Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Bicycle Stealth Camping - Advice you'd give and gear you're glad you have

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.

Bicycle Stealth Camping - Advice you'd give and gear you're glad you have

Old 11-02-16, 05:08 AM
  #1  
Mike McLeish
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 7

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bicycle Stealth Camping - Advice you'd give and gear you're glad you have

Hi everyone,

I'm currently making a website on bicycle touring and thought it would be cool to put together the ultimate guide for bicycle stealth camping.

I was hoping for people that are currently or have been on a bike tour themselves. It would be great if you could add a little bio of your trip and perhaps a picture of your bike loaded up. Then the answer to the questions:

1) The one bit of advice you'd give to anyone starting out bicycle stealth camping
2) The one piece of gear you're glad you didn't leave home without

Once the guide is complete I can link out to you guys and give you credit for your help

I think this would be an awesome way to get loads of peoples opinions together in an informative and fun way.

Please let me know if I have posted this in the wrong section or it's not allowed.

Hope to hear from lots of you soon

Mike
Mike McLeish is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 06:21 AM
  #2  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,393
Mentioned: 163 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8618 Post(s)
Liked 357 Times in 229 Posts
?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 06:53 AM
  #3  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 1,513

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 219 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 15 Posts
My version of "stealth camping" is legal. Get permission to camp on private property (and that's surprisingly easy many times). Customs may vary in different cultures and countries, as on some Indian reservation land here in the US. Even the idea of "private property" varies.

I've camped on public land, say a large regional park, that is posted "No Overnight Parking," or similar. The intent may be to keep campers away, but not expressly stated, and in that case I'll hide. I use a low, gray-green tent if needed, and lay my bike down. Tall grass or a few shrubs conceal my site. I'm gone at first light. I'll buy breakfast in a nearby town, adding sales taxes to the local coffers, figuring that's my rent for the night.

Show some respect to the land, don't leave toilet litter or food trash, don't cut down trees for shelter or fire.

My use of the term stems from long distance hiking here in the US, on the AT, PCT, and CDT. The trails traverse public land, but there are few established campsites. Many hikers walk out of view of the trail and lie down and sleep, leaving no trace, thus the term "stealth." I do the same on bike tours, not necessarily limiting myself to established areas. It's easy to do when you don't have a motor vehicle.

One tip--if you see a lot of shotgun shells and broken bottles, don't camp there.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 07:16 AM
  #4  
Mike McLeish
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 7

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Great start Andrew and thanks a lot for the reply

some really good tips in your response.

Are you a member of any hiking/cycling groups you'd like me to link out to when its all done?
Mike McLeish is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 07:29 AM
  #5  
saddlesores
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bangkok...and....Hainan
Posts: 2,950

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 698 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
hi mike,

welcome to the forum!

before i reply with a bunch of stuff you probably surely already know,
since you're writing the ultimate guide to stealth camping, could you
maybe start with an introduction and let us know what sort of
camping, stealth or otherwise, you've done in the past?

and i'd suggest starting over at whiteblaze dot com. word from the
knowledgeable is that those guys over there are like the cats
pajamas on meth when it comes to camping!
saddlesores is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 07:44 AM
  #6  
raybo
Bike touring webrarian
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 1,896

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 4 Posts
This page has 9 links to information about stealth camping. Some are general articles and some are country specific.
raybo is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 08:27 AM
  #7  
SpeshulEd 
Senior Member
 
SpeshulEd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 8,089
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 686 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I do everything the same as when I bikepack, only I camp on the side of the road.
__________________
Hey guys, lets go play bikes! Strava

SpeshulEd is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 08:36 AM
  #8  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: The Timbers of Fennario (CL77)
Posts: 4,885

Bikes: Steel

Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 133 Posts
A lightweight, foldable shopping cart (or, as you might say, trolly) for all of your belongings, is ideal in such situations. Also, read aloud from social science academic journal articles, as the linguistic constructs employed are known to share a lot of common traits with schizophrenia. Also, panhandle whilst displaying a brightly-colored, late-model mountain bike for added authenticity, and warn people about chemtrails.
wgscott is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 08:46 AM
  #9  
mdilthey
Senior Member
 
mdilthey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,923

Bikes: Nature Boy 853 Disc, Pugsley SS

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 251 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Man, I cannot wait to see how this thread goes.
mdilthey is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 08:54 AM
  #10  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,771

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1243 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
I only camp where legal, and given a choice I will camp where there is an official campground, the campground is there for a purpose.

Those that do not camp in legal locations give other bike tourists a bad name.

I have informed park staff at a park where I observed two bikers camping in hiding in the woods to avoid paying camping fees (at that park, the fee was quite minimal too) while using campground facilities, the park staff watched them as they quickly packed up and left.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 08:58 AM
  #11  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,190
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1212 Post(s)
Liked 107 Times in 64 Posts
You have to be very quiet generally and use radar deflecting gear.. I think. Also, something to shield any heat sources seems to be in order to avoid thermal detection devices.
Happy Feet is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 09:02 AM
  #12  
revcp 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 1,119

Bikes: 2015 Borealis Yampa, 1988 Miyata Twelve Hundred, 1985 Trek 720

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
I agree with above, get permission. Now, up in Minnesota stealth camping with permission often involves land that doesn't necessarily have a good flat spot for a tent. Another opportunity for me to recommend going with a hammock. And leave no trace. Learn how to get everything back to how it looked before.
__________________
Don't complain about the weather and cower in fear. It's all good weather. Just different.
revcp is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 09:03 AM
  #13  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,192
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 246 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Since others have covered the legalities involved, my only suggestions:

Set up late in the evening and get on the road early
Use a tent of inconspicuous color such as green, camo, etc.
People rarely visit cemeteries at night and so makes a nice place to set up, (you'll sleep like the dead)
robow is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 09:34 AM
  #14  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,407

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 744 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I only camp where legal, and given a choice I will camp where there is an official campground, the campground is there for a purpose.

Those that do not camp in legal locations give other bike tourists a bad name.

I have informed park staff at a park where I observed two bikers camping in hiding in the woods to avoid paying camping fees (at that park, the fee was quite minimal too) while using campground facilities, the park staff watched them as they quickly packed up and left.
Feel better now? If no one sees me, I don't make a mess, and my hammock is out of sight, I was never there.
Leebo is online now  
Old 11-02-16, 09:38 AM
  #15  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,407

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 744 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
As said, don't leave a mess and be kind to the woods. So much of New England ( where I tour) is full of woods in which to have a good night's sleep. My hammock works well, green tarp to blend in. One park I stayed in I actually mt bike in and picked up an entire bag of empty beer cans before I left in the am. Left it better then I found it.
Leebo is online now  
Old 11-02-16, 09:53 AM
  #16  
1989Pre
Standard Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Brunswick, Maine
Posts: 2,729

Bikes: 2001 Raleigh M80, 1989 Raleigh Technium, 1983 F. Moser Sprint, 1963 Freddie Grubb Routier, 1948 P. Barnard & Son

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 692 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Best inexpensive, quality bicycle camping tent: Ledge Sports Scorpion 1.
You can't go wrong with an MSR Whisperlite, but make sure you brush a spot out for your stove and use your reflector shield.

HUNTING CAMO TRUE TIMBER NEW CONCEAL FABRIC 60" POLY SOFT TAFFETA CAMOUFLAGE

Camp as though there were armed, violent people trying to follow you; in other words, when you leave, make it look like you were never there.

Last edited by 1989Pre; 11-02-16 at 10:06 AM.
1989Pre is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 12:28 PM
  #17  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,630
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1321 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 29 Posts
Don't stealth camp during hunting season in areas where hunting is allowed. Don't stealth camp in a field where a bull might be present. Never actually stealth camped, but I think those are solid suggestions.
alan s is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 12:50 PM
  #18  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: The Timbers of Fennario (CL77)
Posts: 4,885

Bikes: Steel

Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 133 Posts
The most definitive guide, ever, was Bike Tripping by Tom Cuthbertson.

In this, he has several suggestions, including camping in a graveyard, suggesting that everyone will leave you alone.

I suggested this to my friend when we were bike touring, and he vetoed the idea, saying that although this might technically be true, anyone who you do meet in the graveyard is almost guaranteed to be a psycho. If memory serves, we hoteled it that night, but had to pitch the tent in the hotel room to sleep in because of the roach infestation.
wgscott is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 12:50 PM
  #19  
bikenh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,183
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Don't take anything with me unless I plan on using it. Can't say there has been much I have wished I had. With that said I have dropped down to 25 pounds of gear including a laptop computer but I could go with less if I knew for sure I was only going to out during the warm nights of summer.

Actually was looking to go out this summer and leave the tent at home. You just have to watch where you camp to stay away from mosquitoes and you can use the rest of your gear to make up for the tent if you do run, err riding, into them. You can always find someplace where you can put your head underneath an overhang to keep your dry when it rains overnight. At least I have been able to thus far without much trouble.
bikenh is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 12:53 PM
  #20  
bikenh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,183
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
The most definitive guide, ever, was Bike Tripping by Tom Cuthbertson.

In this, he has several suggestions, including camping in a graveyard, suggesting that everyone will leave you alone.

I suggested this to my friend when we were bike touring, and he vetoed the idea, saying that although this might technically be true, anyone who you do meet in the graveyard is almost guaranteed to be a psycho. If memory serves, we hoteled it that night, but had to pitch the tent in the hotel room to sleep in because of the roach infestation.
My experiences thus far with graveyards have been quite wild and lifey. First one kept hearing noises in the trees beside and finally after a couple of hours I look out the tent and I think I saw the critter...I believe it was a skunk. The only other time I've spent in a graveyard it wasn't intended but I took the wrong road and didn't find the campsite in particular I was looking for. I decided to crash at the back side of cemetary only to wake up in the morning to deer hang out around the campsite.
bikenh is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 12:56 PM
  #21  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,449

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6838 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 217 Times in 180 Posts
I toured Out side of the US .. Norway its no Problem, just dont set Up camp right in someones Yard with out asking them.



England the Property owner replicates the Royalists ownership of everything including deer in the woods and the fish in the stream

and even if Not fishing, No gear, I could not stay there and be the threat that maybe has a Fish volunteer to leap out of the strem..


If You grew up in the Boy Scouts Camping often , then you would not need to ask ..

Can you find a suitable site, at the end of the day, and be Out of there before Dawn?

>> And Leave No Trace of your having Been there <<





'/,

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-02-16 at 01:35 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 01:02 PM
  #22  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: The Timbers of Fennario (CL77)
Posts: 4,885

Bikes: Steel

Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 215 Times in 133 Posts
I'm pretty sure BLM land is fair game. (If not, just bring a rifle and occupy a wildlife sanctuary.)
wgscott is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 01:03 PM
  #23  
boomhauer
Senior Member
 
boomhauer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Mike McLeish View Post
2) The one piece of gear you're glad you didn't leave home without

I met a fellow tourist last summer who carried a fold-able tree pruning saw in his trailer. He used it to cut the low branches on small pine trees. In a grove of conifers that are often found on the edge of parks, ball diamonds, edge of the interstate, etc.... he could make a small area for himself and his bike. I thought this was genius. These groups of trees are so thick you can't see through them or even walk into. He was often hidden in plain sight.

He basically lived on his bike. He said that many of the places he slept were the same ones that he cut out the year before.
boomhauer is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 01:25 PM
  #24  
mdilthey
Senior Member
 
mdilthey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,923

Bikes: Nature Boy 853 Disc, Pugsley SS

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 251 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
I met a fellow tourist last summer who carried a fold-able tree pruning saw in his trailer. He used it to cut the low branches on small pine trees. In a grove of conifers that are often found on the edge of parks, ball diamonds, edge of the interstate, etc.... he could make a small area for himself and his bike. I thought this was genius. These groups of trees are so thick you can't see through them or even walk into. He was often hidden in plain sight.

He basically lived on his bike. He said that many of the places he slept were the same ones that he cut out the year before.
Bushcraft is pretty destructive. If everyone cut off low branches every time they camped, you'd have stripped forests. I'm only a fan of bushcraft if it's a survival situation, then go nuts!
mdilthey is offline  
Old 11-02-16, 01:33 PM
  #25  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,393
Mentioned: 163 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8618 Post(s)
Liked 357 Times in 229 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I'm pretty sure BLM land is fair game. (If not, just bring a rifle and occupy a wildlife sanctuary.)

Depends. There are restrictions and special rules in certain areas.


Recreation & Visitor Services


Pick a state to learn more about the particular opportunities in it. For example, in Utah, certain areas are more closely managed and thus have tighter restrictions on where you can practice dispersed camping.
indyfabz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.