If you are someone who is a new bicycle tourist and just starting out, then you must have heard of the term “Stealth camping”. Yes? Well, stealth camping is when you camp at a quiet place, spend a night there and leave without leaving any evidence of you ever being there during or after you leave. Most people believe that stealth camping is just a way of saving some money by not paying for a campsite, but people who have done it say that it is a lot more. I for one know that stealth camping is actually a lot more fun than saving a few dollars, as I have done so quite a few times myself. I will come to that later here. But first, lets talk about how you can actually achieve stealth camping.
Stealth camping will take you some time to perfect and you should know that not everyone can do it. It requires guts and patience. It usually happens that you are biking along your way thinking about where you can stop for the night. When dark falls and you are unable to find a campsite, you start looking for a quite place where you can spend the night. You try finding a pace that is a little distance away from rivers and human population. You then look for “No Trespassing” signs posted and finding none, you decide to camp. You cover your bike, switch off all the lights and prepare to spend the night in the dark. Your goal is to camp without being spotted. When the first rays of sunlight hit, you immediately collect your belongings and start on your way. You take great efforts in ensuring that you leave no sign that you spent the night in that place. This is what stealth camping basically is.
Stealth camping has its dangers. I have heard stories when a bicycle tourist had been caught at the scruff of his neck and taken to the local police station by the owner of the property he was stealth camping on. True, sneaking on private property IS trespassing and it IS illegal. But you can’t deny the fact that it is an adventurous way of touring and even saves you a few dollars. Here are reasons why people do it, other than the most obvious (saving money):
* It allows you to be close to nature. When spending the night on a camping site, you will likely not enjoy being on the grounds so much as you will if you stealth camp. The reason why this is, is because in the latter case, you will be spending the night without any sort of lights and that will allow you to enjoy nature more. It’s sort of an eerie experience where you are both a little scared and adventurous at the same time!
* When you stealth camp, you rise with the sun and bike your way throughout the whole day. Since you are refreshed early in the morning, you can cover more distance than you would if you wouldn’t have stealth camp-ed. It is not uncommon for people covering the same distance faster if they stealth camp compared to if they do not.
* It makes your routing a whole lot easier. Why? Well, when you travel by car you will not find it difficult to travel 3 km uphill to find a campsite, but when you are bicycling, it becomes an extra effort. Stealth camping takes the trouble of finding a campsite away and lets you camp wherever you find a quiet place.
Try stealth camping once at least. I can tell you its a great experience!