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Do you camp at "campsites" or just set up anywhere?

Old 03-20-21, 09:30 AM
  #26  
jpjuggler
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
In the age of smart phones I find very little reason to stealth camp. If the campsite is $25 that's where I draw the limit and start looking for other means. Calling the local police station has helped a lot. Especially in towns less than 3000 people.
Someone mentioned county hunting grounds, which is relatively new to me, but it has worked with great success the last couple times out. I've had a hard time finding them but they do exist.

A last ditch effort usually involves finding the local hiking/biking trail and walking my bike into the woods there at 9 pm and leaving by 7am.
Calling the local police station? is that to ask where you can legally camp in town?
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Old 03-20-21, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo View Post
Perhaps "most people aren't," but this is a bike touring specific question and I think here most people are. And I have wild camped ll over the world for more than 40 years and recommend it to everyone who understands leave no trace camping.
You missed the point. Most people arenít ďleave no traceĒ campers. That includes people who bicycle and backpack to remote areas. Parties and bad behavior happen outside of campgrounds here in Colorado (and other areas Iíve camped in) as do incidences of people doing the opposite of ďleaving no traceĒ. Honestly, I can camp in a campground and leave as little trace as you can by stealth camping. In reality, I leave less trace because I donít leave reminders of my stay. I may leave traces in an outhouse but that is easily removed and properly processed. Volunteers donít have to go out and clean up after me.
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Old 03-20-21, 09:53 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
My worst "stealth" site ever turned out to be a town "hoot'n'shoot" site in rural Northern Idaho. After dark the pickups roared in and the party began. I was stealthy enough nobody ever saw me, and I was between them and the road so no bullets came my way. Heavy rain started a half hour later and they went away. (What a great night.) It's rare, but real parties do happen on public land.
I didn’t say that parties don’t happen on public land. Parties don’t usually happen at organized campgrounds...be they public or private. If anything, you are more likely to run across parties outside of campgrounds.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:12 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by jpjuggler View Post
Calling the local police station? is that to ask where you can legally camp in town?
Itís one way to find out. If there are no local police you can ask a resident if they think anyone would mind if you camped in, say, the town park. I did that in SD. I was planning on camping at an established municipal campground in a town but ended up in the wrong park. Asked a woman at a visitor center if I could camp there. She said no problem but then told me about the place at the south end of town with showers. That was actually the one I had planned to stay at.

In Harlem, MT we camped in the city park right next to the police station/municipal building and city pool. The police left the vestibule of the building unlocked for us at night so we could access the restrooms after the pool closed.
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Old 03-20-21, 10:26 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
If there are no local police you can ask a resident if they think anyone would mind if you camped in, say, the town park.
Many of towns I have camped in were small enough not to have a cop. What you say there is important. I ask if they think anyone would bother me. I don't put them on the spot by asking for permission.
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Old 03-20-21, 11:36 AM
  #31  
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A note about small towns.
They need to be really small.
Small enough so that there are no pay campgrounds or mom & pop motels.
Obviously, if the town has lodging facilities, Andy Griffith will ask you to stay there.
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Old 03-20-21, 12:05 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by jpjuggler View Post
Calling the local police station? is that to ask where you can legally camp in town?
Yes. Most the time I already have scoped out the town fair grounds but there isn't a sign that says camping is allowed. I call the local police department to see if they mind if I set up a tent there. Mostly it's fine. Other times they say it's not allowed. Many times they send a patrol car to meet me and just so they know who they are dealing with (they probably want to make sure I'm not a vagrant).
Most of the time the police will give you advise on where to stealth camp (believe it or not) when camping isn't allowed in the town.
Many of these towns have hotels but I've never been told to stay in one.
Mostly I don't want to get kicked out because I didn't ask. I also drink beer when I camp and ask the police if I can legally drink in their city park.
I found the police to be a great resource and usually call ahead to the town where I think I want to camp. I usually roll into towns near dark and would like to know all of this in advance.
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Old 03-20-21, 04:56 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
Yes. Most the time I already have scoped out the town fair grounds but there isn't a sign that says camping is allowed. I call the local police department to see if they mind if I set up a tent there. Mostly it's fine. Other times they say it's not allowed. Many times they send a patrol car to meet me and just so they know who they are dealing with (they probably want to make sure I'm not a vagrant).
Most of the time the police will give you advise on where to stealth camp (believe it or not) when camping isn't allowed in the town.
Many of these towns have hotels but I've never been told to stay in one.
Mostly I don't want to get kicked out because I didn't ask. I also drink beer when I camp and ask the police if I can legally drink in their city park.
I found the police to be a great resource and usually call ahead to the town where I think I want to camp. I usually roll into towns near dark and would like to know all of this in advance.
What a great idea. thanks for the info.
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Old 03-20-21, 05:35 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Many of towns I have camped in were small enough not to have a cop. What you say there is important. I ask if they think anyone would bother me. I don't put them on the spot by asking for permission.
Mosí defí. Something like ďDo you know if itís ok to camp there?Ē Never ask for their permission if itís not their property.
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Old 03-20-21, 07:42 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You missed the point. Most people aren’t “leave no trace” campers. That includes people who bicycle and backpack to remote areas. Parties and bad behavior happen outside of campgrounds here in Colorado (and other areas I’ve camped in) as do incidences of people doing the opposite of “leaving no trace”. Honestly, I can camp in a campground and leave as little trace as you can by stealth camping. In reality, I leave less trace because I don’t leave reminders of my stay. I may leave traces in an outhouse but that is easily removed and properly processed. Volunteers don’t have to go out and clean up after me.
True "Leave No Trace" camping means leave it like you found it, and pack out everything. Take a guess what those Blue Bags are for.


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Old 03-20-21, 10:43 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
True "Leave No Trace" camping means leave it like you found it, and pack out everything. Take a guess what those Blue Bags are for.
I know what they are for. And I know what “leave no trace” means. I also know that the vast majority don’t use them nor do they practice “leave no trace”. You wouldn’t be able to collect a trash bag full of human waste in a couple of hours at a trail head if they did.

There have been several articles in the local press over the last few months about this growing problem here in Colorado. More like the one above. One even took pictures of himself using a very popular lake for a toilet. That clown has been a menace for ages. It seems he been banned from public land.

I want to think that people are going to follow best practices in the wild. I try to do so myself. I also know that many people don’t. I’ve seen someone take a hatchet to trees right at timberline to make a fire they don’t need. A large tree at timberline may only be 5 to 6 feet tall and less than 4” in diameter but the tree is likely to be close to 200 years old. I’ve seen tracks from yahoos in all manner of vehicles tearing across the tundra...tracks that could last into the next century. I’ve seen places above Colorado Springs where people have shot so many bullets into the trees along the road that they have cut them in half. I’ve witnessed the piles of trash along the Rampart Range where people camp where ever they like.
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Old 03-20-21, 11:30 PM
  #37  
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Stuart, I share your passion for taking care and protecting of our outdoor spaces.
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Old 03-22-21, 04:33 PM
  #38  
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Not really camping, but along the VT and NH rail trails the only litter I have seen is small nests of empty beer cans in small towns, left by underage drinkers. The trails are used by snow machine riders in the winter and they are fastidious about not littering. Evidently, many of their trails go through private land and they are aware that if they are less than respectful, they can lose those.
One downside to campgrounds is the advent of LED lights. They draw so little power that people leave them on.
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Old 03-23-21, 05:37 AM
  #39  
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My pet peeve with campgrounds these days is their use of stone/crusher for tent sites. This is almost like sleeping on concrete. Give me dirt anytime.
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Old 03-23-21, 05:40 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
True "Leave No Trace" camping means leave it like you found it, and pack out everything. Take a guess what those Blue Bags are for.

These are mandatory in many U.S. SW National parks. Not of fan of them but use them. Also used the infamous groover tube for paddle tours.
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Old 03-23-21, 07:26 AM
  #41  
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I don't mind pea gravel for tent sites. Montana created 5 hiker/biker areas at 5 state parks along/near ACA routes. I've stayed at 2 of them. They are very nice and include raised tent sites with pea gravel. One advantage is that they drain well. No getting out of your tent and stepping in mud. And no need to find an area with no tree roots or protruding rocks.
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Old 03-23-21, 10:00 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I don't mind pea gravel for tent sites. Montana created 5 hiker/biker areas at 5 state parks along/near ACA routes. I've stayed at 2 of them. They are very nice and include raised tent sites with pea gravel. One advantage is that they drain well. No getting out of your tent and stepping in mud. And no need to find an area with no tree roots or protruding rocks.
+1 And tent stakes go into the ground much more easily without hitting rocks.

Best campsite ever has to be the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Not a rock in sight...just soft sand.
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Old 03-23-21, 10:26 AM
  #43  
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Where I live there is more unguarded public land than guarded or private. I like to use a hammock so I search for a spot off the road and between big trees.
If I want to go further afield I plan on organized campsites or provincial parks, although reservations in prov parks are hard to come by this year.
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Old 03-23-21, 10:48 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
+1 And tent stakes go into the ground much more easily without hitting rocks.
Heh. I seem to have a knack for pitching where my stakes end up hitting buried rocks.
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Old 03-23-21, 08:13 PM
  #45  
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Titanium nail stakes are pretty good for rocky areas. They'll split softer rock and hold in it. But they are pricey and they seem to be easy to lose.
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Old 04-09-21, 06:59 PM
  #46  
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Just as historical perspective, I have driven across the country about 10 times. Mostly in the 90's and never once paid for a hotel or campsite. I've been rousted by the cop's only once, in Arkansas, sleeping in a town park. They escorted us to a place where we could sleep in the car. Right now my situation favors local adventures leaving from and returning home. I've got enough state campsites spaced out around me to spend a week going to a different one every night. With the reservation system you are kind of locked in to an itinerary. If I was somewhere rural enough, I don't think stealth camping is a major deviation of social norms. It is however absolutely your responsibility to make sure that your crime is victimless. In that light I would avoid established hobo sites, because your just adding to the traffic and focused environmental degredation.

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Old 04-10-21, 05:58 AM
  #47  
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Both. Most of the times I try not to sleep in camping areas yet if there is a shower and the price isn't too high, i might sleep in one of those.
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Old 06-16-21, 10:18 PM
  #48  
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Definitely easier to tour and camp legally in the American West than any other part of the country. In the Midwest, I had to dip into inconspicuous sleep spots all the time- beneath power lines, back corners of farm fields, private lands without dwellings or structures, random green spaces, etc. Since moving to the west, I mostly plan my tours around public lands which have ample, legal camping opportunities.
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