Glamping vs. Boondocking on BLM and National Forest Land

Glamping vs. Boondocking on BLM and National Forest Land

Are You Ready to Live the ‘Nomadic’ Life?

Once Gesara goes through many will be looking at living ‘Nomadically.’ Everyone does this Nomadic life differently. Some will choose to buy a Class A, Travel Trailer, 5th Wheel, Van, or just come out in their vehicles. No way is the wrong way. Again, it just depends on how you want to embrace this lifestyle.

As a Speaker, Writer and Author, my Nomadic goal was to travel and see family, and friends, make friends on the road, hold seminars and workshops, and see sites along the way.

Therefore, ‘boondocking’ (dry camping or free camping) on BLM and National Forest land out west has worked for me over the past 4 years. Waking up in nature breathing in fresh air and being able to live in peace is what has got my creative juices flowing. 

Why The Glamping Lifestyle Isn’t for Me

At 67, I am a ‘girly girl’, a very feminine female, but I still don’t like the ‘Glamping’ lifestyle as a Solo Female Traveler, #VanLife. I can camp out in these luxurious spots for special occasions, but not daily.

I am currently having a #LoveAffair with nature, which means there is nothing like waking up and rolling out of bed on a trail with very few people around and being one with nature.

The Glamping industry seems like a crowded industry. Many still want to sleep in dwellings and don’t really want to experience nature first-hand.

They seem to be participating in ‘Glamping’ to show off their materialistic treasures or to gain publicity. And many are still living in their egos. 

Vehicle Warnings

-Flood Zones: It is quite easy to get stuck when boondocking on BLM or National Forest Land even in vans or cars. Be careful parking in the washes or gullies or too close to beaches because you can wake up and be surrounded by water.

Just remember that most Triple-A Towing Services won’t come out on BLM or National Forest Land.

Many times you might have to wait 2 or 3 days for it to dry out before you can leave certain areas so look for Flood Zone signs and watch the weather closely. Also, invest in some of the weather apps and alert services.

You also might want to inform others where you are going especially if you are going out for weekends and holidays in case you don’t show back up as planned.

-Know Your Height: Know the height of your vehicle when traveling under bridges and underpasses, especially when traveling through cities and using car washes or driving through fast-food places.

-Class A’s: Class A’s are like driving around a small apartment. I do see many Nomads in the older Class A’s out on BLM land, but just remember if you are driving the newer Class A’s there are a lot of places or roads you won’t be able to go because of your size.

Many of the mountainous roads will say turn around if your vehicle is over 30 feet. Pulling a vehicle will make it even more unsafe for those driving Class A’s on mountainous roads.

-Travel Trailers: The NUMBER ONE vehicle that turns over mostly on highways or freeways is the Travel Trailers (large or small) so watch your speeds.

The reason Travel Trailers are the NUMBER ONE vehicle to turn over on highways and freeways is because the cars or trucks pulling them don’t have enough horsepower and many drivers are sometimes just driving too fast. 

Keep in mind that dealerships will sell you anything. They won’t work with you to make sure you have enough horsepower to pull a Travel Trailer. They are just trying to sell you a vehicle.

Parking in Bear Country: Many women especially choose to drive vehicles (Class C’s, Vans, etc.) that allow them to jump in their front seats and leave in case they encounter bears, mountain lions, or feel unsafe around man.

-Tent Camping in Bear Country: I do look forward to finding spots where I will feel safe tent camping, but not in Bear Country. You certainly want to be careful tent camping in Bear Country.

Many who have cars or vans will say they are tent camping but at the end of the night, many are back in their vehicles unless they feel safe when camping. 

City Living

I do end up engaging in city living from time to time especially when I go south (Texas, Atlanta, Florida, Carolinas, etc.) where BLM and National Forest Land aren’t available or when I am working on a project and need good internet in the city.

Others, especially those with city jobs, prefer living in cities and parking in driveways, on streets, at 24-hour gyms, 24-hour emergency cares, hospitals, Cracker Barrels, Walmarts, truck stops, rest stops, etc. It all depends on how you want to embrace this lifestyle.

If you are getting over ‘heavy metal’ poisoning or some type of other illness where you need to breathe in fresh air, just know there are more toxins (gas fumes, etc.) in cities. The fresh air is out on or National Forest land.

RV Parks

Instead of Boondocking, many prefer RV Parks or Campgrounds because:

-You can use RV dumps.

-You can plug in and get power.

-You can throw out your trash.

-You can fill up with water.

-You can take a shower.

-You can wash clothes.

-You can buy bags of ice.

In my 4 years on the road, I have only stayed in two RV Parks, and quite frankly, I felt I was too close to others. Not only can you see in the windows of other travelers but the sites are just too close together so you lack privacy in RV parks.

There are very few RV Parks in certain parts of the country so RV Parks cater to certain Nomads, especially on weekends and holidays.

RV Parks don’t allow RVs over 10 years old to park there and they don’t allow Vanners either. Some might allow the obvious built-out Class B vans, but they discriminate on the vans that don’t look built out.  

Camping Grounds

Many women said many of the Camping Grounds can be isolated so you can end up out there by yourself unless you do your homework.

Many of the campground sites can be far apart and again, this could potentially put you in unsafe conditions when it comes to animals or man as a Solo female traveler. 

Thousand Trails Memberships

To use a membership pass, you need to be driving a “Self-Contained” vehicle, which means you must have a way to use the restroom in your vehicle so having a bucket in a van is okay. Just know that many in RVs still use the bucket method, especially women, who don’t want to deal with the black tank.

Many purchase a Thousand Trails membership and stay in their system of RV resorts and campgrounds. For instance, there are 1017 sites with Thousand Trails memberships in Orlando, FL. You pay ongoing, annual dues of $499–$670, depending on the membership contract. And you can make monthly payments.

You don’t have to be a member to stay at Thousand Trails campgrounds. Your Thousand Trails Camping Pass entitles you to day use and overnight camping in your recreational vehicle or tent, subject to length of stay restrictions. During your stay, you enjoy all the same amenities provided to those campers who book at the daily rate. Memberships

The current memberships are $99 a year. At these Harvest Hosts venues, they want you to buy the wine and cheese and park by corn fields or at museums.

This style of traveling just doesn’t appeal to me mostly because I don’t drink wine or eat cheese and parking by corn fields (#ChildrenOfTheCorn) or museums (relics, artifacts, etc.) can carry ‘negative energy’ and again, it is just not appealing to me as a Solo Female traveler.

I am allergic to wine or am I allergic to the poison in it? Over 100% of wine (and beer) especially the wine from California has glyphosate, roundup-ready weed killer, in it and after realizing how they make processed cheese, I am not a fan of either.

Also, the locals in cities know where parking is located so many women on YouTube said the spots can be quite intimidating and isolated.

Many Solo Female Travelers said they are harassed by local men when they left their campsites to buy groceries, wash clothes, or just to explore the city. memberships are $79 a year. These are homes where you can park overnight or for a few days as you travel back and forth around the country.

You have to make reservations and many of these homes are families that were former ‘Nomadic’ campers themselves. However, as a Solo Female Traveler, I just would not feel comfortable staying on the property of people I do not know unless it was some type of Nomadic event.

Other traveling terms

Boondocking: Boondocking is of course what many Nomads do on BLM or National Forest Land for free. But they also do this in other places such as boondocking in Walmart or Cracker Barrels’ parking lot.

Couch Surfing: Couch Surfing ( is where you stay on someone’s couch when you are traveling. Many even offer up their driveways for Nomads to park. Many times it is free but sometimes they want you to pay.

Moochdocking – Moochdocking means you are camping for free on your friends or family’s property. But there’s a right and wrong way to do it.

Cathy Harris is a New Earth Educator, Speaker, Author, GMO Educator, and Holistic Healer at and she offers seminars, workshops, and consultations on Health/Gardening and Business. She is the author of 6 health books, 2 business books, and several other nonfiction books at You can email Cathy at or and bring Cathy’s Mobile Learning Clubs ( and Cathy’s Caravan ( to your city.

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Cathy Harris is a #VanDweller living ‘The Good Life.’ Her blog website is She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert, and the author of 26 non-fiction books at Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at