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    Default Definition of "stealth camp"

    What is the correct definition of a "stealth camp?"

    My own understanding of a stealth camp is "an illegal camp that is out of sight of the trail."

    In reading several Trail Journals, I have seen people use the term to define any camp that isn't shown on the official trail maps, even if it is a well used camp beside the trial with tent pads and a fire ring. What are the requirements for a camp to be a "stealth camp?"
    Shutterbug

  2. #2

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    I've always thought it was a non-established site somewhat off the trail. Not necessarily an illegal site. I think it comes from Ray Jardines PCT Thru-Hikers Handbook with an emphasis on getting away from the bear problem in the Sierras, but also used for a more enjoyable experience.

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    ECHO ed bell's Avatar
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    I was recently in a discussion about this. I used to think "stealth camp" meant under the radar, illegal sites. Some on this board have said that it refers to good campsites that are not on the map. I am inclined to think that there is a double meaning. I do know that stealth is ALWAYS as close to LNT as a camper can get.
    That's my dog, Echo. He's a fine young dog.

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    Registered User Pacific Tortuga's Avatar
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    [quote=Shutterbug]What is the correct definition of a "stealth camp?"

    My own understanding of a stealth camp is "an illegal camp that is out of sight of the trail."

    In reading several Trail Journals, I have seen people use the term to define any camp that isn't shown on the official trail maps, even if it is a well used camp beside the trial with tent pads and a fire ring. What are the requirements for a camp to be a "stealth camp?"[/quot


    AKA : Gorilla camping or not being seen 'stealth' sometimes refering to illegal camping : staying away from over use areas and no impact also see Ray Jardine PCT camping "NO Impact/Not Seen" or all of the above.
    Last edited by Pacific Tortuga; 09-03-2006 at 11:42.

  5. #5

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    I do know that stealth is ALWAYS as close to LNT as a camper can get.
    Well it is except for the fact LNT guidelines suggest using already impacted sites.

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    Never heard of gorilla camping. I wonder how that came about?

  7. #7

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    I've noticed the same thing when I read trailjournals, Shutterbug. I've always thought of "stealth" camping as camping away from designated spots where it is supposed to be prohibited by regulations, like in the White Mountains, Smoky Mountain National Park, and some private property on the trail.

    According to the ATC it's supposed to be ok to camp away from shelters and designated spots on most of the AT so long as you stay far enough from the trail and water sources and follow LNT practices. But a lot of hikers seem to like to call this approved form of camping "stealth" camping. Maybe it helps people think of themselves as "living on the edge" or not letting "the man" tell them what to do .

    But I don't know the answer to your question. I don't know what the generally accepted definition of the "stealth" concept is in the AT hiking community.
    Last edited by map man; 09-01-2006 at 23:01.

  8. #8

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    From RJ's Beyond Backpacking...

    Stealth camping. If you can manage to camp away from the water sources, and from the established campsites, then the many wonderful advantages of stealth camping will be yours. Stealth camping is a cleaner, warmer and quieter way to camp, and it offers a much better connection with nature. In all likelihood no one has camped at your impromptu stealth-site before, and the ground will be pristine. Its thick, natural cushioning of the forest materials will still be in place, making for comfortable bedding without the use of a heavy inflatable mattress. There will be no desiccated stock manure to rise as dust and infiltrate your lungs, nor any scatter of unsightly litter and stench of human waste. The stealth-site will not be trampled and dished; any rainwater will soak into the ground or run off it, rather than collect and flood your shelter. Bears scrounging for human food will be busy at the water-side campsites, and will almost invariably ignore the far-removed and unproductive woods. Far from the water sources you will encounter fewer flying insects, particularly upon the more breezy slopes and ridges. Above the katabatic zones the night air will be markedly warmer. And you can rest assured that your chances of being bothered by other people will be slim.

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    Map Man is correct. "Stealth" sites are always off the radar, and are not "official", but they are not necessarily illegal. They can indeed involve sites where one is technically not supposed to overnight, but frequently, a "stealth" site is merely an out-of-sight campsite unknown to most folks.

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    ECHO ed bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sly
    Well it is except for the fact LNT guidelines suggest using already impacted sites.
    That wouldn't be very stealthy now, would it? I guess I need to go back to the drawing board with my 2 cents.
    That's my dog, Echo. He's a fine young dog.

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    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    To me it means camping far enough off the trail not to be seen; not at an established campsite; without a fire or significantly altering the foliage, duff, etc found at the site and returning the site to the original condition before leaving. Ray Jardine suggested stealth sites be found away from water sources to avoid bug and bear problems.<o></o>

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    Well, for the most part it looks like we all agree. A Whiteblaze 1st! Sgt Rock/Dixiehiker/ATTRoll close this thread!!!!!

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    ECHO ed bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Tarlin
    ......, but frequently, a "stealth" site is merely an out-of-sight campsite unknown to most folks.
    Kinda like my highest legal campsite East of South Dakota.
    That's my dog, Echo. He's a fine young dog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed bell
    That wouldn't be very stealthy now, would it? I guess I need to go back to the drawing board with my 2 cents.
    Not to worry, I think LNT came up with the impacted site guideline so NOLS could bring in 100's of hikers into wilderness areas. Y

  15. #15

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    To me it means HIDDEN. legal or not.
    so yeah, Sly, i think we are in agreement.
    This is one reason why i don't like bright yellow, orange, or flourescent green tent colors. I prefer my grey sil-shelter.
    It cost me money to learn that, back in '77 when it was against the rules to stay at the shelters in the Shenendoahs, we were supposed to stealth camp and the ranger came around one night, stood on top of the fireplace and did a 360. He said: what color is your tent. i said orange, he said i can see it. you're illegal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sly
    Never heard of gorilla camping. I wonder how that came about?
    Watch the movie 'Captain Ron'. My favorite movie.

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    Actually the LNT organization does not only recommend staying at impacted campsites, they recommend it as the preferred method. Areas can become closed to camping because of impacted camp sites. A couple of spots I can think of off the top of my head on the AT were that trail intersection on the south side of Mt Rogers where that horse trail and the AT intersect, and a gap in GA, I think it was Slaughter Gap had signs up in 2001 when I hiked through there.

    From the LNT site:
    Choosing a Campsite in High-Use Areas: Avoid camping close to water and trails and select a site which is not visible to others. Even in popular areas the sense of solitude can be enhanced by screening campsites and choosing an out-of-the-way site. Camping away from the water's edge also allows access routes for wild life. Be sure to obey regulations related to campsite selection. Allow enough time and energy at the end of the day to select an appropriate site. Fatigue, bad weather, and late departure times are not acceptable excuses for choosing poor or fragile camp sites.
    And about choosing the off trail sites:

    In pristine sites it is best to spread out tents, avoid repetitive traffic routes, and move camp every night. The objective is to minimize the number of times any part of the site is trampled. In setting up camp, disperse tents and the kitchen on durable sites. Wear soft shoes around camp. Minimize activity around the kitchen and places where packs are stashed. The durable surfaces of large rock slabs make good kitchen sites. Watch where you walk to avoid crushing vegetation and take alternate paths to water. Minimize the number of trips to water by carrying water containers. Check regulations, but camping 200 feet (70 adult steps) from water is a good rule of thumb.
    and when you get done:

    When breaking camp, take time to naturalize the site. Covering scuffed areas with native materials (such as pine needles), brushing out footprints, and raking matted grassy areas with a stick will help the site recover and make it less obvious as a campsite. This extra effort will help hide any indication where you camped and make it less likely that other back try travelers will camp in the same spot. The less often a pristine campsite is used the better chance it has of remaining pristine. Camping in Arid Lands The most appropriate campsites in arid lands are on durable surfaces, such as rock and gravel, or on sites that have been so highly impacted further use will cause no additional disturbance. Previously impacted sites are obvious because they have already lost their vegetation cover or the rocky soils have been visibly disturbed. If choosing this type of site, make sure your spot is large enough to accommodate your entire group.

    A pristine campsite, with no evidence of previous use, is appropriate in arid lands provided it is on a non-vegetated, highly resistant surface. Expanses of rock, gravel or sand are all ex lent choices. It should never be necessary to camp on cryptobiotic soil, islands of vegetation, or within the precious green ribbons of desert creeks or streams. Beware when camping on sandy river bottoms and areas susceptible to flash floods.

    Cooking areas, tents and backpacks should be located on rock, sand, or gravel. Conscious y choose durable routes of travel between parts of your camp so that connecting trails do not develop. Vary your routes since the objective is to minimize the amount of trampling and compaction on any specific part of the campsite. Limit your stay to no more than two nights.

    Never scrape away or clean sites of organic litter like leaves, and always minimize the removal of rocks and gravel. The organic litter will help to cushion trampling forces, limit the compactability of soils, release plant nutrients, and reduce the erosive forces of rainfall. Disturbing the lichen-coated and varnished rocks known as desert pavement can leave a visible impact for hundreds of years. Once overturned, these rocks are difficult to replace and the lichens and varnish will not grow back within our lifetime.
    And that last part sort of explains that durable surface can include staying on the duft - just don't clear it out. Leave the duft to absorb impact of walking around.

    Stealth sites can be within the LNT ethic. You just gotta know how.

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    I disagree. Not really, but it scares me when everyone here agrees so I had to.

    I like Jack's definition - hidden and off the trail, and therefore stealthy, but not necessarily illegal. Those are my favorite sites.

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    To me it means illegal like when I camp within view of the lodge at Pinkham Notch or when I sleep under Lonesome Lake Hut, etc.

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    i have stealth camped both legal and illegal,i leave no trace either way
    neo


    out of site out of mind neo

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