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"Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:24 am
by steady eddie
Every town has two places to camp where no one will bother you.

#1. The cop shop, just ask.

#2. The local Graveyard, just do it.

I have slept in both and just like "The Poor Guy on a Bike" the words of the day are
"Dawn and Gone"--up with the birds, break camp and hit the road. Do not leave a trace.
You can pee behind a tree or a large headstone and hit it. You begin the day looking for a
7-11 or MiniMart for breakfast, and by 11 AM you start looking for the evening's next camp

If you begin at 5 AM, by 11 AM you have been on the road for six whole hours, out of the
heat of the day and you should be 50 or so miles down the road. At this point in time, you
can decide to press onward or not. It all depends on how you feel and how far away the next town is.

Steady Eddie

Re: "Stealth" camping.."Swing Shift"..

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:33 am
by steady eddie
If you feel good at 11 AM, and should decide to press on, you must realize that the second shift, (Swing Shift) of your day, will be the warmest part. Especially, here in the PNW, during the dry(er) months of July and August.

If you hit the road by Noon, and can maintain 8+ MPH as an average over-the-road speed,
by 6 PM you should be another 50 or so miles...congrats to all, you just pedaled a Century.

You should have about 3 hours of daylight left to find, and set up camp for the night.

Steady Eddie

Re: "Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 10:26 pm
by cloud8a
What are your experiences at cop shops after asking?

Re: "Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:16 pm
by wa_desert_rat
I do know people who ask at "cop shops" but I never have. I prefer to keep my distance from them and not give them an excuse to think up something I might have done that is of little risk to them if they pursue. Like riding a bike.

My experiences have been much better just bedding down with a sleeping bag and a tarp under me and folded over. Be sure to use a green tarp not a blue tarp; it's a physical fact that the human eye is the most receptive to blue. Green blends in better in most areas; brown blends in better in others but blue always stands out. Put some bushes or trees between you and any likely observers. I don't like "camoflage" clothing or camping gear because it gives me the appearance of trying to be stealthy. I want to give the appearance of someone who just wore out and bedded down for safety purposes and who doesn't really do it a lot. I don't want to look like a sniper.

If it rains the tarp idea might not be a good one depending upon the lay of the ground around you and how hard it rains and for long but putting a tent up is risky both in terms of discovery and in terms of suspicion. If you are *that* prepared then maybe you're up to no good.

I prefer down bags. A down sleeping bag packs up into a very small and very light package and will keep you warm in a wider range of temperatures than any other fill material; but if they get wet their ability to keep you warm is greatly diminished. You can get sleeping bag bivy sacks that breathe pretty well now, what with Goretex and all. You can also increase the bag's ability to keep you warm in colder temperatures than its actual rating by using a liner.

Do not light a fire unless it's a matter of your health. Fires attract attention pretty quickly and it's very hard to explain to someone that your are simply resting for a few hours if you have a fire going. However, if you are wet and cold then you can reasonably claim a "life or death" situation.

In the western states you may find what appear to be abandoned homesteads and farms. Because so many young people are not taking up farming these farms are being aggregated into much larger farms which may be corporate in nature but still owned by one local family. The family likely does not need - or want - the houses that the other families might have grown up in; but are actively farming the land. In most cases finding someone to ask permission to camp on one of these farms is impossible. Bear in mind that someone will show up very early in the morning.

If you are about to choose a stealth campsite and a dog in the area begins barking, move on and find another spot. Barking dogs attract attention in rural areas because there is so much theft of equipment and produce. Even hay is stolen on a regular basis. No one is going to think you're stealing hay with a bicycle, but it will ruin your evening if you have to explain it.

If you are respectful of your surroundings, leave no litter, and get up and out by sun-up you should have no trouble stealth camping. Use common sense. And remember that farmers get up early and are very alert to what is going on around their properties.


Re: "Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:45 am
by worldskipper
What is a "cop shop"?

Re: "Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 8:09 am
by steady eddie
worldskipper wrote:What is a "cop shop"?


"Cop Shop" is a 1960s hippie/beatnik term that means the local Police Station.

I was showing my age there.. :lol: ..

I have never been turned down. Today's police ride bikes, either for recreation or while on duty, and they know where all the quiet spots are. Just explain to them that you are only looking for a safe place to camp for the night and that you will cause them no grief. Expect a visit from them at various times during your sleeping hours, as any police department worthy of the name, will check on you.

Re: "Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:45 pm
by desertguns
Urban camping...Not an appealing thought for me, although I have slept in a graveyard. I did spend the night in a cop shop when I was younger, but it had nothing to do with a bike, and was not by choice :twisted:

Re: "Stealth" camping..

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 12:37 pm
by NightSG
General consensus elsewhere seems to be that if you ask a small town fireman where to camp, about half the time they'll give you a spare bunk at the station, complete with shower and morning coffee.