The ultimate checklist for primitive camping for overlanders

There’s nothing quite like camping in a place that totally belongs to you – pure solitude unimpeded by nothing other than perhaps a few resident creatures and gusts of wind. Imagine nothing but you, fire (if allowed), and the night sky, far from the crowds and turmoil.

It’s an idyllic perfect experience – and rare. However, you can increase your odds by primitive camping – also known as wild camping, distraction camping, freedom camping, or camping. Whatever you call it, this style of camping means you’re out of the box. And you should pack your belongings if you don’t have all the luxurious amenities that come with a managed camp: running water, trash cans, toilets, electricity, and cell service.

So, the preparation needed for camping is outside of the crowds the camp It looks a little different (depending on your mechanism of access). For backpackers, hikers, cyclists and rowers, the checklist hinges on your total distance, cargo weight, and back-country priorities. However, for those who drive to the destination, the packing list is only limited to what your excavator can carry – one of the biggest advantages of off-road driving to a remote camp site.

The self-sustaining vehicle path that takes several days off the beaten track (read: temple) is often referred to as Exaggeration. Steering off-road means focusing here on understanding your flight capabilities, as well as what to pack for emergencies.

There are rules for this rugged and rogue camping style – especially as many of the primitive camping spots have become more popular in recent years. Knowing where you are going is more important than ever, as is assessing your impact on vulnerable natural environments. Do not miss any trace The principles must be upheld in primitive camp settings, no matter how you get there.

Other than that, here is a breakdown of what to know and how to plan.

The pros and cons of primitive camping

Positives: Solitude in nature is accompanied by a challenge (and fun) to get there. It’s that easy.

Negatives: The challenge of finding accurate and up-to-date information. Often times, you gamble where to go. More planning and preparatory work is required compared to the average car camping trip, as you will likely be venturing far from help, and out of cell service. Even with more common areas, planning still includes ensuring that your drilling rig is capable and ready for different types of terrain, and that you have sufficient water, food, and gas. Without the proper equipment and information, plans for a quiet night’s sleep under the stars can quickly turn into a sketch.

How to find primitive camp sites

Primitive campsites are conducted on state and federally administered public lands, which make up about half of the western United States. With so much open space, knowing where to start your search can be daunting.

Follow this primitive camping guide to make the most of your next wildlife adventure.
Courtesy Image

These areas include BLM lands, national and state parks, national forests, national grasslands, and wildlife management areas. Try to get started with Google Maps: Look at the state you want to explore, and search for national forests and other public lands in the area. Once you’ve chosen your field of interest, then comes the fun part (along with the stress of searching).

Since you are driving to your destination, it is time to address your car with the tough questions: Are you a 4 × 4? What is your ground clearance? What type and condition of the tire are you working with? Knowing your vehicle’s limits, along with your off-road driving experience, will help you hone your reach. First time? Consider starting with a more popular area and with good traffic (you can usually tell if a place is more popular from the amount of information available online). Look at topographic maps to determine routes, and work out miles for each route you expect to travel. Make sure you have at least twice the amount of off-road mileage that you count, as your car’s fuel economy is halved when off-roading.

Follow this primitive camping guide to make the most of your next wildlife adventure.
Courtesy Image

Bottom line: Do your research and know where to turn, given the fact that many off-road are extremely vulnerable to changes with the weather. A single rainstorm can turn your way from dust to sludge into a matter of survival. Make sure to print, screenshot, or download your map for your reference when you exit the service – just like old times, right?

Here are some online resources worth exploring:

This app can help identify potential areas. Use the filters to select “Dispersed Camping” under “Camping Style”, and specify the type of excavator you have under “Vehicle Access”.

Google Earth is an excellent place to search for hours and see where you will be adventuring. Measure the distance and get 2D and 3D views from the air and “street” of distant roads.

This community managed site is another great resource for narrowing down options. Simply type in the area of ​​interest to you, and a list of different camping styles and locations will appear. Make sure you look at the description and that it says “distracting” or “primitive.”

Download a robust network of maps (chalk filled with the latest information about land administration and lane availability / closure details) to use when outside coverage areas, using your phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) to track your progress and locate waypoints. Paid plan starting at $ 29 annually upgrades from the basic (free) edition.

What do you pack?

Off-road driving means space and horsepower to pack plenty of water, food, and amenities that you wouldn’t normally bring backpackers (or even camping by car on a combined trip). Pack the pan and telescope out of cast iron – it will be worth it.

This spring, I went with a few friends for desert camping at Fish Creek Wash in Anza Borrego State Park. This is Southern California Camp destination It can get hot quickly, so getting more water was a top priority. We brought with us a collapsible water jug ​​containing 5.3 gallons of water, plus two bottles of 32 ounce water per person. Whatever you use to store water, stick to basic guidelines of one gallon per person per day.

From there, the deeper you go, the more you need, and the more difficult it is to adapt to changing weather, where adding equipment to absorb rain and wind is important. Also, preparing for wildlife in the target area should be an idea, as items such as insect spray, Tecnu, and lifesaver bear cans can be.

Here is a checklist of essential items needed for your next off-road / primitive camping trip.

Follow this primitive camping guide to make the most of your next wildlife adventure.
Katie Rodriguez

For your camping experience

  • Trash bags: Use them to pack your trash, including toilet paper and binary digits (especially when camping in high alpine areas or desert landscapes where they are buried in the right way Not an option, see more under Trigger below).
  • Food and cooking equipment: Bring A stove of your choiceOr, cook the food well in cast iron Above fire (If regulations allow). Be sure to Installation package Like oil, cutting boards, spices …
  • Fire pan: Many managed Public lands Do not allow fires, especially during the summer months when many places in the West are drier and more vulnerable to wildfire hazards. For areas that allow fires, consider Portable fire pit Or move around to reduce the impact on your camping area.
  • Hand sanitizer / soap
  • Headlights, flashlights or lanterns
  • Pocketknife or Multi tool
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pillow And a pillow (or put your jacket in the bag you bring in your sleeping bag)
  • tent
  • Trowel: This is when the no-trace principles are particularly important. Once you do your job, be sure to pack a shovel and dig the soil at least 6 inches deep, and within 200 feet of water sources and paths. No soil? Imagine you pick up your dog and pack your poop with you.
  • Toilet paper, rags, or paper towels (baby diaper wipes are more easy to use than you can imagine)
  • Water: a lot of it.

To your car

  • Spare tire, jack and iron tires
  • Tow belts, suitable for the weight of your vehicle
  • MaxTraxs: While not totally necessary, it pulled me out of some tough situations. It acts as a shovel and a dragboard that can dramatically change the rules of the game when stuck in soft sediment.
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • For a comprehensive pre-maintenance checklist, see this list at– Useful and extremely useful for a wide range of different types of compounds.
Follow this primitive camping guide to make the most of your next wildlife adventure.
Katie Rodriguez

How do you know if your car is capable

The terrain at Anza Borrego, for example, is very diverse, covering 640,000 acres. It is known for its harshest landscapes and the most primitive terrain – whatever adventure you want. Our biggest question was when to turn around and when to continue. Fortunately, our vehicle’s ability to handle a variety of terrain made it easy to choose the latter, in the Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss with 2-inch lift, 33-inch DuraTrac Mud-Terrain tires, and a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp. And off-road skid plates and shocks. High horsepower and recoverable suspension inspired confidence off-road, creep over larger rocks and speed during deep, tough washes.

No, you don’t need a new outback camping truck, but it definitely offers a lot more freedom to explore further. All-wheel drive is the perfect entryway if you expect to deal with some shallow sandy, dirt roads or uncommon off-road areas. Adding Modifications to your vehicle It is the next step, although often expensive, with the necessary research of initial steps such as lifting or even adding larger tires (without properly rewiring, for example, it will ruin the car’s fuel economy).

Bottom line: 4 × 4 and some solid all-terrain tires work with many of the lightest off-road variants. In some places, two-way payment is sufficient; Users on sites like He will sometimes provide notes about this in the camp descriptions. Be sure to check the weather and terrain conditions beforehand, and Always You have a plan B.

Helpful resources

Off-road driving rules in national parks

Primitive USDA camping rules

Leave no trace of principles

How to get rid of your car

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Written by Joseph

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