How to Camp Long-Term Legally

Written by eric cedric
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How to Camp Long-Term Legally
Long-term camping provides an adventure in living. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

If you have a need to head into the wilds for an extended period of time or perhaps have a summer job where housing is tight, consider a stint of long-term camping. There are several things to consider when readying for a long-term camping situation: laws and rules of the land, animals and food storage, human waste issues, water sources and caring for your clothing and gear. This may prove challenging, but it will give you the freedom of the wild.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Animal resistant food containers
  • Permits or land management permission
  • Rain tarps
  • Anti-moisture gel-packs
  • Water filter system

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  1. 1

    Determine who manages the land you wish to camp on. For example, is it Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, National Park, state, municipal or private? Contact the land owner or the land management agency responsible for the land. Ask what the long-term camping policies are and any other rules or restrictions. Certain areas of BLM land allow unlimited camping (southeastern Utah desert country is one example), whereas many other agencies have time restrictions. Get information on using firewood, pets or other relevant issues to your camping situation.

  2. 2

    Use a "groover" for human waste. The wilderness is wild, but human waste accumulates. Be responsible and use the portable toilets known as "groovers." Clean it out at a public dump station when full to prevent accumulation and health issues surrounding your camp site. If you must go in the wild, dig a small latrine pit when defecating and bury your waste. Burn any toilet paper or discarded feminine hygiene products.

  3. 3

    Store food and all items with odours (toothpaste, deodorant, etc..) in animal-resistant containers. These are made of ballistic nylon and keep out everything from raccoons to bears. Store all food away from sleeping areas in bear country.

  4. 4

    Store clothing in plastic bins, along with a few gel packs that absorb moisture. These are available at outdoor outfitters or craft shops and are invaluable in preventing mildew on clothes and inside shoes.

  5. 5

    Do not chop down trees or green wood unless legally permitted. This erodes forests. Ask about firewood rules prior to establishing your base camp.

  6. 6

    Purify all water from streams, creeks or lakes. Use a filter and/or purification tablets. Consider keeping a five-gallon water container at the camp and fill it every few days with treated water, thus reducing your labour.

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