Finger Lakes National Forest

Dispersed Camping Rules:

  • Dispersed camping is allowed in most locations unless there is a specific closure order for that area
  • There is a lot of private property mixed in with the forest, so be sure to check the MVUMs.
  • Camp at least 200′ from trails or bodies of water
  • Reuse existing campsites if you can
  • Do not camp in alpine or subalpine zones where trees are less than 8′ tall
  • Time limit: 14 days in a 30 day period, after which you must leave the forest entirely.

Continue reading “Finger Lakes National Forest”

Eldorado National Forest

Dispersed Camping Rules:

  • Time limit: 10 days in each district per year. That is, you can camp in a given district for any 10 days out of the year, regardless of when they are. There are 4 districts, so you can camp in the forest for up to 40 total days per year.
  • This is California, so (free) permits are required for campfires.
  • Visitors can camp “just about anywhere in the forest, unless specifically prohibited”; and not around 9 specific lakes; and not within 100 feet of a stream or lake; and not within the boundary markings of a developed campground.
  • Vehicles must be parked within one vehicle length of the edge of the surface of an allowed road.

Continue reading “Eldorado National Forest”

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the National Forest system.

Dispersed Camping Rules:

  • Camping permits must be requested at least 10 days prior to the camping date(s).  There is no fee for the permit.
  • Camping is allowed year round, but the gate to Road PR191 is closed from 6PM to 7:30AM.
  • Time limit: 14 days.
  • I called to get more information, but I kept getting a fast busy. Roadside camping does not seem practical in Puerto Rico.

There are no developed camping facilities in EYNF.


Dixie National Forest

Dispersed Camping Rules:

  • Dispersed Camping is allowed within 150 feet of the centerline of an allowed road or trail.
  • Special road restrictions apply to vehicles wider than 62″ (5’2″). Check the MVUMs.
  • In some popular areas, dispersed camping is limited to designated sites only. See the Designated Dispersed Camping Areas below.
  • Time limit: 16 days, after which you must move 10 miles.
  • Dispersed Camping Guidelines

Continue reading “Dixie National Forest”

De Soto National Forest

Dispersed Camping Rules:

  1. Dispersed camping is allowed in DSNF.
  2. Time limit: 30 days, after which you must leave for 24 hours. No specified distance, but try to move to another campsite.
  3. Some areas restrict camping outside of designated campsites, especially during big game hunting season. Deer season is Oct 1 – Jan something.
  4. The office suggests you call for details and current closures. 601-528-6160, ask for Marilyn.
  5. Don’t open gates or drive around them; you might get shot.

Continue reading “De Soto National Forest”

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Dispersed Camping Rules

  • Designated Dispersed Campsites are shown on some trail maps; there don’t seem to be any designated roadside areas.
  • Time limit: 21 days in any 30 day period, after which you must move one mile.
  • Distance from road: Up to 150 feet. Office says it’s pretty easy to find a roadside spot.


Campgrounds up north tend to close for the winter. Check the link before you head out!

Some of these campgrounds offer Interagency Pass discounts. Continue reading “Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest”

Conecuh National Forest

Unfortunately, Alabama groups its National Forests into one sub-website. It seems they treat the forests as districts, which messes up the hierarchical relationship that we preconceive. This makes things harder to categorize and look up.

Dispersed Camping Rules

  • Dispersed camping is allowed and encouraged in all Alabama National Forests.
  • Primitive camping “is available“.
  • Time limit: During gun/hunting season, camping is only allowed on certain days and with a permit. Gun/hunting season is Nov 9 – Feb 10. Outside of gun season, it’s allowed without a permit. Time limit is 21 days. Then you have to leave the forest for 10 days.
  • “Permanent” residence is not allowed, but is not well-defined.
  • At least one person must occupy a camping area during the first night after camping equipment has been set up. Do not leave the equipment unattended for more than 24 contiguous hours.
  • No “boisterous” behavior. So it’s illegal to be noisy, energetic, cheerful, or rowdy in the forest. I suspect enforcement would be lenient in most cases.
  • Motor vehicles are not allowed in Wilderness areas.



Dispersed Camping areas are not shown on the MVUMs.

Mental Health

I replied to a mental health thread on Reddit, and I thought my response was so spot-on that I should record it here as well:

I think a lot of modern “mental health” problems arise out of our separation from Nature. We weren’t meant to live this way; our bodies don’t understand our urban environments.

We used to have very few, much more serious, problems. Eat, sleep, find shelter, protect the family, reproduce. That was about it. Now we have many more, but less serious, problems. Schmoozing with coworkers, impressing the boss, career progression, vehicle maintenance, extracurricular activities, plumbing that always breaks, more laws than can be counted, etc. Problems are interpreted as threats, so they trigger our fight-or-flight response. Neither is appropriate, so the threats go unsolved, and manifest over time as anxiety. Continue reading “Mental Health”

The Wait

I’ve done the research, done the design,
I’ve bought the wood and screws;
I’ve carefully built this rig of mine,
I have paid my dues.

It’s all starting to align,
every wire and fuse;
I’ve got power from the sunshine,
none of this is news.

I yearn to be among the Pines,
to get out there and cruise;
to live the life we know Divine,
throughout the land suffuse.

But there’s this house I must assign
to whoever will excuse
its problems more or less benign
which somebody must choose. Continue reading “The Wait”

The Van is Done

Quick update. The van is done. There are no further show stoppers that would prevent me / us from moving to a nomadic lifestyle.  Many small issues, but nothing mission-critical.

The electrical system is complete. We have 700W recharging 428Ah, fans and fridge running 24/7, and rarely do we ever get below “full” (12.84V) overnight. I’ve never seen it get below 12.6V except when the induction stove is running; after which it returns to higher levels in due course. Continue reading “The Van is Done”