Stealth Camping 101

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Rev, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. yellow zebra

    yellow zebra Flying Brick

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    Cape Town, brilliant routes!
    this does not take up much room, either PACKED, nor UN-packed...! IMG_7996.JPG IMG_7989.JPG
  2. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    This guy knows what he's talking about!
    smuts.g likes this.
  3. JerryMac

    JerryMac Been here awhile

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  4. acard13

    acard13 Adventurer

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    It is a Stealth Camper tent. Unfortunately they are no longer available.
  5. yellow zebra

    yellow zebra Flying Brick

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    Cape Town, brilliant routes!
    yes, what acard13 said, I have the 'rights' to manufacture them again, with some design changes, in conjuction with the original designer...

    So many jobs to do, so little time!
    Stelth camping tent, NO poles (so it does not suit everyone...!), were available in 1-sleeper or 2-sleeper, waterproof, cool little tent!
    Chris & Team
    nk14zp, smuts.g, Dan Diego and 4 others like this.
  6. romanek72

    romanek72 Been here awhile

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    Last camp in Chile before TDF,3/2009 very windy ,if you were riding rt3 next to Atlantic Ocean you know what I mean,was pain to hide from wind.
    This place was perfect!
    picture below is entrance to Closed museum,bike and tent fit perfectly cook dinner when to sleep.
    Wake up early before they open.
    image.jpeg
    View form the road
    image.jpeg
    Ferry to TDF
    Stealth camp is on your left
    image.jpeg
  7. ta-rider

    ta-rider Returned from Africa

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    Hotels are never safer specially not if your bike/car is parked outside. Bad people know tat rich people allways come to hotels so they just wait there...I wild camped in more then 80 countrys but never had any problems only once in Germany I had to pay 15 Euro fine...still cheaper then to sleep at an official camp site.

    In France people walking their dog brought me fresh bagett to the beach and in Marokko i got fresh coffee, after the owner found me in his garden: http://afrikamotorrad.de/?report=en_transafrika
  8. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    Great topic.

    living-in-a-tiny-car-tent-freedom-camping-in-the-city-the-flying-tortoise-001.jpg
    nk14zp, Meriwether, davesax36 and 4 others like this.
  9. Gripsteruser

    Gripsteruser Got a handle on it

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    That one is gonna get a ticket for expired license plate. (and in some juridictions - no emission test sticker and no township tax sticker)
    Tow company would have a good laugh though....
  10. Vivavance

    Vivavance LovinLifeOn2

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    Hey Trailer Rails, Was that photo taken in the US or Europe?
  11. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    Sorry, I stole it from the Internet. I looks like Europe.
  12. Vivavance

    Vivavance LovinLifeOn2

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    Looks like Europe to me too.
  13. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried

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    awesome thread.
    Have done quite a bit of stealth camping from central Ohio down through the Smoky Mtns, and haven't had issues yet with LEO as I'm pretty careful to make sure there's pretty much little chance of being seen or encountered. Always try to set up right as it's getting dark as others have said, and gone at dawn.
    Two things I have learned from a couple of nights with "issues"
    First was in WV, on dirt road only about 1/2 hr south of Ohio River. Was climbing some switchbacks and hadn't passed any habitation in more than a mile (was dilapidated trailer homes, but occupied). About 3/4 of the way up the ridge on the switchback I passed a red sign stating "Wildlife Refuge" but the area behind the sign appeared to be no more than 10 ft wide! It did look like it opened up, but I assumed it couldn't be much due to how sharp the ridge line was. The entrance looked passable, so I continued down the road another mile, to the other side of the ridge before I saw a few more trashy trailer homes. Figured the spot was clear. Turned around and eased the bike into the opening. It then went around a bend into a beautiful little grassy area next to a cliff. No way of being seen from the road, and no way for a car to pull in to see me. And better yet, no place on the road for a car to stop even if they felt like checking the spot out on foot.
    So I dismounted to walk around and see what was nearby. I could see easily a dozen deer bedding spots right in the grassy area I wanted to set up in. So I did, and it was a wonderful spot with a great view and REAL quiet.
    you can see my path through the grass
    [​IMG]
    my spot
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    cooked dinner, drank a few strong beers and other unmentionables and fell fast asleep. But it didn't last. By 2 am I woke to barking dogs in the distance. Only a single voice at first, then a triggered reaction amongst the local canine population and soon they were barking and yelping back and forth for over 2 hours...and they sounded like they were getting closer...much closer.
    Then I realized what I had done. The dozen or more deer that most likely considered that beautiful spot as their home, probably discovered me there at night and continued on, traversing folks property all night, rousing the dogs.
    I convinced myself that perhaps a local coon hunter didn't give a fuck about the "Wildlife Refuge" and was headed my way with his dog and weaponry. Don't think I ever got back to sleep. In the end, the spot was safe (is marked on my GPS) and will be visited again, this time less the paranoia.

    Other "issue" was in SE Ohio. Was getting dark and was beat, returning home from a two week trip down South. Wanted to make it home and couldn't, so started looking.
    Was on a dirt road and saw a path (no "no trespassing" signs) leading down hill into a grotto with lots of rock formations. Eased the bike down, and parked it behind a large rock formation, only 50 yards from the road which was maybe 80ft higher than where I set camp. As I was worried about reflective surfaces (and my tent's fly is not real stealthy, even with the couple of zig-zags pained on it to break up the shape) so I sort of camo'd it with tree branches

    The road above the spot
    [​IMG]

    here is the spot from a short distance away
    [​IMG]

    and closer
    [​IMG]

    All went well. A few cars passed by at night, but I was invisible to them.
    Here are the two issues I learned from this spot:
    Do NOT camp in deep grottos if you expect to be warm and cozy. Only had my Summer bag with me, and daytime temps were in the upper 70's. It was freaking COLD and DAMP down there. Lit my Trangia in the tent several times that night for heat.
    Second lesson learned:
    do NOT ride downhill to your stealth spot. Having to leave riding UPHILL can (and was) a BIG problem. What was easy to roll down was nearly impossible to get out of (running Mitas E-07s)
    Slipped and slided and pushed and revved and mud and falls and after 45 minutes finally got back up the path to the road.
    Gravity can be your friend. Use it to help you leave.
    pratered, racermdub, Knobbie and 11 others like this.
  14. Pavel+

    Pavel+ Adventurer

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    Great info here. As someone who has stealth camped for decades in several countries, it's nice that todays bent is towards leaving no trace. I always bring a tent and also at the same time my "Simply light designs" hammock. The value of the hammock is that it is much easier to find a spot, not far from the road that is very private, yet at the same time easy to set camp in. Tents require a lot of ground pick up of cones and rocks and such and need more room to set the tent in, I find - at least out here in the South East. Speaking of the south-east, this high-humidity "muggy" part of the universe, the other advantage of a Hammock, which can't be stressed enough, is how much cooler they are in hot weather. In fact once the evening temps drop under about 70 degrees, I get cold without some under-quilt insulation.

    My tip, is to "hide out, in the open" as my daughter likes to call it. Especially when near some of the many Adventure Cycling routes that criss-cross this country, where people and police are used to bicyclists stealh camping, it is pretty normal and safe to camp at city parks. That goes both for bicycle touring as well as motorcycling. There are normally bathrooms and water available and the few times I've encountered the police, they have, so far, always smiled and explained that they are going to lock up the gate, and at which time they will open it back up again. A few times they added that they will drive by once or twice in the night just to check that all is well. I've been very pleased with how most people, and most private land owners have been so warm and generous. Of course it helps to smile and be friendly, not worried looking when they show up. It's important to be good ambassadors.

    I plan to ride to see some of this great countries Western parts this year, which I've yet to see, and for the reasons outlined above, plan to buy some Adventure Cycling maps and do much of my riding along their trails, or near them. People along the way are used to smelly vagabonds on bikes, and motorcycles are near the same sort of travelers. The routes are a nice mix of scenic, away from heavy traffic and near services, which is also nice.
    pratered, zonth, Macho Man2 and 3 others like this.
  15. Meriwether

    Meriwether Following big footprints.

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    I like your 'Hide out in the open' approach, I totally agree. The term 'Stealth camping' has a sinister or dubious conotation, I prefer to use the term 'liberty camping', it's free and I might take the odd liberty here and there. I've toured every USA state except Hawaii and spent $5 on accommodation and that was in Canada.
    My latest camp setup is a swag, I'm thinking I could also include my 2 man tent for when it's raining, just roll it all up together.
    P_20161027_060522.jpg
  16. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Nothing sinister or dubious about stealth camping. Again, it's a completely different experience than paying $5 for a camp site. That is called "camping." And there's nothing wrong with that.

    Stealth camping much different; it is identifying a hidden spot and camping where no one knows you're there.
  17. fuhgawee

    fuhgawee Thats a road?

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    Good pics and story Ohio Danimal
  18. rpiereck

    rpiereck Ridin' my Suzi

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    Look for cellphone or TV towers in remote (countryside, out of town) areas. They usually have graded roads going to them, and are rarely serviced at night. I've stealth camped on a few like this and it was always calm.
    Elad, ChrisFZ1, Pavel+ and 2 others like this.
  19. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    I was doing that once last spring. Along the gravel road going back to a natural gas well. I pitched the tent on a small level spot on a steep section of the road. At about 4am a truck came through at full throttle to make it up the steep hill. 2 minutes later he came back down (at this point I was out of the tent). It was a gas well company truck. He came back down about as fast as he went up. He did not care one bit about the camping.
  20. rpiereck

    rpiereck Ridin' my Suzi

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    I would not camp on any road, doesn't seem smart. I camped on the woods next to the access road to towers.