1. Welcome to Tacoma World!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tacoma discussion topics
    • Communicate privately with other Tacoma owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

Vehicle Camping in Sierra Nevadas

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by Jon M, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Jan 21, 2010 at 12:25 PM
    #1
    Jon M

    Jon M [OP] Wax nostalgic.

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Member:
    #18781
    Messages:
    99
    Gender:
    Male
    SE MinneSNOWta
    Vehicle:
    09 Tacoma SR5 TRD Sport w / Towing Pkg
    Hey guys, I've done a ton of research on this, including at expiditionportal and haven't found the answer to my question. I'm hoping some of you here can help me out.

    I'm planning a solo excursion to the great state of CA to check out the Sierra National Forest (near Fresno).

    I will have a sleeping platform in the back of my Taco and want to just live out of my truck for the 3-5 days I'll be in the area. Maybe take 3-4 days to drive the Sierra Scenic Byway and take on some easy ohv trails.

    I haven't been able to determine yet, even after a call to the Forest Service there (never got back to me), if I can camp out of my truck. I'm not interested in staying at any of the developed campground and would like to travel back into some of the undeveloped areas and just do what I do.


    I'm at a complete loss if I can do this or not. I'm planning on going on this trip in just over a year, but can't find an answer to the one thing that will dictate everything that happens on the trip.

    So, acquiring permits aside, can I roll in there and park out in the boonies??

    Also, what's your take on sleeping at rest stops on the way?


    Thank you very much! I'm really hoping someone here can help me out.

    ~ Jon
     
  2. Jan 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM
    #2
    Crom

    Crom Outside...

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Member:
    #18782
    Messages:
    8,357
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Nick
    San Diego, CA
    Vehicle:
    2009 4x4 DCSB Overland Build
    Millions
    I couldn't find anything on their website. I do know that each National Forest sets its own policy on backcountry camping. Some places like the Cleveland National Forest require you to fill out a free "remote camping" permit. It's so they can keep tabs on who is where and how many people are out there.

    If I were you I'd call every number on this link until you speak to someone.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sierra/contact/locations.shtml

    This thread may be better served if it were moved to the Nor Cal or So Cal section of the forum. If you want ask a moderator to move the thread.

    -Coke
     
  3. Jan 21, 2010 at 12:46 PM
    #3
    RAD

    RAD RAD@RECHELON/AESTHETICS Vendor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Member:
    #5762
    Messages:
    6,513
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    THE RAD
    LAX|2|PDX
    Vehicle:
    2007 | TRD | THE RECHRUNNER
    2012 CONVERSION | TOTAL CHAOS & ICON DYNAMICS |
    Does it count if I go Camping in my Taco and Drink one of my favorite Beers. Sierra Nevada Winter Celebrations? I'm curious. . . :confused: After a few of them it all seems/feels the same where I'm at. :D

    Good Luck with the SOLO Expedition.
     
  4. Jan 21, 2010 at 12:55 PM
    #4
    vbibi

    vbibi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Member:
    #20060
    Messages:
    515
    Gender:
    Male
    san fransisco bay area
    Vehicle:
    2009 4door long bed
    The simple answer is this: California is the most regulated state in this nation.
    Entering in a national park you will see a board. "You are entering in our national park. We have many rules and regulations. It is you-re responsibility to know and obey them." In California you can not drive anywhere you want. You have to stay only on the road as directed. If you are to camp, only in designated areas, and if is the case
    into a undeveloped area or primitive camping, you need a fire permit from rangers. To get one you need a shovel and a bucket. I think you get the picture.
    take care
    vbibi:(
     
  5. Jan 21, 2010 at 1:29 PM
    #5
    05Moose

    05Moose Middle-Aged Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Member:
    #29613
    Messages:
    2,535
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Jim
    In the snow (NorCal)
    Vehicle:
    '05 4x4 DC LB SR5 #8 (LSD, Tow Pkg)
    '05 4x4 DC LB SR5 (LSD & Tow Pkg), Timbrens, AAL, 5100s (.85), Owned: 12/3/04 Mods: Fog, Map/Dome Light, Illuminated 4wd Switch, Washable Cabin Air Filter
    Such pessimists!:eek:

    I did what you're doing a couple of years ago. You just need to contact one of the forest service offices and fill out the FREE wilderness permit and carry it with you. You're allowed to basically camp anywhere in the national forests. Now whether you're allowed to have a campfire depends on the rules of the specific national forest that you're camping in. During fire season (Jan 1 - Dec 31:D), they'll usually ban fires that aren't in designated campgrounds. That's part of the reason they want you to fill out the free permit, so you know the rules.

    For example, a buddy of mine, his two kids, and I (my daughter didn't want to go) did this sort of thing in Sept 2008. I got the permit, and we took his jeep. There was a current ban on campfires outside designated areas (campgrounds). Just have to find somewhere you like to pull off and camp. First night we did just that and camped near a small 1800's cemetery near an old mining town (so no campfire for us). It really was in the middle of nowhere. Next night, we went to one of the free 4wd accessible campgrounds and were able to have a campfire even during the campfire ban. Got my permit from the forestry in El Dorado National Forest and they told me it was good in any national forest.

    Here's a quick link to their FAQ's:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/faq/

    If you expand the question, "Do I need a Wilderness permit?" then you'll get the same info that I was told when I got my permit.

    Good luck and have fun.
     
  6. Jan 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM
    #6
    Crom

    Crom Outside...

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Member:
    #18782
    Messages:
    8,357
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Nick
    San Diego, CA
    Vehicle:
    2009 4x4 DCSB Overland Build
    Millions
    Someone sounds disgruntled. :rolleyes:

    I think you misread his post. He is visiting a National Forest which is very different from a National Park. You can hunt in a National Forest with a permit. ;) Rules and regulations are generally good and help preserve the public lands for the public use and future generations. If you know and respect them then you'll have fun and wont spend any time worrying about possibly getting in trouble.

    Most rangers are good folks and are usually happy to answer any questions from people who want to know. Sometimes it's just hard to reach the right persons with everyone being so busy and budgets being restricted.
     
  7. Jan 21, 2010 at 1:35 PM
    #7
    blackbrit

    blackbrit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Member:
    #28909
    Messages:
    86
    Gender:
    Female
    W. NC Mountains
    Vehicle:
    '05 DCSB 4x4 OR 6 Speed MT
    3 inch lift
    While I can't answer your question because it sounds like you are asking about laws and regulations, I can tell you I have always slept in the back of my truck, or before that, the back of friends' trucks, and before that, in the back of my dad's truck. I've slept in lots of rest stops, in the way-out-back, in national and state parks, always in the back of the truck. So, 30 or 40 years of experience says its always been fine. A lot of this camping was in California, Washington, and Oregon.

    You've made me wonder if I wasn't supposed to be doing that, however. But.... most of the folks who got me started with this kind of camping are or were super safety conscious, law-abiding people who would go out of their way to know what the law is. So, one woman's experience, for what it's worth.
     
  8. Jan 21, 2010 at 1:52 PM
    #8
    scocar

    scocar Scouting the perimeter for weakness

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Member:
    #25814
    Messages:
    31,365
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Dick
    In close proximity to an undisclosed location
    Vehicle:
    2015 DCLB 4x4 SR5
    Back to square one after the 2001. So...
    Not sure if you already have Tony Heugel's book, but I have an older copy that is pretty cool:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sierra-Nevada-Byways-Backcountry-Drives/dp/089997273X

    I have a copy at home, so I can't flip through it right now to see if it has any info regarding sleeping in vehicles, permits, etc.

    And yes, keep calling those numbers until you get a live ranger.

    Regarding others' comments about regulations in California, if they didn't exist to protect common resources for all to enjoy, the tremendous impact by tons of visitors (residents and otherwise)—many careless and thoughtless—would soon ruin it. About 30 million people live here, and thousands more visit all the time. It takes a hell of a lot (of money and effort) to maintain and manage these areas so we can all enjoy them. Who maintains those roads? The pit toilets? Who will save your butt if something goes wrong out there? Fees and rules are part of the deal. The state's incredible natural wonders are worth preserving. If you climb Mt. Whitney, you will meet people form all over the world. You will also have to crap in a bag and pack it out. They couldn't even manage the pit toilets up there it was so bad from the sheer volume of people, even with daily quotas. Yes, this is proabably the most extreme example I can think of, but the alternative would be disgusting for everyone and an environmental disaster.

    Just think in terms of leaving it the same way you found it, so the next person can enjoy it the same way.

    I hope the book helps, and have a great trip. This is exactly why I have 4WD!
     
  9. Jan 21, 2010 at 4:45 PM
    #9
    Jon M

    Jon M [OP] Wax nostalgic.

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Member:
    #18781
    Messages:
    99
    Gender:
    Male
    SE MinneSNOWta
    Vehicle:
    09 Tacoma SR5 TRD Sport w / Towing Pkg
    Thanks for all the replies so far, guys.

    I appreciate it.
     
  10. Jan 21, 2010 at 4:55 PM
    #10
    cameronlane

    cameronlane Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Member:
    #27558
    Messages:
    932
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    cameron
    Anywhere but there
    Vehicle:
    2014 Dbl Cab TRD OR 4x4
    I have that book too. It is a great reference for some off roading trips in northern california. I'm sure it would help you plan for your trip and maybe give you some ideas for side trips. Enjoy!
     
  11. Jan 22, 2010 at 2:28 PM
    #11
    Crom

    Crom Outside...

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Member:
    #18782
    Messages:
    8,357
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Nick
    San Diego, CA
    Vehicle:
    2009 4x4 DCSB Overland Build
    Millions
    Hey Jon,

    Good luck to you... If you can't have a fire in the backcountry I know a good alternative. I bought a cool propane heater that I use in the backcountry. I actually prefer it to a campfire because there is no mess and no smoke. It's called Mr. Heater and does a good job and will run for about 3 hours on a 1lb bottle. It runs in a perpendicular position or on it's back.

    I hope you don't object to me putting some pics in your thread. If you do let me know and I'll remove them. Here they are:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Jan 22, 2010 at 5:58 PM
    #12
    Jon M

    Jon M [OP] Wax nostalgic.

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Member:
    #18781
    Messages:
    99
    Gender:
    Male
    SE MinneSNOWta
    Vehicle:
    09 Tacoma SR5 TRD Sport w / Towing Pkg
    ^^^That's awesome and no, I definately do NOT object to you posting pics as that helps me (and probably others) out a lot. That's a great idea for added heat.

    Before going any further, I should clarify that I'm going to be in there area generally surrounded by the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway - beginning in North Fork.


    They finally did get back to me. And though this may be obvious to others, it wasn't to me and coming from Minnesota I had to have answers; but I digress....

    Here's what I found:

    Totally not a problem to do truck camping (aka sleeping on your homemade bed platform).


    Stay in the "dispersed" areas as there's no charge and no reservation needed. It's first come, first serve. But there are a lot of areas anywho. You'll need a camp fire permit - FREE.


    If you get one of the Wilderness Areas passes, you can stay ANYWHERE you want as long as it's 100ft from the trail. Observe the water contamination rules.


    So, considering that I don't have a specific timeline of where I will be and when I'll be there, this is perfect. I can roll in at like 8am or whatever and traverse around and just camp out wherever. Find a place early on in case they are filling up and go from there.

    I'm thinking I'll spend 3 -4 days around the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway (~100 miles) checking out the sites and the OHV trails that are there.


    Thanks to those who replied and I hope this helps some others that may have had similar questions.
     
  13. Jan 24, 2010 at 11:36 AM
    #13
    blackbrit

    blackbrit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Member:
    #28909
    Messages:
    86
    Gender:
    Female
    W. NC Mountains
    Vehicle:
    '05 DCSB 4x4 OR 6 Speed MT
    3 inch lift
    Are you going to post pics of your sleeping platform? That would be good. I always like to see other people's setups.:cool:
     
  14. Jan 24, 2010 at 12:53 PM
    #14
    crittergitter

    crittergitter Proud to be Canadian Navy

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Member:
    #26454
    Messages:
    194
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Stu
    Shearwater, NS
    Vehicle:
    '06 Tacoma 4WD Double Cab
    Bugger, skid plate, colour coded cap, bed mat, AFE Air Filter, Rear diff breather mod, Chirp on door lock;unlock, ABS mod, Weathertechs front and rear, 60" Hi-lift jack, LED light mod in rear bed, 12V accessory in bed, n more stuff.
    That set-up is as slick as snot!!!!!!!!!! Where did you pick it up?
     
  15. Jan 25, 2010 at 6:54 AM
    #15
    blackbrit

    blackbrit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Member:
    #28909
    Messages:
    86
    Gender:
    Female
    W. NC Mountains
    Vehicle:
    '05 DCSB 4x4 OR 6 Speed MT
    3 inch lift
    Wow, Krookz, that is amazing! I was wondering more about the thread starter's setup, but am so glad you posted. I have a cap on my truck bed, but if I didn't, I'd seriously consider this. What I love about it is that I bet you don't get mosquitoes inside with this tent setup.

    My Leonard cap has lots of tiny gaps between it and the bed, plus the windows in it have regular screens, not no-seeum netting. When I get a new Tacoma - maybe this spring sometime - I'm going to get a new cap with "windoors" and set them up with no-seeup netting and velcro. At least that's the plan right now. My inspiration is the BajaTaco.

    My truck isn't set up for camping at the moment, and when I looked, I realized I didn't have any pictures of it. Oops.
     
  16. Jan 26, 2010 at 12:00 AM
    #16
    doughboy

    doughboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Member:
    #27214
    Messages:
    385
    Gender:
    Male
    norcal
    hid head lights, hid fog lights, always on fog lights, bed lights
    That looks nice, but I presume you cannot drive around with that thing setup, so it would be a pain to tear it down and set it up at night while camping.

     
  17. Jan 26, 2010 at 8:54 AM
    #17
    doughboy

    doughboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Member:
    #27214
    Messages:
    385
    Gender:
    Male
    norcal
    hid head lights, hid fog lights, always on fog lights, bed lights
    thanks. ok I see now its only the top and does not have a floor and you have cots inside the tent. do you think the tent will still work if there is a rolled up tonneau in front?
     
  18. Jan 26, 2010 at 9:19 AM
    #18
    BTO

    BTO Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Member:
    #25836
    Messages:
    393
    Gender:
    Male
    California
    Vehicle:
    '07 Silver PR DC AT SR5 TP LSD
    Defroster mod, Bilstein 5100s front, Adjustable Ranchos rear.
    We go camping every year in the Sierra wilderness. I get a wilderness permit from the forest service and always have a campfire. Where we go you cannot take a truck. We get there by paddling a canoe. No motors allowed.

    The Forest service people are very nice and accommodating. I've never had a problem in all the years.
     
To Top