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Old 09-07-08, 09:32 AM   #1
stokell
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Damn! An Entire Summer and No New Stealth Camping Posts!

Has everyone gone mad? Are you all whipping out your credit cards at the 5 star and then having a little white van follow slowly behind you?

Anyone with a stealth camping story this summer? Otherwise I'll be forced to tell you mine.
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Old 09-07-08, 10:51 AM   #2
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Huh, I guess people are like.... coming to their senses or something.

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Old 09-07-08, 02:09 PM   #3
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I did a few small overnight bikepacking tours where I slept in the woods. I found some really cool spots. One night I only took an ax and my micro kit, and my bow drill set with me. I made a bed out of reed grass heads and a garbage bag, and used a mylar sheet to cover my lean to.

Here is the leanto that I made with my ax and a couple of mylar sheets.



Here is the bed that I made out of reed grass heads



Here is my bow drill kit that I used to start the fire



This is the coal that I got from my bow drill that I used to start the fire



Here is a long exposure shot of my fire



Here is a long exposure shot of the beaver pond that I slept beside



It was a cold night and I had to wake up frequently to stoke the fire. The only wood in the area was aspen and willow. It does not burn very hot or very long.
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Old 09-07-08, 02:15 PM   #4
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No 5 star hotels and white vans ..... just legit campgrounds.
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Old 09-07-08, 02:59 PM   #5
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The definition of "Stealth Camping" gets so ridiculous I didn't bother to apply for my merit badge even when I actually did camp in a way that would qualify as "stealth camping"... I'd rather just get on with actual activity than get involved in a semantics debate about whether it was "stealth camping" or "free camping", but not really stealthy or camping by the side of the road with a "stealthy" tent or "wild camping" or "unpaid camping in a closed early season campground with no one around"....I get tired just thinking about all the categories....
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Old 09-07-08, 03:22 PM   #6
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Stokell, that was a fabulous tour travelogue. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. I'd never heard of steath camping before and plan to avoid it but I loved seeing your version of it. Thanks again.
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Old 09-07-08, 03:35 PM   #7
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Bike people: unless you're in a campground, all camping is best done in a place where nobody sees you. Building a lean-to and a big friendly fire to stay warm is admirable, but not the best way to stay hidden. For myself, remaining below the radar of others is one of the great pleasures of touring on a bike. As I tell others: it's easy to hide.
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Old 09-07-08, 05:20 PM   #8
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i wished i had stealth camped when biking in new hampshire this summer, but i didn't even need to camp at all between destinations. if i did it again, i would have taken two days for the ride instead of one. ideal stealth camping sites were everywhere!
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Old 09-07-08, 10:47 PM   #9
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bahnvoyage.blogspot.com

83 days
2 outside a city
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Old 09-07-08, 11:27 PM   #10
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I did a few small overnight bikepacking tours where I slept in the woods. I found some really cool spots. One night I only took an ax and my micro kit, and my bow drill set with me. I made a bed out of reed grass heads and a garbage bag, and used a mylar sheet to cover my lean to.

Here is the leanto that I made with my ax and a couple of mylar sheets.
So, did you do this on your own land? Looks pretty destructive to me.
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Old 09-08-08, 01:54 AM   #11
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vik's nailed it.
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Old 09-08-08, 05:10 AM   #12
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No stealth camping for me this year. Sadly no touring so far (shoulder surgery, traffic accident, and now caring for post op wife). That said I really prefer not to stealth camp on bike tours. I would if the situation required it, but it seldom does. I prefer to stay in in various free places (city parks, churches, peoples yards) after asking permission, followed my hiker/biker sites, followed by state and national park and forest campgrounds, followed by cheaper private campgrounds, distantly followed by KOA style campgrounds or motels. Invites to stay with people are even better.

I do enjoy stealth camping when backpack, kayak, or canoe camping which I consider more solitary pursuits. I once (in my youth) hitch hiked across the country and stealth camped. For me bike touring is to a large extent about the people I meet so hiding out to avoid human contact doesn't fit.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:05 AM   #13
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Not that this affects me for a number of years to come, but how does one find a good steath site while biking. I hiked the AT and know how to find a spot hiking. I grew up in Ill and can think of all sorts of good sites along creeks or even just along side roads next to cornfields. Do you just find a spot in late afternoon, camp and leave in the early morn? Staephj1 mentioned camping in a park but asking permission??? How do you ask for permission in a city park?
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Old 09-08-08, 06:34 AM   #14
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Not that this affects me for a number of years to come, but how does one find a good steath site while biking. I hiked the AT and know how to find a spot hiking. I grew up in Ill and can think of all sorts of good sites along creeks or even just along side roads next to cornfields. Do you just find a spot in late afternoon, camp and leave in the early morn? Staephj1 mentioned camping in a park but asking permission??? How do you ask for permission in a city park?
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In the west and mid west city parks are good spots to camp. Along established routes the the Northern Tier or the Trans America it is just routine. On these routes if using AC maps the contact is listed on the map. If not on an AC route, it depends. If it is the sort of park that has a pool ask the attendant of that facility they may give you permission or refer you to the park manager. In smallish towns the sheriffs office or police department is often the best place to ask.

In some places no checking in is required, but if in doubt it is best to ask. We were able to help others and also to learn about places to stay including folks who opened their churches, yards, or homes.

We have gotten good info about potential places to stay from store clerks, wait staff, and folks we met where ever, but if calling ahead we usually call the local law enforcement.

If on a long tour on a well toured route comparing notes with cyclists going the opposite way is a good idea.

In places where we were in need it seemed like something always worked out. We seemed to get invites to stay with folks when we needed them most. A couple times when our plans were thwarted for some reason we made calls to the various local authorities, the local clergy, firehouse, and in one case the local mayor. Something has always panned out.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:43 AM   #15
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I was thinking of starting a new thread, but I'll try posting my idea here first...

What I'm wondering is: is there any kind of a network of free campsites?

For example, I gladly offer a campsite in a meadow in zip 08648 for the occasional use of bicycle tourists. I could also offer the use of a back yard in zip 11951. And I can offer a very nice campsite at the side of a pond in zip 20175. I can probably come up with two or three more if I think about it for a while.

I'm talking about spots that would be very nice for stealth camping, but where no stealth is actually needed. I'm offering the campsite only; in certain cases there might be limited access to water, electricity, even a bathroom; but normally I'd think no facilities would be offered.

If every BF member could come up with one or two such spots, we could assemble an impressive network of campsites that could be used by bicycle tourists. There would have to be rules, of course... and arrangements would have to be made on an individual basis... in short, the details would have to be worked out. But... it could be cool, don't you think?
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Old 09-08-08, 07:25 AM   #16
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I was thinking of starting a new thread, but I'll try posting my idea here first...

What I'm wondering is: is there any kind of a network of free campsites?

For example, I gladly offer a campsite in a meadow in zip 08648 for the occasional use of bicycle tourists. I could also offer the use of a back yard in zip 11951. And I can offer a very nice campsite at the side of a pond in zip 20175. I can probably come up with two or three more if I think about it for a while.

I'm talking about spots that would be very nice for stealth camping, but where no stealth is actually needed. I'm offering the campsite only; in certain cases there might be limited access to water, electricity, even a bathroom; but normally I'd think no facilities would be offered.

If every BF member could come up with one or two such spots, we could assemble an impressive network of campsites that could be used by bicycle tourists. There would have to be rules, of course... and arrangements would have to be made on an individual basis... in short, the details would have to be worked out. But... it could be cool, don't you think?
Probably warrants a new thread.

To some extent it overlaps what WarmShowers.org does.
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Old 09-08-08, 07:53 AM   #17
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Ah, I see it now, www.warmshowers.org. Yes, that's the idea. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 09-08-08, 05:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Someday_RN View Post
Here is my bow drill kit that I used to start the fire

This is the coal that I got from my bow drill that I used to start the fire

Here is a long exposure shot of my fire

It was a cold night and I had to wake up frequently to stoke the fire. The only wood in the area was aspen and willow. It does not burn very hot or very long.
To me, stealth camping does not include fires ... fires aren't exactly stealthy. And actually, camping in general does not include fires.
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Old 09-08-08, 09:47 PM   #19
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The definition of "Stealth Camping" gets so ridiculous I didn't bother to apply for my merit badge even when I actually did camp in a way that would qualify as "stealth camping"... I'd rather just get on with actual activity than get involved in a semantics debate about whether it was "stealth camping" or "free camping", but not really stealthy or camping by the side of the road with a "stealthy" tent or "wild camping" or "unpaid camping in a closed early season campground with no one around"....I get tired just thinking about all the categories....
Beautifully put.

Besides, every so often I don't mind a bit of interaction with others in the camp kitchen, or possibly a shower before climbing into my sleeping bag. "Legit" campgrounds aren't so bad every so often.
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Old 09-09-08, 12:07 AM   #20
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Old 09-09-08, 12:55 AM   #21
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This year has been so wet it was all stealth camping. Either you were in the woods where even the animals had checked into a hotel, or you were in a camp site with nobody else to look on...
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Old 09-09-08, 01:07 AM   #22
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"Not that this affects me for a number of years to come, but how does one find a good steath site while biking."

It's not really stealth camping if nobody is looking, that is just camping. If there are people around it is semi-urban, busy rural, a key thing is to look small. A tent takes up very little land, or hammock. Extremely small areas that do not seem to belong to anyone can be occupied with a tent. You want something not overlooked, and not the kind of place like the shore, that is agressively defended. After you find a quiet spot, you look for the usual amenities you would for any camp site. Urban areas needn't be overlooked, there can be lots of bike trails ravine, golf courses that have significant bush aorund them. In and out during the dark and nobody knows any different.

Someday RN, you have to get yourself a fire piston to play with!
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Old 09-09-08, 10:59 AM   #23
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By my own narrow definition, if you light a fire, cook, or camp in the open, then you are not stealth camping.

Wild camping is when you camp in plain view in an area which is completely uninhabited. Gypsy camping is camping in plain view, usually without permission.
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Old 09-09-08, 01:07 PM   #24
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Lets see, this summer I've camped on a beach that was cut off from access by cliffs and tides, in a large culvert, under a bridge, by the train tracks, on an abandonned highway, in the ditch right next to the highway, in the desert, and in an office building that a former employee with a key let me into.
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Old 09-09-08, 02:12 PM   #25
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"Wild camping is when you camp in plain view in an area which is completely uninhabited. Gypsy camping is camping in plain view, usually without permission."

I think this is why we are all having Vik +1 moments. What do we call it if the Gypsies just happen to come to the end of their travels in a spot that is completely uninhabited?
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