Can You Camp On Your Own Property? (Find Out Now!)

can you camp on your own property

These days it can seem like a federal agent could potentially kick down your door for sneezing over three times a day. Regardless, those regulations exist for a reason. One of those regulations has us asking if we can camp on our own property. Today, we will answer that question and dig into the long-term camping.

You can camp for 14 days on your property if the area is zoned for camping. Some municipalities and neighborhoods don’t allow camping on personal property, and others require permits. Most counties require that you obtain a permit if you plan to camp for longer than 14 days.

Below, we will get into some details behind why you may not be able to camp beyond two weeks. While it’s a bit weird, there is some reasoning behind it.

Why Would You Not Be Able To Camp For Long Periods On Your Own Property?

Based on some perspectives, choosing to camp on your property is harmless. If it is your property, why should anyone have the right to tell you to want to do? However, residents in Park County, Colorado, lived through a form of this experience in 2016.

During this hearing, residents took the court to express their concerns about people camping in residential spaces. Due to the regulatory grey area, it was hard to enforce this matter. Local campers littered the ground with garbage with little disregard for the beauty of their surroundings. Residents went as far as to complain about the smell from these locations.

Local fire department representatives cited potential fire concerns due to flying garbage. They were treating these campers as permanent residences and reaping the lack of need to pay property taxes.

Can I Camp On My Own Property Legally In My State?

Depending on where you put your tent, you can feasibly live in a tent legally. However, this comes from the allowance from your state. Check out this table below to see the regulations in your state.

State How Long Can I Camp On My Property?
California 14 days without a permit
Colorado Six months or less
Oregon 120 days max (depending on the district)
Michigan Two months (depending on zoning)
Most other states 14 days (depending on zoning requirements)

Many states have restrictions on this being on your land due to residence requirements. For example, many of them require specific sanitary and trash disposal requirements.

If an officer stops you, “I didn’t know” is not the right answer. It is up to you to inform yourself about local requirements before camping on your property. As you can see, they do not take issue if you plan on camping for shorter periods.

If you plan on camping for more than two weeks, you should start being concerned.

Can You Camp On Your Property In An RV?

If you wish to camp temporarily on your property, many states still require permits. Given that we are still talking about camping, states require you to disburse after a certain period.

It also concerns if you apply that to long-term camping, which brings us back to the issue in Colorado. Residents may have a problem with you staying there. Even assuming you are the best neighbor in the world, others may want to see structures built there. Even the best RVs won’t be as beautiful as a standard house.

If you want to be a long-term RV camper, check to see any county limitations. If you do this, be sure you have ample amounts of propane heat.

Is It Legal To Camp In Your Backyard?

Many city ordinances have restrictions against residential tents. These are in place to address the homeless population, which isn’t a pleasant thing to hear.

In many cases, parents like to do this with their kids to give them the idea of camping. If your neighbors are the understanding type, you can probably keep your tent up for a couple of days with little issues.

If your RV is in your backyard, most officials will think you are using this spot as a storage space for your RV. An issue only arises if your neighbors think someone is living out of your RV, which brings up concerns of your RV being a permanent residence.

Purchasing Property In A Remote Location Can Help You Avoid Some Regulations

If you want to avoid many of the regulations about camping on your property, purchase property in a remote location. The Colorado case we cited above had involved permanently living on private property nearby a community.

It does not mean you should assume you can behave like this is international waters. You still have a responsibility to clean up after yourself. Failure to do this will result in someone eventually reporting you.

No place in the states is entirely isolated. Still, there are fewer regulations as you step outside of heavily populated areas. Keep this in mind and perform research at county courthouses if you would like property that is better for camping.

Tips For Camping On Your Own Property

Before starting this journey, be sure that you keep these tips in mind:

  • Be careful
  • Be prepared
  • Stay clean
  • Have survival knowledge
  • Know where you are going

Be Careful

If you want to live in a remote location and camp, everything at this point is up to you. There will be no park rangers to check on you and very few people driving by.

If you make a mistake and get yourself stuck, you may not make it out of there alive.

Be Prepared

Before you go on a camping trip on your property, it is vital to be extra vigilant in packing enough supplies and food. You won’t be able to use the campsite phone in the event something goes wrong.

In this case, you will want to pack a flare gun to call for the worst type of emergencies. Also, take a knife, compass, and several weeks’ worth of food just in case.

Stay Clean

It is easy to stay dirty if you live out on your own. If you are camping in an RV, this can be pretty simple with a provided sink and a shower. If you are roughing it in a tent, pack some soap and see about finding a river you can legally swim in.

If you aren’t clean, you increase your chances of infection should a cut occur.

Have Knowledge

If this is your first camping adventure, you may want to stop here. If you don’t have survival knowledge, you may end up putting yourself in harm’s way.

Without essential awareness of survival, you aren’t going to be effective if an emergency occurs. There will be no fellow campers or park rangers to help you. You have to look out for yourself.

Know Where You Are Going

Before purchasing a property stretch for camping, it is essential to know if that property is suitable for camping. If it is not, you are going to be up for a rude awakening as you walk around and find nothing you can use.

This rule also applies even if you decide to camp entirely “off the grid” at a state park. If you don’t have a basic knowledge of the area, ask the locals.

Related Questions

How Do I Find Land For Camping?

If you are seeking land for camping, you have a couple of different options to consider.

  1. You can purchase the land. However, you are legally liable for anything that happens here.
  2. You can rent the land. It reduces your investment and some legal requirements, as it is still mostly up to the owner to handle things. However, the owner could decide to remove you from the land at any time
  3. You could locate some free land. However, free land is typically for those who start a business, so read the fine print before accepting anything.
  4. You can choose to camp on a friend’s land. It reduces your chance for liability, taxes, and making any needless payment. However, your friend may not be comfortable with you doing this.

Eli Smith

I'm a guy who becomes the expert of whatever I stumble upon, writing-wise. I've written tons about cool home products, home improvement, and smart technology in the home. I'm also the proud father of a kiddo born on new years, making my holidays very busy.

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