Boon-docking is the art of sleeping in free spots, normally is a dry-camping with no facilities or what so ever.
People usually boon-dock for a night or 2 on the way to their destination, we took this to the next level. Its a major recommendation for when you live on the road and want to cut down your expenses. Campgrounds around the west coast can go from $15 to $35 dollars a night ($15 campsites are extremely difficult to find). As we were telling you on our 2nd post, little did we know about boon-docking before getting to the States, its something that we learned by our selfs on our first night out and received valuable information on our 2nd night.
Boon-docking in National Parks: our best friends are parking lots, trail heads and a good excuse.
National Parks are great for boon-docking, why? water and dumping is FREE! so you can go into the campsites to fill up, dump it out and leave for $0. Normally the parking lots in NP are kind of hidden from the roads, so its difficult to be seen from the road and there are quiet, as long as you park in the afternoon and leave before midday, theres no good excuse to be kicked out, well, you want to be a little bit quiet. just in case we always have a poster saying we are in a night trek or if someone knocks on our door we go with the ‘we are really tired to hit the road, its not safe, we will be out in the morning’ plan. this NEVER happened to us tough. We’v spent over a week in a national park just sleeping in different parking lots and trail heads every night.
NP we’v boon-dock: Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP, Yosemite NP, Lassen Volcanic NP, Redwoods N&SP, Oregon Caves NM, Mt. Rainier NP & Crater Lake NP among others.
Boon-docking in cities: our best friends are parks and fancy neighborhoods
Boon-docking in cities is weird, unless we get there during the day we get this feeling of not being safe. So our MUST rule in cities (and roads) its to get there with daylight to be able to scout the place.
Our first call is scouting big parks, trying to park inside or if its not posible, on a side street, basic rule, check the parking limitations signs! The good thing about parking there is you can hang out outside close by you vehicle and if you are quiet during the night, again, theres no good excuse to be kicked out! Well, we always try to be polite with the neighbors, so if any one approach us, being cool, looking clean and polite will always be a good thing (in Canada we’v even got invited to take a shower and share some beers)
Cities we’v boon-dock: LA, Sta Barbara, Sta Cruz, Carmel by the Sea, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver (Canada) & San Diego among others.
Boon-docking on the road: our best friends are google maps and planing a head.
Normally when we boon-dock on the road its because we are going from point A to B and the distance requires a night stop, when the night comes, and we are on the road, we look for the following places:
Rest areas, BLM land, view point areas, if nothing like this appears, we would go to a gas station, walmart or a mall parking lot (this are our least favorite, but thats why, if we plan a head, we can get to stay in cooler place). Our rule when we have to do this, is get there before sunset, just to make sure its a cool and safe place, and if for any reason you can’t stay there, have some time and energy to scout a second place.
In overall, we get to sleep for free everywhere and normally in the most beautiful places!