Q: Is it safe?
A: Any outdoor activity has the element of danger. Done properly stealth camping is as safe as any other type of camping. If you are not trespassing you have nothing to fear from landowners, but if you are doing it properly they wouldn't know anyway.
Q: Isn't all land owned by someone?
A: It depends where you are. In Canada much of the unused land is owned by the Crown. I'm sure Queen Elizabeth won't mind if I stay over for a night.
Q: Is Stealth camping like wild or gypsy camping?
A: Not really. Wild camping usually means camping in very remote areas. Gypsy camping is openly camping on common land (sometimes with permission). Stealth camping is just that. Stealth. You camp where no one can see you and you don't give away your location. Homeless people sleep outside too, but that is known as 'sleeping rough' and does not qualify as stealth camping.
Q: Isn't that trespassing?
A: Well, that depends. I never suggest breaking any law, so if you believe it is trespass, then don't do it. As stated previously, many countries have areas of common land and some actually have specific laws about camping on these lands. You should bring yourself up to speed on these subjects before you start stealth camping. A good place to start is to check out my page on what is trespass in Ontario and the Wikipedia site on trespass.
Q: How about people with guns?
A: Again it depends where you are. In most areas farmers have guns. In Canada you must be licensed and only rifles and shotguns are legal. Common sense states that you don't stealth camp in the woods during deer hunting season.
Q: What happens if you are found?
A: Offer to move on. Again, I've never been caught (except by a dog) and I now know why I was caught.
Q: Would police get involved?
A: I seriously doubt it. Police usually get involved with trespass upon complaint. It all comes down to following the rules. If you are truly stealth camping no one knows you are there, including the police. If asked by a land owner to move on, do it right away. That way you are not trespassing. Besides criminal trespass (refusing to move on) there is tort law in many countries. If you damage someone's property by breaking in or damaging agricultural crops, then you are liable for civil suits.
Q: What kind of equipment do you need?
A: Some people just use their regular camping equipment. As mentioned before I use a hammock. I just find it easier and more convenient.
Q: How do you select a site?
A: Check this site for full details. Having great stealth camping experiences really depends on a couple of things. The most important is site selection.
Q: Do you let anyone know where you are, like family or friends?
A: I sometimes use my cell phone to call my partner. Other times the cell phone doesn't work because I'm out of range or somewhere where my phone company doesn't cover. I have a friend who gives out longitudes and latitudes from his GPS.
Q: What do you do when you have to go to the toilet?
A: Without going into too much detail: If you have already done some long distance touring or hiking you might already know. It is a bit easier for men than women but Leave No Trace suggest that you carry a small spade and dig a cat hole. Check their own web site for more details.
Q: How do you shower or bathe?
A: I find that sometimes I either can't or don't feel like stealthing. When that happens I just take a cheap hotel or B&B. I can wash all my clothes, get dry or have a shower or do all three. I save so much money stealthing that I don't even think about the cost of a hotel room. Other stealthers bathe in rivers and streams. The truly serious carry a portable shower or subscribe to warmshowers.org.
Q: What is wrong with the spelling on this web page?
A: Aside from the obvious typos which will be corrected in the fullness of time, this journal is in Canadian English, which is a cross between English and American English. We centre pages and design course programmes and colour web sites. We never do this at 'nite' but at night and we pronounce zebra as in 'Zeller's'.
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