Stealth Camping

Discussion in 'Travel & Vacation' started by Ivan Tea Sanderzon, Mar 2, 2024.

  1. Ivan Tea Sanderzon

    Ivan Tea Sanderzon Well-Known Member
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    Hi,

    Recently my wife and I discovered the world of stealth camping. This is achieved by converting "street vegicles" into tiny rv's. They range from cargo type vans, to SUV's and mini-vans. The ingenious ways people come up with to make the maximum use of limited space can be truly brilliant.

    We just purchased a used 2008 Toyota Sienna, a choice we made due to the high reivews for this particular vehicle and its mpg. The Sienna can be found in 2WD and AWD models. We found a 2WD that drives like new for a very reasonable price and I have begun modifying it.

    So, I have 2 - 800W solar panels with solar charge controller, 2 LiTime 12v 200ah lifepo4 batteries, a Jackery 500 power station, a 100w/2000w peak inverter, plus coffee maker, fans, usb water faucet, portable potty, window blockers, etc. I just finished removing the rear seats, laying a playwood floor and the finishing i off with laminate flooring. I am currently building a folding bed and cupboards for the interior based on other people's designs.

    As seniors, stealth campers can be very cost effective alternatives to motels. We have out MI parks pass, and as a veteran, I received a national parks BLM pass for $5. FB has a few groups, among them is this one MiniVan Conversions To MiniCampers Plans, Experiences, Solutions. you need to join it to view the posts but they're very helpful. Checkout YouTube for stealth camping.

    I just thought I'd toss this out there for consideration.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Yeah, I've watched several podcasts on that subject.
     
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  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    Why is it called “stealth camping “, @Ivan Tea Sanderzon ? Do you camp with it differently than if you bought a van camper already converted , or go different places ?
    I am intrigued !

    When I was growing up, my parents and I went camping almost every weekend in the summer. We drove up to remote Idaho lakes, and camped with sleeping bags and cooked at a campfire and went fishing for the weekend and came back home late Sunday afternoon.

    We didn’t have any kind of camping vehicle, so mom just loaded all of the cooking equipment, sleeping bags, etc into the car (53 Buick Special) , and my Grandpa Bailey had the rest of it in his old 1951 Ford, and the wooden boat tied on top on the boat racks, and we drove over old forest service roads that were barely roads to get to where we were camping.

    Mom made pancakes and fried trout with hot coffee over the campfire for breakfast, and she always brought fried chicken and potato salad from home, that we had for dinner on Friday night , after setting up the camp.
    I loved growing up that way, and miss being able to camp out now.
    I had a small RV for a while, and a Dodge camper van, and later a VW mini bus; but it has been well over 20 years now since I have been camping.

    This picture is Roman Nose Lake, high in the north Idaho mountains, and is one of the places we used to go camping and fishing when I was a kid with my folks. (My son and grandsons took this picture when they were up there hiking and camping.)


    IMG_0761.jpeg
     
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  4. Ivan Tea Sanderzon

    Ivan Tea Sanderzon Well-Known Member
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    Many people park at Wal-Marts and places like that. Some even park on streets or in parks, helped by blackout panels for windows. Since the vehicles look like everyday drivers, people don't think anyone is camping, hence the "stealth" moniker.
     
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  5. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    We need pics, @Ivan Tea Sanderzon

    We used to camp when I was a kid. My father rigged a tiny Trotwood to sleep 6 or 8 of us...I forget if there was a tent for the overflow.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    Okay, we have seen these kinds of vehicles parked for sometimes several days at a time at Walmart, but thought maybe they were broke down and waiting for parts to fix the vehicle.
    I am having a hard time seeing the reason for this stealth camping ?
    No one wants to “have fun” camping out at Walmart for the weekend, so why on earth would anyone even do that , unless this was a way to deal with homelessness ?
    Please elaborate, and do you and your wife camp like this ?
     
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  7. Jacob Petersheim

    Jacob Petersheim Very Well-Known Member
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    This immediately came to mind heehee!

     
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  8. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Senior Staff
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    I think that I DO remember going stealth camping; it was back when my kids were younger and into camping, with the old Toyota wagon…..wasn’t very stealthy though, for some reason.

    IMG_6134.jpeg
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Husband: "Honey, would you like me to get our stuff together?"
    Wife: "No, dear. Alpaca."
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    If you're living in your vehicle, you can avoid a whole lot of hotel bills while traveling or simply living cheaply.
     
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  11. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    I read a report from one guy who has a "national" membership at Planet Fitness, most of which are 24-hour locations.

    He parks in their lot for a few days, works out, takes showers there, and moves on to the next town which has one.

    That's stealth camping in style.
     
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  12. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    That sure helps plan your trips. A blank slate requires decision making.
     
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  13. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    I think a lot of "stealth campers" are just people living in their vehicles. It does not sound appealing to me at all.
     
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  14. Jacob Petersheim

    Jacob Petersheim Very Well-Known Member
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    Thinking back, a lot of what I'd seen were people on long road trips on the cheap. They'd go with truck stops and such where they could shower... or join a health club as mentioned already above.

    Lots of "how-tos" on masking off car windows for the night and such. Some even had elaborate systems for heat in winter months, multiple car batteries to support 12 volt lighting and refrigeration, etc.
     
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  15. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Veteran Member
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    If you've been to parts of Seattle, you've seen "non-stealth camping"......decrepit motor homes pretty much permanently parked along the streets in certain areas.

    Technically, they have to move every three days but seldom do. You'll see a bunch of guys pushing one down the street to another location a block away to satisfy the requirement to "move".

    That doesn't even count the ones who are living in tents or make-shift shelters on the sidewalk.

    My late sister and brother-in-law lived on a boat docked along the Ship Channel in the Ballard area for years. That area was bad for street camping
     
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