Dispersed Camping Colorado: Outdoor Recreation Essentials

One of the ideal activities you can engage in is outdoor recreation in Colorado. Outdoor recreation allows you to enjoy under the hit of the sun or within the serenity of nature’s greeneries. RV camping in Colorado enables you to experience the healing powers of Mother Nature by exposing yourself to the natural wonders that capture your eyes and soul.

What is Dispersed Camping?

Photo lifted from www.rv-camping.org.

Dispersed camping is an outdoor activity and RV camping that seeks exposure to nature’s rawness. It gives campers the chance to enjoy the sunrise as they sip a cup of coffee while enjoying how to sun unearths the elegance of the greeneries or the pristine waters of Colorado. Dispersed camping means a quiet time as you enjoy how the sun kisses the sea goodbye to give way for the moon and stars.

Dispersed camping is sometimes called going off the grid. Other people call it boondocking or free camping. It means self-contained recreational vehicle camping; such a camping type entails heavy reliance on your RV as the sole provider of heat, electricity, and water. Moreover, it implies camping in off-the-beat paths of Colorado, campgrounds that provide no amenities or facilities. As such, dispersed camping stays away from the crowded and costly RV parks that offer luxurious amenities.    

The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly altered our living patterns, including outdoor activities. However, despite the pandemic, self-contained RV camping or dispersed camping in Colorado is doable. It is because dispersed camping or going to places with fewer people means lesser contact, and you do not need to use public utilities such as laundry rooms and comfort room facilities. Furthermore, it is much easier to maintain physical distancing. It is one of the most sought-after outdoor activities in Colorado. In this article, we shall guide you by providing you with tips and tricks on having fun-filled and stress-free dispersed camping in the state of Colorado.

Free Camping in Colorado

Photo lifted from The Dyrt

Dispersed camping Colorado means going to national forests and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. This type of camping requires minimal to no fees at all. Furthermore, it may not require prior reservations. 

In camping on these Colorado public lands, you are entitled to stay for not more than 14 days within 28 days. For 60 days, you can camp on public lands for a total of 28 days. This regulation aims to prevent damage to resources/natural materials caused by continuous occupancy.      

While you shall miss standard amenities you usually see in developed campgrounds, dispersed camping gives you the chance to experience nature firsthand. Moreover, camping allows you to temporarily get away from crowded campgrounds that might ruin your serene camping plans.   

In Colorado, you may experience dispersed camping in Anvil Dispersed Camping, Gordon Gulch Dispersed Camping, Peru Creek Road, Pike National Forest, Rio Grande National Forest, White River National Forest, Roosevelt National Forest, and Grand Mesa National Forest. You can check for Colorado accessible camping destinations online. However, it would be best if you remembered that camping should take place at least 200 feet away from Colorado lakes, rivers, trails, and roads. 

Preparing for Your Adventure

Photo lifted from the Best Sumer Life

Dispersed camping in Colorado entails thorough preparation and organized planning, just like any other outdoor activity. As such, this section shall suggest steps on how to prepare for your Colorado-free camping trip in the most organized manner possible. For the sake of brevity, It shall be divided into three steps: checking your RV, getting the immediately necessary stuff for camping, and preparing your personal belongings. 


Photo lifted from The RV Inspector

Before camping to Colorado dispersed campsites, it is a must for every responsible camper to check on his trail. This precaution is a requirement to prevent untoward incidences. You have to ensure that the parts of your rig are working correctly. You must check your vehicular lights, gauges, brake system, brake fluids, power steering, windshield washer, coolant fluid levels, engine, and other vital parts. 


RV Generator – traveling off-the-beaten requires the acquisition of an RV Generator. With this, you shall have access to the comfort and convenience of electricity. Most of the time, dispersed camping means camping in areas with no electrical hookups. RV Generators shall power your onboard appliances.        

RV Sewer Tote – it is a must to ensure that your grey and black tanks must be empty before camping at your campsite. In the instance that your grey and black tanks get full, a portable waste tank or RV Sewer Tote can be a savior. An RV Sewer Tote can serve as a substitute should your main waste tanks get to maximum capacity.    

5th Wheel Hitch – it is prudent to ensure that your 5th wheel hitch is suitable to your 5th wheel’s weight if you travel by attaching the 5th wheel to your leading truck. Such precaution ensures you and your companion’s safety. 

RV Cover – in your boondocking journey, your rig will function as your best friend and your refuge. It is of prime importance to protect it from harmful elements like weather unpredictability. RV Covers shall protect your vehicle’s exteriors from the detrimental effects of sudden changes in the weather, which in turn, can cause damage to your RV exteriors in the long run.  

Apart from checking your trailer, it adds to your peace of mind to carry with you a toolbox that shall contain materials and pieces of equipment that shall help you encounter vehicular difficulties along the way or camping in Colorado. A toolbox must include a hammer, thread seal tape, cutters, scissors, multi-bit screwdrivers, and other equipment that shall help you address vehicular problems should you encounter them. This move might help you save money from going to a repair shop.  

You have to ensure that your recreational vehicle is in good shape and fit for the camping trip. Such a move will assure your safety. Everyone onboard your rig is vital to have a successful and fun-filled boondocking across Colorado. Thus, inspect your RV before heading to the public lands.  


Photo lifted from Fresh Off the Grid 

Before deciding what foodstuff to get, you must invest in storage containers to organize your foodstuff. Afterward, consider getting foodstuffs that contain longer shelf life so that your food would last until the last day of your camping adventure. It is also helpful to get foodstuff that requires less or no refrigeration. As such, it is a must for you to check the expiration dates of the foodstuffs you will be getting. 

Dispersed camping in Colorado can be physically demanding. So, an intake of at least eight glasses of water every day is necessary for your health. Thus, it is prudent to secure more than enough potable water supply. Do not forget to get sanitized water containers to ensure water supply. 

To cook your food, make sure that your onboard appliances are well and functioning; you also have to check your propane tank. Should you decide to cook outdoors, ensure enough match sticks and woods. Some states require a particular type of wood used in outdoor cooking and burning. It would be prudent to consult your destination’s visitor center about this.         

Even though self-contained camping is an ideal outdoor activity during the pandemic, the onslaught of the COVID-19 has added extra mechanisms to ensure everyone’s safety when outdoors. As such, it is essential to carry with you antibacterial cleaning agents that shall aid you in maintaining the cleanliness of your rig, both the interiors and the exteriors. You have to get antibacterial soaps and sanitizers that contain 70% alcohol for your hands. You may also consider getting a vacuum, black streak remover, hose, and other cleaning agents and equipment for your rig. Your campsite’s cleanliness in Colorado is also vital; as such, it is essential to secure trash bags for your wastes.


Photo lifted from Togo RV

Before camping at your Colorado campsite, you must know the weather and possible atmospheric changes in the area to bring with you suitable pieces of clothing and footwear. You shall also know the activities you plan to do so that you can get swimming attires and other specific types of apparel.  

To avoid disease-causing germs that will undoubtedly ruin your Colorado dispersed camping adventure, you have to ensure that your body is hygienic and clean at all times. As such, it is essential to secure the presence of sanitary items in your trailer. Do not forget to grab your bath gels, soaps, shampoo, conditioners, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash, deodorants, insect repellant, wet wipes, tissues, sanitary pads, colognes, and other hygienic items.  

To camp with extra peace of mind, do not forget to carry your doctor’s prescribed medicines with you if you are under certain medications. It would also be prudent to bring a first aid kit to help you address minor incidences such as bruises and skin irritations. Ideally, a first aid kit shall have a gauze roll bandage, tweezers, absorbent compress dressings, adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipe packets, antibiotic ointment packets, adhesive cloth tape, and the likes. 

Even though dispersed camping in Colorado is an exciting activity, there may still be dull moments in between. Thus, it would be prudent to carry the things that provide you entertainment with you. You may consider bringing magazines, books, and other reading materials. You may also want to get board games. Moreover, you must ensure that you have paid the monthly subscription of your music and movie providers. As such, never forget to bring your devices and their chargers. It shall save you from the quiet moments you dullness. These shall also provide you entertainment sources should you decide to spend the entire day in your rig. 

These are the steps you have to tick off from your checklist before heading to your Colorado campsite. These steps may complement your personalized list of must-dos and must-haves.

Rules and Regulations to Know before Camping in Colorado

Photo lifted from the National Park Service

A responsible camper is someone who follows the law. It is prudent to visit the Visitor Centers of destinations with dispersed campsites to know the laws. This section shall inform you about the rules and regulations that govern public lands in the state of Colorado, which is binding to all campers.   

On Campfire Restrictions

During the summer season, Colorado tends to be dry. There is a campfire ban in the backcountry or wilderness areas. Furthermore, you must check for local fire restrictions and consult local authorities before making a campfire. If you are camping in other seasons and campfire is allowed, utilize existing fire pits. 

You may consult the following jurisdictions to know more about fire restrictions: Fremont County Fire Restrictions, Pike and San Isabel National Forests Fire Restrictions, Lake County Fire Restrictions, and Chaffee, BLM Rocky Mountain District Fire Restrictions, and Pueblo County Fire Restrictions

On Wildlife 

Colorado is the home of various animal species. These include elk, mountain lions, black bears, North American beavers, wild horses, golden eagle, belted kingfisher, lark bunting, and gray jay, to name a few. As such, to harmoniously co-exist with these species, you must respect them at all costs. 

Hunting may be prohibited in specific campgrounds. Thus, you have to consult the local authorities or the visitor center on whether hunting activities are allowed. They know the requirements in acquiring a hunting permit. 

With Other Campers

While dispersed camping means going away from the crowded, well-developed campgrounds, you may still find other people who are also going off-the-grid. It is vital to uphold the correct values and ethics of outdoor activities. 

It would be best if you strictly observed the quiet hours during camping. Refrain from using appliances that emit loud noises in these moments, such as your RV generator. Also, do not play loud music when others deep sleep. 

With the pandemic, you must implement CDC’s health protocols by following physical distancing with your co-campers. Also, when you interact with them, do not forget to sanitize yourself. 

On the Surroundings

You have to respect the dignity of your chosen campsite. While you are free to utilize dead and down woods, please do not cut live trees and pick flowers and other plants unnecessarily. Also, maintain the campgrounds’ cleanliness and bring your trashes and cleaning materials with you. Always remember to unload the contents of your waste tanks in designated dumping stations, not just anywhere. Never release your wastewater in bodies of water.

On the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace 

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace ultimately summarizes the qualities a good camper should possess. Practically, this principle is applicable in wherever campsite you plan to go and whichever form of camping you plan to pursue. 

According to the principles, a good camper is an individual who plans and prepares ahead, travel and camps on durable surfaces, and throws wastes properly. A good camper is also someone who leaves what he’s found, minimizes campfire impacts, respects wildlife, and is considerate to other co-campers and their welfare.


There are numerous benefits of embarking on dispersed camping activity. For one, it is cheaper than heading to well-developed campsites. It also provides you the opportunity to be one with nature’s rawness. Moreover, it helps you develop strategic and critical thinking in your day-to-day camping adventure. Dispersed camping also has beneficial effects on your physical and psychological well being. As such, free camping is an ideal activity to be explored.

To have a successful, fun-filled, and stress-free dispersed camping, you may consider developing a personalized checklist and integrating our suggestions, as mentioned earlier. By doing so, you are lessening the possibility of encountering untoward incidents.   

The state of Colorado boasts the magnificence and elegance of its natural wonders and endless activities. It is high time to give your dispersed camping plan the green light!

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