Stealth Camping in a Hammock

Stealth camping is a questionable activity to debate, and one I’ve only done once before this.

The definition of it is two-fold; one is in camping in a manner not to be seen, but also one in which you are camping in places not normally suited for such activities.

My personal philosophy on the topic is that of which practicing Leave No Trace (LNT) as much as possible and without disturbing the environment.

One could also argue that it is simply illegal in most countries and jurisdictions, and is unfair to those who properly register and pay for an actual campsite.

Also, in the two years since I’ve last hunkered down, a lot of Steve Wallis videos have been binged.

Needless to say, but I was ready to get back out there.

My very first stealth camping was turned into this video as I took some images during the entire trip to a local nature reserve.

I had acquired some tips from Steve’s videos and a list of very local parks and greenspaces to try stealthing some more.

Photography was definitely not on my mind with this particular trip, as it was a small patch of woodland a few minutes walk from my house. I simply wanted to set up at dusk, hunker down and journal or read a book till shuteye.

My main goal besides trying stealth camping again was also to practice setting up the hammock.

For anyone curious, my hammock is an ENO JungleLink system. This is the best bundle you can afford for $200 dollars, as it includes a bug net, the straps and a rain fly tarp all for that price. The actual hammock itself is spacious enough for two individuals if you get lonely at night.

In true stealth camp fashion, I brought along some camouflaged netting to throw over the nearby short trail to access my special spot.

While it may look like from the succeeding images that I am conspicuously placed, this a dead-end trail less than twenty feet from the woodland clearing. The hammock is placed just above a dried up creekbed.

The darker it got in the evening, the better chances of this camouflaged net began working more in my favor as the shadows of the trees covered me.

While everything may have seemed rosy up until this point, several lessons were learned pretty quickly…

  1. Despite previously checking the forecast before heading out, rain showers came in after midnight. I sought to keep the rainfly stowed away in my bag instead of preparing it for this surprise.
  2. Despite having this particular hammock model for over six months now, I never tried setting it up before this trip, with only about an hour before sunset pressuring me slightly.
  3. Despite being midsummer in temperature, I went to bed without any sort of sleeping pad or bag. The hammock alone was quite comfortable, but that added degree of comfort/warmth would’ve helped immensely.
  4. Despite previous attempts at sleeping outside with or without audiobooks/podcasts/music/earplugs in and eyemask on, I still can’t stand the idea of something always watching me. There’s the added drawback of being a super light sleeper as well.

After being pelted on with rain for longer than I’d like to admit, I “attempted” to throw on the rainfly while in the dark of night. A few more minutes of wrestling with the tarp then turned into frustration and I stuffed all the wet gear into my pack, turned and walked home.

The time was 4am, and I was drenched with only an hour at most of sleep to show for it.

This entire story may seem like I have nothing to show for it, but these lessons I will carry into the next stealth camping adventure.

No doubt that my stubborn attitude will mean I do this again very soon.

Have you ever stealth camped in your area? What was the experience like for you? Send me an email with your stories or leave them down below in the comments.

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Ryan Taylor is a 26 year old photographer located in Beavercreek Ohio, United States. Specializing in wildlife and landscapes both big and small, Ryan has sought to capture many different natural locations throughout the Buckeye State and beyond.

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