Updated: Mar 12
Welcome back friends! If you are new here, thank you so much for stopping by. I am guessing you are super curious about boondocking, BLM land or how to camp off grid. Well, you came to the right place. My family and I went boondocking for a few nights in the middle of the Arizona desert. We had no solar system, no electricity hookups, no water hookups, just us in our RV and two kids. We went to Saddle Mountain, Arizona with about a 20-minute drive to the nearest gas station. We went in February, so the weather was absolutely beautiful!
BLM land means Bureau of Land Management. It is public land for recreation use. You are welcome to stay on the land for 14 days or less. It is completely free, but there are no amenities whatsoever. What happens is when you arrive on BLM land you can choose anywhere to park. At Saddle Mountain there is a popular camping area, with a gravel road and a lot of campers parked right off it. Most of the spots were graveled or the ground was so flat it was easy to drive into from previous campers. Please be respectful of the land and animals that live on it and pick up your trash for others to enjoy in the future.
You might be thinking, uhh that’s a little over my head. It was! I am not going to lie; it was really hard adjusting from the “glamping” style we have been doing months prior. You might be asking well, what did you do? Well, we ran our electricity off two RV/boat batteries, which meant only using the batteries for running the refrigerator, stovetop with propane, and the water pump. I used the propane stovetop to cook all the meals we ate besides sammies and cereal. Then used flashlights as lights when it got dark enough. The only thing we were adamant about preparing for was water. We filled our 100-gallon water tank prior to arriving to our spot and that had plenty of water for us.
This was a test run to see how we would like to boondock without hookups and of course have a fun experience. It was extremely fun and difficult. It was free and at any moment we could have left if it got too hard. Now I would say, the hardest part about boondocking and having very little electricity, was cranking out our slide outs. Man, if we had any camper without slide outs it would have been a breeze. Setting up camp was hard. My husband had to get under the slides and manually crank them out with our battery-operated drill. We have three slide-outs, so we were pretty beat afterwards.
After we setup camp, we walked around the area, the kids rode their bikes, and we watched the beautiful sunset go down.
The second day we packed up our waters and snacks and headed out for a hike. We chose Saddle Mountain for a reason; the land was free to rock hound! The whole area is covered in fire agate, a red and white chalcedony rock which is a semi-precious natural gemstone. So far it is only found in the southwestern states. During our hike we were able to pick up a few fire agate pieces and take it home with us. That night we made a small bonfire and of course had to make smores too.
On the third day we flew kites and went to a local ranch, the owner was friendly and let us dump our black and grey tanks for a small fee. He let us walk around and see all of his farm animals and had 2 huge pigs and at the time he had tiny little baby turtles that the kids got to hold. If you stay at Saddle Mountain BLM land or around the area, check out Saddle Vista Ranch, you will have a great time and supporting local.
It was a great experience at Saddle Mountain, we felt so close to nature after our trip. We slept so much better too since we went to bed when it was dark. We conserved our energy use and spent most of our time outside. Although there were no amenities or strong internet signal, I would rate this spot a 6/10 for the number of adventures we got to do and creating a smaller environmental footprint.
Travel Long, Travel Happy!
Written by Shelby Long
Follow along our adventures on Tik Tok & Instagram @longsaturdays
If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org