Whether you're long-distance hiking, hitchhiking, or road tripping, they are times when you might need to stealth camp. You might stealth camp to avoid the crowds of campgrounds, to save money, or simply because you didn't make it as far as you originally planned. Here's a quick guide for stealth camping.
How Not to Be Caught
Not to be caught is obviously one of the main goals.
Camp late (sunset), unmake camp early (sunrise).
Make sure your campsite can't be seen from roads or nearby trails.
The harder it is to get to your spot, the most likely you will be left alone.
Don't camp on private property. Don't jump fences or camp pass "Keep Out", "No Trespassing", and "Private Property" Signs.
Don't camp in groups.
Remove any reflective material from your shelter or tent.
Don't use your headlamp it can be spotted from afar (if you need to use a light, red lights are your best bet).
Have a ninja-coloured tent or shelter.
If you realize after settling camp that your camp is not as hidden as you thought, do move (don't be lazy as tempting as it can sometimes be).
How to Minimize Trace
Not to be caught is only half the work. The other half is making sure no one knows you have camped there in the first place.
Dig a hole for your bathroom calls.
Practice Leave No Trace principles.
Don't camp in high grass (they flatten).
Don't pull out plants.
Move a minimal amount of dead branches and rocks for your spot.
Don't take souvenirs.
Make sure you don't leave anything behind.
What if I get caught?
Even if you are extra careful, being caught is part of the risk.
Explain your situation and offer to move right away.
Accept any consequence or fine that may apply. (After all, you are doing something you are not supposed to.)
Pray that your actions didn't have a long-term effect (for future you and future campers).
Seek redemption if you are the reason for a new camping or hiking ban.