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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Stealth campsite on 11/30/2011 00:58:59 MST Print View

If you stealth camp with a hammock, all you leave are footprints and maybe a couple stake holes.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Stealth camping on 11/30/2011 12:23:00 MST Print View

Wondering if stealth includes a small enough pack so you get mistaken for a dayhiker. A big honking sleeping pad strapped to the outside of a pack may give the plan away to an alert ranger. Ditto with a large pack.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Stealth camping on 11/30/2011 12:24:53 MST Print View

Ditto with the car left at the trailhead or parking lot overnight :)

Jeff McWilliams
(jjmcwill) - M

Locale: Midwest
Stealth Camping on 11/30/2011 12:40:16 MST Print View

HK Newman - I prefer Mike C's definition of stealth camping, which is to preserve the feeling of solitude in the wilderness, NOT to break rules or be sneaky.

In that case, it should be of no concern to me whether a fellow hiker or park ranger sees my sleeping pad and realizes I intend to spend the night sleeping somewhere in the back country.

If I have to worry that my actions could get me ticketed, fined, or expelled from a wilderness area, I shouldn't be doing whatever it is I'm doing.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Stealth camping on 11/30/2011 12:44:56 MST Print View

Yeh yeh- car at the TH. That the one, man.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Stealth camping on 11/30/2011 13:37:01 MST Print View

@ Jeff: Yeah, I see what Mike is saying, though (for example) climbing out of the corridor of the Grand Canyon will likely require a last night camp at the usually packed Indian Gardens to get to the Rim by 10AM-ish (and Flagstaff with beer by high-noon). I could also see bring a subdued color shelter to a highly impacted area like the highly-visited California parks/wilderness areas, so I was more thinking out loud. Heck, maybe even a camo-colored tarp, like multicam.

stephan q
(khumbukat) - F
RE:Stealth Camping on 11/30/2011 17:29:53 MST Print View

Howdy, I think there needs to be a distinction made here. OB camping(out of bounds) is sneaky and against the rules. Stealth camping is legal and refers to a higher level of LNT camping. One sets up camp and leaves no trace, and also strives to remain out of view of anyone else in the area. stephan

Edited by khumbukat on 11/30/2011 17:32:05 MST.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: RE:Stealth Camping on 12/01/2011 23:01:40 MST Print View

So, being considerate is stealth camping? Ok.

Just type be considerate; not a selfish egotistical a$$.

I know, a word with more than 3-5 letters in it...

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Stealth vs Commando on 12/06/2011 01:34:26 MST Print View

I've heard sneakily camping in prohibited areas called "commando" camping (especially by the kayaking community when camping on privately-owned land) so I use that term to differentiate from the "stealth" camping that Mike is describing.

UL hikers are the sorts who often find themselves in remote wildernesses where there isn't much cumulative impact to campsites simply because almost no one goes there except a few UL crazies. In such a situation I'm all for stealth camping, but I will certainly follow the rules in any National Park I visit. The thing is- many National Parks will issue back-country permits that allow at-large camping, if you can get them, so I always try to.

Anytime that I am allowed I prefer to do it Mike's way. It's much more enjoyable and certainly less destructive than the mud-wallows that most designated sites turn into. Of course, if there was no such thing as designated campsites in high-use areas and EVERYONE tried to camp at-large then a lot of the most convenient spots would get thoroughly trashed instead of just the one designated spot. So I'm all for designated spots in high-use areas. I simply avoid high-use areas whenever possible.

Does that make me a hypocrite for stealth camping any time I can legally get away with it? (And don't get me started on the difference between "legal" and "moral".) Yeah, probably. But I'm just enough of a snooty elitist to not count myself among the mob of "common" campers with their Coleman tents, lawn chairs and beer coolers. As with most avocations the people who are true enthusiasts are usually in a different league from the more typical recreational user. I would challenge you to identify any of my camps after just a couple of days or a decent rain, so it's rather hard to argue that I'm not adequately LNT.

I mean- seriously- I'm a low-impact fanatic. For instance I am aghast any time I see someone cutting trail corners or otherwise contributing to "social" trails, and I NEVER use them except maybe when it gets impossible to differentiate them from the main trail. But I acknowledge that LNT are guidelines for the populace at large and I'm confident that my own standards are actually HIGHER than that, so my conscience is clear.

Edited by acrosome on 12/06/2011 01:36:03 MST.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
stealth camping on 12/06/2011 10:51:05 MST Print View

I try to obey the rules in National Parks and such.

But - I have had some situations where I chose not to once I was in the backcountry.

One example was in Yellowstone. I had a permit for a high ridge line camp, but there was a scary lightning storm as I was ascending up toward the high country. I chose to STEALTH camp lower in a valley. It just seemed dangerous to go up that high for reasons of a permit.

I did a very tidy job of being hidden from other users, and i kept a fastidiously clean camp.

Mike C!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Ultralight Tip of the Week" on 12/07/2011 15:11:56 MST Print View

Mike, these tips really require a book, ya' in another one???
Well Done!!!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Ultralight Tip of the Week on 12/12/2011 14:16:53 MST Print View

A lot of wilderness areas (such as Wyoming's Wind Rivers) require you to camp 200 feet from established trails and 200 feet from water. This is fine, but there are some places where there is no way to do this if you want to avoid being too close to bark-beetle killed trees which are liable to fall in the next gust of wind. When I've been in such places I feel it is far more important to keep the required distance from water than from the trail, if I can't do both. If I have to be too close to the trail, I at least try to put my shelter where it's inconspicuous.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Pulley.... on 12/12/2011 16:41:51 MST Print View

Many years ago I figured out the pulley system as you describe, cept I also used a small 1/4" pully that weighed about an ounce, each. For full food bags, it sure helps. Especially with two or three people. The small Ti D-links were a BIG boon. Note that the dual links, Nitize #1, tend to avoid tangles a bit better making clipping/unclipping food bags easy on day hikes out of a base camp.

Also, a larger stick, around the size of a broom handle, makes a good haul stick without pinching off the blood supply to your hands.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Mike's Bearbag Diagram (two rope system) on 12/12/2011 16:43:29 MST Print View

Maybe this is that silly climber perspective, but in your diagram you have two individual ropes - one to serve as an achor w/ carabiner at the top of the limb and another to serve as a makeshift pulley that is joined at the carabiner.

An Alpine Butterfly to hold the carabiner would make a bi-directionally suitable knot that would allow a single length of rope to be utilized while not changing any other part of the system. While not common, I mostly associate the alpine butterfly when climbing with groups of three, it's plenty of strong for the job.

Michael Matiasek
(matiasek) - F - M
Mike's Bearbag Diagram on 12/14/2011 10:41:12 MST Print View

I like this idea, the use of pullys or even just a simple carabiner or ring sounds like a great way to prevent the string from sawing into the limb. On several occassions this added enough friction to my system that i had a heck of a time getting the bags down. While I really like the elegance of this system isn't the major drawback that there is still a line on the ground that a bear could cut? It would seem that the PCT method would be more full proof. Anyone who has used both care to comment? thanks!

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
big bear hang loads on 12/14/2011 10:49:02 MST Print View

Here is an image of the PULLEY system for lager loads that might cut into a branch.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: big bear hang loads on 12/14/2011 10:57:28 MST Print View

Mike's method shows two hanging ropes near the ground. The bears would get those in an instant.

The correct two-rope method leaves no hanging ropes near the ground.


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: big bear hang loads on 12/14/2011 11:30:10 MST Print View

"Mike's method shows two hanging ropes near the ground. The bears would get those in an instant.

The correct two-rope method leaves no hanging ropes near the ground."

Bob, I don't believe a straight bear hang will be as effective in well used camping areas. I have used them a lot in the ADK's, but I have seen bear hangs that are simply a matter throw it in a tree and pray. A head height hang is worse than useless. The PCT methode is a waste of time and complicates things in the ADK's. But, my question is how do you retrieve the line if there is nothing near the ground?
Anyway, not to argue this point, but, it *seems* like two lines is two lines, however you do it...even the PCT methode leaves two lines down.

Well trained bears, of course, know to look for a line. I often avoid this by wrapping the line as high as possible, around a tree 3 or four times. Anyway, In more than 30 year of camping, I have never lost my food. Basically, it depends on where you hike. So, as Mike says, YMMV depending on where you go.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
bears on 12/14/2011 11:43:33 MST Print View

I've camped a lot of places.

In the tundra of Alaska there are NO trees and REALLY BIG Grizzly Bears - and I've never carried a bear canister.

You just pile the stuff someplace near camp and hope for the best. No trees, no cords and I've never had a problem.

In Yellowstone NP they provide bear hang poles in each campsite and the rope is ALWAYS within reach of the bears, and I know of no problems there.

There are habituated bears in "some" places, but not everywhere.

The comment: "Mike's method shows two hanging ropes near the ground. The bears would get those in an instant." might be true in some high use sites, but certainly not everywhere.


Locale: Western Michigan
ROPE on 12/14/2011 11:51:04 MST Print View

ONE or TWO 50 foot ropes?
TWO 25 foot rope pieces?