I was completely surrounded by thick gum trees, my portable stove was warming a can of chili, my motorbike was parked next to the tent. The only sound I could hear was the low blare of a television commercial. 30 ft on either side of me were two residential houses. I was in the middle of suburbia about 30 minutes north of Sacramento. I was in the middle of Suburbia.
It was the beginning of my motorbike trip to Argentina (departing from Whistler) and I was keeping a tight budget. I camped in places like this for the four weeks it took me to ride through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. In total, I spent $5 on camping when I was caught by a ranger at dusk, trying to enter a lake that had been closed. A local saw the scene found it hilarious and offered her yard to set up for $5 with all the facilities.
Here´s 5 tips for anybody that might find themselves looking to stealth camp.
1. Plan your day so you are not in the middle of the city on dusk. 30 minutes to an hour outside big cities there are lots of opportunities. Be careful you aren´t in farm country, there´s not a lot of options.
2. 2 hours before sunset start keeping an eye out for lonely looking roads, old-beaten paths or areas with lots of taller trees and few houses.
3. Don´t go past any signs that say no trespassing or cross any fences. You can´t predict the kind of owners you might find.
4. Choose an appropriate tent. As small as possible and no bright colors. Leave the family cabin tent at home.
5. Leave early in the morning. You get a fresh start to the day and avoids any chance encounters.
Sam is an avid camper and a motorcycle adventurer. Currently blogging from Columbia be sure to check out his Columbia Cougar Flats ii Cabin Tent Reviews