Solo stealth camping safety

Discussion in 'Americas' started by IRideASlowBike, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. SeanF

    SeanF Long timer

    Jun 11, 2004
    Tucson Arizona USA
    Some gun owners do just that. Like you, I'm one who doesn't. But it would be a disservice to the OP to say that it's not a potential danger to someone who is stealth camping in the right (or wrong) setting. Lots of spent cartridge casings, tons of stuff all shot to hell lying around, probably means it's not a good place to camp at or near.
  2. rufusswan

    rufusswan Been here awhile

    Nov 16, 2007
    Branson MO
    I haven't done this in years, but in the day ... when pulling into a small town late in the day I'd ask two question, where do you get a meal and where is the sheriff (often the same place :) ) Only one time was I requested to camp in the back of the police parking lot, most others I was directed to the local park and often they said they'd keep an eye out for me.

    Other than that, notice where all the darn creeks are that you are going to cross. Most have places to reach the creek and often in ways you can hide from the road. Don't be afraid to ask a rural resident how to find a creek access so you can pitch a tent, many will offer a behind the barn spot.
  3. vagt6

    vagt6 Bit the Bullet

    Jul 15, 2005
    C'ville, VA
    Maybe I'm thinking the worst case scenario. If you don't at least try to anticipate and plan for the worst case scenario (this is called good planning/risk management), you're a target for it.

    Recall the "Easy Rider" scenario, mentioned above. "Out of proportion"?? I don't think so. I've met people (yes, they're nutballs and armed) who wouldn't hesitate to use violence against uninvited "stealth" campers.

    And as we know, there's no shortage of armed nutballs nowadays.:eek1:lol3
  4. RideAbout

    RideAbout Mentally Retired

    May 3, 2004
    Hey!... I resemble that remark!
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

    Jan 9, 2005
    Über Alles,California
    Sometimes hiding in plain sight is a good bet too. I've camped at Walmart in towns that seemed sketchy..Walmart gets regular patrols and it's well lit.

    I carry no personal protection of any kind and have camped or slept just about any place you can think of. Bears scare me more than people and it's rare that I think about bears, Montana pretty much.

    I've slept without setting up camp in a gravel parking lot beside a cafe, just make sure you pass out where a truck won't drive over you. Rest stops don't bother me either, slept on a bench for a couple of hours. Behind a locked gate on an Indian Rez?...Yup. Find the visitor center or chamber of commerce in a town and sleep there...done that more than tax dollars paid for it...I can sleep there if I want. Camped next to a couple of homeless potheads next to a river along the 101, was I tired and they could have taken everything I had and I wouldn't have even noticed. Backyard of some house..yup.

    I prefer to ask forgiveness rather than permission, plus I'm gone long before anybody would even notice me.
  6. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Sep 26, 2007
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Got an iPhone or Android smart phone? Download the Campwhere app, which contains a database of nearly 10,000 public campgrounds. Some are free, some not, but most are at least pretty cheap. There's also a version of the same database available as waypoints for a GPS, but I don't remember now where I got it from -- do some searching in the Layin' Down Tracks section.

    I'm planning a 6500-mile loop across the eastern two thirds of the continent, and this database has plenty of campgrounds along the entire route. I think the longest distance between them is about 100 miles, and that's only in one or two parts of the country.

  7. EvilRoySlade

    EvilRoySlade Adventurer

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cahokia Illinois
    The time of safe stealth camping around the country (Anywhere) is ending. Don't assume you'll be welcomed or overlooked because your a hard working fella/gal on a adventure vacation. If your not on BLM land then you need to ask permission.

    In the past I have camped each year for months (without a gun) in the USA and other countries and I never needed a gun. Today in the USA I will start carrying a gun when I travel and camp.
  8. space

    space a.k.a. Jake

    Jan 1, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Good advice, right there. The annual pass costs $80, and it'll pay for itself if you plan to stop at a few National Parks along the way anyhow. And if you are crossing this country without visiting the parks, you're doing it wrong! :D

    Aside from that, just keep your head about you and you'll be fine. I've done it many, many times without problem. I almost always stay on public land. A couple times I've had a ranger or LEO check in on me to make sure everything was OK, but not once have I had to move. I've never felt threatened -- aside from one time cattle surrounded my tent and I was a little worried about being trampled!
  9. papanaq

    papanaq Been here awhile

    Apr 8, 2010
    Durham, NC--Where's the elevation change?
    I am not sure if the thrill of stealth camping is what you are looking for, but I have had good luck with using the tent spaces thread. Hell of a lot easier than waking up to joggers running in circles. Or what is that heavy breathing? Stick your head out of the tent and there are cows licking the tent at 4 in the morning.
    I only suggest not doing it close to interstates or near rest stops. It is way to noisy to get decent sleep, waking up every half hour. The rest stop security is usually on the lookout for people doing just that...
  10. Rapid_Roy

    Rapid_Roy Rachael's Dad Supporter

    Oct 15, 2007
    Waukesha, Wisconsin
    So, how long have you been a member of the BMWMOA?


    Sorry, I couldn't resist. This post reads like some of them do over there.
  11. skysailor

    skysailor Rat Rider Supporter

    Oct 3, 2007
    Kenora, Canada
    Wow. Such paranoia. Okay...what is BLM land. In Canada, it's called Crown Land. Same thing?
    If you knock on pretty much any farmer's door, and ask if you could pitch your tent by the barn, very few will turn you down. Take nothing but photos. Leave nothing but footprints. This is important.
    You may be invited to sleep with his three daughters....but don't count on it.
    Sure do love the campsite threads. Free everywhere. Enjoy.
  12. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

    Jan 9, 2005
    Über Alles,California

    You know the Civil War is over, right?
  13. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

    Sep 24, 2006
    HayWeird, CA
    :gerg Hey you punk! Get off my land! :ace


    Stealth camping's a lot safer than that promo movie with those hippies made it out to be.

    Since the OP wanted an actual count of what people do for protection:

    I take a good attitude and as much common sense as I can steal from larryboy and I haven't had a bad experience yet. :thumb
  14. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

    Feb 11, 2010
    SE PA
    Cool, thanks everybody.

    Looks like most of you do what I've been doing.

    I don't have an iPhone, or a gun, and I found that common sense and a good attitude go a long way.
  15. The Cyclops

    The Cyclops Long timer

    Jul 20, 2007
    Hillbilly Nation
    I have to tell one on myself, I was down on the Cherohala one fall and headed down a gravel road a few feet and decided to pitch a tent there. There was a truck that kinda kept driving back and forth that made me a little edgy, although I had a gun and wasn't too worried as long as I saw them coming. Anyways, just as it was getting really dark a barn owl came up behind me and let out what sounded like a freakin dragon squeal. A public campground sounded pretty good after that.....
  16. Truckin_Thumper

    Truckin_Thumper low profile

    Jun 28, 2007


    except a midget on yer floor..:razor
  17. wandererjim5

    wandererjim5 CornerGrinner

    Jun 5, 2006
    Kalgoorlie Western Australia
    My rule is. Off the Main Rd/ Hwy. First Bridge camp. Off the Road as far as possible. I never camp on anyone Land. I tell no one and speak to no one. I always have a cuppa ready for a guest. :evil?? jim.
  18. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer Supporter

    Jul 19, 2006
    The Bluegrass


    This spot worked for me last summer. Between Yakima and White Pass on 12. I rode across the foot bridge and didn't bother with the tent. I left at first light.
  19. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

    Dec 21, 2008
    Vagabond Hippie
    The non-Westerners sure make everything sound so cut and dry: "I never trespass or camp on anybody's land".

    Out here, unless you are local to that county, you usually don't know. BLM, Forrest Service, State Land, County Land, is all fenced and cross fenced just like any other private land. Most public land in the west is used to pasture cows or sheep part of the year, or fenced to keep cows and sheep out of specific areas and off roadways.

    The only way to know for sure if a parcel is public or private is to research it, unless it is posted.

    When I lived in Washington, you were required to know if land was public or private before using it. Montana and Idaho, is considered open to public use, unless posted or cultivated.

    Let the Easterners worry about their hidden Stills, raging meth-heads and gun toting lunatics. Out west, pull up a piece of ground, if we don't want you there we will tell you. You will be told nicely, however, because everyone has a gun out here.

    Just use the Golden Rule when you stealth camp.
  20. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am. Supporter

    May 30, 2010
    seal beach, ca.
    :y0! far as the personal safety issue; recently my cousin was pulling an all- nighter alone at his auto repair shop. A homeless dood kept jackin' with him, he kept running him off-but it was the last time when my cousin was leaning in the engine compartment that he got the sheez scared out of him by the returning bum.
    Well that did it. My cuz ran him off the property the last time and it got ugly, so my cuz shot him with his bear spray that he keeps in the shop.
    Cuz said the dood went down and was floping around like flipper! Scared the crap out of my cuz:eek1. Paramedics came out-everything ok. The cops were cracking up-did nothing to my cousin.
    I think they both learned a lesson on this one.
    BUT, i guess bear spray is a candidate for personal safety!