April 30, 2018
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This is great!! I am in the processes of graduating from the Wavestorm, but it’s hard to find a board that is in my price range. I’ll have to go check out the Paragon!!
That’s great to hear Matt! Definitely check out their website. They’ve got some really fun boards.
Very nice photos…7289 for example
Thanks Chris! I appreciate it.
Haha it’s tough to take a bad picture in Norway. The whole country is stunning!
This was really helpful, thank you! I’ve been camping before but someone else always organized it so I’m basically a beginner…
One question came to mind as I read through it;
1. The “Dispersed Camping” link says we can stay in one spot up to 16 days, how do you suggest we safeguard our stuff if we plan to drive to another location for a hike, the beach, etc… Should we completely pack up and then try to find another available spot in the afternoon? Or is it safe enough to leave our tent pitched?
Thanks for the help and I’ll be sharing this page 😀
Hi Aaron. That’s great. I’m always glad to hear that posts are helpful!
Typically, campers are a pretty trustworthy bunch. Whenever I’m dispersed camping, I leave my tent, sleeping bags, etc. at the campsite, and I’ve never had any issues with people messing with my stuff. This not only reserves your spot for the day but also means you don’t have to tear everything down each day.
That said, be smart and don’t leave a laptop, phone, or other expensive item out in plain view. Usually I take the really expensive stuff with me.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for that Josh!
I wanted to try and find other service roads so I was scouting areas near our preferred hikes to camp. Some roads had homes, Dolan Ridge or Coast Ridge rd seemed like some options, but how do I know if it’s okay to park off the road and camp on one of these other roads? How do you differentiate between them all? We’re nervous of parking somewhere were not supposed to and getting in trouble.
Thanks again for the help!
I’m not sure about Dolan Ridge, but Coast Ridge Road looks like there would likely be some free camping along it. Typically, if the road is unpaved and maintained by the forest service, then the dispersed camping rules for that national forest should apply. Within Los Padres National Forest (and many others) the dispersed camping rules referenced above apply.
Usually, internet research will only get you so far. The best bet is to drive to the spot and as long as it looks unpaved and there aren’t any no trespassing or private property signs, then I’d say go for it. I will say that when we camped on Los Burros road, as we were driving in there were multiple forest service signs talking about camping rules so it was pretty obvious that camping was allowed.
Hope that helps.
We camped off of Nacimiento-Fergusson road and got asked to leave by a man who we believe worked for the Fire Department. He gave us a bogus looking piece of paper and said we couldn’t camp on the turnouts of that road, talked to someone else to try and figure out if it was true and was told that other campers had been given tickets a couple weeks prior. We stayed the night and camped off of Coast Ridge Trail (name on Google Maps) the next night, about 20min up N-F road.
Hope this helps someone! As Josh says, stick to dirt roads and I don’t think you’ll be bothered, aside from the mosquitoes and flies!
DON’T LEAVE ANY TRASH/TOILET PAPER BEHIND. This is why people are now being ticketed, locals are tired of seeing the trash.
Bring dog poop bags with you and trash them the next day. I was able to hold it until we got down to the main road and use a campgrounds bathroom 🙂
Thanks for the update Aaron. That’s good to know. It’s really sad that people trash these beautiful places.
Cheers for article.
My first hand plane has proved to be so much fun. I made it roughy with little direction but loving the fun I can have with it. Am on to hand plane #2 for a mates turning 40, using Paulownia that I sourced cheaply. I have also used webbing with velcro so it’s adjustable for the strap.
Not sure how to post photos to this but would love to show you if possible.
Jason, glad to hear you’re having fun with hand planes. It really is amazing how much extra speed and control that little bit of wood will give you.
That’s rad! I have heard that paulownia is great and would love to get my hands on some. Where did you get yours? Also, the adjustable strap is definitely a good call. I’ve added that to my more recent hand planes as well.
I’d love to see pictures of your hand plane. I’ll look into how to allow pictures to be shared on my site.
Earlier in the year I built a wooden surfboard out of Paulownia @ Tree to Sea, Mornington Victoria Australia. Awesome experience. Took an off cut from them and made my first hand plane – rough.
Talking to a bloke in a surf shop a few months back and he mentioned he had a stack of Paulownia in a mates shed that they never got around to doing anything with. Hit him up the other week, drove 2 hours and picked up 2 x 7ft pre-glued ‘blanks’ for a knock down price. So on top of the 40th birthday present, with my two boys (9,7) we have made them their own hand planes. they will be finished tonight with straps and ready to get wet. Yew!
That’s super rad! Sounds like a fun father-son project. I can’t wait to get my hands on some paulownia. I’m looking to build a Mini Simmons sometime in the near future.
I’ve never been to Australia, but my wife and I are moving to New Zealand next month and we’re hoping to get over to the Melbourne area at some point while we’re there. Any good suggestions for fun surf spots or must see places?
When I tell you your pictures are the best, I’m not joking. I came across Melissa’s channel (Wife or girlfriend?) and it brought me to your blog. You guys are so inspiring, and encouraging me even more to pack up my things and leave. Keep up the good work. 🙂
Thanks Sarah! I really appreciate the kind words! Moving to New Zealand has been an awesome experience so far and we expect it will get even better as we get to travel around and see more of this beautiful country.
Hi Yonder Stoke,
I’m looking at a map and Los Padres National Forest is closer to Santa Barbara area. Do we need to buy an adventure pass specifically for Big Sur area (Los Burros Rd for example)?
Good question. I was a little confused about the boundaries of the Los Padres NF as well. It’s true that it’s down by Santa Barbara, but there’s also another section of the Los Padres NF that encompasses much of the Big Sur coastline (I believe Los Burros road is within the NF boundaries). Check out the link below for more details:
On a side note, I would certainly recommend buying an Adventure Pass. It’s a great deal and provides access to a lot of amazing national forest land.
Clever idea! Can’t wait to see more of this van life!!
Thanks man! It’s been a fun process.
That picture of the snow capped mountain across the water…. Woah.
Taupo is unbelievable! Such a gorgeous place.
Hi! it would be awesome if you could use your site to educate people how to properly “use the bathroom” when there is no bathroom. And how dangerous fire can be. A lot of people without any camping experience read post like yours and then leave toilet paper behind and light fires. If you’re going to lead people into Big Sur, please be responsible and educate them first? Soberanes Fire has been burning for over 60 days now, started by an illegal campfire 🙁 Don’t assume your readers are as respectful as you are.
That’s a great idea! I will work on writing a post discussing basic camping etiquette, proper waste disposal, and fire safety. I tried to include links to appropriate sites with information on campfire permits, wilderness passes, etc. However, it’s unfortunate that sometimes people are so disrespectful of these beautiful natural areas.
Thank you for your input and concern.
I just finished my post on basic camping etiquette. If you get a chance, please check it out (http://yonderstoke.com/index.php/2016/09/25/camping-etiquette-101/) and let me know what you think.
Glad to hear you won’t smell like Doritos forever 😉
Haha yep. Showers are a wonderful thing!
I’m convinced. I want to house sit!
Now if I can just get that sabbatical.
It’s a great gig! Plus, you get to stay in some pretty swanky places.
Heading to Big Sur from SD this weekend with my boyfriend & pup for exactly this! Glad I stumbled upon your site and now have info for coastal free camping!
That’s awesome to hear! Enjoy your time up in Big Sur. It’s such a special place.
what was your final price for the awning?
I ended up spending just under $50. The PVC pipe was by far the most expensive part, because the tarp was only $6.
We were out on Nacimiento-Ferguson Road this past weekend chatting with a NFS ranger, he said they will be enforcing no camping in turnouts due to a new county ordinance. There are still free spots to car camp in Big Sur, you just have to dig a little deeper.
Good to know. Thanks for the update!
Are you able to locate any of these free spots in a regular car?
Many of the forest service roads are just gravel or dirt roads. I’ve seen regular 2wd cars and vans on these roads, however I would be careful if your car doesn’t have very much ground clearance. Additionally, check the weather before you go because these roads would be very treacherous for a 2wd car when they are wet. A final thought is you should always use your best judgement. If you don’t feel comfortable driving on a road in your car, then it’s definitely smarter to play it safe.
Hope that helps,
ommmmgggg!!! I want to do this too! I’ve heard from a few people how amazing this program is. Ive been trying to get this type of visa to move to California and to experience that (ya you guys are lucky to live in the US) but it’s been so hard that Ive been so discouraged. Maybe I should look into NZ now! Hope you guys are enjoying your adventure. Would love to know more about what you guys signed up to do there. 🙂 cheers,
It’s a really awesome program! The working holiday visa is typically really easy to get approved for, as long as you are under 30 and don’t have any major health concerns. Plus it allows you to work while you travel so it makes it much more affordable. If you want to follow along on our adventures in NZ, check out our youtube channel youtube.com/thejoshandmelissa
Thanks for the site!
Glad you like it!
Hi there! I would LOVE to know where along the road you camped to find this great spot! Thank you!
It was way up Los Burros road. There are a couple of really cool campsites right on top of the ridge up there. However, make sure to check with local rangers regarding current use of these roads. I’ve heard that the Big Sur area is tightening up regulations and not allowing nearly as much freedom camping due to irresponsible and messy campers. :/
Makes sense! I really appreciate the response, Josh! We will definitely be checking out this site when we’re up there next.
I own a retro nose rider & think its Beachin’ Good article !
2 things A: I’ve never seen a pic of anyone on the nose on one of em
B:I disagree about the Costco boards I bought one for my daughter
put it on C-list that night There way too light !
I bought a INT ,great soft-board & made in USA!! no really..
Thanks for the comment. That’s good to hear. They really are fun boards! Hah that’s kind of ironic, given the name. It definitely helps to put a bigger fin on the Noserider, but once you do it’s pretty easy to get to the nose.
Yeah. I guess everyone probably reacts to the Wavestorms a bit differently. The boards are pretty light, but honestly I think they’re great. They’re super stable, easy to paddle, and indestructible. I’ve heard good things about INT too. I’ll have to check one out sometime. I’m all for USA-made boards. 🙂
You reads minds?..:)
My paragon fin broke & I replaced with a heavy “D” fin!
( i was gonna anyways )
Sorry they seem like a $100 pool toy to me, but that’s whats great about being able to have an opinion without being a “hater”…;)
That’s awesome! They’re SOOO much better once you put a nice big fin on there.
Fair enough. Definitely appreciate your comments and differing perspective. And super stoked that you’ve got a Paragon too. They’re such a great deal and make some really fun boards.
I am so glad to read this. I was searching the web for a while trying to find some good advice on dispersed camping in So-cal. THANK YOU!
That’s great to hear! Dispersed camping is definitely the way to go. Especially with how expensive campgrounds are these days.
This is fabulous. I will probably see this soon
Kool! I’m stoked!! Leaving Moss Landing and headed to big Sur tomorrow, here from Nebraska!!!
Have an awesome trip! Big Sur is a beautiful place.
I use my 00 foz to camp too, and doing it free in the forest is the only way to go. Thank you for your tips and check out this group of Subaru explorers. We trade trail tips and ride together when we can https://www.facebook.com/VicMtnRoo/
Add in a note about respecting the locals where ever you entitled so-cal people go. Most of us don’t enjoy your brand of loud boisterous activity, but we tolerate it because you bring money to the area. We live out here in the boonies for a reason. Respect that.
I agree that people should always be respectful, especially of locals. However, I think it’s unfair to generalize and say that all people from So-Cal are disrespectful. When you do that, you’re being disrespectful while asking others to be respectful.
Hi there, I own a Prius! Do you have any recommendations for a safe road for a Prius??
That’s a good question. Unfortunately, I can’t say for sure which roads would be good for a Prius. My advice would be to call the Los Padres Ranger Station.
Hey! Great article. Very helpful 🙂
From Mid November for a bout 2 weeks i’m traveling through California with my wife from Sydney, Australia. We’re looking at doing a camping road trip from LA to SF and were wondering what the climate is like that time of year? Only thing I can’t quite get a reading on.
After doing much research into camping grounds and other accommodation it seems dispersed camping is definitely the way to go!
Oh and actually what is vehicle access like to these roads? 4×4 or is a regular car ok?
Great question. It will vary throughout your roadtrip. LA and most of Southern California will more than likely be sunny and very comfortable. However, as you get further North, the temp will drop a bit and there’s a higher chance of rain. All in all, California is typically really comfortable and you should be fine as long as you bring a few jackets. From my experience, California in November should be very similar to NSW in May.
Dispersed camping is definitely the way to go. Just make sure you do your research ahead of time to have spots picked out along the way.
In regards to vehicle access, most of the roads don’t require 4×4. If you can get a car with higher clearance, that’s definitely recommended but I’ve seen many basic sedans on these roads. However, if the weather is wet, it will be much more difficult because these roads are primarily dirt.
I hope that helps. And best of luck on your trip! That’s one of my favorite areas for a roadtrip!
Tops fun. looks a little heavy (?) Have fun with it and if it does work out, wall mount it as a historical item. 🙂
It actually did work out! I’ve taken it out twice now and got a handful of waves. Yeah, it’s a bit heavy, but not too bad because it’s so thin. Probably weighs the same as my 9ft fibreglass board.
How do I find some of your free campsites? I see them plotted on the map but is there a name or gps coordinate? Thanks!!
Good question. I think the easiest way is to just click the icon on the map and then click the directions button. That will take you to Google Maps which will give you turn-by-turn directions to get to each site. Alternatively, I think you can get gps coordinates from Google Maps.
Thanks for sharing your experience and the free camping spots of course. We are sleeping infront of a friends house tonight in Las Vegas and headed to Zion in the morning. I would love to know which spot you recommend. Thanks again. Stay well and safe travels.
That’s awesome! You’ll have a blast in Zion. I would recommend the spots along Kolob Terrace road. They’re really easy to get to (we did it in a minivan). Just look for dirt pullouts as you drive North along Kolob Terrace road. The spot I put on the map has a nice seasonal creek and some good trees for shade.
Hi Josh! This is my first time backpacking and camping, just to make sure are these the roads you can camp for free on? Where do you recommend parking? Also, can we park our car somewhere then backpack for a little and set up a tent at night? Thanks
Yes. These roads allow you to camp for free on pullouts or dirt side roads. I would imagine you could park your car on one of the pullouts and hike back up into the forest a little ways to set up your tent if you wanted to get away from the road. However, this area isn’t necessarily ideal for backpacking because all the campsites let you drive right up to them.
I hope that helps.
Because Highway 1 is closed due to the slide at Mud Creek, and the danger of campers blocking the road with their vehicles, the USFS has made roadside camping along the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road illegal through at least through August 10, 2018. Violators are subject to a $5,000 fine or 6 months in jail.
Thanks for the update. I’ll make sure to update the the post. As always, it’s important to be respectful and follow any signs and authorities that are posted.
Super cool! Would love to see where you camped but the box isn’t loading. Could you email it to me? We’re planning a trip possibly for January, camping in the car.
Strange that the box wouldn’t load. I would suggest trying to access the page in a different web browser (maybe try Google Chrome or Firefox).
Anyway, there are two free camping areas that I know of near Joshua Tree:
1) There’s a BLM area north of the park just off of highway 62. Turn north on Sunfair Road and then turn right onto Sunflower Road. A little ways down Sunflower road, you will see a large area for camping.
2) There are also multiple BLM free camping areas to the South of Joshua Tree National Park. There is one spot to the West of Cottonwood Springs road and there are a couple spots to the East of Cottonwood Spring road.
Enjoy your trip! And remember to be respectful of locals and of the beautiful natural environment.
Are these boards good for beginner instead of wavestorm? I’ve been renting a foam 9” but want to purchase something since renting adds up. Would this be a good first choice instead of a wavestorm?
Absolutely. These boards are an ideal next step from a foamy. They are really easy to surf and also very durable! For the price, I don’t think there’s a better option out there.
I would so like to know where I can buy the blue wire travel cage shown in your photos.
We bought the travel cage from petsmart. However, we bought it a couple years ago, so I’m not sure if they still sell the exact same one. Thanks for your comment, Josh.
Well explained article you have shared with us. Thanks for sharing such a great post with us.
Thanks Adam! I’m glad you found it helpful.
What did you use for a cushion/mattress? Can you feel the slats in between?
We used a 4-inch piece of foam. Surprisingly, we couldn’t feel the slats at all. It is a very comfortable campervan bed design because the slats act like a box-spring to give you flexible support. I think it’s important to choose relatively thin slats (as opposed to 2×4 or something) because then you can place the slats closer together.
Why would you drop pins for these locations…
It is best for people to discover places on their own.
Articles like this ruin the magic of Baja.
I appreciate your concern, but I hope this blog can be a resource to those looking to discover the magic of Baja. This article is a compilation of spots that I have discovered from exploration and other websites, so I didn’t really give away any “secret” spots. Also, there are more than enough waves for everyone down in Baja. Share the stoke!
thanks for the info!! I had considerated the DOC option when you need a shower never occured to me the pools or gyms.. good thinking! Thanks . Totally agree with the holiday parks situation
Glad the post was helpful! We had a lot of luck at gyms and community pools. And community pools are particularly fun because you can go for a swim too.
Near Tauranga, McLaren Falls Park at Pin Oak campsite. Free hot showers, and or $10 /van for overnight. Computer booth tickets from the info hut after entry.
Great info! Thanks for the tip.
Hah! I thought that beach looked very New Zealand-esque. I’m from NZ and am hoping to build an extendable couch for my house.
Yep. My wife and I spent a year traveling around New Zealand. It is such a beautiful country!
Please update your site to reflect current Forest service orders that have closed several of the roads mentioned due to visitor increases And overuse that include dangerous illegal campfires, destruction of dirt roads and large scale parties: https://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/forest-service-closes-four-dirt-roads-in-big-sur-through-october/article_17f68a98-d8cd-11ea-9332-13a0150feca8.html
Road side camping on Nacimiento is also prohibited: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/lpnf/alerts-notices/?aid=47571
As are campfires in non designated Areas:
Thank you for the info. I will update the post accordingly.
This bed looks great and very doable! I love the amount of space underneath for storage and the track is genius. Now that you’ve had it for a while is there anything you’d change? Also, could you tell me what wood you used, I’m afraid I’ll make something that won’t support 2 people!
The bed held up great for us. I don’t think there’s anything I would change. For the wood, I used 2×4’s for the legs and 1×2’s for everything else. It was plenty sturdy for my both of us.
Very nice simple and creative bed frame. What size slats and apron frame did you use, and are your legs 2 x 4?
Yep. The legs were 2×4’s, and everything else was 1×2’s. It held up great for us and was plenty strong to support two people.
Definitely gonna attempt one of these to go along with the new fins i got for Christmas
How much wood do you think you used altogether? Trying to figure out how much to buy. Love this boy the way!
Thanks for sharing this content! I’m planning a trip to the 7 sisters so every bit of information is welcome.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks John! I’m glad the article was helpful.
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