Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We’re going on a camping trip!

Camping & "Stealth Camping"

I like camping far away from established campsites. Stealth camping refers to the practice of finding a quiet spot away from people if possible where you camp for the night making great efforts to leave absolutely no evidence of your presence either while you are on site or after you leave. Tread Lightly! Obviously, you should pack up all of your garbage and avoid making an open fire.
It helps to have a stealthy shelter like a hammock which can be set up over terrain or ground cover that is unsuitable for tent. Hammocks also have a very low impact on the forest floor.

Finally, there is the question of legality. I avoid sites that have no trespassing signs on them or ones that have obviously had recent human activity like tree harvesting. In practice however, I suspect most land owners or forest rangers are pretty reasonable and will let you leave with a slap on the wrist if they catch you. And if you break camp early in the morning and are promptly on your way, your chances of detection will be minimal.
More links on "Stealth Camping":

What do I need to pack?
On a motorcycle space is at a premium and everything has to be as light as possible. Different bikers have a variation of lists of what to pack. The idea however is not to take everything including the kitchen sink! How can you “get away from it all” when you take it all with you?
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Here is a general list:

1. Toolkit.
  • Pliers, screwdrivers and the most common spanners / sockets / Allen keys needed for the major bolts on your bike – including the bigger sizes to be able to take off the wheels.
  • Tyre Foam. A puncture kit including tyre levers. A spare tube. Small pump. Tyre pressure gauge.
  • Miscellaneous items like cable ties, Pratley Steel, extra Spark plug, extra headlamp and rear light globes etc.

2. First Aid Kit.
  • Normal First Aid Kit including anti-histamine, a snake bite kit and treatment for burns.

3. Clothes
  • Apart from what you’re wearing (remember ATGATT – ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME!) take warm clothes, a “beanie” and extra underwear, socks & T-shirts.

4. Toiletries
  • Toothpaste & brush, towel, soap, shampoo, deodorant & toilet paper.

5. Sleeping arrangements
  • Tent, inflatable mattress and pillow, sleeping bag.

6. Food & Beverage
  • Vacuum packed foods, beverage of choice, stainless steel cup, plate, knife & fork. Use a camelback for water during the ride or remember to take enough water / energy drinks in order not to dehydrate. If it’s a hot day freeze the extra bottle and use last.

7. Other
  • Camera, torch, plastic bags (for rubbish), pump (for mattress), firelighters, grid, map of the area / GPS.

Remember that smaller & lighter = better. Shops that cater for Hotels & catering have coffee, sugar, tomato sauce, shampoo, soap etc. in small sachets. Camping and Outdoor shops also have ingenious tools & ideas.

This is just a general list. Within the first 3 trips you will have altered it to suit your style.

Leave No Trace Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare. Know local regulations.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces. Stay on the trail; don’t cut switchbacks. Camp in designated sites whenever possible to minimize your environmental impact. Fluff up compressed forest duff after you break down your tent to help natural processes resume.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly
. Pack up all trash and food waste, including garbage that someone else has left on the trail. Bury human waste at least six inches deep and at least 200 feet from a trail or water source if a privvy or outhouse is not available. Don’t bathe in water sources that people will drink from: no one wants to drink the DEET or sweat that washes off from your body. If you need to wash, use a washcloth and pour the grey water into a hole at least 200 feet from all water sources.

4. Leave What You Find
. Don’t take flowers, rocks, or other sensitive natural resources. Don’t pull rocks out of the ground and roll them down steep grades: this accelerates erosion. Don’t carve your name in trees or shelters. Don’t steal trail maintenance tools or supplies. Don’t steal other peoples’ gear or they will hunt you down and eat you.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
. Don’t start a campfire unnecessarily and never in unsafe areas. Use a portable stove instead. It’s faster, cleaner and has virtually no environmental impact. If you must burn wood, keep fires small; bring own wood - downed dead wood form part of the eco system. Use established fire pits. Don’t create a new fire pit or ring. These are very difficult to undo and their impact takes a long, long time to mitigate.

6. Respect Wildlife
. Don’t feed or disturb wildlife. Store food properly to avoid attracting wildlife especially rodents.

7. Keep group size small.

The above principles were supplied by
Philip Werner of Please visit his site for more info on "Stealth Camping" and Lightweight backpacking in general.


1 comment:

Skybob said...

That's the first time I've heard the term "stealth camping". It's fun to take a tent and get WAY back away from it all sometimes! Good tips on gear etc.