Quiet hours for boondocking don’t really exist when boondocking on open lands.
However, there are particular jurisdictions that do define quiet hours, even when boondocking. For a comprehensive list of jurisdictions and their policies and rules on quiet hours, see our other article, “Do I Have to Shut Off my Generator at Night?”
What Are the Quiet Hours for Boondocking?
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) do not define quiet hours in terms of specific time on a clock. However, this doesn’t mean you’re allowed to make as much noise as you want. They still have rules against being disruptive or causing an annoyance.
But some jurisdictions to define quiet hours, usually between 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
However, it is still common courtesy to keep the noise down. Full time boondockers practice this as just good etiquette towards other boondockers.
Why Boondockers Run Their Generators All Night Long
Most boondockers are frugal. They don’t keep their generators running unless they have to. If there hasn’t been enough sun for their solar panels to work, they have to rely on their generator. Some boondockers require a C-PAP machine to sleep. They may have to run their generator if they don’t have enough power in their battery bank.
Many boondockers realize they have huge electrical demands. There are some who need to keep a light on to feel comfortable. Some may need to keep the television on to fall asleep. Some boondockers are uploading a long video to YouTube and need to keep their laptop running and charged for hours. If it’s in the middle of Winter, and there’s a freeze expected, they may have to run their generator to keep their water line heaters going. There are many odd ball reasons why they need to keep a generator running, yet this is a reason why decided to boondock.
What If a Generator Is Too Noisy?
The generally accepted practice is to move away.
Boondocking on open, public lands, where there is no official rule on quiet hours, comes with a different set of expectations than on developed campgrounds.
It’s considered impolite to ask a boondocker to turn off their generator. Remember, many boondockers already did a huge favor to others by taking their noise away from crowded places, and moving to open lands. If you find that a boondocker’s generator is too noisy, it’s generally considered your burden to move away.
Boondocking on Open Land is a Right
Boondocking on open lands, particularly that on BLM and USFS lands, is a right, not a privilege. He or she who moves into a space, gets the freedom to live on that space as they see fit, for as long as time permits. Even if there are a few rules that apply to that land, that right cannot be removed from you.
Meanwhile, on a developed campground, where there is a camp host, and fees to pay, along with a structure and hierarchy of rules and policies, camping is a privilege that can be taken away. On the other hand, camping on open lands doesn’t have the structure and hierarchy of a developed campground. It’s more of a “wild west” where differences are normally settled between two parties.