The Art of Stealth Camping: Tips and Techniques
By Desiree Weeks
When things go south, it’s important to not just be prepared with gear, but also with the knowledge on how to safely camp in a way that won’t draw attention to yourself.
The first step is making sure you aren’t sticking out like a sore thumb. To minimize your own personal appearance, grabbing some appropriate camo will be your best bet. The woodland camo set provides you with rip-stop constructed pieces that have enough pockets to fit your EDC, flashlight, and whatever else you want to keep on your person at all times. Opting for a long-sleeve top also gives you an extra layer of protection while blending seamlessly into the woods.
While blending into the environment, it’s vital to be aware of how much sound you’re making when moving from location to location. You may feel hidden if you’re among trees, but the slightest unknown sound can draw unwanted attention. Practice moving with the terrain while utilizing steady movements versus random sounds. Walking toe first can also help minimize the thudding sound of your heels when moving.
As with any form of survival, it’s absolutely necessary to be aware of your surroundings so you can see obstacles, such as holes or low hanging branches, before you encounter them and cause a disturbance. You want to make sure you keep a keen eye and your wits.
Sleep is vital in any scenario, whether it be an emergency or just a day of challenging outdoor activity. Without proper rest, you’re sure to find yourself in an unfit state of mind. When it comes to sleeping stealthily, you’ll want to scope out the best potential location and blend into your surroundings.
A perfect item to have for a stealth sleeping experience is a pop-up bivy tent. Unlike a traditional tent, this bivy tent is a one-person tent that weighs just under two pounds and can be folded down to a compact size. It’s made of a rip-stop nylon with black mesh netting to provide protection from the elements and insects. The tough fiberglass shock cord frame adds extra durability.
Being low to the ground may keep you hidden more securely in some scenarios while others may call for the need to be off the ground entirely. Overly dense areas or those with steep inclines may better lend themselves to off the ground camping. For these situations, you can opt for a net covered hammock. Made of an olive parachute nylon that blends into the trees and a mesh mosquito netting, you’re sure to find some comfort. It’s also compact, weighing just 24 oz, so packing and transport is a breeze. Don’t let the lightweight size fool you though; it can hold up to 440 lbs.
While both of these are solid sleeping methods, it’s also handy to keep a multi-purpose tarp. Getting a tarp that is camouflage helps keep you blended into the environment while providing you with an extra layer of protection from the elements. It can be rigged to act as shelter or used as a makeshift blanket that will protect you from a downpour. It’s certainly an item you’ll never want to leave without. Keeping yourself nourished is another vital piece of camping, but doing so in a stealthy manner can prove problematic for some.
These days, you can opt for a variety of different survival foods, but you’re still going to need some kind of heat source for boiling water. However, the smoke produced by a fire can draw attention to your location. A popular method for minimizing this is the Dakota fire pit. Used by the U.S. military, a Dakota fire pit is created by digging one small hole for firewood and another to provide a draft of air. This allows the fire to burn from the top downward, drawing in a steady stream of air, while producing little to no smoke. Of course, you don’t want to forget to have a reliable fire starter handy.
There are also other methods of outdoor cooking, such as portable stoves with wax fuel cubes. However, no matter which method you choose, it’s important to cook downwind as to not attract unwanted attention to the food smells.