rogue camping

Lautarooo

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Riverhead, NY
Call me crazy but camping fees in public or private sites are often outrageous and in peak seasons hard to access.. Often there is no other alternative but to find a spot and do some ninja camping. Anyone care to shares strategies and techniques for this camping measure?
There is definitely an art to it. For instance its important when touring to start looking for a place to sleep way before you even feel like it, because if you wait till to late you are way too tired to really find a good spot and do it right. Any tips and tricks? Locations, zoning, time?
 

Mak10

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When traveling solo, it’s my preferred way to camp. And out west it’s easier to find a secluded spot. In fair weather a hammock works well.
 

tntmo

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San Diego, CA
I have stealth/rogue/pirate camped in a lot of places, and like Mak10 said I prefer it. I like to find a place before dark, but not too early because you are trying not to bring attention to yourself.
If I find a really nice spot early, I might go to a close town and get some food and a cold beverage to bring back with me and to kill time so my "exposure" is limited.
No campfires if you're on a super stealthy spot.
Early rise and pack and move on quickly. You can make your coffee or breakfast at the first fuel stop.
I have a green tent, the first time I went with a buddy to stealth camp he set up a bright orange tent!!
Park your bike so it has less visibility, I have even heard of people putting tape over reflectors or using a small bike cover.
Think outside the box. Small town cemeteries usually have some trees around them. Small town churches are the same. I have been known to ask people if there is a good place to put a tent down for the night, I try not to say "camping" because people think of music/fires/garbage. I have been invited to put a tent down on people's lawns before.
If it doesn't feel right, don't stay. It's not for everyone, one of my buddies refuses to stay anywhere except at a "pay to use" campground.

Good luck!
 

MileageMonster

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Netherlands
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Really, a Hennessy hammock is ALL you need, together with a suitable sleepingbag and some cookery stuff.
1300 grams for the complete hammock, peanuts in the panniers, lots of fun, need nearly no space and sleeps like a dream...
 

~TABASCO~

RIDE ON ADV is what I do !
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Ive camped all over the country like this before. Its actually really easy I have found. Its obviously not as convenient, but its not an issue really. Ive never been in trouble, asked to leave, or move, or the cops called. So its not an issue to "hide out"... For me its not about necessarily about the cost of staying at National park, its just that im tired, need to get off the road and there is no normal camp ground around. Then I just pull off the road and go find a spot. IMOP, I think there are "rules" to fallow. If folks don't know the "rules" you will find out. These are not in a hand book, these are common sense street smarts 'rules'.

On one occasion, one of the most fun was a 100 mile dirt road out in West Texas. It was probably 4-5PM when we started looking for a spot. Within 15 minutes we found an abandoned oil/gas location dirt road entrance. The gate was open, all the official tags were removed off the fence, Etc. We pulled in and road about 2-3 miles down a dirt road to an old dried out "farm pond". We road to the bottom of this very large pond and set up camp. It had a large ring of dead trees around the old pond and tons of fire wood. We had a great fire that night. Two tents, two bikes, no issues. It was really awesome. Packed up the next day and kept on with a Texas ride called the "Lubbock Loop". (off road loop around Texas)

Watch out for purple fence post, don't be "that guy"...

Once I was riding the AZBDR. My buddy and I were camping off the BDR trail up in the mountains of Arizona. It was used as a camp site and it was very obvious because of the fire rings, Etc. We were about 25 miles off a dirt road and 30-40 miles from any normal "town" for fuel. OK, here is what to always be aware of. The 25 miles are on dirt roads, up a mountain. Not typically for normal cars or typically normal people in normal cars for a Sunday drive. (this was not a smooth dirt road this was Off-Road) We were all set up and cooking dinner and there are some folks that were not of the savory type stopping at the entrance of our little camp spot. You would have had to been there, but what cross my mind was nothing good could come from these people. SO- in a case like this you (Im) prepared to have an 'emergency exit' if necessary. You're never in control of people that want to do you harm. 'street smarts-rules'. In this case they pulled up sat there for a good while and then kept going up the mountain to no where. (we are out in the middle of BFE off dirt road mountains, no reason for this type car / people up there) These people came up the mountain for there own 'business' and maybe we where in there meeting spot ? They were way out of place, very obvious. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open the whole time. If non of this sounds like your cup of tea- probably best to camp at the park or motel.

Ill also add, like Checkswrecks said: I had a situation one time where I came to a popular city camp site. They were "full". When I walked up to the office she said they were sold out. I politely asked if I could put down a tent for one night just right here. I pointed to a small green grass area right near the office.. I quickly offered to pay if I could. She said "SURE", you just wont have power. I said "no problem". I still had a really nice place to sleep in my tent and a hot shower. My thought is this, even if the front sign says full or sold out, it still might be in your best interest just to ask.. Ive NEVER been afraid to ask any question. What is the worst that could happen....... someone says NO... LOL Once again, it worked out just fine ! :)
 
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Checkswrecks

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Most small airports will let you set up a tent in a quiet corner, especially if you offer $10 and tell them you are not going to have a fire. Churches are usually pretty good too. If you have any connection to police/fire/EMS you can usually ask at a local VFD for ideas on where to set up. If I stay at a paid camp place I ask to stay where the backpackers and tent campers are, emphasizing that I want to be as far as possible from the RVs with their generators, dogs, and kids. I had one lady point to her house across the road and to set up in her back yard by a detached garage which worked nicely.

While I mostly use the camper trailer I do have a little tent for stealth camping is dark gray and pretty low to the ground so it's inconspicuous, unlike anything colored blue/white/orange, etc. I hate sleeping on the ground so use a folding cot in it that works well but there's not much room for rolling over.

One of the problems I've come across at impromptu campsites especially in the east is that when you are out of sight you need to look to make sure there are not lots of bits of toilet paper or related deposits laying around.
 

tntmo

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In the modern age there are all sorts of apps/websites to find camping spots (and filter by price, free, tents allowed, etc etc)

https://www.campendium.com/ and http://ioverlander.com/ are good ones I use.
Yes, those are pretty good and after staying at a few of the spots you find on those apps, it becomes easier to find your own. As said earlier here, the western states have the most opportunity for free sites with lots of BLM land and national forests. I was kind of surprised to find out that many small towns in the Midwest have camping in their city parks for free or donation only.
 

Kyle_E

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I was kind of surprised to find out that many small towns in the Midwest have camping in their city parks for free or donation only.
All over Texas as well. Many even have electric and water hookups for RV's
 

MeefZah

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California, rest in peace...
When we lived in Ohio and my riding area was the (more congested) midwest and east coast, I almost always renegade camped at churches. Many have covered picnic pavilions out back and you can ride onto the concrete slab and set up on top of a picnic table. I got good enough at finding them / trusting enough that I regularly didn't bring a tent with me.

Other options are behind schools in the summer, on vacant property with a 'for sale' sign on it, behind volunteer fire departments, in buildings under construction, in those little prefab barns they sell at farm stores (those fit a sleeping bag and a bike inside very efficiently)... The trick to all this is, if caught / seen, to present the image of not a camper, but a weary traveler. People generally are ok with a guy taking a nap, not so much with a guy setting up a tent and building a fire and strumming a ukelele.

Now that we're out west, there aren't little country churches every 2 miles and the distances are huge, so I've rethought my renegade camping... I do carry a tent and I generally just find a NF campground in the mountains and set up there. I don't pay. In the absence of a established camp I just tuck into the woods somewhere, but always with a tent now.

I never really worry about personal safety though I am prepared if something happens. Very few people are going to randomly fuck with a guy camping but I guess it does happen. In 20+ years and probably a few hundred renegade camps I've never had a bad encounter.
 

PhilPhilippines

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I have camped all over the UK and especially Scotland. In Scotland there are very few areas where a tent is excluded: some areas are enforced to reduce impact due to their popularity, but that's about it.

I often tried to camp next to a tarn (A tarn (or corrie loch) is a proglacial mountain lake, pond or pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. wiki) so I could catch the mists lifting and maybe snag a wild brown trout for breakfast. As soon as it is light I tried to be on my way - after a breakfast - so that the land was not cluttered with my sh*t.

I have never gone as extreme as a tarp or bivi though...I'm not that guy. And I have never had any bad encounters.
 

AlanSmith7

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I have never done camping solo and prefer to go with friends to avoid any bad encounters.
Finding a place, setting a tent, burning a fire, finding eatable food like fish is all fun.
 

EricV

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I've stealth camped solo in the past. I do like my morning shower though, so aside from the truck stop showers, one of my favorite camp spots to find out West, (I lived in OR at the time), was small RV parks. I would see a nice, smaller one and just ask if I could find a spot of grass for my two man tent, tell them I wouldn't make a fire and didn't need power and often they would just point out an area away from the RV spaces and let me camp free or for really cheap. One spot in Pendleton, OR was right along a pretty stream. All the RV spaces were across the road from the water and backed into the woods. The gal at the desk told me to put my tent up in the grass next to the stream and charged me $3. I had a great sleep next to the 25' wide stream burbling away and got my morning shower too. Could have even done laundry there for free as well. Most of the RVs were small, so no generators all night, which was a bonus too.

Lots of RV spots also have a small dedicated tent area for cheap too. Although I have also seen obscene prices for a tent space at RV parks. Note: If the tent spaces have large wood platforms, set up your tent there, it may flood during the night or have water run off going thru your camp site. BTDT in Prince Rupert, B.C. I also had an unpleasant experience in Burns, OR one time when they forgot to turn the sprinklers off in the tent site, since it was a large grassy area and they didn't get tenters often. That taught me to ask if they had sprinklers in the tent area, and if they would turn them off so I didn't get a 2 am shower in my tent. :confused:
 

Sierra1

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. . . . That taught me to ask if they had sprinklers in the tent area, and if they would turn them off so I didn't get a 2 am shower in my tent. :confused:
On the tent would have been ok. . . . in the tent, not so much. We have a tent camper, and love to sleep to the sound of the rain on the fiberglass & canvas. But, we stay dry.
 

EricV

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On the tent would have been ok. . . . in the tent, not so much. We have a tent camper, and love to sleep to the sound of the rain on the fiberglass & canvas. But, we stay dry.
On the tent would be not as bad, but someone was enjoying the summer breeze and left the rain fly off that night, so it was more of an in the tent experience.
 
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