The Greatest Stealth Tenting Areas

by touring-bicycle

Hiya BTP readers, “JimboTrek” right here.

Over the past ten years or so I’ve amassed 4,000+ miles of bicycle touring expertise and over 3,200 miles of mountaineering expertise. Many of the nights I’ve spent touring concerned tenting – and a big portion of these nights required that I partake in what is usually known as “stealth tenting”.

Throughout my travels, I’ve come to search out stealth tenting an sometimes essential (and even unavoidable) a part of long-distance bike touring. Like practically all adventurers, I don’t have an infinite finances for motels or dear established campgrounds each evening, and lots of occasions these luxuries aren’t even obtainable. Since many elements decide day by day mileage, I not often know the place I’ll be sleeping on the finish of every day. However this, to me a minimum of, is a part of what makes bike touring so thrilling.

As Darren talked about in a earlier article on this identical topic, you wish to use logic and select your campsites properly. Should you don’t really feel snug stealth tenting—then don’t do it. However in all actuality, stealth tenting doesn’t need to be notably stealthy or unlawful. I definitely can’t condone the latter. Keep away from non-public property. The very last thing you need is to get up to an indignant land proprietor… or worse.

With that mentioned, I’ve come to search out that when you merely ask property homeowners (properly), most occasions they may grant you permission to camp on their land, and will even provide different free facilities!

In my expertise, rural environments have essentially the most tenting potentialities, adopted by small cities and suburbs. City areas are essentially the most troublesome to search out protected locations to camp, however it’s not unattainable if the place to look. (You may at all times ask a neighborhood for assist.)

I’ve come to search out that the trick to stealth tenting is to get far sufficient away from trafficked areas and most of the people, however not so far-off that you need to spend useful daytime attempting to find a flat, applicable house to spend the night.

Should you do select to stealth camp in a trafficked or questionable space, make sure that to set-up late, depart early, and depart no hint. These three issues are paramount to being each protected and accountable when stealth tenting.

As Darren has already given you options on locations to not camp, I’ll give suggestions on locations I’ve used previously which have labored properly for me. Your outcomes might fluctuate.

Public College Grounds:

Public college grounds are nice for tenting, notably throughout the summer season months and weekends. Other than the truth that there’s loads of house to stretch your legs, many faculties have water-fountains. Some even have baseball area dugouts which may offer you shelter—so it’s possible you’ll not even want your tent! Some additionally might have Porto-potties. If doable, keep away from tenting at colleges on college nights, except you get going actually early… otherwise you occur to be a instructor! (Usually baseball fields/dugouts are nice, however I as soon as camped at one which was positioned proper close to a busy metro station and the prepare rolled in each half hour; whistle blaring. Zero sleep!)

State/City Parks/Waysides:

I’ve used these many occasions. Many parks have picnic tables (typically beneath pavilions), a water supply, and/or bogs. Tenting beneath a gazebo is at all times tempting. Be cautious of tenting in a park positioned within the middle of city. Best option is a park on the outskirts of city, if doable. Many state parks have campgrounds, however within the ones that don’t—you would possibly have to stealth. Some parks are known as freeway “waysides” on maps (tagged with an icon). They normally have picnic tables however not a lot else. Waysides is usually a good selection, as they’re not often visited at evening, however some could also be alongside a busy freeway. Be cautious of these, in addition to metropolis parks. Once more, use correct judgment.

Formal Campgrounds (Off-Season):

Campgrounds sometimes function in the summertime months, however when you’re touring in early spring or late fall, most campgrounds are closed for the season, abandoned, and thus ultimate. Understand that bogs will most likely be locked and water spigots is likely to be shut off.


The woods are normally the best place if you wish to be away from streets and away from individuals. So long as you’re not on non-public property, try to be okay. Keep away from tenting in or close to a trail-head. Gear is extra prone to be stolen at trail-heads. Parking tons must also be averted – it doesn’t matter what time of 12 months.

Day/Sleep-Away Camps:

I’ve camped at a number of that had been truly abandoned throughout the summer season, which was uncommon. Those I’ve used truly had facilities similar to water-spigots, open-air showers, pavilions, and so forth.

Behind Firehouses:

Typically a good selection, however ideally, it is best to ask permission first. Firemen are normally pleasant.

Empty Tons:

i.e. Out of doors flea market websites, development websites, and so forth. May very well be OK, however shouldn’t be your first alternative. Train warning.

Golf Programs:

Cool locations to stealth when you use warning. If doable, camp behind bushes or a minimum of on the “again 9” when you’re a late sleeper, as some golfers tee off at 6am! (I as soon as camped on a golf course; It was getting darkish and I had no different choices. A man noticed me from the window of his residence, however as a substitute of hassling me, he introduced me a mug of contemporary espresso then subsequent morning!)


Should you’re not spooked out with the notion, a graveyard basically ensures a peaceable evening’s relaxation. Nonetheless, I’ve solely camped in/close to a graveyard twice, and each occasions I did it as a result of I had little different alternative. Many such locations have a caretaker and/or locking gates, (and no trespassing indicators) so that you would possibly wish to keep if , and provided that, there aren’t any different potentialities.


Seashores are at all times tempting, however try to be very cautious about tenting on seashores or within the sand dunes. Many of those areas are unlawful to camp in, so use excessive warning. Should you can swing it, seashores are a perfect tenting spot.

Backyards & Non-public Houses:

I wouldn’t suggest crashing in somebody’s backyards with out permission, however it’s possible you’ll be stunned by what you obtain when you ask properly. Many occasions you’ll obtain a complete lot greater than only a house within the yard on which to sleep.

Have you ever tried tenting in any of those areas? What sort of outcomes did you obtain? What others areas are good for stealth tenting?

Jim Dirlam (aka JimboTrek) has bike toured by the northern/central Rocky Mountains, all the New England states, and NY, NJ, PA, IL. Moreover, he has thru-hiked the Appalachian Path & NY’s Lengthy Path.


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The Greatest Stealth Tenting Areas  
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