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  1. #1
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    Default shelters, campsites vs stealth/cowboy camping

    with the recent muder of several people related to the hiking community. im wondering if it would be safer to stay at one of the existing camp areas[shelter/campsite] if your alone with someone you just met on the trail or would it be wiser to make as much distance form an individual and find a spot and stealth/cowboy camp off in the woods so you really cant be found[low key]. with the recent problems on and around the trail it may push more people to stay away from the developed camping areas..i would rather stealth/cowboy camp but i have stayed in many a shelter........

  2. #2
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    I always choose to stealth. It isn't from fear of violence from others so much as from not wanting to be exposed to things like rodent dropping, any colds / viruses others may have and to any environmental problems that result for serious overuse in a concentrated area.

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    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the person who is at the shelter. You will get a pretty good or bad gut feeling about the person right away. Follow your gut. 99.9% of hikers out there are good people.

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    Misanthropist mystic's Avatar
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    For many misanthropic reasons I avoid camping around others. But I do enjoy using shelters as milestones of travel. And the springs and picnic tables are a big bonus. So I usually stealth camp up and away from the shelter. With a hammock and camo tarp you can be quite hidden. This is especially important if you misplan and end up at a shelter with 'local access' on a Friday or Saturday night.

    Here is a morning view of a shelter from inside of my hammock.

  5. #5
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    There are environmental benefits from camping at designated camping areas, something to consider.

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    Misanthropist mystic's Avatar
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    Also for those solo female hikers, constantly mapping your location and next day's destination on public sites like trailjournals might not be such a good idea. Not to say that your typical assailant is smart enough to cyber-stalk you, but why risk it?

  7. #7
    been down that trail before Cowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs View Post
    I always choose to stealth. It isn't from fear of violence from others so much as from not wanting to be exposed to things like rodent dropping, any colds / viruses others may have and to any environmental problems that result for serious overuse in a concentrated area.
    That's my reason for going stealth. The other is that I really don't like to talk in the mornings


    Quote Originally Posted by mystic View Post
    For many misanthropic reasons I avoid camping around others. But I do enjoy using shelters as milestones of travel. And the springs and picnic tables are a big bonus.
    I'll stop, cook a meal and chat with whoever might be there before grabbing some water and getting out of site a few miles down the trail.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystic View Post
    Also for those solo female hikers, constantly mapping your location and next day's destination on public sites like trailjournals might not be such a good idea. Not to say that your typical assailant is smart enough to cyber-stalk you, but why risk it?
    I agree. No reason to tell anyone where you're planning to stay for the night. And if they ask, be suspicious -- unless it's another hiker that you know well.

  9. #9
    Registered User Frolicking Dinosaurs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by _terrapin_ View Post
    I agree. No reason to tell anyone where you're planning to stay for the night. And if they ask, be suspicious -- unless it's another hiker that you know well.
    Back when I was a lone hiker, I nearly always told those asking that I was meeting a group at XYZ shelter or campsite. As several have noted, a woman hiking alone doesn't need to advertise that fact or where she plans to bed down.

  10. #10
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    If with a group or a few people I like to crash at a shelter. If by myself I like to crash out off the path.

    Main reasons:
    Group of people/ shelter
    - build a fire
    - B.S. with everyone
    - get to check out different gear
    - talk to real person
    - get update about trail/problems/cool spots/food places

    Hiking alone/trail side sleeping
    - Able to hike till I am tired
    - not bothered by late commers to shelter
    - generally dont waste time with a shelter, just lay in my sleeping bag.
    - less noise
    - feel safer off the trail then at a shelter.
    - no chance of weekend party people

  11. #11
    As in "dessert" not "desert"
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    Quote Originally Posted by mystic View Post
    Also for those solo female hikers, constantly mapping your location and next day's destination on public sites like trailjournals might not be such a good idea. Not to say that your typical assailant is smart enough to cyber-stalk you, but why risk it?
    Can't you just use a trail name like "Bubba With Shotgun", or something?

  12. #12
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    A trail name like Lorena Bobbit would work too.

  13. #13
    As in "dessert" not "desert"
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitewalker View Post
    with the recent muder of several people related to the hiking community. im wondering if it would be safer to stay at one of the existing camp areas[shelter/campsite] if your alone with someone you just met on the trail or would it be wiser to make as much distance form an individual and find a spot and stealth/cowboy camp off in the woods so you really cant be found[low key]. with the recent problems on and around the trail it may push more people to stay away from the developed camping areas..i would rather stealth/cowboy camp but i have stayed in many a shelter........
    It appears at this point in time that just one man has harmed more hikers near the AT than any wildlife (other than ticks) or falling trees ever have, so I would say, statistically at least, that it's far safer to tent in the woods out of sight. Make sure you choose your tentsite carefully to avoid hazards such as falling trees or rocks, flash floods, etc., and I would say you are far better off.

    I will continue to tent near shelters where there are tent pads, etc., just as a matter of convenience, but I'm a guy.

  14. #14
    been down that trail before Cowgirl's Avatar
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    I think that this recent terrible incedences that have happened on the trail should not be changing anyones routine. As a female that travels alone I always act "as if" day in and day out in all my pusuits. Being vigalant at all times for our saftey should always be at the top of our list weather something is recent news or not.

  15. #15
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    i agree with just about every statement made. we all just really need to be very aware of certain situations we may encounter on the trail and where one may decide to sleep could play a big factor in life or death at some point. 99 out of 100 times we are safe when hiking but there is that one time....

    i know if im alone at a shelter and someone shows up that is a little sketchy it will be a long sleepless nite and a very early morning. for my upcoming hike i am going to try and avoid sleeping in a shelter on most occasions but im sure there will be some nights i may end up in one..

    with any real luck i may head to springer on march 1st and hook up with wrongway, he doesnt know it yet..my plans need to fall into place in order for that to happen and its a good possibility they will...i now have to wait till next week be4 i leave to daytona and after the 500 its time for hiking....

    peace out , nitewalker

  16. #16
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    i sleep where i want cuz i'm packin' heat

  17. #17

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    that could make it easy for a deranged madman to kill you while you sleep...

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