The Camp Spots

The Camp Spots


People that aren’t nomadic dirtbags sometimes ask: How do you find places to sleep?

Out in the boonies, its pretty easy once you know the rules. There are over 190 million acres of National Forest within the lower 48 states. Canada has a ton of public land too. This public land is typically open to dispersed camping in specific areas. But in reality, its not hard to find a place to park a van for a few days.

All of the spots pictured here were 100% free and legal(most likely). We almost never pay for campgrounds. In fact, out of the 14 months that we've been on the road only about 15 nights were spent in a pay campground. We're self sufficient and just dont need them all that much.

We have never slept in a Walmart parking lot. Lines must be drawn. We have however spent several nights in strange casinos across the country. These are way better.

Urban areas pose some issues. The first being noise/traffic and the second being security. It's actually a breeze to find a place to park in a city, but is it loud? Are you gonna get stabbed? Our latest trick in the bigger cities is to find the open parking lots with lights and security and just pony up the 10$-20$ it costs to park there. Theres no traffic, its quiet(ish) and much safer to go out for the night and not worry about your gear getting ripped off.



Here's a pretty sweet spot across from the Tetons in Wyoming. We stayed here for over a week. There were some bad ass bike trails accessible from our camp. The weather was nice and the view..? Not too shabby.



This is the same Wyoming camp as above and this is what you do at night. No TV, no internet and no reminders of the hectic world we live in. Books, soft light, the mountains and probably some mosquitos.



One of my favorite spots(going to be an overused phrase here). This was a random meadow in the Black Hills forest in South Dakota. We drove up a few dusty roads and found a flat clearing through some wildflowers. 10 minutes later we had one of the most beautiful spots I've ever slept.



How about some coastal camps? This was a weird one in Florida that we spent just 1 night at. The sunsets and weather were perfect but way too noisy.



I chose to cut large holes in the sides of my brand new van to install these windows on each side of the bed. I've seen more sunrises through these windows in the past year than I have in my entire adult life. Worth it!



Yes! Telluride, CO. Another of my favorite spots. Sarah and I arrived in town in the middle of some pretty great weather(for skiing). The entire town had several feet of snow blanketing it. We found this plowed cul-de-sac in the back of the town park. It was quiet, close to town, free and bonus points? There were heated pay-showers right in the park. We ended up staying here for 10 days through 2 big weather events. I was able to walk to the gondola right from the van on 2 separate powder days!  



Another great spot. This time in Sedona AZ. We spent more than a month in this general area and probably at least 10-12 days here. It was February and we were sick of skiing and snow. So... head to shredona to ride bikes and wear jumpsuits in the desert.



Same spot from Sedona. If you're not riding bikes you can always swing in a hammock and drink beers. We started using the van ladder for a hammock anchor point and haven't looked back. Works a treat.



Death Valley camp site. We only spent 1 night here, but 9 days total in this magical, eerie, desolate, quiet park.



Just a typical calm moment in a camp. This is Death Valley again.



Back to the hardwood forests of North Carolina. This was up in the Pisgah National Forest. We spent a week in this area riding trails and chilling at a mtb fest. The forest was just constantly awash in orange and yellow leaf light.



Ever wish you had more time to read? Well then move into a van. Reading is sometimes the only entertainment to be had in a backcountry camp. We're both more than ok with that.



Here's a spot near Stanley, Idaho that we stayed at for several days to watch the eclipse.



Keeping in shape is a big part of our lives when we're camped. Cardio is easy; go for a trail run or ride your bike. But strength training without free weights..?I'm still getting used to the bands.



Here's another one of my favorites. This was near the ghost town of Custer, Idaho. We had been driving on dirt roads all day exploring old abandoned mining towns and had unlimited great camp spots to choose from. This one was superior. I also cooked a skirt steak here over a fire on a grill that I made out of sticks(yes, it worked just fine). 



Another great spot. This was a bird/wetlands refuge near Muleshoe, Texas. It was a new moon, and we were at about 6000' so the stars were amazing. We had planned to move on in the morning but stayed another night because it was so peaceful.



I'm more in touch with the natural world now than I have ever been. I watch the sun rise every morning and watch it again as it sets at night. I know the arc of the sun during the day and I know if the moon is going to be full or not in the sky at all. I deal with the wind and the rain and I touch and smell plants and flowers all the time. I play with insects and watch animals and wonder what its like to be a bird. I'm dirty and happy and covered with scratches from just being outside all day, every day.
I fucking love it.




Baja Expedition I


Two Years As Nomads


Snow Chase 2018


Cupid in a Camper




The Camp Spots


Van appetite!


The Maneuver


Keep Up

Share your email and stay up-to-date on the people, projects, and places of The Big Scout.