Extreme Stealth Camping Tips

By Darren Alff

The August issue of XSport Magazine features a short 2-page piece I put together on the logistics of stealth camping.

For those who don’t know, “stealth camping” refers to the act of quietly finding a place away from people where you can camp for the night and then quickly slip away in the morning without being detected. It’s about creating a private campground of your own, located anywhere you please, remaining hidden at all times, and leaving no trace of your  existence after your departure from the site.

I’ve been told that stealth camping is not for everyone, but I believe that those who dare to try it will find it both challenging and extremely rewarding.

If you’re new to wilderness adventure, stealth camping may take a little getting used to. It’s illegal in many places around the world, encouraged in others, and simply frowned upon in most. If you’re afraid of Bigfoot, bears, or encounters with police, then stealth camping may not be for you. But for those brave enough to give it a try, it’s an incredible way of spending your nights while out on the road.

Visit the link below to download your free copy of XSport Magazine (my article on stealth camping starts on page 16):


Recommended for you


  1. Jack

    August 15, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Great article and tips. You’re a very talented writer. My wife and I recently did a good portion of the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway and found ourselves a few dozen miles short of our planned stop at a campground one evening. A park ranger actually suggested a good spot to stealth camp for the night. He pointed out the private property to avoid and showed us a nice well hidden area just a few yards off the parkway. You’re right, it never hurts to ask.

    Thanks for the free download,


  2. Alec Reynolds

    August 29, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I’ve heard of some countries that give every citizen the right to camp on private land as long as their camp is out of sight from the house (perhaps this is more difficult than it sounds in an older country with denser settlement than the US?). That would certainly shrink the nervy little ball that forms in my stomach when I try to pull this kind of stuff!

  3. Linda Imle

    September 8, 2009 at 10:40 am

    In Alaska you can camp anywhere you want as long as it isn’t in someoes yard, and then you can if you ger permission. Any rest area, or great spot by a lake, or where ever. The most important thing to do is learn how to avoid problems with bears by not having food or food smells in and around your camp site. I have always enjoyed the ability to just pull off the road and set up a camp and not be worried about the police coming and waking me up and making me move. BUT, if you have never camped in Alaska, LEARN how to do it safely and correctly befory trying it!

  4. Dr. Bernd Fischel

    September 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Stealth Camping ist “true” camping!
    Camping at a commercial campsite ist often boring (and costly)!

  5. ConnieD

    March 13, 2010 at 12:18 am

    I have never done “stealth camping” in connection with a bicycle tour.

    I always choose to “stealth camp” for hiking, unless I am in a “campsite” in a paid campground. However, I try to avoid paid campgrounds because they are like “backyard camping” in the suburbs and are not at all authentic overnight camping in a natural environment.

    That is what is extremely rewarding: overnight camping in a natural environment.

    It is a natural experience, involving coping well with a cycle of the seasonal natural light and dark, and weather conditions. Is it too cold or wet? Do I have what I need?

    Even more, if a truly natural environment and not man-made at all, it is a spiritual experience. Once I stood in a stand of “old growth” Redwood and it was comparable, but different, and much better, than standing in the best cathedral.

    This is the experience I have of “stealth camping” away from towns and away from an environment modified by the incursions of “city” people.

    I do plan to stay overnight with people, participating in the “warmshowers” and the “couchsurfing” organizations you have mentioned elsewhere on your website. This will let me know people living in different circumstances than myself.

    However, I have planned the bicycle tour to keep away from rural towns, as well.

    I do not see this as “dangerous”. If well provisioned, and the gear is all worked out, I think this is the best experience outdoors.

    I am looking forward to “stealth camping” hidden from the rural road or single track, with my folding bicycle to carry more provisions.

    I have not previously done a bicycle tour. This bicycle tour plan is the inspiration I have from your website, Darren.

  6. santa

    December 17, 2010 at 1:02 am

    As an Alaskan it took me a while to decipher the stealth camping concept. We lose track of how little wilderness there is Outside. Here, stealth camping is just..camping. Ride…ride…ride…pull over..walk 100 feet…camp. Never thought about hiding my reflector. Couldn’t care less. Just give me a flat place not too close to the road so I’m not bothered by a car going by and I’m good for the night. After bike touring in the lower 48 I became atuned to realizing much camping required permission or hiding or ….stealth! I prefer total wilderness, but I’ll admit having a chance to grab food and coffee along the way can be pretty handy…

  7. Rick

    March 30, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve slept in a deep furrow beside the highway with cars passing by at night. Before light I packed up and continued my journey – nobody noticed.
    I’ve also slept beside the roads where there was a high hill with trees. Nobody driving by at night can see up there – just be sure to get out before it gets too light.
    Another place is Army Corps of Engineers land (in Texas at least). We used to camp all the time around Texas lakes.
    When my bike broke going from CA to TX (still in Cal.) I hopped a fence at a large ranch – no buildings in sight, hid my bike in the bushes, and camped beside a nice river. Next day hitchhiked to an aunt’s in LA but she wasn’t home so I backpacked east to a wilderness area near LA and ended up sleeping beside a river. Next day I discovered that my campsite was in the middle of a fisherman’s road!

  8. Camping

    February 27, 2012 at 5:44 am

    thanks for sharing your camping experience

  9. Andy J

    April 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Link Is Dead 🙁 any where to look ?

    • Bicycle Touring Pro

      April 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      No. It appears as though XSport Magazine is no longer. That happens. Too bad. The link is indeed dead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to friend