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Old 01-26-2021, 12:18 PM   #1
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Boondocking safe?

Is boondocking safe? Some areas seem amazing to camp, but should I be concerned about safety for my wife and I?
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:23 PM   #2
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Generally, yes.

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Never had a safety issue in 19 years of RVíing, and been traveling just with my dog almost 7 years now.

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Old 01-26-2021, 01:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Navodlum1 View Post
Is boondocking safe? Some areas seem amazing to camp, but should I be concerned about safety for my wife and I?
By definition? No.
You are far from help, and maybe don't even have cell service. At best, when you go explore, your RV and all your possessions are there for a creative thief.
Having said that, not many people have an issue. Perhaps the bad guys stay close to home. Who knows.
Also, a lot of 'dispersed camping' areas have other RV'ers there and that provides some safety.
I know I want to try it in the future since the locations are beautiful and the price is right. You can stay on the road much longer if you budget in some free overnights or weeks.
I brought a firearm in years past, and I spent so much time worrying about it, either from a legal aspect or it getting stolen that I stopped.
I've never had even the hint of trouble. I did pass on the Flaming George NRA because I got that "Why is everyone staring at me" feeling. It was a beautiful location and maybe they were worried I was the bad guy.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:15 PM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

We have been Airtsreaming for a long time. We have always felt safe in all of our camping venues including boondocking. We always try to be aware of our surroundings and conduct ourselves accordingly.

We also always carry our emergency locator beacon. We have it mainly for hiking, but we do bring it into the Airstream at night. The beacon works regardless of cell phone signal availability.

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Old 01-26-2021, 01:18 PM   #5
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My recommendation is when you camp somewhere to check out BLM or other dispersed camping spots. Unfortunately, not all dispersed campers are considerate of natural spots or of people that might follow...trash, TP & human waste are potential hazards...I'll clean up trash but not the other 2! Also, there are areas that can be occupied by less than savory individuals...you can usually tell during your recon of areas. Finally, checking out spots in just your tow vehicle is advisable in assessing access & departure. And as mentioned, areas that have other RV'ers/campers that seem like minded goes a long way towards feeling comfortable and being safe.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:21 PM   #6
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Camping out everywhere since 1970...51 years..never a problem
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Old 01-26-2021, 02:49 PM   #7
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Not sure if the safety of the pre-Covid-19 world will map well into the future.

Lots of societal imbalances will need time to re-balance.



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Old 01-26-2021, 03:48 PM   #8
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Legally carrying a firearm for personal protection is not a bad thing. The key there is legally. All states are not the same regarding carry laws. Just because you are licensed in one state to carry doesnít mean that applies elsewhere. And Iím pretty sure itís illegal in all National Parks. Not sure about Other federal properties such as BLM , but at least where I live it is legal on National Forrest land. So it can get kind of tricky. Otherwise if you worried a good can of bear spray might not be a bad idea to keep handy. Like others have said, I have camped on and off most of my life in tents and RVís and never had an issue nor do personally know anyone that has. Best suggestion would be to just be aware of your surroundings but that would apply to life in general, not just camping.
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Old 01-26-2021, 05:14 PM   #9
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S&w

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Old 01-26-2021, 05:24 PM   #10
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Been camping/boondocking in the Mojave Desert for decades.

Not one scary/criminal experience. Just some funny ones.

Harder to have crime when there is no one around but you.
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:16 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the information. We look forward to trying new "off the beaten path" areas. I do like the bear spray idea!
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:17 PM   #12
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Could bad stuff happen? Yes, but it is so rare that it would make the news. I have no problem carrying a properly stored firearm, there are many handgun safes with quick push button combinations. Certainly nice if there are a few other campers around.

One thing though we now never go to Mexico, too bad used to enjoy going down Sea of Cortez side of Baja.

You are likely at higher risk walking the streets in any big city nowadays than boondocking, and people get mugged and carjacked in shopping center parking lots.

Enjoy the stars
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:46 PM   #13
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Great idea to unhook and drive the proposed road first.
Also, my fear is based on east coast mentality. I find the west much more friendly.
Long ago I met a guy who slept in his van in the Arizona desert. I asked if he was afraid of being mugged. He said no because everyone knows that everyone else is armed, so they don't bother you.

I posted a link to the YouTube family "Finding our Someday" who boondock a lot. Not only do they scope out the road, but also send up a drone to look ahead. Perhaps the site is full or there's no place to turn around. Smart.
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:50 PM   #14
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We do not own a gun.

I guess if a "bad guy with a gun" wanted to harm us, we wouldn't be the "good guy with a gun." Oh, well.

1. The main safety issues that would concern us would be a health emergency. We carry a serious first aid kit, and recognize that in some of those beautiful back-of-beyond camping spots, there is no cell phone service. If your camping partner tripped and hit her head on a rock and was bleeding, would you know what to do? Especially consider if one of your party is on essential medication or is allergic to bee/wasp stings.

2. We also don't go into places where a big change in weather might strand us, specifically thinking of flash floods in the desert. We carry a shovel and bucket for minor road repairs but taking a chain saw to deal with a fallen tree over the road in the mountains might be worthwhile.

3. Most importantly--and this also applies to any type of remote back-country campers-- is to let someone know your itinerary and when you expect to be back in civilazation. Let them know if you're cool with a day or two past your estimated ETA to cell phone range or back home. You might simply be happy with an extra day in your site, or waiting for dirt roads to dry out a bit. But there should be a point at which your home team would call Search and Rescue if they don't hear from you-- who would also know, thanks to the itinerary you gave your back-up people-- approximately where to look for you.

Of course, it is essentially that you contact your home contact folks immediately when you're back out of your remote excursion. You don't want the local county Search and Rescue team hunting for you when you're back on track, cruising down the paved highway. Let alone the needless anxiety you've caused your friends or family members.

4. Then also, be aware of what might happen in your specific locale. Bear Country? Bring some bear spray and know what to do if you surprise a bear at close range. Desert? Bring tons of extra water in case you are stranded for a few days-- and use it sparingly.

5. If there is something you would really need or depend upon, take a spare or an alternative back-up. We've had our electrical system fail when boondocking, for example, but carrying flashlights and LED lanterns minimized the inconvenience.

But if you take these precautions, you should have a memorable experience.
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Old 01-26-2021, 11:01 PM   #15
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A can of wasp spray is a cheap alternative to bear spray, and is dual purpose. It also shoots accurately and about 15-20 yards. That said, a nice .357 is always a welcome companion in the boonies.

You can say “I’ve been doing this for XX years without any problems”, and while it might be true, I personally have had a gun to my head once, and been stopped by armed men that I suspect were narco security types on two occasions. Neither time was I personally armed, and maybe that and my friendly demeanour were deciding factors in being able to talk my way out of the situations.

I still camp in the boonies regularly, but I tend to be a bit better prepared. I’m not paranoid or fearful, just more aware of what could happen.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
We do not own a gun.

I guess if a "bad guy with a gun" wanted to harm us, we wouldn't be the "good guy with a gun." Oh, well.

1. The main safety issues that would concern us would be a health emergency. We carry a serious first aid kit, and recognize that in some of those beautiful back-of-beyond camping spots, there is no cell phone service. If your camping partner tripped and hit her head on a rock and was bleeding, would you know what to do? Especially consider if one of your party is on essential medication or is allergic to bee/wasp stings.

2. We also don't go into places where a big change in weather might strand us, specifically thinking of flash floods in the desert. We carry a shovel and bucket for minor road repairs but taking a chain saw to deal with a fallen tree over the road in the mountains might be worthwhile.

3. Most importantly--and this also applies to any type of remote back-country campers-- is to let someone know your itinerary and when you expect to be back in civilazation. Let them know if you're cool with a day or two past your estimated ETA to cell phone range or back home. You might simply be happy with an extra day in your site, or waiting for dirt roads to dry out a bit. But there should be a point at which your home team would call Search and Rescue if they don't hear from you-- who would also know, thanks to the itinerary you gave your back-up people-- approximately where to look for you.

Of course, it is essentially that you contact your home contact folks immediately when you're back out of your remote excursion. You don't want the local county Search and Rescue team hunting for you when you're back on track, cruising down the paved highway. Let alone the needless anxiety you've caused your friends or family members.

4. Then also, be aware of what might happen in your specific locale. Bear Country? Bring some bear spray and know what to do if you surprise a bear at close range. Desert? Bring tons of extra water in case you are stranded for a few days-- and use it sparingly.

5. If there is something you would really need or depend upon, take a spare or an alternative back-up. We've had our electrical system fail when boondocking, for example, but carrying flashlights and LED lanterns minimized the inconvenience.

But if you take these precautions, you should have a memorable experience.
A lot of good advice in this post.

Want guns? Bring them. Don't want guns? Don't. Just remember even a little dog will warn you when people or animals are near.

Do what works for you.
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I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

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Old 01-27-2021, 12:22 PM   #17
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A can of wasp spray is a cheap alternative to bear spray, and is dual purpose. It also shoots accurately and about 15-20 yards. That said, a nice .357 is always a welcome companion in the boonies.

You can say “I’ve been doing this for XX years without any problems”, and while it might be true, I personally have had a gun to my head once, and been stopped by armed men that I suspect were narco security types on two occasions. Neither time was I personally armed, and maybe that and my friendly demeanour were deciding factors in being able to talk my way out of the situations.

I still camp in the boonies regularly, but I tend to be a bit better prepared. I’m not paranoid or fearful, just more aware of what could happen.
Only time I ran into armed men... Its was the Sheriffs Dept.

They had a boondocking rally under surveillance. Thought it was a reception committee for a drug plane. (Three Airstreams in the desert.)

Ran into them at their roadblock. Had a conversation and they came on down to the camp. Found a bunch of my fellow geezers in Hawiian shirts having happy hour pot luck.

They stayed for a bit to check us out and a couple of the deputies dug the Airstreams so they were offered tours.
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I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

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Old 01-27-2021, 01:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Goin camping View Post
A lot of good advice in this post.

Want guns? Bring them. Don't want guns? Don't. Just remember even a little dog will warn you when people or animals are near.

Do what works for you.
Our usual security system just now is to avoid any situations where we don't feel comfortable, although we recognize that our "spidey sense" might fail us. Our back-up security system is an 85-lb Newfoundland-border collie with a very deep bark. Sure, I supposed a bad guy with a gun could shoot him, but I doubt that someone mostly interested in theft would bother.

On one unforgettable car-camping trip in the San Rafael desert, late one night, when someone in a truck kept nosing into potential boondocking sites-- and then appeared to be heading towards ours, we simply left the site and waited in the brush nearby till he was gone. In hindsight, he might have just been looking for his camping buddies, but had he been looking for trouble, there was no reason to wait around for a possible confrontation.

We had two episodes of someone coming right into our campsite late at night, but one was in campground when a fellow 'Streamer (and a MD) simply wanted to say howdy, when he saw our lights on. The other was also in the desert, concerning a man who had crashed his small plane 20 miles away. He decided to walk out, and we were the first people he encountered. He left two grandkids back in the plane, young but uninjured.. Needless to say, we drove him to the nearest town and the county law enforcement and Search and Rescue took over from there.



And yeah, we'd rather be desert camping, too.
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Navodlum1 View Post
Is boondocking safe? Some areas seem amazing to camp, but should I be concerned about safety for my wife and I?

Take precautions (as some have already mentioned) then hope you never need them, since you likely never will. Also, don't stay in an area that gives you bad vibes.
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Old 01-27-2021, 04:11 PM   #20
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In the 20 years we have been Boondocking in Canada have never had a problem or felt unsafe - that does not mean we are stupid or risk takers.
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