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Old 08-13-12, 06:04 AM   #1
bikenh
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How soon do you set up camp?

I was just reading another post and it kinda threw me. If your camping at a campground or an established campsite I can see setting up camp early, mid PM for that matter. If you are stealth/wild camping don't you typically wait until sunset before setting up? I know I would. This is figuring no national/state forest/park facility. Camping out in the middle of a woods you pass by/someplace that is questionably legally to camp there/you haven't asked to camp there but are anyways. Just curious what guys do.
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Old 08-13-12, 08:09 AM   #2
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For me, setting up camp means pitching the tent, which I do asap in campgrounds to frighten off rain Same in a secure stealth spot, but will wait 'til last minute if not so secure. In city parks, wait 'til dusk.
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Old 08-13-12, 08:09 AM   #3
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If you are stealth/wild camping don't you typically wait until sunset before setting up?
I very rarely set up after sunset and a good portion of my tours are camping stealthy. I do tend to tour through back-country areas versus heavily populated. Camping out in the middle of the woods as you describe, I'd just be sure to be out of view. Waiting for actual dark is a bad idea because you can't see or need a light which makes you more visible.
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Old 08-13-12, 08:52 AM   #4
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I'm usually done riding by five or six in the afternoon. If I'm in the midwest, I'm probably sleeping in a town park. I'll kill time, cook dinner, clean my chain, read until the sun goes down enough for visibility and traffic to decrease and then set up the tent. If I'm in the west, I'm either on public land and don't care who sees me, with a warmshowers host, or very well hidden.
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Old 08-13-12, 09:00 AM   #5
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I am currently in a hotel in northwest China, hence the internet, but I have spent maybe half my nights camping. Generally near dusk, just after sunset if I can.

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Old 08-13-12, 09:05 AM   #6
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gear and bike hidden upon arrival of spot -

my bike is smack dab in the middle of that photo, about 20 feet in front of the camera.



I usually try to have food cooked and kitchen dispersed before establishing the sleeping hootch just as dusk falls.

One tip - get food storage figured out before dark - its tough to find a good 'hang' in the dark.
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Old 08-13-12, 10:28 AM   #7
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I'm usually free camping, but don't really have a specific time I wait for before setting up camp. However the last tour was in winter so by 5 pm it was dark so I was usually setting up the tent via flashlight and cooking afterwards.
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Old 08-13-12, 05:13 PM   #8
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my bike is smack dab in the middle of that photo, about 20 feet in front of the camera.
Except for the guy wandering around taking pictures no one would ever know you were there.
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Old 08-13-12, 06:21 PM   #9
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It depends if you have to pay.

At a state reservior, if i have to pay, I usually get there 2-3 hrs prior to sundown. Might as well fish and swim before dark.

If I want to camp free at the town ball park I usually have to shed a tear in front of the local cop. "It's almost dark. It's only just me with my little tent." Works everytime.
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Old 08-13-12, 07:12 PM   #10
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Uh oh...

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Old 08-13-12, 09:25 PM   #11
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Only one night of stealth camping under my belt (just did first tour). It didn't really cross my mind to camp later in the evening. I was camping through heavily wooded areas, so once I pulled into the woods 10 feet, on a hill above the road, no one could see me and I wasn't concerned about someone wondering into my camp. I was setup several hours before dark.

I would hate to setup camp in the dark and would really be reluctant to do it stealth camping. I've never camped in a really audacious setting, though. I think it all depends on the how visible your campsite is in the light.
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Old 08-13-12, 11:30 PM   #12
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gear and bike hidden upon arrival of spot -

my bike is smack dab in the middle of that photo, about 20 feet in front of the camera.



I usually try to have food cooked and kitchen dispersed before establishing the sleeping hootch just as dusk falls.

One tip - get food storage figured out before dark - its tough to find a good 'hang' in the dark.
That is pretty stealthy! I'm wondering how stealth campers find a good spot to bathe though? High mountain creeks might be clean enough but usually that's not an option.
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Old 08-14-12, 02:12 AM   #13
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This:





Plus:





Equals:


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Old 08-14-12, 07:31 AM   #14
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I'm wondering how stealth campers find a good spot to bathe though? High mountain creeks might be clean enough but usually that's not an option.
Using water from a creek to wash is fine, bathing in a creek should never be done. You should tote the water 200 feet from the water source.
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Old 08-14-12, 07:51 AM   #15
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I try and set up camp just as soon as I can, which is usually in a campground. If I wait too long, it'll probably rain or something! At least once it's set up, I can begin to kick back for the rest of the time.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:15 AM   #16
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I enjoy cycling until nearly sunset. It's my favorite time of day to be out there. So for me, it's easy to wait until late to find a site. I will have eaten hours earlier, so I'll just have a quick snack before bedding down.

Good tip above about food storage being a priority.

If I'm in a truly stealth situation, I can pitch my gray tarp pretty low to the ground and lay my bike down. Knee-high grass will nearly hide me.

Another reason, at least this last summer, to wait until late to pitch camp is the heat. If it's buggy out, you don't want to get into a tent while the sun's still out in the early evening and it's 98F.
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Old 08-14-12, 11:02 AM   #17
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It depends on a lot. Usually I'll stealth camp and if I find a great spot and I've covered a good distance and I'm loaded with water or have access to water then I'll stop no mater the time. The same would go if I'm paying for camping but I rarely do that. Sometimes it's so hot out though that I'll just keep riding until evening because I don't feel like hanging out in a baking hot tent or sitting out with the mosquitoes. Only a couple times I've camped in places that I wouldn't set up until after dark to keep it stealthy.
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Old 08-14-12, 12:25 PM   #18
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If you are stealth/wild camping don't you typically wait until sunset before setting up? I know I would. This is figuring no national/state forest/park facility.
What I try to do is find a spot about two hours before sunset. You don't want to wait until sunset where you might not find a good stealth site and have to settle for something not optimal. The late Ken Kifer had an excellent article on how to find and set up a stealth campsite.
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Old 08-14-12, 01:03 PM   #19
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looking for a spot two hours before sunset brings up a technique I've used with occasional success is the "OUT - BACK - OUT AGAIN" method of picking good stealth sites near towns.

If you're traveling any moderately built up area, with small towns and what not, when riding thru a town a couple of hours before dark, and know you want to pack it in pretty soon and want to still avail yourself of the town for evening food is:


head OUT of town till you find a good spot to stealth it, scope the site out, then head BACK into town to get food and water, hang out till dark, then head OUT AGAIN to the campsite. It sometimes can even improve your distance travelled versus stopping IN the small town to camp at the city park - you're further along the next morning, and you're less likely to waste time in the AM as you're not near civilization.

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Old 08-14-12, 01:03 PM   #20
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what i try to do is find a spot about two hours before sunset. You don't want to wait until sunset where you might not find a good stealth site and have to settle for something not optimal. The late ken kifer had an excellent article on how to find and set up a stealth campsite.
fify
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Old 08-14-12, 04:39 PM   #21
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In city parks, wait 'til dusk.
I tend to pitch early especially there. My rationale is that if I am somewhere in sight where I might get kicked out, I want to know early enough to move on.
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Old 08-14-12, 05:02 PM   #22
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I tend to pitch early especially there. My rationale is that if I am somewhere in sight where I might get kicked out, I want to know early enough to move on.
Hey, you're supposed to be out wandering the wilds of Colorado. What are you doing posting stuff? And where did you pack the equipment for it? Quit posting and get to ridin'!
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Old 08-14-12, 05:38 PM   #23
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Hey, you're supposed to be out wandering the wilds of Colorado. What are you doing posting stuff? And where did you pack the equipment for it? Quit posting and get to ridin'!
Sadly, I bailed and am home. Got home a couple hours ago. I had AMS and a respiratory problem that according to a doctor friend may have been HAPE. I hung out in Buena Vista a couple days hoping my body would adjust, but I was still suffering. I decided the prudent thing was to ride down to Canon City which I did. The headaches went away but the hacking continued. Then I rode to Colorado Springs was hacking like crazy and decided to bail. I rented a car and, to add a touch of irony, visited the Kansas high point.

BTW thanks much for your assistance.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:41 PM   #24
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Neato, thanks. On another recent thread I read about camping water filters which are new to me. Nice to have the option of not being restricted to regular campgrounds.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:45 PM   #25
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Using water from a creek to wash is fine, bathing in a creek should never be done. You should tote the water 200 feet from the water source.

Creek bottoms can be dangerously slippery. I assume that toting water 200 ft away is to avoid polluting creek with soap? Reminds me about spelunkers--when they have to cross underground rivers they take off their clothes to avoid, IIRC, getting clothes detergent residue into the water.
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