Scouting for a stealth campsite

Edward

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I went scouting for a campsite today and thought I would share some of what I have learnt from experts, my thoughts and experiences. I enjoy practising bush crafting skills. One of those skills is safe, comfortable and appropriate campsite selection.

There is zero water in this region. And if its here I don't know where it is and it would probably be stagnant and only suitable for animals or survival situations. I plan to locate a campsite, drop off 2 days of water supply and some rocks I collected out here to make a campfire, then hike to the campsite and stay there for 48 hours. I don't want to cheat, so I will hike in with all my equipment, including an extra 1 days water supply.

I want to be able to use this particular campsite on numerous occasions throughout the year. I have come to realise how difficult finding the right campsite can be in practice. This is especially so out here in the desert, where there are not many trees. My shelter is pole-less and therefore depends on the necessity of a supported ridge-line. I considered carrying in star dropper, but I didn't want to cheat.

Stealth is an aspect I usually incorporate into my bush camping, especially when camping and hiking my own, its not so much of an issue around others. I also like to blend in with my surroundings and camouflage helps with animal observation. Other than this I am a militaria collector and enthusiast and just enjoy doing it.

I took into account the following variables when selecting a campsite. I learnt these from resources, experienced bush-goers and from my own experiences:
1. Flooding and water run off- the level of the ground and its texture (ground litter helps with mud). Also staying clear of creek beds to avoid flash flooding.
2. Stealth- Whether my campsite or fire (light and smoke) can be seen from the road & if so how well
3. Wind direction and camp fire positioning- I am using a pup tent AUSCAM tarp/ inner mesh tent set up)
4. Tent pitching- Need 2 trees to secure tarp and tent ridge-line
5. Shade during the day and afternoon
6. Avoiding animals tracks and their hangouts
7. Potential animal attacks and defensive measures- One end of the tent will be against a tree or dense dead bush to protect the entrance, the fire will be at the other end)
8. Hazards- dead trees and potential falling branches ('widow-makers')
9. A clearing- to reduce human or animal attack, bush-fires and ease of movement
10. Environmental impact- when clearing a space for the tent or fire (if necessary)


One potential campsite. Tent is positioned between two trees (one being bushy) to protect from wind and animal attacks. It can also be reinforced using debris. Fire is at the other end of the (pup) tent and down wind of the tent. There is a substantial clearing for bush-fire safety (both caused and experienced), for bush-craft projects and to keep animals at bay. While this site is some distance from a barely used bush track I have seen and heard trail bike riders in the area, The shelter is camouflaged but with the positioning of the bush track, it is not perfect, however.



Another angle of the same (potential) campsite. The ample shade offered by the area can be appreciated. (The track is to the right of the frame).



Another potential campsite offering all of the considerations above, but more stealth and more wind breakage. The problem with this site it that work would therefore need to be done to clear and level the ground for the tent.



A third potential campsite offering everything, except a perfect clearing. My car can barely be seen from the site. There is no way I would be seen here from the track. To prove it I have attached a second picture of my tent from a similar distance in the same country below. See if you can see it in the frame.





Frequently used Kangaroo tracks. I do not want to be pitching my tent nor a 550 para-cord ridge line over one of these for my sake, the animals and my tents!



Clear evidence these tracks are freshly active. I also noticed fresh scat in the area.



I saw a 3 foot long Inland Taipan while out scouting today. It appears they may emerge after the rains, as we have had some and more is expected. Perhaps looking for a substantial meal for winter. Seems I may have guests then during my camp :rolleyes: I am now dead positive that mesh inner tent was a good idea! (Photo is an illustration)
 
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Rubbing Elbows

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Thanks. I am in the North Outback of South Australia ;)
Demographic is classed a semi-arid, with areas of arid, but I rarely camp in arid land (nothing there!)
(y) The effort you put in to locating your stealth camp, we wouldn't be able to find you anyways :D . The reason I ask, I camp allot in the Murraylands of South Australia and noticed allot of Mallee in the pictures you post, but did notice allot more sand than I get across in the Murraylands.
 

Edward

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(y) The effort you put in to locating your stealth camp, we wouldn't be able to find you anyways :D . The reason I ask, I camp allot in the Murraylands of South Australia and noticed allot of Mallee in the pictures you post, but did notice allot more sand than I get across in the Murraylands.

You are very observant! Yes, the picture with the Mallee trees and the 'hidden tent' is not far from Sedan (Murrylands). My bad, I should of said 'similar' country, not same. But all semi-arid with not very tall trees and shrubs, anyway. The pics with the red dirt is in Outback SA (y)
 
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Edward

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Here's a few photos of my attempt at stealth. The white van doesn't make it easy though. Might need to paint it in cammo

View attachment 26153View attachment 26154View attachment 26155View attachment 26156


Wow! Great pics. What area is that? You certainly get off the beaten track. How far are you from a road or track?

You're van still wouldn't be easy to see throught trees, especially on a straight piece of road or track.

What I have taken into considerations are bends in a road and clearings that meet a road. As I was driving through miles of bush tracks I found my eyes would investigate such areas, but not others areas as they are just more bush.
You may know this. So my advice is firstly try not to camp on a bend in a road or near a clearing near a road, or anything that is likely to draw attention or interest to your position.

You can buy a camo nets. Some are reversible, so you get desert tan on one side and green or camo on the other. They Really work but they are expensive. It depends on how much you buy. You could just buy enough to cover one-side of you're van (the side facing the road). Failing that just obscure you're van in dense bush, as you pretty much have done.

I found the lengths to which I camo something will vary. If you are close to a road and people are driving past its less than if they are walking past, etc. You and I have probably driven past lots of people we didn't even know were there and most probably weren't even trying to hide. When you are, no one will see you!

At least you're tent is green(y) I am using 2 Australian Army AUSCAM hootchie tarps snapped together. Inside I have this mesh tent, don't know if you've seen it.


Here are my 2 Australian Army tarps



And here is the tent I just got to go inside. Before I was using an Army hootchie net, but wasn't sealed from snakes, as they use a bivvy bag as well.
 
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Rubbing Elbows

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I legally solo camp on un-fenced private land in Blanchetown, but still like to be as stealthy as possible as the campsite I usually choose is only around 800 metres from an unsealed road linking 2 towns and about 100 metres from a private track, that does get the occasional motor bike rider and people looking to free camp without permission.

It's parallel to the road, so anyone driving along would need to look across and need an eagle eye. It's more the motor bike riders etc that I like to be stealthy.

A camo net over the van would definitely hide the whole set-up or I could do what you've decided to do, drop off the supplies, park the van away and walk-in.

That mesh tent is a great idea.
 

Edward

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I legally solo camp on un-fenced private land in Blanchetown, but still like to be as stealthy as possible as the campsite I usually choose is only around 800 metres from an unsealed road linking 2 towns and about 100 metres from a private track, that does get the occasional motor bike rider and people looking to free camp without permission.

It's parallel to the road, so anyone driving along would need to look across and need an eagle eye. It's more the motor bike riders etc that I like to be stealthy.

A camo net over the van would definitely hide the whole set-up or I could do what you've decided to do, drop off the supplies, park the van away and walk-in.

That mesh tent is a great idea.

You are well hidden(y)Yes, part of the reason I want to hike in is I just feel its more natural, the other part is my car. Its like yours white and stands out like DB's:rolleyes: That being said I don't stealth camp illegally myself, just for the reasons mentioned previously.

I know the area you are in. Quite rural and plenty of spots to camp. You are also not far from the Riverland, which has some awesome spots.

I just love being out there, even if its preparing and I'm enjoying the cooler weather. I'm heading out there again today to finish looking for a campsite, this time taking some tools.
 

Thrud

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You have probably thought about this already, but if you haven’t, another thing to consider when scouting for your camp is how easy it is to find should you go for a wander and become geographically challenged.

Looks like fairly flat country there but having a mud map with some bearings to any high ground/intersections/taller trees might be a good idea.
 
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Thrud

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Personally, If you were wanting to use camo netting, I would only use it on the side of your vehicle facing the road and leave the roof and windscreen clear. If you get into strife then the vehicle is your best chance of the spotters finding your camp and then tracking you from there.

Sound like an old maid don’t I?

Remember clean undies too...:)
 

Mozzie

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have to smile at the white vehicles, my brother goes out shooting and trapping on a private property, he has a white ute as well lol.

he has built his own camp digs, only the property owner knows hes there.
so he is very secure.

camo netting, just to keep nosy eye averted is great.
Its always in the back of your mind who kicks around, you just never know

13442169_250277988679528_1023061500829671507_n.jpg
 

Edward

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You have probably thought about this already, but if you haven’t, another thing to consider when scouting for your camp is how easy it is to find should you go for a wander and become geographically challenged.

Looks like fairly flat country there but having a mud map with some bearings to any high ground/intersections/taller trees might be a good idea.

I agree. Doing most of what you recommended as well, except I don't have a camo net (yet) too expensive & IMO I just feel a white vehicle is too obvious without it. I am hiking in.

You are right about the landmarks. I found the perfect campsite today (Stealth campsite scouting day 2). Yes, NEVER cover the roof!


I had a very enjoyable day and found the perfect campsite. I drove past a family out walking and said hi. It is nice to see others enjoying the bush as I rarely see anyone out here. I later found a campsite and heard them walking past, but I couldn't even see them, nor they me. With my camo tent I should disappear in here.

View over main track, leading to a track leading to a track to the campsite clearing.


I can face the wall of the tarp tent against the wind, there are trees in the right spot to support a ridge-line. There is a track to a track where car can be and a main track running past it. Car would be hidden anyway (two different angled views W and E.


Same camp from other direction. As you can see shade is generous.



Boy was it an adventurous day today! I found a literal wall of box thorn! It stopped me in my tracks when I was trying to explore what looked like a rocky outcrop in the distance. Box thorn use to be grown in England to keep lions out of villages. Just think of it as natural razor wire!:eek: An excellent resource for stealth camping and providing a barrier at one end of the tent to keep predators at bay, or minimising entrance points to a camp.



Speaking of predators take a look at this! I found a K9 tooth 2.3cm long. Guessing dingo or wild dog? This is evidence you don't want to be caught out here at night with your pants down, meaning you failed to protect your tent or shelter from animal (or human) attack!



I think this was a fox skull. No sympathy for dead vermin.



Another reason stealth camping is recommended, especially if alone in the bush. Criminals.
 
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Edward

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'...camo netting, just to keep nosy eye averted is great.
Its always in the back of your mind who kicks around, you just never know' (sub-quoted)

View attachment 26158

Stealth camping is sometimes wrongly seen as a means of avoiding authorities when people are choosing to camp illegally areas without permission. This is especially the case in the USA. That said there are many rational reasons why people stealth camp, whether they do so legally or not.

I think you summed up here, the real reasons stealth camping is on the increase in Australia and worldwide. I choose to stealth camp as much as possible, and in legal areas, especially in places where others are not camping. I also enjoy the solitude of the bush much more than being at a campsite full of people.
 

Thrud

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Not a fox skull, I think cat.

Do you have any other views?
What size was it?
 
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Edward

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Damn thats a rugged looking cat skull!

Thanks Hairyman/ All. I didn't think it was a cat's skull because it looked too darn big to be one, seriously! From memory, I estimate it was almost 4 inches long. And too think I am planning on camping out here soon:oops::rolleyes:
 

Edward

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Not a fox skull, I think cat.

Do you have any other views?
What size was it?

Sorry mate,
It was about 3.5-4 inches long and heavy!
l thought it was too big to be a cats, when you visualise adding flesh and fur. But I believe it could be I guess. Wild cats get pretty big in the bush.
 
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