|Campsite in the Swiss Alps|
The essence of wild camping and in particular stealth camping is to leave no trace that you were ever there and to be hidden from passers by. The aim is to be completely out of sight from civilization and completely self sufficient.
What to look for in a wild / stealth camp site
- Close to a water source such as a stream or river
- Away from a road and track
- Wooded or high over growth area
|In the woods, close to a stream - what a sunset!|
If you have to use a stream or river for drinking water it is advisable to boil this first to make sure that it is sterilized. You can let the water cool down and then drink it later. When you stop and set up camp it is a good idea to make sure that your drinking water sources are replenished.
Away from a road and track
When locating a wild camp site you need to scan the area for suitable locations. These will usually be away from any road and track. Very often, when cycling you will need to leave your bike and go and explore an area before deciding to take your bike to your chosen spot.
You ultimately develop a good eye for what works but the main aim is to find somewhere where you won't be seen or disturbed.
Wooded or high over growth area
|Shelter in a very wet Sctoland|
Also, if you are far enough from any civilization you can collect wood that you use to make a fire with. Usually though when wild camping and making a fire it is best to use a gas burner as they don't make any smoke and give away your whereabouts.
Areas with a lot of over growth mean that not a lot of people go there and also provide a lot of cushioning to lie on. I don't take a ground mat, pillow or any other form of sleeping aid other than a sleeping bag. I just find the softest patch of ground that I can.
|A hillside with a lot of overgrowth|
I always lock my bike to something just in case but if you have done it right nobody will find you anyway. I usually consider the best way to make a fast get-away not that I have ever needed to (apart from one incident where I left a construction site 15 minutes before work started there). It makes sense to walk around your camp site and know where your exits are, just in case.
Other things to consider
Being away from civilization does not mean it will be quiet, nature comes alive at night! On that note, when you are off the beaten track and in over growth there can be a lot of bugs and insects!
Also, if you can, make sure someone knows the rough area you are going to and the route you plan on taking. This does somewhat take the fun out of it but it is sensible to let people know these things.
Always take any trash with you, I always designate a plastic bag for garbage and then dispose of it in the appropriate place when I come across it later on.
Wild camping can be fun and is way more free than going to an organized camp site whether pre booked or not.