BC you can camp on crown lands, and there are a large number of free primitive camp sites -picnic table, tent pad, outhouse. Most of these are some distance from paved roads.

You can't camp on First Nations lands without permission. In some place you maybe approached by a First Nations person claiming that you are on land (that you assumed was Crown) claimed by a First Nation and demanding payment. The safest thing to do is pay them. This last possibility is remote but it has happened to me.
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Old 02-24-17, 06:47 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Nominal fee, there is a Hiker Biker section of many state parks.
They are a great option when available, but I have not found hiker biker sites to be available in the state parks of the large majority of states. I am trying unsuccessfully to remember any state park hiker biker sites other than in Oregon or California. I may have seen and or stayed in one somewhere, but they are not widely available across the US.

Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
When you come into a small town at 8pm go directly to the police station and tell a cop that there isn't enough daylight left and you need a place to sleep.
I started out expecting to do that often, but in practice I have seldom actually done that. It seems that in the areas where I'd be likely to ask the local police, either the towns were too small to have local cops or I found somewhere that I had permission for or found out that there was a place that it was common practice to camp in.

Strangely enough the only time I actually was awoken by the police shining a light in my face was when staying at a place where we had permission AND the management had called the police to make them aware that our presence was okay. The word never got passed to the cops going on duty at the late night shift change. That was outside the fence of a Baptist day camp. We were woken and the cop hung around for 20 minutes calling and waking folks up to find someone who could verify our story. We were probably lucky that he didn't notice that the unlocked lock on the gate was carefully placed to look like it was locked. The staff left it open for us so we could use the restrooms, which was definitely a no no. We were happy we didn't get them in trouble and sorry that others got woken up. I imagine that they just said no to the next tourists that asked to camp there.
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Old 02-24-17, 07:25 AM
  #29  
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I'd love to see Les Stroud get into bikepacking and touring.
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Old 02-26-17, 10:21 PM
  #30  
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I've discovered churches as the perfect place to camp. Unless it has chains blocking the lot or posted no trespassing.
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Old 02-26-17, 10:59 PM
  #31  
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People who get up at dawn have far less problems than people that sleep till the sun is high in the sky.. There has to be enough light to see if youo picked up everything before you leave.

The guy that Had many beers and broke something left with the sherif. He did not seem to care that I camped in the picinc shelter, after I told him I do not drink alcohol.

I have never seen a sober person get more than a ¨move on.¨

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Old 03-07-17, 10:54 PM
  #32  
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Some county or city campgrounds are inexpensive, and may have H&B sites in California or just offer reduced rates for cyclists. But you have to be freakin' Sherlock Holmes sometimes to find out about them. Inland San Diego County campgrounds such as Potrero had a formalized H&B program for that a decade or two ago, and I've seen recent trip journals where a pair of cyclists were offered half off a site at the same place recently, so it seem to be back in an informal manner. It doesn't hurt to call the place first to confirm they have some discount instead of depending on a website or app.

You live in coastal SoCal, and would have to compete with the large transient population for any stealth camping opportunities. Once you get a little ways out of towns, there's much less competition.

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Old 03-08-17, 12:52 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
Some county or city campgrounds are inexpensive, and may have H&B sites in California or just offer reduced rates for cyclists. But you have to be freakin' Sherlock Holmes sometimes to find out about them. Inland San Diego County campgrounds such as Potrero had a formalized H&B program for that a decade or two ago, and I've seen recent trip journals where a pair of cyclists were offered half off a site at the same place recently, so it seem to be back in an informal manner. It doesn't hurt to call the place first to confirm they have some discount instead of depending on a website.

You live in coastal SoCal, and would have to compete with the large transient population for any stealth camping opportunities. Once you get a little ways out of towns, there's much less competition.
I'll definitely do all the checking ahead I can, if only to find out where places like that may be along my route. And yes, the homeless drug-addicts at the beach really come out at night, and it gets dangerous at times. Through in a few gang-bangers here and there, and it gets that much worse.
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Old 03-08-17, 05:04 PM
  #34  
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At least at the CA state beach campgrounds I've stayed at, the staff seem to make much more of an effort to restrict the chronic homeless from taking advantage of the H&B sites then they did in the bad old days (80's), when they often were de facto mini hobo jungles stocked with the mentally ill and drug abusers. The takeaway is to look clean, well groomed, and the less like a methhead, the better, for when the ranger at the entrance kiosk casts their jaundiced eye on you.

If you get into pretty good shape and don't mind climbing, many of the state park campgrounds in the Sierra around Lake Tahoe also offer H&B sites the last I checked or did a tour there. Some, like Grover Hot Springs State Park south of Tahoe, don't have dedicated sites, but let you set up camp anywhere in the picnic area late in the day for a few dollars. Amtrak has service to Truckee and South Lake Tahoe that'll take bikes if you would like a boost up to the 6000 ft. elevation and avoid the summer heat at lower elevations. There's also loads of great scenery, lots of legal free and stealth camping opportunities, and minimal homeless competition for the H&B sites.

How far north are you looking to go north along the coast? It could save money to get the ACA Pacific Coast route maps for that section, since they can have tips for free camping--I sort of remember from other's trip journals that the fire station in Guadalupe would allow cyclists to camp free and use their restrooms, as an example.

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Old 03-08-17, 05:36 PM
  #35  
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After you stop shopping for Gear and more Bikes, and actually go somewhere, it will be more self evident..

Have you gone Camping, At All, before?





....
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Old 03-08-17, 06:18 PM
  #36  
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Not sure how useful this website might be. Haven't ever actually used it to any effect but it's apropos of the thread topic: Free and Low-Cost Campsites
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Old 03-08-17, 06:50 PM
  #37  
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This went up my Facebook feed lately

Amazing places in California where you can camp for free - SFGate
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Old 03-08-17, 09:17 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
Not sure how useful this website might be. Haven't ever actually used it to any effect but it's apropos of the thread topic: Free and Low-Cost Campsites
I would take this with a grain of salt. I checked what shows up locally and they list a few places in Banff National Park, basically parking lots at trail heads with toilets. You can't camp there, its illegal, you will be fined. You might get away with sleeping in your vehicle if you are unobtrusive, but if you pitch a tent or anything like that they will find you. Illegal camping is something they are cracking down on.
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Old 03-08-17, 11:34 PM
  #39  
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Yeah, in Virginia most of the state/nat'l/KOAcampgrounds are a bit expensive & in many areas stealth camping might be risky. OTOH on DC-Richmond section of US Bicycle Route 1 I was surprised to see some unposted/uppopulated spots that looked OK for ~legal stealth camping. I'm just not clear on how folks clean up w/o showers, maybe a liter of water is enough for a sponge bath?
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Old 03-09-17, 12:26 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
...I'm just not clear on how folks clean up w/o showers, maybe a liter of water is enough for a sponge bath?
Stand on a rock naked, 2 liter water bladder with a pull top, Dr. Bronners, bandanna towel is what I use for a woods Navy shower. If too cold for a shower, then a Navy shampoo my hair while bending over and sponge bath the body section at a time. Hate hitting the sack without cleaning up after a sweaty day.
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Old 03-09-17, 07:04 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
After you stop shopping for Gear and more Bikes, and actually go somewhere, it will be more self evident..

Have you gone Camping, At All, before?





....
...and Bob's your uncle!
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Old 03-09-17, 07:28 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
I'm just not clear on how folks clean up w/o showers, maybe a liter of water is enough for a sponge bath?
A liter is fine but I usually use wipes to hit the pit-areas. To note: I always pack-out my used wipes.
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Old 03-09-17, 07:47 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Yeah, in Virginia most of the state/nat'l/KOAcampgrounds are a bit expensive & in many areas stealth camping might be risky. OTOH on DC-Richmond section of US Bicycle Route 1 I was surprised to see some unposted/uppopulated spots that looked OK for ~legal stealth camping. I'm just not clear on how folks clean up w/o showers, maybe a liter of water is enough for a sponge bath?
Sinks in public toilets.
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Old 03-09-17, 10:39 AM
  #44  
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& WC/wash rooms, where you buy Breakfast.
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Old 03-09-17, 03:25 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
& WC/wash rooms, where you buy Breakfast.
In summer trips in the California mountains, I try to use state parks with hot showers as much as possible, but between those, have used sinks, a garden hose outside an empty volunteer fire station, gone swimming in lakes or streams (no soap in the water, though!), or if it was too cold for swimming, heated up a liter of water on my stove and split it between two liter water bottles for an DIY mini-shower--one for soaping up and one for rinse. You could also use one of those solar showers and heat water for it if there was no sun, but one of those would be just extra weight IMO when I had perfectly good water bottles.

Your swimming choices along the southern half of the California coast will be limited to the ocean, which will leave you salty and sandy, or maybe where some stream empties into the sea (more water this year, for sure). A developed beach with restrooms also will usually have indoor or outdoor unheated water showers that you can use with soap for free if you are just passing by on your way to a stealth camp. If outdoors, keep your bike shorts on and get them halfway washed with the shower water, then go inside, dry off, change into a clean pair of shorts, then finish washing out the dirty shorts for the next day. (Though in the very dry warm air in the Sierra, I'd just put them back on and they'd be dry within 30 minutes)

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Old 03-09-17, 03:34 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
All real property is legally owned by someone.
Lived in Northern California for well over twenty years. In that part of the country what you treat as a given just isn't so. Most of the land is state and federal. Of the remaining, large chunks are owned by the power companies and timber companies like Fruit-Growers that allow non-destructive uses.

Next week I expect to be cycle touring between a couple of national grasslands which clearly state that rough camping is permitted ( will be on an e-bike; don't panic, I wont write about it here).
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Old 03-09-17, 03:35 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
& WC/wash rooms, where you buy Breakfast.
In summer trips in the California mountains, I try to use state parks with hot showers as much as possible, but between those, have used sinks, a garden hose outside an empty volunteer fire station, gone swimming in lakes or streams (no soap in the water, though!), or if it was too cold for swimming, heated up a liter of water on my stove and split it between two liter water bottles for an DIY mini-shower--one for soaping up and one for rinse. You could also use one of those solar showers and heat water for it if there was no sun, but one of those would be just extra weight IMO when I had perfectly good water bottles.

Your swimming choices along the southern half of the California coast will be limited to the ocean, which will leave you salty and sandy, or maybe where some stream empties into the sea (more water this year, for sure).
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Old 03-09-17, 03:53 PM
  #48  
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Is Camping in the Emerald Triangle , less likely to be met by a Gun toting 'Farmer" now that growing MJ has become more Legit?


I got to use the yard or property of several places, by asking th people living there first .
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Old 03-09-17, 07:56 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Lived in Northern California for well over twenty years. In that part of the country what you treat as a given just isn't so. Most of the land is state and federal. Of the remaining, large chunks are owned by the power companies and timber companies like Fruit-Growers that allow non-destructive uses.
Those are "someones." The point being is that there is no real property that is not owned by a person or entity, outside of of Antartica and relatively few other places.

And the post you quoted never discussed legality of any activity. Again, I was merely pointing out that there is no property "outside of property lines." Reading comprehension is fundamental.

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Old 03-09-17, 09:45 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Is Camping in the Emerald Triangle , less likely to be met by a Gun toting 'Farmer" now that growing MJ has become more Legit?


I got to use the yard or property of several places, by asking th people living there first .
I've wondered the same thing, been in some sketchy areas in Emerald triangle / lost coast, gotta be a little careful but would imagine once it's legal in CA that area is going to change quite a bit. 20 somethings with brand new lifted pickups, underground industry drives the economy of that whole area. Will be interesting how the dynamic changes. Maybe they'll pave the roads to help drive tourism...
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