Tips for Stealth Overnight Parking and Building a Stealth Vehicle

M35A2

Tinkerer
Good for you!

And they have spent their whole life planning for something that never comes or that they are too old, crippled, sick to enjoy.

Not me. I want to die having used up this damned old body and regret nothing...
Thanks for sharing your opinions, achievements and experiences. We are all better for it even though some disagree and would do it differently - or not at all.

Be well and whether you continue to post here or not, we all wish you the best.

EDIT: I might never do what you are doing, however you have provided good information that could always come in handy. Thanks again; I enjoyed learning from your experiences.
 
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unkamonkey

Explorer
I agree with your plan. Both of my parents died back in the '90s and I decided I should travel. It's hard to stealth camp in a 20', 4X4 motor home but I can usually find an out of the place to park.
 

jlutzcurtis

New member
Hello there, I just saw your vehicle by checking the link you shared. It's kind of a great customization of that vehicle. I like it and thanks for sharing the tips to make a stealth vehicle.
 

veriest1

New member
Hello everyone. Wanderer here(OP). I forgot my original login, so I added a new one.

I had stopped posting due to my travels and because of a few immature idiot posts from fools. Plus, I don't like talking too much any more. I have become a hermit in life and in my heart it seems.

But, I thought that I would give everyone an update on my travels and where I am today.

After traveling in my great yellow cube van for over 4 years and putting well over 40K miles on my yellow truck, I decided to sell it on Craigslist last year. When I first built my camper/stealth/simple camper, one of the goals was to not convert the truck any more than possible, so I could resell it as a utility vehicle when done with it.

All I had done was put gas in it, change the oil and put 2 new front tires on it.

So, I took out the 2x4 pine stud bed frame, table, chair and storage containers and it was back to a simple used cube van again in about 2 hours. I then sold it in about 2 days, I then sold it for 500 dollars more had paid for it 4 years earlier! So, it turned out fine and I loved every minute of it.

In hindsight, it was the PERFECT stealth vehicle. No one ever noticed a yellow cube truck in some parking lot. I had cops stop, flash a flashlight inside and drive away while I slept in the back.

Since then, I have down sized to my little 2002 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 pickup with a fiberglass shell bed in the back. I like the simplicity of this new setup very much. As an old man, it fits my lifestyle very much.

I bought an old travel trailer in a 55+ RV park in AZ for $1500 dollars. I now use that as a base for Tacoma travel adventures. I now go out for a few weeks and then return to the old trailer and plan my next adventure.

Always remember, SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY TO TRUE HAPPINESS! Well, at least I believe that it is. The less I have, the happier life seems to be for me. Less to own, pay tax on, register, maintain, move, protect, paint and worry about. Happiness comes from peace within. It requires peace, discipline, love and courage.

Bless all who followed my threads this long. See you on the road somewhere.

Peace,
From an old man.
Sounds like a blast!
 

Texas Aggie

Observer
Glad to hear The Wanderer is still out there doing things his way and enjoying life. Safe travels and enjoy future wanderings!
 

Umnak

Adventurer
avoidance

I've been thinking about a sign I can attach to our Sprinter, "Joe's Septic Service. You Dump It, We Pump It." Think it would be a way to keep folk away from the van when camped in city lots for the night.
DSCF8349.jpg
 

chromisdesigns

Adventurer
Until you get ticketed for having commercial signs on a private passenger vehicle (no commercial registration, no commercial plates, no commercial insurance(. Big fines.
 

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zb39

Adventurer
Since I don't have any inside heat or A/C, I travel with the seasons.

Florida this time of year is just about the hardest area I have found to "stealth" or pad camp. I was told it is because the department stores are pressured to keep anyone from overnight parking because the RV parks want to them to stay in their places ($$$). Plus, the wealthy locals don't want to "riff-raff" parking overnight in their little towns.

So, it requires a little more careful planning than other states. I try to stay well away from the tourist areas at night, like near the beaches. I have found the best places are on smaller state roads in central Florida. I then have to be careful to not be noticed sleeping in my truck at night. Tougher, but I manage.

Most department stores parking lots and strip malls have "tow-away" signs everywhere. So, be very careful where you decide to park.

"Signs, signs, everywhere a sign..." I understand how it got this way, but I don't believe that it has made the world a better or safer place.

Peace
It didn't get that way because of RV parks wanting to make money. It got that way because homeless people living in trucks do stupid things on there property and then sue the land owner.
 

Wanderer2

New member
I've been thinking about a sign I can attach to our Sprinter, "Joe's Septic Service. You Dump It, We Pump It." Think it would be a way to keep folk away from the van when camped in city lots for the night.
View attachment 322112
I mentioned this in an early post, but don't try to be clever. Stealth vehicles are not about breaking any laws or scamming anyone. Just be unnoticed, unseen, unimportant and a shadow to society. That is what "stealth" traveling/camping is all about. You could say that stealth living is a good way to live whether you are camping in a public place or living in a stick house in the burbs.

Don't try a place to hide your vehicle at night. I guarantee the cops will find you. Park right in front of everybody in plain sight. The key is to be unnoticed in plain sight. Spend the day parked somewhere else than where you plan to sleep. Then go to your sleeping place after dark. I like to park right under a parking lot light at night. I spent 4 years living like this and I still do at times. I never had any trouble unless I broke my own rules.

Trust me, trying to present yourself as something you are not will bite you in the *** sooner or later.

Just leave your van plain, unlettered and simple. Keep it clean. Keep your clothes washed. Don't drop any water or trash around the van at night. Don't carry ANY open bottles of alcohol, ever. If you feel like having a drink or two in your van, do it while it's still daylight out and then discard the bottle/container far away from the van before going to bed. Never carry a loaded gun. Keep your driver's license and insurance up to date. That is the first thing they ask for. They are just looking for some excuse to search your van. Don't give them a reason to. Cops always check in the middle of the night.

Just my thoughts. Do what feels right for you. I hope that helps you some.

Peace
 

Wanderer2

New member
It didn't get that way because of RV parks wanting to make money. It got that way because homeless people living in trucks do stupid things on there property and then sue the land owner.
I respectfully disagree. Yes, some idiots do give stealth parking a bad name, but I personally feel it is about too many laws and too many lawyers.

Just my opinion.
 

zb39

Adventurer
I respectfully disagree. Yes, some idiots do give stealth parking a bad name, but I personally feel it is about too many laws and too many lawyers.

Just my opinion.
I respect your opinion, but my experience has been different. I own many commercial properties. Mostly apt complexes, but also some strip malls and mini marts. Just today I had to ask someone to leave who was parked at a complex. And I live in a very small town. I understand the whole stealth thing. I have driven to 49 states in the last 23 years on vacation. I spent many nights in one of our motorhomes just parked in a rest area, truck stop, or wally world. I just don't park on private property, unless it is one of those. You are allowed to park there. I don't see any reason to park anywhere else. I have over 150k miles in motorhomes and have never been asked to move when parked there. When we get to a place we want to explore, I get a campground and we use the tow car. Happy New Year.
 

Wanderer2

New member
I respect your opinion, but my experience has been different. I own many commercial properties. Mostly apt complexes, but also some strip malls and mini marts. Just today I had to ask someone to leave who was parked at a complex. And I live in a very small town. I understand the whole stealth thing. I have driven to 49 states in the last 23 years on vacation. I spent many nights in one of our motorhomes just parked in a rest area, truck stop, or wally world. I just don't park on private property, unless it is one of those. You are allowed to park there. I don't see any reason to park anywhere else. I have over 150k miles in motorhomes and have never been asked to move when parked there. When we get to a place we want to explore, I get a campground and we use the tow car. Happy New Year.
Almost everywhere in America is becoming, "private property", fenced, gated, posted and restricted. Fifty years ago, you could just pull of of the side of a road and sleep at night. Now you are sure to be hassled by the local red-neck cop. Make one little mistake and it then escalates.

All national, state and regional parks now charge to enter and camp. They used to be free to enter. National forest are now putting up posted, no camping signs everywhere. Most public parking lots are doing the same.

You call that freedom? You want people to buy from your companies and then you want them to pay to park their camper on down the road. If I had a choice, I'd run you out of business for your arrogant and greedy crap. But, I realize that this madness will continue to escalate until there are no free places let in America to sleep free at night.

Stealth Camping is NOT the answer! It is only a stop-gap solution. It is just my way of working around the madness caused by people like you. And this madness is only just beginning.

And people like you LOVE it...
 

luk4mud

Explorer
Almost everywhere in America is becoming, "private property", fenced, gated, posted and restricted. Fifty years ago, you could just pull of of the side of a road and sleep at night. Now you are sure to be hassled by the local red-neck cop. Make one little mistake and it then escalates.

All national, state and regional parks now charge to enter and camp. They used to be free to enter. National forest are now putting up posted, no camping signs everywhere. Most public parking lots are doing the same.

You call that freedom? You want people to buy from your companies and then you want them to pay to park their camper on down the road. If I had a choice, I'd run you out of business for your arrogant and greedy crap. But, I realize that this madness will continue to escalate until there are no free places let in America to sleep free at night.

Stealth Camping is NOT the answer! It is only a stop-gap solution. It is just my way of working around the madness caused by people like you. And this madness is only just beginning.

And people like you LOVE it...
Ouch. Who are "people like you"? A guy who owns apartment buildings and commercial buildings, travels and camps by following the rules is now the "arrogant and greedy" enemy? We used to consider such people to be success stories and good citizens.

I love a good remote CG. I rarely camp in an organized one. So I share your desire to get away. Your "home base" state is made up of over 12 million acres of public land, that's 40% of your state. And you cant find a good/ free place to camp? Let me know if you need me to show you a few in your state, there are some great ones. I'd enjoy having a beer with you and hearing your perspective on things.
 

Umnak

Adventurer
Until you get ticketed for having commercial signs on a private passenger vehicle (no commercial registration, no commercial plates, no commercial insurance(. Big fines.
and


I mentioned this in an early post, but don't try to be clever. Stealth vehicles are not about breaking any laws or scamming anyone. Just be unnoticed, unseen, unimportant and a shadow to society. That is what "stealth" traveling/camping is all about. You could say that stealth living is a good way to live whether you are camping in a public place or living in a stick house in the burbs...

I hope that helps you some.

Peace

Fortunately, there are no commercial license plates in Alaska. And with no offer of business, then no need for a license. And, it was suppose to be funny. A septic sign would put people off of snooping in a van, as opposed to a carpenter or plumber. Our Sprinter couldn't be confused as anything but a camper van with the windows and blinds.

That being said, we have stayed in ferry terminal lots, trail heads and a hotel lot over the past year. Seems to work if one isn't foolish about it.
 
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