Last Update: 10/24/2017

Finding FREE Public Lands for Boondocking

screen shot of us public lands map

One third of U.S. land is public land — BLM, US Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the rest. You can vanlife camp on most a it any time for FREE (exceptin' National Parks). But public lands don't always come with signs showin' where it's at. Hell, most of it ain't even on Google Maps! Here's three ways to find them sweet spots.

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1. Gazetteers

In Vanholio's experience, gazetteers, a type of printed atlas map, are the best tool for van life. First off, they don't require internet, which can be short back in the boonies. Plus, they're well researched and drill down to small scale. I've used the Delorme gazetteers, but there's others out there.

2. Public Lands Interpretive Association Website

If I ain't got a gazetteer yet where I'm goin', backup is, the website of the Public Lands Interpretive Association. Pretty good digital maps, but they only cover the Western states. And they're slow to load.

3. "US Public Lands" App

The app is available on Android and iTunes. Looks like it maps all the public lands. Ain't never used it, though, so Vanholio can't speak to it's quality. Look at the reviews. If you used it before in your van life, comment below.

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  1. One third of U.S.? Sounds good enough and pretty fair. So, camping it is! This year more than ever :) thank you for posting this guide :)