Archive for Stealth Camping

Storm Proof Hammock Shelter Plans

Posted by Fred

 

The Storm Proof Hammock Shelter

These are plans for a DIY shelter that will work well in almost any weather. The tarp cover can be poly but is easier to store if it is waterproof nylon.The inner envelope is breathable nylon. An old pup tent would work nicely. The bug netting can be open or closed at the bottom. Velcro can be used to close the bottom to allow the option of having it draped or completely closed for convenience.
The inner envelope and bug net slide along a second support line below the tarp line. They are attached at the foot and slide independently to the head for optional use.
The mummy bag is cut at both ends and drawstrings sewn in so the hammock runs through it. That way when lying in the hammock the insulation is not compressed, providing maximum protection. Drawing the ends of the mummy bag closed around the hammock seals the bag.
The envelope and bug nets are similarly fitted with drawstrings or velcro to maximize protection. The envelope reduces air flow keeping body warmth in the enclosure.

The entire setup need not be dismantled to store in a stuff sack or duffle bag. Keeping the tarp attached provides protection to keep the bag and hammock dry while storing. Similarly, one end can be attached to the vertical support (tree) and drawn out without ever exposing the insides to the elements.
Setup takes only a few minutes.

The only weather event this may not be siutable for is high wind because of the possibility of falling branches. Careful selection of the support trees and location can mitigate some of the problems. Selecting a site on the lee side of a hill in respect to the winds reduces the amount of wind the camp is subject to. Since the setup is extremely mobile, moving to a suitable location is not much of a problem.

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North SeaTac Park

Posted by Fred

Christopher and I went on a ride through North SeaTac Park.

I had not visited the site since the community it displaced was demolished and the features of the park were installed. It is an excellent Cool park with miles of old paved roads, paved and unpaved trails, paths, picnic areas, washrooms and bathrooms, several baseball and soccer fields and outdoor basketball courts, a community center, equestrian facilities, a very nice BMX course, a very nice botanical garden, Tub Lake, Some unique public art, and a massive frisbee golf course. The roads from the old neighborhoods are still there with many hiking and biking paths crossing every which way. There are some areas that are relatively remote, nestled in the middle of the old neighborhood blocks and in the various wooded areas scattered through the area.

I suppose if the many neighborhoods had to be demolished Cry in the name of progress, development as a semi-wilderness urban park is a suitable alternative Smile.

 In the Pergola at the Botanical Garden

The North SeaTac Disc Golf Course

 Chris by a manicured pond in the Botanical Garden.

The park is located north of SeaTac Airport in a noise mitigation zone. Much of the area has reverted to wilderness. A lot of it was wooded even before the houses were removed. There are some remnants of slab foundations scattered around the area but most evidence of it's prior communities is gone, save the roads.

 Chris heading into a wooded area.

There is some wildlife, mostly suburban or semi rural, such as hawks, woodpeckers, racoons, squirrels, and such. There are no predatory animals aside from humans, and there weren't that many people.

The park is over 220 acres and connects to or is adjacent to other small undeveloped uninhabited wooded tracts in the area. The Tub Lake Basin is a large heavily wooded area with many gravel trails and single track paths.

Chris and I were speculating that it would be easy to Stealth Camp in the park. Not that we would ever do it because that would be illegal (ahem), but there are so many ideal out of the way obscure areas with stands of trees surrounded by brush and barriers of blackberries, we could set up stealth camps and stay overnight in any of hundreds of spots where no one would ever know we were there. ;)

In the south end of the park away from the majority of the facilities, we only saw three people, and they were on the old roads. We didn't see any "homeless" people or camps, or any kids, or other bicyclists. It was a very nice Sunday, so it would be the time of peak use. Fifty feet off the trails in the thickets is like being in deep wilderness. I wouldn't want to get water from any of the streams or ponds, it is in the drainage basin for the old neighborhoods and the existing surrounding communities so it is likely the water is considerably contaminated. We have filters and disinfection tablets but it's easy enough to fill a couple of water bottles each for a night. The north end of the park has domestic water to fill the bottles from.

There is some air traffic noise from airline jets taking off. I noticed two in three hours. If we were sufficiently sedated it might not be a problem (not that either of us would do so even if we were inclined to camp illegally in a park as such, because alcoholic beverages are illegal in the park as well).

I only live a couple of miles from the park so if we were so inclined, it would be a good proving ground for some of our ideas for stealth camping. We want to do some rainy weather camping so it would be even less likely that there would be anyone around. We'd have virtually all of the park to ourselves. If we weren't being stupid we would never be discovered the way we camp.

It's an inviting area for us to have an overnight adventure, being so close to home and all. If we were to play "catch me if you can" we would certainly win. I wouldn't want to take the chance of course…

Here are a few more pictures I took in the area.

 A soccer field in the park.

 A stream in the Botanical Garden.

 An intriguing art sculpture at one of the entrances to the park. Note the branches protruding from the metal lamp posts.

Edit by Chris 10/06/08

I loved North Sea-Tac park when I lived in south Seattle.  It's a great park for moutain biking and leisure riding.  The north end of the park get's a lot of foot traffic, but the south end can be an incredible get away for some peace and quite.  

I have seen punk kids up to no good, so I'd be leary of people, but mostly it's quite place. There's so many trails you can make countless loops and paths.  It's got a good mix of paved pathways, single track, and gravel trails. 

There used to be a different BMX course, which is overgrown now, but makes for some great off-road/off-trail practice. 

There's also a good part of the area that's wooded with trails, but not part of the park.

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Stealth Camping.

Posted by Fred

Stealth camping is as the term implies. Camping in obscurity.

082708 

I used to stealth camp as a kid. It wasn't called stealth camping. The term stealth has only recently been popularized by military innovations. I just carried a knapsack with a string hammock, a surplus wool Army mummy bag with a shell, and a painters tarp, with some miscellaneous gear, a bit of food, a pair of sandals, and a pair of cutoffs.

It might be that it was getting late or I might have planned to find a good spot. If I was on a multi-night trip I would keep my eyes open for undeveloped areas. It didn't matter if I was in a rural area or in an urban park. I'd find a remote wooded area or find an obscure area in a park and string up the hammock and get some sleep. I usually had something to eat stuffed in my pockets, and filled my water bottle wherever I could. I might or might not have someone with me. Most people didn't carry a hammock. I tied my own. Usually if someone was with me they would have a pup tent. Sometimes they would just curl up under a tree with a coat on. I hate sleeping on the ground and I hate being cold.

 

The gear I have now is much better. The camouflage tarp is really good for a shelter. It's practically invisible twenty five feet into the woods. I always had a tarp. I was occasionally criticised for carrying one. The nylon era was just dawning and everyone had to have a "high tech" pup tent. No one saw the value in using a hammock. When we went camping it was customary to split the load so I was obligated to participate. Pads aren't much better than sleepimg on the ground, except it's a bit warmer. I was usually the only one with a tarp. but I would inevetably have others huddling under it with me when it rained. I started going out on my own so I could camp the way I wamted, in a hammock under a tarp.

The nylon hammock is quite a bit more comfortable than the string hammock was. The soft backpack isn't much different from the knapsack I had but it's easier to carry, is more water resistant, and has a bit more capacity for the same weight.

Hammocks are the only way I would want to stealth camp. There's no need to find flat ground for a tent, there's no surprise puddles in the morning, There's room to walk around under cover, and compared to a tent it takes a fraction of the time to be set up and ready to sleep.

I used to use a tin can stove like I have now. I usually burned twigs, pine cones, and pine pitch in it. It was smokey but it kept bugs at bay. I tried the fire tablets but they smelled bad. I would carry a candle but they don't produce enough heat. Once in a while I'd buy a can of Sterno but I didn't always have money for it.

Today the term stealth camping includes what I used to do. I wouldn't want to set up in an inner city park anymore. There are too many "homeless" who stake out in areas close to amenities and prime panhandling spots. There are still plenty of remote undeveloped areas to stop off overnight. With a bit of savvy and discretion, it's relatively safe. With a hammock shelter it's far easier to find spots where it is not desireable for a tent or bivvy. There's virtually no competition. It's a good idea to stop in a prospective site and just watch and listen for a while to be sure there isn't anyone around. Once the camouflage tarp is up the shelter is invisible. It only takes five minutes to be almost totally obscure. Everything else can be done in the shelter out of sight and out of mind.

  Twenty five feet from camp and it's virtually invisible.

I'll be adding to this post so keep an eye on it.

Fred

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A Lightweight Washing Station with Spray Rinse

Posted by Fred

A convenient lightweight kitchen that uses very little water can be assembled for almost nothing.

Twine
1 8 ounce spray bottle adjustable for spray and stream.
1 or 2 Glad disposable 1 quart storage conainer(s) with lid(s)
1 nylon scouring pad
1 dish rag
1 dish towel
1 wash cloth
1 hand towel
1/2 +/- ounce of antibacterial dish soap in a small nasal spray bottle
1/2 +/- ounce of body wash in a small nasal spray bottle
3 ziplock sandwich bags
2 ziplock 1 quart storage bags
5 small clips

A two sink set up in trees that look remarkably like the awning posts on my back deck.

Two sinks. One for dish and utility washing and one for personal hygene suspended by twine from trees that look remarkably like the awning posts on my back deck. Note the spray bottle for rinsing.

Tie off a circle of twine tightly around two vertical supports such as two trees at a convenient height. Adjust the two sides so they are level (there's enough room under the top bar on a bike to fit one if desired). If the two sides are wider than about 3/4 the width of the storage container, tie a couple of short lines between them to gather them together. If the support is smaller no adjustments are necessary.
Tie a second single strand of twine tightly below and centered between the top one, the depth of a 1 quart glad storage container.
Place the storage container between the top two strands, resting on the single strand below. The lip on the sides of the container should be resting on the the two top strands. The bottom should be resting on the single strand below. The two smaller strands used to pull the top two together should be slid in tight to the ends of the container.
The result is a very stable basin suspended securly and level.
Two can be suspended on the same support end to end at any distance. One can be usedfor hand washing and one for dish and utility washing.

 Chris washing up at the "sink".
The clips can be used to hang the ziplock bags for easy access to the cloths and soaps.
For utility and dishwashing, put one drop of antibacterial dish soap in the basin. Pour 1 to 2 cups of water in the basin. For better washing the water can be heated or mixed with heated water to the desired temperature. You only need to use 1 drop. The small bottle will last for weeks of washing for one person. Antibacterial soap will only slightly help with sanitization. The reason to use the antibacterial soap is to keep bacteria from growing on the wet dish rag, washcloth, and scouring pad or in the water. That way the cloths and pads can be stored wet in the ziplock bags without becoming smelly and nasty. The soapy water will also last for a long time in the sealed container. One drop of bleach per cup will work also but the usable life is shorter because the chlorine evaporates.

Scrape off all excess food, or do like us and let the dogs lick it off.

Immerse the dish rag or scouring pad in the soapy water and use it to wash off the dishes and utensils one at a time.

Rinsing with the spray bottle

Use the spray bottle to rinse off each article starting from the top working side to side and down to get off all the soap. It takes about eight sprays for each side of a pan or dish, and four for a cup. The rinse water never gets soapy and the amount used is miniscule. The technique is highly efficient. A cup of water will satisfactorily rinse many meals worth of dishes.

If you wash your mess kit first you can lay it across the two top support lines to have a clean place to put smaller cleaned, rinsed, and dried articles. The lid of the storage works for the same purpose.
When done, the scouring pad and dish rag can be stored in the soapy water for the next meal or wring out excess water and hang them up over the suspension lines.

It only takes a few minutes to wash an entire mess kit up.

The one drop of soap has practically no adverse effect on the environment.

Things to pay attention to:

Keep the suspension tight for maximum stability.

Wash hands first for maximum sanitization.

Use only antibacterial dish soap. Don't worry if the dish rag and scouring pad don't dry out, with the antibacterial soap it will store wet safely for a long time by simply wringing it out and sealing it in a ziplock bag.

If washing will be required for other meals and there is soapy water remaining, put the storage container lid on. With antibacterial soap, the water won't go bad. You can use it for quite a while. It doesn't take much to wash up.

Use ONLY sanitized drinking water in the spray bottle.

I like to have two containers, one for dishes and one for washing my body. That way the water doesn't need to be changed, which conserves fresh sanitized water.

Washing your hands and face is just as easy and efficient. You can actually take a shower using only about a cup and a half of water.

Use two or three drops of body wash in a cup of water.

Simply get the washcloth wet, soap up and rinse off. Body wash is very gentle. It has emolients and conditioners, and can be used for washing hair. With body wash it doesn't hurt if it doesn't all come out, particularly considering how little is used.

Start by washing the hair with the cloth then spraying with the rinse bottle until rinsed. Of course long hair takes more to rinse.
Work down the body from the top, side to side until finished.

It takes about a half cup of wash water and a cup of rinse water. It takes around fifteen minutes. It helps to have assistance but it is not necessary. Setting the sprayer to the stream setting helps rinse the back off without too much difficulty.

You can heat the wash water as well as the rinse water for maximum efficiency and comfort.
If the wash cloth is to be put away wet, put a drop of bleach in the remaining soapy water, put the cloth in, wring it out, and put it in a ziplock bag. The bleach will kill anything on the rag and it will can be stored when sealed.

The complete washing kit in a compact lightweight package.

Both sinks stored in a lightweight compact kit. The extra tub weighs next to nothing and adds tons of convenience.

Fred

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Rice and Beans on a Sterno Stove

Posted by

Today I tested out my sterno stove by cooking Liptons Cajun Sides Red Beans and Rice. It was dirt cheap at the grocery store, and takes 7 minutes + boil.

Here's the stove, I got it at a local army navy surplus store.

I used a 2.5 hour Sterno can.

All in all, it took 7+ minutes to get to a boil, and another 8 to cook completely (1 serving, or about 1 cup of dried mix).

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