Dispersed Camping on FR405A

Dispersed camping, dry camping and boondocking. These are words people use interchangeably though some would argue have very different meanings.

This week we’re dispersed camping in the Tonto National Forest. Last week we were dry camping at Scott Reservoir Campground. Both are free, but since Scott Reservoir has actual designated sites without hookups it’s considered dry camping.


This week we found a place to park down Forest Road 405A. Since our spot is not in a designated site, it’s considered dispersed camping. It’s also dry camping because there aren’t any hookups.

Boondocking (or boondoggling as my mother calls it), is the same as dispersed camping, it’s camping out in the boonies for free (which in my opinion, doesn’t include camping overnight at Walmart). But really, who cares? Call it whatever you want.

Dinner Last Night:
I made a really bland black-eyed peas with rice soup that I’m not going to share!

2015 Cost of Camping:
57 night paid camping
46 nights free camping
103 days this year
Total spent: $771
Daily average cost: $7.49

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  • Reply Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets April 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Question: Using this FR as an example, and assuming you have not been there previously, do you hitch and take the truck to check things out, sites, people, etc.? If so, is that something you always do, again assuming you’ve not been there before? Or even if you have.

    • Reply Leigh April 15, 2015 at 7:23 am

      Hi Ed! It really depends on the place. This forest road looked to be well maintained, so we felt comfortable driving down the road and not un-hitching. When we spotted the left hand turn to a potential spot, we actually backed in to get out of the main road, then got out of the truck and checked it out.

      It’s always best to play it safe. When in doubt – scout it out!

  • Reply Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets April 14, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I typed “un” hitch. It just has a mind of its own.

  • Reply Maggie April 15, 2015 at 8:30 am

    No, you’re boondocking, Curtis is boondoggling. I know the difference now.
    Your Mother

    • Reply Leigh April 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm


  • Reply Todd B April 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

    This looks like a lovely spot! I’m looking forward to seeing more trees in the near future…ready to move on from sage and sand for a little while.

  • Reply Heather May 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I love these posts about where you camp — but I have a similar question to the comments here. When we get into an area we don’t know well, we often end up driving around way too much to scout out a good camping spot or campground. Have you found a way around this at all — e.g., any particular people’s blogs or campground review or other sites that have good tips? For instance, how did you find the various camping spots in your annual Best Of lists? Thanks!

    • Reply Leigh May 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Hi Heather, that’s exactly why we’re building out Campendium! I was spending too much time researching campgrounds and wanted one place to compile reviews, photos and blog posts. Hopefully it catches on and we can help each other find cool places to camp! 🙂

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