If you’ve tried to make camping reservations lately, it may seem like every weekend is a holiday. With the massive increase in demand for campsites, many campers are looking to head out to public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Managemen (BLM) for camping.
However, before you pack up your camping gear and head out for an adventure, we have a handful of things you need to consider.
Today, we’re sharing five reasons why we think you should avoid BLM camping. Sadly, camping on BLM is changing, and it’s not a change many campers will enjoy. Let’s get started!
What Is BLM Camping?
Many people are unaware that the government owns a tremendous amount of land. The United States government owns approximately 28% of all the land in the United States. The government assigns a few different agencies to manage the use of the land. The Burea of Land Management is one of those land management agencies.
The BLM maintains approximately 245 million acres of land. Much of the land is set aside for camping and other recreational purposes. Camping on BLM land means no amenities or connections, but what you lack in amenities, you easily make up for in privacy and space compared to a typical campground.
What States Have BLM Land?
A majority of BLM land is west of the Mississippi River. There are 12 western states that have nearly all of the BLM land in the United States. These states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. You won’t have to try all that hard if you want to find BLM camping spots in these states.
However, if you head east of the Mississippi River, you’re going to struggle to find lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management
5 Reasons to Avoid BLM Camping
There are several reasons why we think you might want to reconsider and avoid BLM camping. You may have enjoyed camping on BLM land in previous years, but things have changed.
Camping on BLM land was once a rather big secret in the RVing and camping community. However, thanks to the boom in people looking to camp and developments in technology, many of the best BLM camping locations frequently experience issues with overcrowding.
Many people take advantage of these lands to spread out and enjoy privacy while camping.
Previously there were very few instances where you couldn’t find a spot to camp in some BLM camping areas.
However, it’s becoming more common to arrive at a spot with no campsites left. This can be very frustrating for locals who have been camping in certain locations or those enjoying the nomadic lifestyle for years.
Keep in mind: These BLM sites are overrun with people this summer.
2. 14 Day Limit
Almost every BLM camping area we’ve stayed in has had a limit. Staying more days than the limited time can get you a ticket and prevent others from enjoying the land. Stays are typically limited to 14 consecutive days, and after that, you’ll need to move to another spot.
You may need to move a certain number of miles or out of the jurisdiction. Make sure you know how far you need to move to stay on the right side of the law.
3. You May Need an Off-Road Vehicle
Not all BLM camping is easily accessible. Roads in and out of these camping locations can be unpredictable and challenging for low-profile vehicles and RVs to navigate. We advise BLM campers to scout out a campsite and get familiar with the lay of the land before attempting to tow a trailer or navigate a larger vehicle. You don’t want to get yourself and your camper stuck or in a difficult situation that results in an expensive tow bill.
Many of the BLM campsites are remote, and roads rarely get maintained. If other users travel in or out of a camping area when the roads are wet or muddy, it can create massive ruts that make it difficult for vehicles to navigate. An off-road vehicle will be your best best bet to make sure you avoid a sticky situation.
Pro Tip: Here are the best compact trucks.
4. No Amenities
One of the biggest downsides to camping on BLM land is not having access to amenities. You have to be as self-sufficient as possible when camping on public-use lands. You’ll need to bring your water, dispose of trash, and provide your own power.
If you prefer camping with full hook-ups and unlimited amounts of water and power, you’re not going to enjoy BLM camping. To have a successful camping adventure, you have to conserve water and manage your power usage.
5. Safety Concerns
Anytime you’re in a remote location, there can be some safety concerns. Some people may choose to use the area for seedy or illegal activities. Law enforcement and other helpful services could be quite a ways away. While you may enjoy camping in the middle of nowhere away from everybody, it can be anxiety-inducing to know that help is a considerable distance should an emergency occur.
If you’re uncomfortable with taking your safety into your own hands, BLM camping is not for you. You never know who will set up camp next to you or drive by your campsite while you’re out on an adventure. Camping in an established campground can help provide a more secure and safe environment for camping.
Should You Avoid BLM Camping?
Camping on BLM land is one of our favorite ways to camp. However, we would be lying if we told you that we hadn’t noticed the change in the vibe while BLM camping.
While the RV industry is experiencing a massive boom and new owners want to take their new RVers out, there will be crowds, including BLM lands. Trends come and go, and it’s only a matter of time before things return to a bit more normal.
What have your experiences been like while BLM camping?
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