Where to Find and Enjoy Dispersed Camping

What is Dispersed Camping?

Dispersed camping is when you camp outside of a designated campground in a national forest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, or other public areas. This type of camping is different from camping within designated campgrounds because there are no established amenities such as restrooms, water, or fire pits. Dispersed camping is an excellent way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. You’ll have the opportunity to escape from the crowds and immerse yourself in the natural environment.

Benefits of Dispersed Camping

  • Privacy
  • Freedom to explore
  • Quieter environment
  • No need for reservations
  • Free camping

Disadvantages of Dispersed Camping

  • No amenities
  • No security
  • No guarantee of a spot to camp
  • Can be difficult to find

Where to Disperse Camp

Dispersed camping is allowed on most public lands, including national forest lands and BLM lands. You can find dispersed camping areas by looking at maps of public lands, or by asking forest service rangers for information. Most public lands have specific rules and regulations for dispersed camping, so it’s essential to follow those guidelines to ensure that you are camping in a safe and legal manner.>

National Forests

National forests are a great place to go dispersed camping. Most national forests allow dispersed camping, but some have specific areas where it is allowed. Before you go dispersed camping in a national forest, check with the forest service to make sure that you are following the rules and regulations.

BLM Land

BLM land is also a great place to go dispersed camping. BLM land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which is a government agency that manages public lands. BLM land is often located in remote areas, which makes it an excellent place to go dispersed camping.

Other Public Lands

Other public lands, such as state parks or wildlife management areas, may also allow dispersed camping. It’s essential to check with the managing agency to make sure that dispersed camping is allowed and to get any necessary permits or permissions.

How to Prepare for Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping requires more preparation than camping in a designated campground. You’ll need to bring everything that you need with you, including food, water, and camping gear. You should also be prepared to pack out all of your trash and follow Leave No Trace principles.

What to Bring

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Cookware and utensils
  • Cooler with food and drinks
  • Water filter or purification tablets
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Map and compass
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Extra batteries

Leave No Trace Principles

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impact
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

Tips for Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it does require some extra preparation and planning. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your dispersed camping experience:

1. Research the Area

Before you go dispersed camping, research the area that you plan to visit. Look at maps, check with the managing agency, and read trip reports from other campers.

2. Arrive Early

Dispersed camping is first-come, first-served, so it’s essential to arrive early to secure a spot. If you arrive late, you may find that all of the good spots are taken.

3. Camp Responsibly

When you’re dispersed camping, it’s essential to camp responsibly. Follow Leave No Trace principles, pack out all of your trash, and respect the natural environment.

4. Be Prepared for Weather

Weather can be unpredictable when you’re dispersed camping. Be prepared for rain, wind, and other weather conditions by bringing appropriate clothing and gear.

5. Be Wildlife Aware

When you’re dispersed camping, you’re sharing the natural environment with wildlife. Be aware of the animals that live in the area and take steps to keep yourself and the wildlife safe.


Dispersed camping is an excellent way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. With a little extra preparation and planning, you can have a safe and enjoyable camping experience. Whether you’re camping in a national forest, BLM land, or other public lands, make sure to follow the rules and regulations and camp responsibly. With the right gear and a positive attitude, dispersed camping can be a rewarding and memorable experience.>

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