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Thread: Stealth Camping

  1. #61
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    Tipi, you rolled out some good entertainment for today.

    Some other examples of stealth camping:

    1) sleeping in a basball dug out through a hurricane

    2) sleeping in ghost town's church or sheriff's office or hunter's cabin particularly and definitely so if No Trespassing Signs are in evidence
    3) sleeping in a fully erected tent, hammock, or bivy behind the Interstate truck stop(ear plugs, nose clothes pin, and blindfold recommended)
    4) in any bathroom, privy, or outhouse
    5) in farm structures(barns, chicken coops, silos, etc), working farm structures definitely a no no
    6) in the tunnel to nowhere, in the S. Kiabab Tr tunnel(you'll likely be stomped on by an irate early morning mule train not to mention having to contend with an irate livestock handler)
    7) sleeping inside the back of a U-Haul moving van, a fire is a definite no no
    8) under a roadway or train bridge
    9) under or atop or within 100 ft of any arch in Arches NP or Red River Gorge
    10) under a TH kiosk, under a NP or SP main entrance sign

    Mining shacks, caves, rock shelters, at the base of waterfalls, on the edge of escarpments, abandoned buildings, etc possibly acceptable.

  2. #62

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    I once slept under an I-95 off ramp in Boston. That was interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I once slept under an I-95 off ramp in Boston. That was interesting.
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    And you made it out alive! I am impressed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    in New Jersey Stealth camping is Illegal camping.
    If I recall, once you get into the DWG Recreation Area certain dispersed camping is allowed. I had an awesome night camping inside the footprint of an old house when I passed through, and based on the instructions at the entrance, the spot was legal.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    The funny thing about backpacking is that since I've gotten more into it I have started to look at typical urban features in terms of how they could provide shelter. There are some trails near my home in a very urban area that don't permit camping but where stealth opportunities are plentiful (but no, I haven't tried this yet...)

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The funny thing about backpacking is that since I've gotten more into it I have started to look at typical urban features in terms of how they could provide shelter. There are some trails near my home in a very urban area that don't permit camping but where stealth opportunities are plentiful (but no, I haven't tried this yet...)
    Sometimes when driving down the highway I see places where the median strip is very wide and heavily wooded and wonder if anyone ever goes in there. It's like a little mini "wilderness" in the middle of the highway. Of course you would need to watch that you don't become a Peterbuilt hood ornament on the way in.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Tipi, you rolled out some good entertainment for today.

    Some other examples of stealth camping:

    1) sleeping in a basball dug out through a hurricane

    2) sleeping in ghost town's church or sheriff's office or hunter's cabin particularly and definitely so if No Trespassing Signs are in evidence
    3) sleeping in a fully erected tent, hammock, or bivy behind the Interstate truck stop(ear plugs, nose clothes pin, and blindfold recommended)
    4) in any bathroom, privy, or outhouse
    5) in farm structures(barns, chicken coops, silos, etc), working farm structures definitely a no no
    6) in the tunnel to nowhere, in the S. Kiabab Tr tunnel(you'll likely be stomped on by an irate early morning mule train not to mention having to contend with an irate livestock handler)
    7) sleeping inside the back of a U-Haul moving van, a fire is a definite no no
    8) under a roadway or train bridge
    9) under or atop or within 100 ft of any arch in Arches NP or Red River Gorge
    10) under a TH kiosk, under a NP or SP main entrance sign

    Mining shacks, caves, rock shelters, at the base of waterfalls, on the edge of escarpments, abandoned buildings, etc possibly acceptable.
    I like the way you guys think---seeing potential camps in urban features, under bridges, interstate medians etc etc. Let's enjoy the memories while we can before this thread is shut down.

    I am afflicted with the Bad Night Disease whereby I can't seem to willingly sleep indoors, even here at home. In fact I just came inside after a frosty night on my Thermarest in the backyard where I "gotta keep my chops up". It's a peculiar need and desire to sleep outside no matter what, which brings us to stealth camping and camping in baseball dug outs etc as in Dogwood's post.

    I remember spending many nights in a town cemetery behind a tombstone of a guy who lived from 1850 to 1952. Wow! Most of my sleeping was cowboy camping but I did on occasion put up my tent when it rained. Go in at night and come out near dawn.

    Many nights I slept next to a small Episcopal church in a small NC mountain town under a giant maple tree which I ended up calling Oak Mother and the Dog (I like to give all my campsites names). The "dog" part happened when I'd wake up every night around 3am and find a stray black dog curled up next to me but he was gone by first light. I loved that guy. I also spent a whole winter cowboy camping next to a buttress of this church and figured a way to hide under a cedar tree and use an old boy scout bag to cover my North Face bag to keep the snow on top of the scout bag and off my Bigfoot bag.

    Luckily most of my stealth camping was done in a mountain college town with a vast forest surrounding the town, so really all I had to do was leave town on foot in any direction and was soon inside the woods. I much prefer to stealth in the woods than under bridges or near Interstates or in big cities or under semi-trailers, if given a choice.

    Some of the best stealth sites come when visiting friends and they invite you to stay overnight in the guest room. Instead you always find a spot outside on their decks or backyards at 0F and they think you're nuts but heck you have your pack and your pad and sleeping bag and it would be a waste of a great cold night to sleep inside. Notch one more bag night in the old pistol grip.

    One time I caught a ride to California by way of Milwaukee and the guy driving offered to let me stay at his family's home. It was March and never got above 0F so I asked him if I could put my tent up in their backyard and freeze to death by choice. I put up my North Face Westwind tent near Lake Michigan and got my all important bag night. Cold.

    Another time a hitch took me to Fort Campbell and an apartment complex where I slept on the deck of some "new" friends. Later I was in Greeley Colorado and stopped for the night in some guy's backyard but the terrible stink of cow S*** covered the town and ruined a bag night.

    Several years ago I had to go to Greensboro NC and move my Mom out of her house and so I set up my Mt Hardwear Light Wedge tent and spent every single night for 3 months in the front yard. She lived near Battleground Avenue and so I had to use earplugs every night and endure 3 months of city smog and light pollution. It sucked but I got her moved eventually and the house sold.

    Okay, enough of my stupid stories.

  8. #68

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    I stay "in shape" for camping, by keeping the thermostat at 65 F. It also helps me not get too chilled when I dress to go outside the house.

    I also sleep with the window open, in the bedroom, if the air is fresh air.

    I also open up my outdoor clothing, not allowing to get "too" warm.

    I think this is healthy.

    That said, I have met homeless people accustomed to sleeping outdoors, that are uncomfortable indoors. One msn explained, there is more oxygen from the bushes. He was near a city. He slept, he said, in the bushes near the freeway, where the air carried the smog from the traffic out the roadcut. He was entirely accurate: green plants, especially bushes and trees "make" oxygen. It is called photosynthesis.

    Try an open window.

    I have 18 square-inches open, starting because of a recommendation for structures heated with propane. I do not have propane, here, at the house. Nevertheless, I think fresh air is healthy.

    Nevertheless, I selected a small "efficient" house, because over the years I became adjusted to a different set of values.


    I do think "stealth" camping is a generic term for any campsite that is a Leave No Trace campsite, and, not a prepared campsite complete with a fire pit, etc.
    Last edited by Connie; 12-15-2014 at 11:10.

  9. #69

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    I remember spending many nights in a town cemetery behind a tombstone of a guy who lived from 1850 to 1952. Wow! Most of my sleeping was cowboy camping but I did on occasion put up my tent when it rained. Go in at night and come out near dawn.
    A friend of mine who hiked the "East Coast Greenway" (mostly rail to trail treadway) from Maine almost into NYC said she found camping in cemeteries was often the best option to be found along roads.

    I stay "in shape" for camping, by keeping the thermostat at 65 F. It also helps me not get too chilled when I dress to go outside the house.
    You got me beat by about 5 degrees. It's 60 at my desk right now, was 50 when I got up. If I close the door to my bedroom, which isn't heated, it will drop into the low 40's by morning and I find that a bit too cold. 50 is okay
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  10. #70

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    I managed all winter with 50 F. I had wool-silk longjohns, and bibs, however. I did it, because I needed to spend much more time outside.

    I like 65 F. It is a comfortable temperature.

    More than that, I am "too warm".

    In fact, I enter the house kept at 65 F I have to peel out of my outdoors clothing right away. It feels like a blast of heat at the door.

    I think, this is not only backpacking experience. I think I have to do this, because Montana winter has severe cold. If I kept too warm, I don't think I would want to leave the house.

    I think, I would be more subject to cold-injury.
    Last edited by Connie; 12-15-2014 at 11:49.

  11. #71

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    If you want entertaining stories of stealth camping talk to my friend Nimblewill Nomad. *laughs*

  12. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Sometimes when driving down the highway I see places where the median strip is very wide and heavily wooded and wonder if anyone ever goes in there. It's like a little mini "wilderness" in the middle of the highway. Of course you would need to watch that you don't become a Peterbuilt hood ornament on the way in.
    I have had this exact thought. There has got to be places where you could camp for a long time and no one would ever know.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Side View Post
    I have had this exact thought. There has got to be places where you could camp for a long time and no one would ever know.
    I've seen a surprising number of stealth camps while running on some local trails on fairly narrow greenbelts in the large urban area I call home. The homeless are masters of stealth camping.
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    My only addition to this would be to "cowboy camp" if weather is not threatening. It makes for easier/quicker striking of campsite.

  15. #75

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    If anyone sees your used camping spot, it is not stealth camping.

  16. #76

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    One of the reasons I will use a hammock.

  17. #77

    Default Dispersed camping and a chart of camping and fire rules for the entire A.T.

    For the record, while dispersed camping may be legal on many parts of the A.T., there is nowhere it is particularly encouraged. The more heavily used an area is, the more important it is to concentrate use and stick to designated campsites and shelter sites.

    Dispersed camping is most appropriate in remote areas with minimal use by those who are willing to take extra effort to minimize their impacts as described by others in this thread.

    Stealth camping, in its intent to have as little impact as possible, is the essence of Leave No Trace.

    When "stealth camping" is used in the sense of camping illegally, it is counter to Leave No Trace. Land managers set rules and regulations for good reasons. Without explanation, however, the differing regulations can sometimes seem arbitrary, but most are thoughtfully developed.

    We have compiled a list of camping and fire rules along the A.T. in one PDF on our website here. There's more information about camping and shelters on our website at www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/camping-shelters.

    If the sharp eyes on WhiteBlaze catch any errors or have questions, let me know.

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  18. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauriep View Post
    We have compiled a list of camping and fire rules along the A.T. in one PDF on our website here. There's more information about camping and shelters on our website at www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/hiking-basics/camping-shelters.
    Laurie P.
    After seeing this, it seems the vast majority of tent sites one will find along the AT are technically illegal. Not that it stops anyone, especially the "I'll never camp at or near a shelter" group.
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    I've only read some of this thread so if something I say was covered please excuse me. Now, I'm constantly annoyed by the folks always chiming in about stealth camping in certain areas is illegal. If you do bypass a shelter and wind up somewhere in the dark, you have to stop since you don't know what's ahead. The next few feet or miles may get you caught on a downhill slope. If you've been there before than it's no problem.

    I've read in a few places that people tend to camp near water. I've got it down to a science that when I do find water I camel up as much as I can and if it's late I carry away three quarts. Then I camp for the night. I know this takes many of you out of your comfort zone but I've found it works. Less bugs, less of a chance to be bothered by animals (watching field mice run under the hammock is the exception), Oh, and I'm not a troll. Ive spent many years taking people into the woods and have all the experience.

    When you tell them they are going to bear country or that they will get caught in the rain, they run!

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    If I am at a dry camp I eat only no cook foods. Less water used until the next day. remember my comfort zone talk above?

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