CHANNEL YOUR INNER NINJA
EXPAND YOUR BUG-OUT SKILL SET BY TURNING YOUR NEXT CAMPING TRIP INTO A GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK.
Practice covert camping to increase your security.
You might ask me, “Why would you want to know about stealth camping? I don’t want to add stress to my camping trip. I want it to be a relaxing experience.” Well, will you be bugging out on foot to a location more than one day’s walk away? Do you want to keep your bug-out retreat’s location a secret? Do you want to start integrating “gray man” concepts into your daily and long-term preps? If so, stealth camping is something you should be interested in.
“Stealth camping” is the act of finding, occupying and then leaving a camping spot without anyone seeing you or knowing you were there. It combines normal camping methods, military tactical movement, Leave-no-trace philosophies and ultralight backpacking techniques.
Let’s talk first about what to do when you are moving from where you are to where you want to be at the end of the day. The main points to keep in mind are to pick routes that keep you from being seen, that avoid making noise and don’t leave signs of your having been there. Some specific tips include:
Be quiet when you are moving. That includes not talking and avoiding dry leaves and sticks that will snap. Staying on hard surfaces will also reduce your risk of leaving tracks or other signs you have passed that way.
Avoid walking in the bright sunlight if you can. Try to stay in the shadows to help hide your movement. This can be as easy as walking along the side of the trail instead of in the middle. Or, you can take the initiative to step off the trail and walk in the woods. Just be sure to go at least 50 to 100 yards in so that any noise you make won’t be heard by anyone.
When moving along a ridge, which is where road builders often put their roads, be sure to avoid “skylining” yourself. This happens when you walk along the high ground and people below you see you outlined against the sky. Walk on hard ground to avoid leaving tracks.
Take an indirect route into your camp; don’t walk straight to it, but take a few doglegs to come into it from behind.
Don’t walk through high grasses or bushes, because they will bend or have their leaves turned over, thereby leaving a sign of your passing.
PICKING A CAMPSITE
You should use all the basic campsite selection rules you use when normally camping: Stay away from low areas that might flood in heavy rains; don’t pick a place that will be windblown; find someplace flat (if you are not using a hammock); and avoid areas that have signs of animals using it.
Right: If you need to make a fire in your stealth campsite, the best type is the Dakota fire pit. Dig a U- or L-shaped hole that will work like a rocket stove to create a draft that funnels air into your fire, where it will help burn the fuel more efficiently. This, in turn, will produce less smoke. It also keeps the fire and its attendant light below ground level.
Above: If you want to blend in and not look like someone who will be camping overnight, dress in what you wear on a daily basis and use a medium-sized pack that doesn’t look as if it has everything someone would take on a weekend camping trip.