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Old 01-31-08, 03:55 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Wild and Free Camping: New Ranges, New Possibilities, Other Skills and Techniques?

The basics of free camping are fairly widely known and available. They're covered well on kenkifer.com, and elsewhere.

But there are other possibilities, techniques and approaches that are not so well known and not so well covered.

[side note: the thread intends to include all forms of free camping -- guerilla, stealth, non-stealth, wild, urban, non-urban, etc. -- a wide and inclusive meaning of the term.]

Part of the meaning, for some people, is related to the spirit of a wild-and-free river.

(And perhaps also a return to a freer, less regimented, less controlled, more self-sufficient or self-contained, less facilities-dependent way of traveling and living, and of being in the world or with the world.)

*******
There's room for further development and wider ranges of abilities, skills, and freedom in this area of touring.

Maybe some people have hit upon new, non-traditional or less well known possibilities?

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Old 01-31-08, 04:48 PM   #2
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Always thought about perhaps taking one of those inflatable 2 man boats that you can paddle..... blowing it up, then paddle to the middle of a lake, anchoring the raft down, and camping out that way. I guess if did this in a lake that has boats in it, you would have to have a safety light so you wouldn't get run over by a fast moving boat in the middle of the night. I would also probably have to overcome the possibility of motion sickness. I would think though carrying one of these on a bike tour would take up so much room and weight, it wouldn't be practical.
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Old 01-31-08, 06:13 PM   #3
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I have send a raft ahead to general delivery at a post office a number of times. Stopped for the raft, inflated it, then rafted down the river in the evening - stopping to camp on a sandbar or island. Next morning, a little more rafting to a town on the river, box up the raft, and on I go.

I trail my bicycle on bungeed on an inner tube about 15 feet off the aft.
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Old 01-31-08, 06:21 PM   #4
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"But there are other possibilities, techniques and approaches that are not so well known and not so well covered."

vs.

"Maybe some people have hit upon new, non-traditional or less well known possibilities? "

Well, which is it?

Even a single cell animal knows how to sleep out at night. The whole idea that camping is a sport or art is just product marketing for new hammocks and tarps, etc.... After seeing pictures of guys sleeping in Hammocks on El Cap in the 60s I haven't seen much new, or unknown to the average boy scout.
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Old 01-31-08, 07:12 PM   #5
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Why can't we just keep it simple? Cycle, camp (or take a bed in a hostel or hotel or B&B or whatever), cycle some more, take photos, enjoy the scenery, pop in at a museum or historical site, cycle some more, etc.?

I could be mistaken, but on a tour as night starts to fall, I think most of us come up with some sort of solution quite naturally for either getting some rest or continuing to cycle.

I am not one to plan ahead, although when I land in another country, I do like to have my first night booked so I can gather myself together and set up the bicycle etc. After that ... I wing it. And winging it has involved a whole collection of different night-time solutions ... whatever seems appropriate that night.
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Old 01-31-08, 09:43 PM   #6
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Bike squatting. Instead of carrying a tent just take a sledge hammer.
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Old 01-31-08, 11:16 PM   #7
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I have send a raft ahead to general delivery at a post office a number of times. Stopped for the raft, inflated it, then rafted down the river in the evening - stopping to camp on a sandbar or island. Next morning, a little more rafting to a town on the river, box up the raft, and on I go.

I trail my bicycle on bungeed on an inner tube about 15 feet off the aft.
Pictures please!!!!!
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Old 01-31-08, 11:30 PM   #8
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I am not one to plan ahead, although when I land in another country, I do like to have my first night booked so I can gather myself together and set up the bicycle etc. After that ... I wing it. And winging it has involved a whole collection of different night-time solutions ... whatever seems appropriate that night.
me too.
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Old 02-01-08, 02:08 PM   #9
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The roofs of buildings are an underutilized space for unorthodox camping while on a bike tour.

People are still pushing the envelope expeditioneering, but the world is certainly getting 'smaller.'

Reinhold Messner's TransAntarctic ski/kite trips are impressive. A more recent expedition pushing the envelope of 'what is possible' was a kayak/ski mountaineering trip across the Patagonian icecap; written up in National Geographic in the last 5 years (but I can't recall the names of the explorers.)

We all explore new horizons on our rides-

Personally, I'd like to combine MORE ski touring in my spring bicycling trips. Also the 'ultralite' envelope.
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Old 02-01-08, 03:28 PM   #10
Niles H.
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Thanks for the interesting replies.

Glad to hear someone mention rooftop camping. I've almost done that a couple of times. There can be some great stargazing opportunities up there. And good privacy.

This possibility could be very useful in some situations.

*******
Once I passed a high-rise hotel that was under construction.

There was a gap in the fence. It was late. I was hungry for a place to camp. I went in.

The lower floors were almost finished. The windows were in. The bathrooms had fixtures. The rooms looked like they could be used.

As I went up higher and higher, the rooms became less and less finished.

I ended up on the top floor. There were no windows yet. There were stacks of building materials on the floor.

It was very raw.

And very attractive somehow.

It had a great view of the city.

The view was even better than it would have been with the windows installed.

It was a full, wide-open panoramic view that included moonlight and the nearby ocean.

When finished, the future penthouse suites on that same floor would have been smaller, and very expensive, probably over a thousand dollars a night.

I had a much larger space -- the entire floor.

There was a gentle breeze; and fresh, pleasantly warm night air was moving through the entire space.

Sleeping on a stack of building materials put me up at a level where I had a fine view.

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Old 02-01-08, 03:38 PM   #11
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Hammocks could probably be used in some innovative ways.

Some tree sitters have spent many nights sleeping high up in the redwoods and other trees....

*******
Hammocks could probably be hung in places people would never expect them to be. This could be useful in urban areas.

Rock climbers might have some knowledge and techniques (including safety-related ones) that would extend the possibilities for this sort of thing.

They often spend nights perched on the side of a cliff, with some excellent views.

Out of harm's way....

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Old 02-01-08, 04:12 PM   #12
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That's called "trespassing." It's illegal. No matter how much happy-hippy-warm-breezes-and-moonlight you wrap it in.

Flame on.
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Old 02-01-08, 04:34 PM   #13
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oh well, us hippies never hurt anybody.
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Old 02-01-08, 04:44 PM   #14
Niles H.
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I almost mentioned that there were no signs. It did not have the feeling that anyone really cared; it was unoccupied, unfinished and unused. The people in that area seemed very relaxed and friendly.

If I had run into some construction workers on the way out, they probably would have smiled and been happy for me.

*******
[It does seem important, though, to be aware that this is not always the case. There are areas where it would be unwise to do this sort of thing. Other times it feels fine. There is an element of this sort of intuition that enters into evaluating many of the free camping situations....]

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Old 02-01-08, 04:49 PM   #15
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Civilized disobedience isn't always a bad thing.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:02 PM   #16
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oh well, us hippies never hurt anybody.
I resemble that remark, I'll have you know.

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Old 02-01-08, 05:13 PM   #17
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Back in the early 80s I toured from Denver to Colorado Springs to Manitou Springs to Kansas City. It was awesome. I camped on the farmer's side of the barbed wire fence along the state highways or deep into the trees off the road. No one ever bothered me. I left no trace. I toured solo.

It was about as free as it could be. I know things are a little different now, with NO TRESSPASSING signs and such. But then, that's what Niles is talking about (right?). Not violating any law, just looking for more options in camping/touring/cycling a closing in world.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:16 PM   #18
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I almost mentioned that there were no signs. It did not have the feeling that anyone really cared; it was unoccupied, unfinished and unused. The people in that area seemed very relaxed and friendly.

If I had run into some construction workers on the way out, they probably would have smiled and been happy for me.
Or would have smiled and had you arrested. One or the other.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:19 PM   #19
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That's called "trespassing." It's illegal. No matter how much happy-hippy-warm-breezes-and-moonlight you wrap it in.

Flame on.
Do you really know what trespass is? Your opinion is valid, because it may express what many people believe is trespass. But law is often different than perception. I suggest that Bike Forum members not stealth camp in areas where the law is often misunderstood.

In most places in this world you are not trespassing unless you are told you are and refuse to move. You can be told by sign (NO TRESPASSING), by marks on trees or in person by someone who tells you to get off their land, but you are not trespassing unless you refuse to leave within a reasonable time.

I stealth camp, but I never camp anywhere that is fenced, improved, signed or marked. Also tort law allows litigation if you cause any damage when you trespass, so stealth camping on agricultural land is forbidden.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:23 PM   #20
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Do you really know what trespass is? Your opinion is valid, because it may express what many people believe is trespass. But law is often different than perception. I suggest that Bike Forum members not stealth camp in areas where the law is often misunderstood.

In most places in this world you are not trespassing unless you are told you are and refuse to move. You can be told by sign (NO TRESPASSING), by marks on trees or in person by someone who tells you to get off their land, but you are not trespassing unless you refuse to leave within a reasonable time.

I stealth camp, but I never camp anywhere that is fenced, improved, signed or marked. Also tort law allows litigation if you cause any damage when you trespass, so stealth camping on agricultural land is forbidden.
And so sleeping in a hotel under construction is somehow NOT trespassing?
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Old 02-01-08, 05:23 PM   #21
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I'm a hippie too, masquerading as a dirtbag climber, software developer, bike tourist, and law abiding member of society. sorry for the dis.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:28 PM   #22
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Right... No I don't know the legal definition.

I'm going by the "feel" of the law not the letter, and i usually err on the side of caution. Sleeping in a construction site having entered thru a gap in the fence... feels like trespassing to me.

And on the practical side, knowledge of the legal definition of trespassing is not going to make anything much nicer if you wake up with a security guard in your face, or an irate property owner, or a cop, or guard dogs.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:31 PM   #23
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I've never run into anyone who has expressed any desire to have me arrested, even with quite a bit of free camping.

It's a judgment call when choosing places to sleep; and evaluating the likelihood of such happenings seems to be an integral part of this sort of sleeping.

*******
I would be more concerned, in many cases, with avoiding other kinds of potential problems.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:38 PM   #24
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When I toured early in the season I would stay in provincial parks before they opened. I called the provincial parks authority and I was told that although you should not stay overnight in the park when it is not open that the authorities would not care that much.

I have also sneaked into provincial parks and used facilities.

I like Niles' idea of the construction site that sounds like an awesome spot to stay, as long as you did not get caught or run into some weirdos.

Another place I have liked, as long in is not too close to the city is an inside curve just off the road, not many people will see you there, especially at night. In a lot of big cities this is the holiday inn for the homeless so I avoid this spot most times.

I have also noticed that in a lot the outskirts of the city there are lots of wooded areas you can stay in, this is a great place for a hammock.

I have heard of lots of people mentioning graveyards before.
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Old 02-01-08, 05:41 PM   #25
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And so sleeping in a hotel under construction is somehow NOT trespassing?
HOW did you people get SO uptight?

*******
[[I hope you know I'm saying that in fun....]]

*******
Technically, I'm not at all sure. There were no signs. It was not like it was some uptight part of Texas or something (or Canada? ) ... or some other haven for uptight minds.

The construction workers would have been far [and I mean FAR] more likely to offer me some pakalolo.
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