Experience: Camping in Mojave desert

August 25, 2017

When we think about travel we usually think about booking hotels and planning our trips around those. I was that kind of person before and one thing that really struck me at the end was my spendings on travel.

If you go by the book what most people do most likely are looking to spend at least 70$ for a day in a cheap motel, but quite likely it's going to be well over 100$, if you have extra people - might be even more. Lodging is the number one expense according to my experience, so what is the solution?

Well, the simple solution to that is go camping. And that's where most people will either start laughing or get scared or both at the same time. Why? The reason is that unexpected things usually shock people. Let's think about it for a moment. Let's say your lodging is 100$/night and you are planning on staying 5 nights (500$ total). No big deal, right? 500$ for a lodging and let's say 100$ a day for other stuff like museum tickets, souvenirs, admission tickets, eating out, etc.

Now, let's consider camping in a free spot and cost per night going to be 0$/night. That's 100$/night saved and you can spend it on something that has real value. And let's be honest - the only real value motel gives is an ability to sleep and wake up relaxed.

Not bad, right? All right, now let me tell a little bit about my camping experience in my typical car - it's Honda Civic 2014, sedan. I also have a van for camping, but at that time I've stayed in my regular car.

Let me show the view out of my camping spot in Mojave desert - well here it is:

Honda Civic Car Camping

Not bad for a free camping, right? Have you ever had that kind of view out of a hotel room window? I haven't, because it would costs arm and leg, most likely.

What amenities does that kind of wild camping has to offer? Where is the shower, restroom, warm towels, running water, coffee machine, etc? None, of course. Because if you want to live by your own rules, be prepared to sacrifice in order to have a taste of freedom. All things that you need, you must take with you. That is different topic, though, and I will discuss it later.

Let me just show you how to find the camping itself. First, go to freecampsites.net (my personal favorite), type in zipcode or place name (in that case it's Mojave desert), find the spot and just..drive there and park. Isn't that easy? Reservations? No, thank you. Check in at lobby? No, thank you. Check out at 11 am or otherwise a late check out fee? Oh definitely no, thank you!

Honda Civic Car Camping

You don't need to pay somebody for your right to sleep. And let me tell you, sleeping in that kind of environment is beautiful!

Let's talk about that specific place.

GPS coordinates: 34.70131, -115.67627

Things that I liked:

  1. Great cell signal. Even T-Mobile reception was fine.
  2. Close to I40
  3. Just a few feet away from paved road (Kelbaker road), which means you don't need 4x4 to get there
  4. It's so beautiful out there
  5. Close to Mojave desert entrance
  6. Not crowded!

But other than that it's just a typical BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land property that serves its purpose!

Video About Car Camping.

How was my sleep over there? Well, it was interesting. In the middle of the night out of nowhere, it started to rain heavily and thunder somewhere nearby. After 10 minutes it stopped and then again, overall it repeated like 5 times and starry sky appeared. Magical and beautiful. And fresh, refreshing air.

Cheers! Safe travels!

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Written by Dmitry Yarygin Test Engineer and a Digital Nomad.
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