Stealth Camping Tips and Suggestions

These tips involve the equipment, skills, and planning that every stealth camper needs to consider.  For more opinionated content, be sure to check out our Unwritten Rules page.

If you have any more tips for us, leave us a message.  They will be added to the list.

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Gear and Equipment Keep bright colored gear in your tent as much as possible. If you are on brightly colored bike or kayak, you may need to store it in your tent or vestibule, or bring an additional rainfly to cover it. 
Gear and Equipment Choose a tent color that hides well in the area, and choose an area that will hide your tent well. Check the color of the tent and rainfly before attempting to stealth camp with it. In a perfect site, colors probably do not matter. If noticed however, landowners might be more suspicious if they see a camouflaged tent. 
Gear and Equipment If you enjoy reading or writing after dark, find a very dim light. Even the slightest light can easily give away your position after dark. Consider reading or writing under your blanket or bag. 
Site Selection Check your water level before selecting a site. You do not want to adventure far from your site at dusk, leaving your gear hidden behind in unfamiliar territory. 
Site Selection Pine trees can provide soft areas underneith, but they can also provide a sticky mess. Learn which types of trees you enjoy camping near, and discover which blend best with your gear. 
Site Selection If you decide to ask permission to stealth camp, you will have better luck asking if you can "rest" than "camp". Most people envision camping as a longer term experience involving some environmental impact, while you really just wanting a place to sleep. 
Site Selection Select a site that is at least 50 feet from the road or trail.  
Site Selection Be careful selecting a site downhill from an adjacent roadway or trail. Being above an adjacent roadway or trail is often more stealthy. 
Site Selection Some campers try not to select sites near water. The areas usually have more mosquitoes, and you are more likely to be awaken in the night by animals going for a drink. Also, keep in mind how visible your site is from the other side of the waterbody.  
Site Selection Many stealth campers have been found by neighborhood dogs or wildlife because of their smell. You should know the type of wildlife in the area, and know how to stop from being detected. 
Site Selection Unless you want nighttime visitors, do not select a site that is located on a trail, no matter how unkept. 
Site Selection Be prepared to explain why you thought the site was open or public land. You should make sure the owner makes no effort to keep the public out. If there is any indication that you are unwelcome, move on.  
Site Selection Use caution when choosing a site during fog, darkness, or bad weather. A well hidden site now might be very visible when the conditions change. 
Timing Try to leave early in the morning. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to be found. 
Timing Consider eating dinner before selecting a site. This keeps the cooking smells away from your campsite, and is one less task to complete at your site. 
Timing Some campers may want to try and find a restroom before hitting the evening stretch of untamed wilderness. 
Timing Do not wait too long to start site hunting. Many sites look good in the dark but look worse later. 
Timing Plan to not leave camp after it is setup. Many stealth campers have mentioned having trouble finding their hidden camping location, especially after dark. 
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