Stealth camping is a form of outdoor adventure where the camper tries to stay undetected. Stealth campers often set up their tents in secluded areas, far away from other people. The goal is to have as little impact on nature as possible by not setting up anything that would leave evidence of human presence such as fire pits or discarded food containers.
The reality is that stealth camping has become an increasingly popular pastime for adventurers and recreationists worldwide- despite its inherent riskiness.
As more city dwellers turn to the woods for a retreat, stealth camping has become a way of life for many outdoorsmen who want to get back to basics without being bothered by laws and regulations they believe are too restrictive or unwelcoming.
What Exactly is Stealth Camping?
Stealth camping has become a way of life for many outdoorsmen who want to get back to basics without being bothered by laws and regulations they believe are too restrictive or unwelcoming.
It involves people setting up camp in remote areas, away from any tourist centers with the intent of enjoying nature without causing disruption. These campsites can be traced back as early as 1949 when David Wescott was arrested after he had been stealth camping for five years in Yosemite National Park.
However it wasn’t until the 1960s that society began recognizing this form of recreation due to environmentalist pushes and changes in legislation that allowed permits for stealth camping under some conditions.
Now there are many individuals who have made this a lifestyle of sorts, traveling to remote locations for long periods of time and living off the land in order to get away from society.
Why Do People Stealth Camp?
Some people stealth camp because they feel like it’s the only option. Other folks do it for the thrill of escaping notice, while others are trying to avoid paying money when camping in a place that requires them to.
Some people find that the wilderness is a great place to escape from society, while others might want solitude due to introversion.
For many, stealth camping offers an opportunity for adventure and excitement as they camp in new places with limited supplies.
No matter why someone decides to do it, there are always risks involved when going out into nature without telling anyone where you’re going or what your plans are–but if done properly, this form of outdoor recreation can be quite rewarding whether you get lost or not.
Stealth Camping Gear
The best way to go stealth camping is with a tent made with army-grade camouflage. Not only will it blend in seamlessly, but you’ll also be able to share the experience of sleeping on the ground under the stars with your friends and family without them knowing.
Trey Mitchell, a military veteran and outdoor gear expert at REI recommends the tent for camping in wooded areas or places where there are more trees than grass because “it’ll be easier to stay hidden.”
If you’re stealth camping on a university campus with plenty of shrubberies, however, he suggests sticking with an ultralight backpacking option that takes up less space.
The other most important thing is your sleeping bag–the lighter it is and the darker it’s color the better! According to Mitchell, camo-print bags make great choices because they offer just as much warmth without being too bulky so you can fit them into tight spots like under rocks or tree roots when necessary.
We will go through some of the best stealth camping gear on the other blog later on.
Top 10 Tips for Stealth Camping
1. Keep Lights Low and Speak Softly
It’s important to stay as quiet as possible when camping with a group of people, or you risk being detected by nearby campers.
This is especially true if the area where you’re staying isn’t secluded.
In order to avoid this problem in advance, make sure that all of your lights are turned off before retiring at night.
If it’s not dark enough outside for light pollution then turn on some emergency flashlights instead–something like these Maglite LED Flashlights will work great!
Speaking softly can also help prevent detection (especially when it comes to wildlife) so keep an eye out for noisy speakers; they could be giving away your position.
2. Stay out of areas with signs that say ‘Private Property’ or ‘No Trespassing.
You’re only going to want to stealth camp on public land like a national park, state, or county park.
The best way to avoid trespassing is by staying away from roads and other areas with signage that clearly states ‘No Trespassing’ in big red letters.
It’s important not to stray too far into the backcountry without proper knowledge of what dangers may lie ahead. Going off-trail can lead you far away from water sources which mean dehydration will quickly set in–not good!
Always keep your eyes peeled for any private property signs while exploring nature because they could spell disaster if accidentally crossed onto them due to poor navigation skills or an unfortunate wrong turn.
3. Have a Clear Exit
This is important to have in case someone walks up and asks you what you’re doing or if they think it’s private property, so that way there will be no confusion as to where your exit route is.
This also goes for if you get spooked and need to quickly leave your campsite. Have a clear exit route displayed so that in the case of an emergency, it will be easier for you to escape without being seen. It is also best to be able to get out without struggling through bushes or worrying about animals caught in your shelter.
If you want to leave stealthily, make sure that you’re unlikely to get caught as you sneak out.
4. Get Out Early
It’s best to get out of your campsite before the sun comes up, so that way you’re less likely to be spotted by anyone. Plus, it will make rescuing any animals caught in your shelter a lot easier if they are able to escape with you and not be left behind when the sun rises.
If possible try to have an exit route planned ahead of time for every day so that there won’t be confusion or incidents where people see you leaving early and getting worried about what is going on.
This also goes back into being prepared at all times because this can help save lives or lead to peace of mind knowing that everything is taken care of in case something does happen unexpectedly during stealth camping.
5. Be Aware of What is Around You
Know what your surroundings are. If you’re in a heavily wooded area, or an area that has more trees than grasses then there is the potential for wildlife to be around and within earshot of where you are sleeping so keep this in mind when choosing your shelter location.
If it’s a night like tonight with low visibility from rain clouds overhead, try not to choose any spot that will make it difficult to see anything at all if something does go wrong or someone approaches you unexpectedly while stealth camping because being able to get out quickly would be much easier with some light on hand such as through the use of a lantern.
Now I know we said earlier how important safety was but sometimes things can happen even during best-laid plans and if you are stealth camping then there is a chance that something will happen like being in the wrong place at the wrong time or an animal could surprise you while trying to get out and your only option may be to try and make it back to where other people might be, so have some kind of clear exit strategy before settling in.
There’s no way for me to say this without sounding cliché but I’m going to tell you anyway: Safety first when it comes down to doing anything outside as far as living life goes. This includes setting up shelter from harsh elements such as rain and wind gusts which can also help with keeping any potential wildlife around quieter too because they’ll know someone else is nearby.
6. Don’t Park & Camp in the Same Place
The old adage to not park and camp in the same place is a good one. People will find you if they stumble across your campsite, which can be scary or dangerous for any number of reasons- it could mean someone has followed you out into the wilderness when all camping was intended for that day was done and back to civilization with them; it might also mean wildlife like bears have become accustomed to food items left unattended by humans; sometimes people come looking for their discarded property so please don’t leave anything behind.
I know this sounds obvious but I’ll say it anyway: Be Prepared! Stealth Camping means sleeping outdoors without being seen at first glance–so no tents, fires, or smores around anywhere near where you are camping.
The Bottom Line
We hope this blog post has helped you understand the risks and benefits of stealth camping. If you’ve never tried it, we hope that this article inspires you to try something new anything but sitting on your couch! Stealth campers are often passionate about their outdoor adventures and they want others to experience what they do as well so don’t be afraid to reach out if you have any questions or would like some tips for getting started.