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Best Overlanding Shows, Expos, and Events in 2023
Overlanding shows, expos, and events are great for anyone interested in learning more about the overlanding lifestyle and the community that surrounds it. These events are designed for everyone from beginners to experienced adventurers, offering world-class training from overland and expeditionary experts, seminars, and hands-on driving courses.
They are a great opportunity to check out the latest gear, meet fellow overlanders, and gain the skills to plan your future adventures. You get to check out other overlanding vehicles, find supplies for your build, and interact with like-minded people. Besides, think about how much you learn!
Put yourself in the middle of the action; this is the best way to be inspired. Here is a complete list of all overlanding expos taking place in the United States in 2023, so you can find one close to you.
Overlanding Shows in 2023
For your convenience, we've arranged these overlanding shows according to date and location.
These events range from parties to ones that are family-friendly, and jam-packed with workshops, that will allow you to buy tons of gear. Whatever the case, there is definitely an event here for you!
1. Xscapers Convergence Annual Bash
Venue: Lake Havasu, Arizona
Date: January 14th–22nd
For the entire week, the attendees can enjoy seminars, live music, themed parties, camper markets, bouncing houses, campfires, meditation sessions, hangouts, yoga, group dog walks, a communal work area, and a massive Ferris wheel.
This week-long party is a fantastic way to beat the winter blues. The event isn't quite as educational as some of the other events on this list. The EscapeesRV Club, which organizes events and meetups all year and offers a wealth of benefits and resources to its members, is the host of this gathering. You can check their website for more information.
2. Truck Camper Adventure Rally
Venue: Quartzsite, Arizona
Date: February 9 to 12.
BLM is allowing only 400 overland rigs for this four-day event of overland truck campers in the desert. It will take place in the Roadrunner Wash Bureau of Land Management area. Up to six family members may attend for an additional $25 per camper. Near the bottom of the event page, attendees can find a list of truck camper owners who have registered for this overland event. Manufacturing companies that make truck campers are listed separately.
3. Express Rally Adventure Series (California)
Venue: Death Valley, California & Nevada
Date: February 10th-12th
Fee: $1,099 ($500 deposit required to book)
Every year, a few caravans come to the famous Express Rally. This rally follows predetermined routes through Death Valley. You can just show up and enjoy the ride with your new friends because this event has been meticulously planned.
All attendees will share regularly scheduled meals. You can enjoy the excursions and picturesque campsites scattered across Death Valley National Park in the Mojave Desert. Each ticket is good for up to two passengers and one vehicle.
Additionally, you will get t-shirts, sticker kits for your car, commemorative patches, full media coverage from BLK ELK Media, and lifelong memories!
4. American Adventurist – Desert Rendezvous
American Adventurists is a community dedicated to giving back to society. These gatherings are very community-oriented and draw like-minded people who enjoy travel and adventure.
Compared to some of the other bigger events, this one is much more laid-back. Although there will be vendors there, this is not a commercial event. Community potlucks, a cooking contest, and team trail runs are all to be anticipated.
It is advised that you join their community and participate in forums to stay informed about all of their events. You have to register and sign in to their website to see the details of the event.
5. Southeast Overland & Outdoor Expo
Venue: The Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park – Starke, Florida
Date: March 3-5
The Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park in Starke, Florida, is the location of this three-day outdoor and overland expo. The event will include camping, seminars, an off-road course, food trucks, raffles, and other activities. In the past, seminars have covered topics like pet travel, overlanding with a trailer, and wilderness first aid.
You can get more details about the event on their official website.
6. MOORE Expo
Venue: Springfield, Missouri.
Date: April 21-22nd
The MOORE Expo takes pride in being the Midwest's top consumer travel show. This event, which takes place at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, is perfect for people who like to stay current on the newest equipment in the business. There are more than 200 vendors at this event.
Numerous workshops and seminars are held at this expo in addition to the impressive list of vendors. You can anticipate learning everything from how to pack a first aid kit to using overland navigation apps, as well as what essential gear you should be bringing on your adventures.
Additionally, there will be live music on both nights in the recovery room, as well as family-friendly lawn games.
You can find more information on their official website.
7. Alberta Outdoor Adventure Expo
Venue: Buffalo Lake, Alberta Canada
Date: May 13-14
The Alberta Outdoor Adventure Expo is Alberta's premier outdoor event, featuring vendors, guest speakers, and outdoor enthusiasts. It will be held in 2023 in Alberta, Canada. This event is home to over 300 exhibits that offer everything from the latest outdoor gear to catch-and-release fishing in the ponds or at the McLeod River, paddle boarding, vehicle recovery courses, evening movies, food trucks, live music, and much more.
Here is their official website for more details on the events and the different exhibits.
8. Overland Expo West
Venue: Flagstaff, Arizona
Date: May 19th-21st
This outdoor overlanding expo prides itself on being the best of its kind in the world. To give you the full camping experience at the event, they have a ton of campsites available in the lovely Ponderosa Pine Forest.
This event also boasts 400+ vendors selling products and services for a variety of outdoor activities such as overlanding, camping, motorcycling, and travel. You can attend more than 175 workshops and seminars at this event over the course of the weekend.
This event's evenings are filled with live music performances, film festivals, raffles, and parties. This event is for people who want an all-encompassing overlanding expo that includes learning, shopping, and socializing with other like-minded people. The event is also ideal for children and families.
9. Northwest Overland Rally
Venue: Plain, Washington
Date: June 15th-18th
The three-day Northwest Overland Rally is held in Plain, Washington, which is located about an hour's drive from Wenatchee.
There is something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast at this event. On-site primitive camping is accessible for all three nights in a field close to the activities.
There are vendor booths for everyone. Attendees can also go to workshops, work together, and interact with the neighborhood. Due to its location in Washington State's wine region, this event even offers wine-tasting opportunities.
10. Outside Adventure Expo
Venue: Salt Lake City, Utah.
This expo event is held at the OC Fair & Event Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Vendors, exhibitions, educational seminars, workshops, live music, craft brews, and adventure movie screenings are all part of this two-day event.
This event is organized for those with interests in various adventures like mountaineering, mountain biking, overlanding, kayaking, etc. It would be thrilling to check out some of the most impressive adventures and overland rigs on the road when you attend this event.
Due to venue restrictions, there will be no overnight camping at this event. More details of the event can be found on the official website.
11. Overland Expo Pacific NorthWest
Venue: Redmond, Oregon.
Date: August 25th-27th
Every year, this event takes place in Redmond, Oregon, which is close to Bend. With festival-style camping available at this event, visitors can easily access the vendors, exhibits, live music, and events.
In addition to over 175 specialized workshops like how to pack trauma kits, recovery methods, survival skills, and other helpful courses for off-road enthusiasts, this event features over 300 vendors in the outdoor market.
Even after sunset, these activities continue. In addition to food trucks, raffles, and even an overland film festival, they hold a happy hour every evening. These events are some of the biggest overlanding gatherings in the world and are perfect for anyone looking to learn, develop, and interact with the overland community.
You can check their website for more information on the event.
12. Rocky Mountain Overland Rally
Venue: Gunnison, Colorado.
Dates: TBD (typically the last weekend in July)
This event is the first of a three-part series that takes place across North America (the other two events are in British Columbia and Washington State).
Primitive camping is permitted on-site for this event, making it the ideal and suggested method of attendance. There are many vendors, a nightly happy hour, group campfires, daily yoga, and educational classes for those who prefer to learn outside as part of the event.
In 2022, this event was postponed due to competing events in the region and across the nation. It is anticipated that this event will resume in 2023 after being reevaluated.
13. Overland Expo Mountain West
Venue: The Ranch – Loveland, Colorado
Overland Expo Mountain West will be held at The Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, in 2023. It is the world's premier event for do-it-yourself overland and adventure travel enthusiasts. The event hosts hundreds of session hours of classes for 4-wheel-drive and adventure motorcycling, inspirational programs, the Overland Film Festival, roundtable discussions, demonstrations, food, and a large expo featuring several hundred vendors of adventure travel equipment, camping gear, bikes, vehicles, and services.
The event offers more than 300 session hours of incredible programs and over 250 exhibitors. More information is on their website.
14. Mid-Atlantic Overland Expo
Venue: Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
Date: TBD (Generally 2nd weekend in August)
The Mid-Atlantic Overland Expo takes pride in being the top east coast overland expo. Visitors can take advantage of classes, vendors, an adventure film festival, and even onsite camping.
Testing your driving prowess on off-road and obstacle courses is one of the most thrilling things you can anticipate here. You can take part in community events, food trucks, live music, and group campfires every night.
15. Teton Overland Show
Venue: Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Dates: September 15th-17th
With the goal of uniting outdoor enthusiasts, the Teton Overland Show was founded in 2017. The Waterfront at Snake River Landing is the location of this three-day festival, which is held near the Grand Tetons. For an additional fee, on-site camping is available for the duration of the event. This event features a ton of product demos, class sessions, group trail runs, and even a kids' zone.
16. Big Iron Overland Rally
Venue: West Mineral, Kansas
Date: September 29-30
In West Mineral, Kansas, an overland rally called Big Iron lasts for three days. The rally will feature camping, live music, vehicle awards, and even a self-guided tour of Big Brutus, a.k.a. the Bucyrus-Erie model 1850-B electric shovel, according to the rally's organizers.
The Big Iron Overland Rally is a camping and concert experience at the historic Big Brutus landmark in West Mineral, Kansas. The event offers live music, vendors, classes, and more, and is a great opportunity to meet fellow overlanders and gain the skills to plan your future adventures.
17. California Off-Road Expo
Date: TBD (typically the first weekend in October)
Fee: $15-$20 per day
For those who take off-roading seriously, there is an off-road expo! You can anticipate seeing a variety of top-tier industry vendors, hearing from famous speakers, and even getting to drive some fully equipped off-road vehicles on an off-roading course. The event is perfect for those who take off-roading seriously and don't mind getting a little dirty.
17. The Pilgrimage
Date: October 5th-8th
Camping, trail rides, and even a quiet area for families with young children are offered at this Northeastern gathering of off-road enthusiasts and overlanders.
The Pilgrimage is a gathering place for 44 enthusiasts from all over the nation, and some even caravan through Vermont. The Henderson Hideaway Basecamp, where you can browse various vendors and mingle with the locals, is the venue for this event.
Even a map of Vermont's extensive system of class IV off-roading trails will be provided to you. The state does not maintain these trails, so this event encourages caravans to travel along these treacherous, rocky roads.
19. Rendezvous in the Ozarks
Venue: Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
Date: TBD (typically the second week in October)
This small gathering is a part of a series that takes place across the nation in various locales. These activities are perfect for people who want to immerse themselves in a group of people who share their love of the outdoors.
Expect group potlucks, nightly conversations, campfires, and the chance to meet wonderful people who share your enthusiasm for the great outdoors.
20. Rooftop Tent Rally
Venue: Gladstone, Virginia
Dates: October 21st-23rd
Blue Ridge Overland Gear and James River State Park are the event's hosts. Any vehicle that gets you into the great outdoors is welcomed, even though this event is geared toward overlanders with a rooftop tent.
You can browse a ton of vendors, go to workshops on adventure travel, indulge at the on-site brewery, unwind to live regional music, and more. This event welcomes families, offers camping on-site, and is surrounded by numerous trails that you can explore.
There you go! We hope you find an event that will boost your passion for overlanding. If you are just starting out and you are interested in overlanding, here is a comprehensive guide to overlanding, and another on how to find the best overlanding trails near you.
How to Set up A Dual Battery System Step by Step
If you use your 4x4 with a winch, portable fridge, camp lights, radio, or USB outlets, your vehicle's electrical system may not support an extra power drain. A dual battery system ensures extra power without draining the vehicle's battery.
People use a dual battery system to provide extra power for accessories and ensure a reliable power source in off-grid situations. Campers, four-wheelers, and those who need to power appliances while the vehicle is off use this system mostly. A dual-battery setup also provides a backup battery in the event of a stalled engine.
A dual-battery system provides extra power for your accessories without draining the main battery. This is how campers enjoy their adventures and unwind in the woods or wilderness. This article will help you get your vehicle a dual battery setup.
What is a Dual Battery Setup?
A dual-battery system is a setup where two batteries are connected to a vehicle's alternator and work together to provide power. This is ideal for those who camp often and need a reliable power source. It is excellent for those who partake in four-wheeling, as it provides a backup battery in the event of a stalled engine.
The isolator in the system will automatically prevent the main battery from being discharged when the vehicle is off and will open to allow power to flow into both batteries when the engine is on. The benefits of a dual battery system include no necessary maintenance, resistance to vibration, and the ability to mount batteries in various positions.
How Does It Work?
To understand how to set up a dual battery system, you must know how it works.
A dual battery system is a great way to increase the power available in your vehicle. It connects two batteries in series, allowing them to draw from the same power source.
The first battery, the primary or starting battery, is typically used to start the engine and provide power for regular operation. The second battery is then connected to the primary battery and is used to power the accessories.
You can use the second battery, for instance, to run your camp lights, charge your laptop and cell phone, and power a small refrigerator. By having a second source of electricity, you can prevent accidentally overusing your starter battery and ending up stranded.
In many systems, the two battery banks can be momentarily "paralleled" to help start the car if the starting battery is accidentally discharged.
This is made possible by using an isolator. An isolator separates your starter battery from your secondary battery so that only one battery generates power. Each battery should work independently to prevent your starter battery from running down and rendering your four-wheeler incapable of starting. You can charge and use both batteries independently with a suitable battery isolator.
Do You Need a Dual Battery Setup for Your Overland Rig?
It's not always compulsory to have two batteries in your overland vehicle. You can get by with the engine battery alone. However, it is very advisable to have this dual battery setup.
The average car battery generates at least 12-volt power. However, if you drain it too much, you won't be able to start your car the next day. Nobody wants to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery.
Installing a dual battery setup will give you the extra power you need while ensuring that you can always start your car when necessary.
For instance, if your starter battery is your only power source, you won't be able to use it much without the engine running. This is because lead-acid or AGM batteries are frequently used as starter batteries. When your vehicle starts, it is intended to experience a brief high current and immediately recharge the engine. They are not designed for extended use, particularly at deep discharges. You might not be able to start your engine as a result.
Deep discharges on this battery type also cause quick battery damage and hasten the battery's demise. This is why a dual battery setup with lithium is frequently the best overland setup.
Before setting up a dual battery system, you should assess your needs and determine the power consumption of each device you wish to power. This will help you make an informed choice on a dual battery system that’s right for you. You should also decide on a budget and determine the battery best suited for your needs.
Can I Fit a Second Battery Myself?
You can, if you have the necessary supplies and tools, such as a battery isolator, battery cable, and fuses. However, you should consult an electrician if you are not confident in setting up the system.
Installing a dual battery system can be done by tech-savvy individuals, as parts are readily available, and there is a lot of free information online to guide the process. The first step is to find a secure, safe position for the battery and install it. The second step is to wire up the battery and other components correctly, which requires extensive knowledge of car wiring. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the vehicle's electrical system.
Though 12V electrical systems are unlikely to harm humans, improper wiring can cause damage to the car. Therefore, using a qualified auto electrician for any vehicle wiring is highly recommended, as this will provide peace of mind and save money in the long run.
Step By Step to A Dual Battery Setup
If you're considering installing your dual battery system, here is a simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Choose Your Battery
You can install any secondary battery if you have room and a way to mount it. You can select any battery you like, but you must ensure that the charger is providing it with the correct power and in the proper manner.
As we previously mentioned, your car's starting battery will most likely be an AGM or flooded lead-acid battery. You could use a similar lead-acid battery for your first battery, but lithium batteries are now the norm due to their numerous advantages.
Lithium, for instance, can withstand deep discharges almost completely. They charge incredibly fast as well. They are, therefore, perfect for extended use and quick recharges.
In addition to having a much higher energy density and being overall safer than lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries are also 55% lighter. Because they do not vent toxic gasses, they can be installed inside enclosed spaces like your cab without being vented. They are ideal for a dependable second battery setup. We will look at the different types of batteries you can use in the next section.
Where Do I Mount my Second Battery?
Some vehicles have enough space for an extra battery. The second battery can sometimes be mounted inside the engine bay. When there is no space available, it must be mounted somewhere else. It is simple to mount your second battery and related equipment on your tray or under your trunk.
Some manufacturers have even produced systems that can be mounted behind the seats in dual-cab utes. However, you will need to find a way to hold it in the boot area if you have a wagon-style 4WD or any other vehicle. There are other options if you don't have enough room or don't want to mount a second battery permanently.
Many people use a battery box while camping, keep it in the car, and then remove it for everyday driving. You can do this without permanently installing a second battery by configuring wiring and circuits to charge your battery box while driving.
Step 2: Install the Isolator
A battery isolator ensures the charge goes to a different battery without causing unintended side effects or putting our primary battery at risk. Typically, these devices feed electrical current to your primary battery from the vehicle alternator. It then sends the remaining current to your secondary battery once your primary battery is fully charged. In some cases, if your primary battery dies for any reason, you can use your secondary battery to jump-start your car.
First, you'll need to identify the positive and negative terminals on both batteries and the isolator. Then, connect the positive terminal of the primary battery to the positive terminal on the isolator.
Next, connect the primary battery's negative terminal to the secondary battery's negative terminal.
Finally, connect the secondary battery's negative terminal to the isolator's negative terminal. You should also ensure that all connections are secure and that the isolator is adequately grounded. If you have any questions or concerns, it's always best to consult a professional to ensure a safe and successful installation.
Step 3: Setup the Charge
You can charge your dual-battery system in several different ways. Using your car's alternator to charge the batteries is possible if you drive a lot. Overlanders frequently choose this option because they don't need additional gear. However, it's only practical if you intend to travel often. If not, you should also have a backup charging system. However, you must follow some safety measures when using lithium, which we will discuss in the following section.
On sunny days, you can use solar panels to collect energy from the sun and recharge your batteries.
If you're not connected to the grid, you could also bring along a small generator to recharge your batteries or consider adding solar power. Larger vehicles like RVs are where this is most common.
A DC-to-DC charger can provide an optimal and reliable power source for your secondary battery, allowing it to charge more efficiently and quickly and resist being impacted by smart alternators or another vehicle wiring. This charger can also adjust its current flow based on the battery's depth of discharge, ensuring your battery is charged to its full capacity.
Some DC-to-DC chargers can be connected to solar panels so that you can receive further stationary charges. While more expensive than a battery isolator, a DC-to-DC charger can greatly improve your vehicle's configuration.
Types of Batteries Used For Secondary Batteries
The main point of a second battery is to store energy. What makes a battery different from others is how it holds power. These are the different types of batteries for a second battery in a dual battery setup.
1. Lead Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are perfect for starting engines because they can handle large, brief bursts of power. Since they contain liquid acid, they pose some safety risks and should be kept upright and out of reach of children and pets.
Lead-acid batteries are relatively cheap and have a long lifespan when properly maintained. They also have a high power density, meaning they can provide power when needed.
2. AGM Batteries (Absorbent Glass Matt)
AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries are great as a second battery for your vehicle. They provide reliable power, last longer than traditional batteries, and don't require as much maintenance.
They also have a low internal resistance, making them ideal for high-drain applications such as powering winches or other accessories.
3. Gel Cell Batteries
Unlike lead-acid batteries, gel batteries have a gel electrolyte inside. This gel can withstand a greater depth of discharge without harming the battery. Like AGM batteries, the gel won't spill, so it is also safe.
One drawback of gel batteries is that they need a specific charging setup because they require a lower charging voltage than lead-acid and AGM batteries. However, when properly installed and charged, they are generally more durable and long-lasting than lead-acid and AGM batteries.
4. Lithium Iron Batteries
Lithium batteries are an excellent choice for a second battery. They are lightweight, have a long life span, and are highly efficient. They are also much less prone to self-discharge than other batteries, so you don't have to worry about them dying when not in use. Additionally, they are environmentally friendly since they are recyclable. However, they are costly. With that being said, we hope this article helps you get the most out of your next overlanding or dispersed camping trip with an efficient dual-battery setup.
The Best Dispersed Camping Spots in Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is a popular camping destination due to its stunning natural beauty. The area is known for its red rock formations, rugged mountains, and desert landscapes. Campers have the time of their lives hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Camping in Sedona is also popular due to its mild weather year-round, making it an excellent spot for camping during all seasons. Come to Sedona to connect to nature with lush forests and breathtaking views. Camping in Sedona allows you to explore the unique landscape and experience its beauty up close.
While there are designated full-service tents around Sedona, dispersed camping is also allowed. You can find suitable dispersed camping spots in the wilderness, surrounded by incredible natural beauty.
This article will help you find the best dispersed camping spots in Sedona. We will also give you tips and advice that will help you get the most out of dispersed camping in Sedona. Is your RV ready? Let’s go!
Best Places to Camp in Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is the perfect destination for those who want to experience nature and reconnect with the outdoors. With a variety of camping options ranging from free dispersed camping to full-service campgrounds, Sedona offers something for every type of camper. Here are the best dispersed camping spots to experience the best of the outdoors for free:
1. Pumphouse Wash (Forest Road 237)
Pumphouse Wash (Forest Road 237) is a popular dispersed camping area in the Coconino National Forest along SR 89A, midway between Flagstaff and Sedona, Arizona. This area offers an array of recreation opportunities, such as hiking, biking, and fishing, as well as plenty of spots for dispersed camping.
Its convenient location near some recreation sites makes it an ideal spot for a dispersed camping adventure. Pumphouse Wash is a great spot for those looking to enjoy the beauty of nature and experience the wilderness.
The Pumphouse Wash area is designated for dispersed camping. Go through State Route 89A north from Sedona, turn right onto Forest Road 237, and then look for the signs showing the designated campsites. You risk being fined if you camp outside of these locations.
2. Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road is a popular dispersed camping area in Sedona. It is popular for its breathtaking views of the red rock formations. It is also known as Forest Road 153, or FR153. It's incredibly simple to reach this road from Interstate 17, and once you descend Schnebly Hill Road, fantastic camping areas are immediately visible. The best camping areas in this area are near Interstate 17.
To reach the really good campsites, you must travel quite a distance down the road from Sedona, or from the west, which makes accessing this area more challenging. Additionally, Schnebly Hill Road is much rougher on this side, so only people with high-clearance, 4WD vehicles and those with experience driving down rough roads should take it into consideration.
All of the campsites located alongside this road are evenly spaced out and offer visitors breath-taking views, regardless of where you enter it from—Interstate 17 or Sedona. There are no water sources along Schnebly Hill Road, so be sure to bring plenty.
3. Loy Butte Road (Forest Road 525)
Loy Butte Road, also known as Forest Road 525, is a dispersed camping spot located 10 miles southwest of Sedona, Arizona. It winds through Red Rock Country and offers an array of unique wild camping spots.
You can pitch a tent for several miles along the road, with the best spots for larger trailers and RVs located right off State Route 89A. Just be aware that the first section of the road is popular with dirt bikes and ATVs and is close to the highway, so there may be some noise.
For a more tranquil experience, use a high-clearance vehicle to venture further down the road. Please note that there are no restrooms or water sources in this area, so it is important to come prepared with your own supplies. For some outdoor recreation, don't miss the Loy Canyon Trail, which can be found at the end of the road.
4. Angel Valley Road
On the opposite side of State Route 89A from the previously mentioned Loy Butte Road, there is another dispersed camping area in Sedona. Its location is about 11 miles southwest of the city and goes by the name of Angel Valley Road.
The campsites will start to appear after you pass the Deer Pass trailhead, or after about a mile of driving, once you turn left to leave State Route 89A. Expect little in the way of privacy because most camps are flat and grouped together.
Angel Valley Road is a good option for camping in the Sedona area, despite not being quite as breathtaking as some other locations mentioned in this guide. If you discover that other dispersed camping areas are booked up, this is a great backup plan.
There are no facilities of any kind at Angel Valley Road, so you'll need to come prepared. Although the road is a little rough, most passenger cars can travel it fairly easily.
5. Coffee Creek
Coffee Creek is one of the most spacious dispersed camping areas near Sedona, located along State Route 89A, halfway between Sedona and the city of Cottonwood. It can easily accommodate many campers and the level of crowdedness varies depending on whether it is a weekend or not.
However, please be aware that this is a desert camping area and there is not much natural shade, which makes it important to bring your own shade and protection from the sun. To get there, you will need to drive south on State Route 89A and take a right on Forest Road 9571; the camping spots will appear on both sides shortly after getting off the highway.
6. East Pocket (Edge of the World)
Edge of the World (East Pocket) is a popular area for dispersed camping in Yellowstone National Park. It is one of the best places for dispersed camping in Arizona. East Pocket offers breathtaking views of Arizona's wilderness.
Although it takes a while to get here (East Pocket is located nearly 40 miles north of Sedona), the trip is very worthwhile. While driving slowly and carefully is required, it's not absolutely necessary to use a high-clearance vehicle.
It is located in the northwest corner of the park, near the South Entrance. There is no designated campground in the area, but visitors are allowed to camp anywhere on the open ground, provided that they abide by the park’s rules and regulations. Camping is free and the area is open year-round.
There are multiple trails in the area, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Additionally, visitors can enjoy numerous outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
7. Lawrence Crossing
Compared to the other free campsites listed above, Lawrence Crossing Campground is a little bit further away from Sedona, but it's still a fantastic option, especially if you're traveling from the south.
Lawrence Crossing is free, so even though it's not a dispersed camping area, we wanted to include it on this list. It's a tiny, basic campground with few services.
The small number of campsites is situated next to a lovely creek. Tent campers do best at Lawrence Crossing. For RV or trailer camping, look elsewhere.
8. Forest Road 618
Forest Road 618 is situated just east of the intersection of State Route 179 and Interstate 17, 9 miles southwest of Sedona. Because the camping spots are spaced apart, you can expect more privacy than at Angel Valley Road.
The camping areas at Forest Road 618 are less crowded than others in the Sedona region, despite the fact that they are merely dusty pull-offs from the road. Additionally, they are all very simple to reach.
For any campers interested in visiting Montezuma Castle National Park, this location is a great option. The distance to the camping area is less than three miles.
Forest Road 618 doesn't have any water or restrooms. Take everything you'll need with you, and be sure to pack out all of your trash.
5 Things To Know Before Camping In Sedona
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when planning a camping trip to Sedona:
1. The Cold
When visiting Sedona, keep in mind that it is located at a high elevation, meaning that the evenings may be quite chilly. Be sure to bring appropriate clothing and supplies for these cooler temperatures. While Sedona is a desert town, the dispersed camping spots are elevated at a height of 4,300 feet above sea level. Expect snow in the winter.
2. Summer Rain & Thunderstorms
The mid-end of summer in Sedona is the rainy season! If you are planning on camping in Sedona during the months of July or August, it is important to plan ahead and bring tarps, waterproof bags for clothing, and other items to protect yourself from the rain.
It may be a good idea to plan your camping trip to Sedona for a different month, like April or October, when the weather is still pleasant but there is less of a risk of getting rained out. No matter when you decide to visit Sedona, it is an incredibly popular destination, and many people make the trip each year. Just remember to be prepared and plan ahead if you are visiting during the summer rainy season.
3. Free Camping in Sedona is Allowed, but Only in Certain Designated Areas
It is illegal to camp off-road anywhere in Sedona. The locations for backcountry camping in Sedona are typically far from water sources. Free camping is accessible at the spots listed in this guide. To make sure you are allowed to camp, look for the signs that say "Camping allowed." You can basically find free camping in Sedona east of the Schnebly Hill Vista; all you need to do is enter that address into your GPS, find it on a map, or spot it on the road.
4. Most Campgrounds in Sedona are Really Not that Remote
Sedona has designated camping grounds, and most of them are close to the city, so you're never too far away from amenities. For example, Oak Creek Canyon is close to one of the main roads leading out of Sedona.
Nonetheless, the campgrounds still offer incredible views of the iconic red rocks and a feeling of seclusion. Overlanding and RV camping are also popular in Sedona. There are plenty of campgrounds with enough space to accommodate RVs of all sizes. For those who aren't keen on tent camping, there are also cabins available for rent. There are lots of ways to camp in Sedona, so make sure to choose the one that best suits your style.
5. Wear Sunscreen and Sunglasses
You will likely be doing a lot of hiking, cooking, and setting up your tent, so make sure to protect your skin and eyes from the sun. Sedona is a desert environment; even though it experiences rain and snow, the light reflects off the red rocks and the red ground and can easily cause sunburn and damage your eyes and skin.
When is the Best time to Camp in Sedona?
The best time to visit and camp in Sedona is generally in the spring months from March to May, as well as in the fall from September to November. You will avoid the scorching summer temperatures and the cold of winter by visiting during this time. However, on the edge of these seasons, it is important to be prepared for very cold nights and even the possibility of snow! Make sure to pack warm clothing and supplies to ensure your camping trip is a success.
So, What Should I Bring?
When camping in the wilderness around Sedona, it is important to come well-prepared. This is due to the unique geographical location of the area, where the desert and mountains meet. This is especially true for dispersed camping, as a developed campground offers no amenities. It is essential to come prepared for the conditions.
Below is some stuff you need for a memorable dispersed camping experience in Sedona:
- Map: While you may think you have Google Maps, it’s a pity that Google needs an internet connection. That might be a luxury in the woods. You need a correct map to ensure that you are on public land. We recommend this National Geographic map. It gives a comprehensive overview of Flagstaff and Sedona.
- Camping Stove: When camping in a dispersed camping area, you need a camping stove because there are no cooking areas or campfire rings. You need a camping stove to cook meals, boil water, and keep warm in cold weather. It is also important to remember that open fires are not allowed in some dispersed camping areas in Sedona. A camping stove is the only way to cook food and boil water.
- Portable water container: There is no access to clean water in the woods. Mainly in the Sedona dispersed camping areas listed in this article. You need a portable water container.
- Cooler: If you come with food and drinks, you want to keep them cool. Sedona’s climate can be harsh.
- Mats: This is a no-brainer, but it is worth mentioning. There are no bedrooms in these dispersed camping spots. You need a camp mat.
There are bans on fires to ensure the safety of wildfires in the wilderness. The following places have a complete ban on open fires:
- Oak Creek Canyon
- Pumphouse Wash
Please consult the local website to learn about fire restrictions where you are.
Enjoying a spectacular sunset (or sunrise!) against the majestic red rocks of Sedona is a truly magical experience, especially when you can take in the view from a free dispersed campsite.