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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:13 pm 
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I'm looking into staying over night in a dispersed camp site that would handle a vehicle and maybe a travel trailer. (might rent a couple to test the waters on this stuff) :?
This has been on my mind for quite a while and a bucket list item for me. After a lot of thought, I'm wanting to get a truck to use for truck stuff, maybe toss a shell on it, sleep in the bed, and or tow a small trailer that I would rent. (Can't park one at my current house and can't see paying to park it elsewhere.)
Also, I'm not a toss a tent on the ground kinda guy so I would like to try this way if possible.

Do you know of any places in San Diego county or close by within about a 2 hours drive?
Thinking around Laguna, Cuyamacha, Big Bear, etc. Anywhere you can ride from the camp site.
Has anyone done this before or have ideas?
Thanks in advance :cheers:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:24 pm 
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I use freecampsites.net . There others overlander and campendium. You can contact the BLM office near the spot you want to stay to see if they have any help. The rangers are helpful for National Forest. It’s always a crapshoot you might find a homeless camp. I am going to try camping along snake creek in Great Basin national park. Then head to the Sawtooth mountains looks like there’s a lot of camping around there. The closer to town you get the more chances that you have homeless.
An example of literature I used to determine that could camp on snake Creek

Primitive Campgrounds
Snake Creek Campgrounds

Campers must be in designated sites along these roads and backcountry camping regulations apply. Tents must be placed within 30 feet of the site's picnic table(s) and/or fire ring(s). Generators may only be used between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Checkout time is noon. The maximum continuous stay limit at any campsite is 14 days.

Groups size is limited to 15 persons and/or 6 pack animals, and/or 6 vehicles per site. Larger groups must split into smaller groups within these limits, and must camp at separate sites. Larger groups may request an exception to these limits from the Superintendent under the terms of a Special Use Permit.

Snake Creek road is open year round, but can be muddy or snowy in the winter and spring. High clearance vehicles are recommended for these rough, dirt roads. RVs and trailers are not recommended at any time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:57 pm 
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Dirtrider, I've heard that these sorts of rentals have become quite popular lately, so it might be more difficult than usual to get one. Just saying you might want to start looking earlier rather than later. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:06 pm 
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Inconceivable wrote:
Dirtrider, I've heard that these sorts of rentals have become quite popular lately, so it might be more difficult than usual to get one. Just saying you might want to start looking earlier rather than later. :)


Yes, many want to get off the grid and are buying & renting like crazy now.
Heck, trucks are nutz now for new & used, if you can find them

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:13 pm 
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We just rented a baby Airstream for 3 weeks (only a 16ftr), and will be hitting the road in less than two weeks. (http://www.ourdoorsy.com for trailer/RV rentals btw). I've DL'ed Campendium and Recreation.gov so far, but unlike Tfitz, I have no experience using these yet.

I know there are spots around Laguna if you just want to get a feel for things. Fires are likely prohibited for whatever that's worth. I've not been, but how about Vail Lake? It's not off grid, but it's close, has bike stuff, stealth fishing, and could give you a quick taste without much hassle. From the IG pics I see from some friends, availability must be good because those mofo's are there all the dang time.

I'm unsure if the "trailer life" is for us either, so this will be a good experiment. But boy oh boy; after doing some research, 95% of trailers seem to be pure shit. Most have that "super-sweet" 80's brown carpet with linoleum vibe going on. Blech!

If you're considering one, some issues I've found are;

* A trailer seems to be the best of all worlds. You can disconnect it at your site and take your truck on excursions without losing your spot. After borrowing a very nice Mercedes Citation one year, I hated it. It drove like a dream and met more than our needs, but once we found a spot, we had to be glued to it. No thanks.
* A slide-out is awesome, but most trailer that have one are junk or have old-school interior, and the slide is prone to problems.
* If you want to travel in the winter, you'll need a trailer that is built for it, or you'll need to invest in winterizing your trailer.
* Airstreams still have quality issues, but are the creme de la creme, BUT no slide-out, EXPENSIVE, not great insulation, not great storage, and subject to hail damage (if you're concerned). But really, what is better?
* Oliver seems to be very good quality, but is relatively expensive and they don't have larger models (might not be an issue). And again no slide-out.
* NuCamp Avia looks pretty darned good - have I mentioned no slide-out yet? Much less expensive than Airstream. Fairly new to market, so not much info on issues/lack of issues. But this is one I'd take a hard look at.
* 5th Wheel. Too big for us, but worth considering for some. And even though they can be huge, they are easier to maneuver than a tail-hitch trailer.
* Maybe go old school and get a little canned ham or teardrop?
* With proliferation of Apps, #vanlife, and youtube traveler vids, sites are more well known and seem to be harder and harder to come by. (The secret is out!). It would suck to "invest" a bunch of shekels, only to be relegated to RV parks or barren desert lands.

So what are you getting? :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:41 pm 
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I’ve done trailers, tents, you name it. Hammocking is now my preferred sleep system. Have settled on this set up for when trees are not available.
All diy. 2 2x2 x 6’, 4 hurricane anchors, some eyelets and some rope.
Tarp and quilts added as weather requires.
Added bonus...learning knots helps maintain cognitive function.
In a pinch, I can sleep in the back of the suv at a rest stop or Walmart.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:06 pm 
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avidtest wrote:
So what are you getting? :lol:


Really, without the ability to park it my house, I won't buy anything at this time.
You need to use whatever you buy a lot to justify the purchase in most cases. I'm going to rent and give it back them when finished. :mrgreen: No insurance, no upkeep, no nuttin.
In the long run it might be a wiser use of the money.

Most newer trailers are pretty sweet. My friend has a smaller 16 footer she tows with a small SUV that has a large pull out for the whole kitchen area. There is also one on the back for another queen sized bed.

Looked at a couple of trucks and have found either junk, over priced, or all the above.
You have that part handled nicely though.. :cheers:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:08 pm 
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Spotter wrote:
I’ve done trailers, tents, you name it. Hammocking is now my preferred sleep system. Have settled on this set up for when trees are not available.
All diy. 2 2x2 x 6’, 4 hurricane anchors, some eyelets and some rope.
Tarp and quilts added as weather requires.
Added bonus...learning knots helps maintain cognitive function.
In a pinch, I can sleep in the back of the suv at a rest stop or Walmart.


Interesting choice & setup but I'm too much of a wuss for that. Might be sleeping in the SUV work mobile to try it out myself. Noticed the beer stool in that pic :cheers:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:40 pm 
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If traveling solo, I most like going minimalist by sleeping in the back of a truck or SUV. Take out the bike, which you had locked inside for security, lock it to the vehicle, slide your chair & stove etc underneath to stay dry, roll out your pad & bag and crawl in. A shell is nice to have on a truck for bad weather and more security - consider one that raises up for more headroom.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:06 pm 
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All great ideas on the how but any ideas on the where? Near riding areas so you can pedal from whatever camp type it is?
In St. George you can camp all around the Jem trail system but I personally don't see a bunch of fun factor there on the 2 times I went. Not sure where camping is next to TH's at Big Bear but I should be able to find out. EBikes aren't legal but that didn't stop me :ninja:
I remember a little over a year ago when I was crazy enough to pedal UP from Pine Valley, there were what looked like camping areas pretty close to Sunrise Hwy near Penny Pines TH. Might ride Friday and go over there and look around a bit

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:41 pm 
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There's some good conversations about the vehicle part of this question over on MTBR in the '50+' forum. Tons of various options out there depending on what you're willing to live without. Coming from the MX/desert scene, we had a toy hauler for many years. NO WAY I'd ever go back to no hot shower, real bed and ability to wait out bad weather while watching a movie in comfort.

You'd obviously want to do your research ahead of time but many of these rental places actually rent trailers that are owned by individuals. They just "manage" them for you. You obviously aren't paying for storage but they are renting your unit out to "strangers". They guarantee you a set # of rental nights per month. We looked into it and were going to make about $500 a month IIRC.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:37 am 
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Dirtrider wrote:
All great ideas on the how but any ideas on the where? Near riding areas so you can pedal from whatever camp type it is?
In St. George you can camp all around the Jem trail system but I personally don't see a bunch of fun factor there on the 2 times I went. Not sure where camping is next to TH's at Big Bear but I should be able to find out. EBikes aren't legal but that didn't stop me :ninja:
I remember a little over a year ago when I was crazy enough to pedal UP from Pine Valley, there were what looked like camping areas pretty close to Sunrise Hwy near Penny Pines TH. Might ride Friday and go over there and look around a bit



I am camping at Burnt Ranchita campground up on Mount Laguna next week, it is not dispersed free camping, I think the site is $20/night but it has a picnic table and fire pit at the site, pit toilets in the campground, but it is a quick pedal to Gatos Ravine and the Laguna trail system.

Normally we would camp at the Big Laguna Campground, but that one is under renovation and we were not able to reserve spots for the dates we wanted.

We have a 23' Fleetwood Prowler, it is a 1997 model that we picked up in Mayof 2019 and the previous owner replaced the toilet at one point. Everything works, we have used it 5 times since we purchased it and it just fits in my driveway. At this size it fits myself, my wife and our 2 small children just fine and will do so for many years to come.

Are you stuck on not paying for a campsite in a campground? I have done dispersed camping down in the desert behind Julian years ago, but man it gets hot out there this time of year, and one would need a generator running to use the AC.
On our way home from Yosemite last November we stopped for a night in Hungry Valley and while you do have to pay for overnight camping, the camp sites were very primitive.


Last edited by klurejr on Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:12 pm 
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Yes, as San Diego County has grown most of the dispersed camping has disappeared, outside of the desert. Generally speaking dispersed camping is found on USFS and BLM land. A lot of that is poorly maintained dirt roads, sometimes small sites, sometimes adjacent to private property, where you might want to be unobtrusive, so that’s why a truck or SUV, not a trailer or RV, is the typical vehicle. I’ve used semi-stealth mode a number of times in various National Forests while on road trips. In our local mountains you are mostly stuck with designated campgrounds, but there are primitive ones. There are possible places in the backcountry to park overnight, but not necessarily ride from camp, unless you don’t mind riding mostly 4WD truck trails. There are places like MCain Valley southeast of Laguna, but getting pretty hot there now. You mentioned JEM trails in Utah - next trip hit Gooseberry Mesa for excellent free dispersed camping and great riding. Also, try to get more info out of tfitz - he’s a master at this.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:20 pm 
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klurejr wrote:
Dirtrider wrote:
All great ideas on the how but any ideas on the where? Near riding areas so you can pedal from whatever camp type it is?
In St. George you can camp all around the Jem trail system but I personally don't see a bunch of fun factor there on the 2 times I went. Not sure where camping is next to TH's at Big Bear but I should be able to find out. EBikes aren't legal but that didn't stop me :ninja:
I remember a little over a year ago when I was crazy enough to pedal UP from Pine Valley, there were what looked like camping areas pretty close to Sunrise Hwy near Penny Pines TH. Might ride Friday and go over there and look around a bit



I am camping at Burnt Ranchita campground up on Mount Laguna next week, it is not dispersed free camping, I think the site is $20/night but it has a picnic table and fire pit at the site, pit toilets in the campground, but it is a quick pedal to Gatos Ravine and the Laguna trail system.

Normally we would camp at the Big Laguna Campground, but that one is under renovation and we were not able to reserve spots for the dates we wanted.

We have a 23' Fleetwood Prowler, it is a 1996 model that we picked up in April of 2019 for $5k. It has solar added to help keep the batteries topped off, it has an upgrade AC unit and the previous owner replaced the toilet at one point. Everything works, we have used it 5 times since we purchased it and it just fits in my driveway. At this size it fits myself, my wife and our 2 small children just fine and will do so for many years to come.

Are you stuck on not paying for a campsite in a campground? I have done dispersed camping down in the desert behind Julian years ago, but man it gets hot out there this time of year, and one would need a generator running to use the AC.
On our way home from Yosemite last November we stopped for a night in Hungry Valley and while you do have to pay for overnight camping, the camp sites were very primitive.


Burnt Ranchita shows this on the map>>> Permanently closed
Maybe it opened up recently?? I think I read that you had to do online reservations.

Money isn't the issue but was just looking at trying to have the more "off the grid" feel without getting robbed, beaten, or eaten experience :lol: :shock:

That spot looks like it's not far from the fire station and close to the TH too.
Thank you for the info and enjoy the weekend. Heck, you might find some fat old guy riding around there also :cheers:


EDIT: Just checked the FS web site and it's totally booked up & open. Another reason for dispersed camping options

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:24 pm 
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^^^ I have camped and ridden out of Burnt Rancheria a couple of times. I liked it just fine. But probably will be full this weekend.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/cleveland/recarea/?recid=47424


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