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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

View Poll Results: If You were to Stay in Free Accomodations which would you prefer?
Being matched to a host family by an organization 0 0%
Making new friends on the road and hoping for an invite 0 0%
Seeking permission to put up your tent in a yard or field 7 33.33%
Asking to sleep in a church or organizations facility 2 9.52%
Arriving late and leaving early without permission 2 9.52%
Camping in an out of the way location 15 71.43%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 21. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-25-03, 08:06 PM   #1
Bluestreak2
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Stealth Camping or Sleeping for Free on a Bike Tour

I am doing a speech for a college class on three types of bicycle touring, and would really appreciate assistance in the area of sleeping for free.

Stealth Camping fascinates me ( of course it would I am a 55 year old grandmother and when my husband and I make our cross country tour it will be with a tour provider) and I would appreciate any information I can get.

The three types I have chosen are Commercial tour provider; Credit Card; and Stealth or Visiting with friends.

I am also open to buying any books or articles about these types of bicycle touring. I currently own about 20, but none that address Stealth touring or cheep touring.
Thanks,
Diane

Last edited by Bluestreak2; 09-25-03 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 09-25-03, 08:26 PM   #2
Gordon P
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Have a look in the touring section if you havenít already and you will find a few posts about stealth camping. As far as your poll goes, I did not answer as I have done all of the above except for arriving late leaving early one. I canít say I slept in a church, but I have slept in a Mayan temple, a church yard, at immigration posts and with a few humanitarian organisations. As far as choice, I prefer to stay with new friends I meet along the way, but I also like those special camping spots that turn up while on the road like beside a river or a lake, alpine meadows and forests.

Oh to be back on the road!
Regards,
Gordon p

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I am also open to buying any books or articles about these types of bicycle touring. I currently own about 20, but none that address Stealth touring or cheep touring.
I canít think of any cycling specific book that deals with stealth camping, but many backpacker books will deal with doing a trip on the cheap. Traveling Cheaply published in (1975) and the Hitchhikers guide to Europe series comes to mind. I just read Cycling Europe by Nicolas Crane (1984) and he mentions stealth camping and the laws of the European countries.



Last edited by Gordon P; 09-25-03 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-25-03, 08:33 PM   #3
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There's ofen free camping in the city park(s) of many small towns throughout the midwest. I was able to camp in parks most evenings as I crossed Wyoming, Nebraska, and Minnesota. It's not stealth camping, but it is free.
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Old 09-26-03, 08:39 AM   #4
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Canít point you to books/sources, but Iíve done plenty of free camping while on bike tours, both with and without permission. I doubt youíll find books talking much about stealth camping or camping without permission Ė the author/publisher might risk some sort of legal liability if a reader followed their advice and something bad happened.

Without permission: church yards and parking lots, schools yards, city parks, baseball fields, cemeteries, all night landromats (sp?), behind various buildings, off the road in the woods, etc... I always tried to put the tent up late (dusk to dark) and hidden away. Sometimes I didnít have to use the tent.

With permission: church yards and parking lots, school yards, city parks, police and fire station yards, houses or yards of people Iíve met on the road, etc...

Some of the above locations were stealth. Some were not. A lot of it depends on how many people are around, what day of the week it is (I often avoided parks/schools on Friday and Saturday nights), how close I was to a major road, etc... In some city parks and baseball fields I was able to sleep in the open (on a picnic table, bench in the dugout, I remember a gazebo in a park in Cleveland,...) and didnít have to put up the tent. Be careful on baseball fields Ė nice ones might have a sprinkler system that will come on early in the morning (happened to me once). Several times I set up the tent at a school or park and the police would come by Ė they always welcomed me and often said they would drive by during the night to make sure things were ok. Cemeteries are great if you can find a good spot to hide the tent Ė I donít think cemeteries get many visitors at night. I wouldnít recommend landromats Ė Iíve slept on those large tables for folding clothes and been woken up repeatedly by customers.

Iíve camped in the yards of people Iíve met on the road Ė I think thatís ideal as opposed to staying in their house Ė you get to use their shower but your not imposing too much on them. Iíve only stayed in the homes of people I met on the road twice. I had the offer many times, but itís a little scary Ė you donít really know what their motives might be. I judged each situation by how I was approached, what kind of questions the person asked, etc... My initial answer is always thanks, but no thanks. I would generally recommend against it, but sometimes everything feels right and it turned out ok for me.

As far as your poll, I'd prefer to have permission and stay in a yard/field. But I've found that stealth camping is often easier than seeking out the proper authority to give you permission.
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Old 09-26-03, 03:13 PM   #5
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i usually sleep where i can. i try to use national forest, but if i squat behind a bush for the night, that's what i do.

there's more information on what i (and others) use in the "touring for life" thread.

hope it helps. and i agree with you. i could have used help figuring out how to live on the road, but that is what experience is for, i guess.
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Old 09-26-03, 06:44 PM   #6
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I go to hostels- that's my main accomodation type that I lean towards. I didn't vote since it wasn't an option.

I would rather not stay at someone's place- been there, done that, wasn't really thrilled with the idea of staying with strangers.

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Old 09-26-03, 08:08 PM   #7
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Check out www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/camping.htm for a nice essay on bicycle camping.
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Old 09-26-03, 08:48 PM   #8
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One guess as to my choice!
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Old 10-23-03, 09:50 AM   #9
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I second the recommendation for the KenKifer article as that epitimizes the type of stealth camping spot I prefer ie. a remote primitive camping spot in the woods on unimproved land where you are able to experience nature without trespassing(in most states).
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Old 10-23-03, 10:52 AM   #10
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pointyhead, what is your choice, don't leave us in suspense
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Old 10-28-03, 08:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointyhead
One guess as to my choice!
Larry Flynt's mansion?
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Old 10-29-03, 09:17 AM   #12
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Oh I thought it was the playboy mansion ,thanks for clearing that up.
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Old 05-27-11, 05:58 AM   #13
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stealth camping

since i have set my self up to be self supported...
i would be looking for out of the way place...
i would be looking for a creek...river...
any where there would be natural running water flow ...
i carry a water filter...
this is for my cooking...
i also carry a pocket solar shower....
second i would look for heavy forested area...
i do not care if the grade is not level...
i use a hammock for a sleeping shelter...
before entering the area to be camping in...
i would look for signs of "No Trespassing" or other previous use...
such as is this where the local high school kids come to drink at night...
or is this where large animals might travel through..
and that i cannot be seen from a distance by any one...
you get the picture...
any questions.... conifir at gmail dot com
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