Stealth camping is a way of secretly camping either in a private or even public place. You move on the next morning, and no one is the wiser that you spent the night. It is a great way to locate free places to camp, and it allows you to uncover some really great camping locations.
There are plenty of tips to follow when considering stealth camping. The first major step is finding the best tent for stealth camping. Here, we’ve outlined the top five. We’ve also included a buying guide, so you know exactly what to look for when choosing your tent.
This tent from River Country Products makes our list for a few reasons. One of these is how simple and fast it is to set up. With this, you will be in an out of your campsite in virtually no time at all.
This tent is ideal for one person with gear or two people without gear. It is very compact, which means that it will fit right in your camping backpack.
This tent does not come with trekking poles. So, you’ll need to either use ones you already have or purchase new ones. You can also use just about any stick that is over 42 inches tall if you don’t have poles available.
With this stealth camping tent from River Country Products, you do get a carry bag and stakes, making it hassle-free to transport and set up this tent.
We like that despite the small and compact size of this tent, there is still plenty of interior room. It measures over five feet wide and over seven feet tall. It weighs less than three pounds and is really easy to carry, as well.
We also really like that this tent is so easy to put up and to take down. As such, it should cause no delay in moving quickly. Finally, it is so compact that it really won’t add much weight or bulk to your pack.
We would prefer it if trekking poles were included in the purchase. Nonetheless, at least a stick would work, as well. You can even tie it between two trees if you didn’t have poles or a stick.
We would prefer not having to depend on finding a stick, especially when it is likely you’ll be setting up a tent for stealth camping in the dark.
This tent from Marmot made our list given that it is freestanding and can fit two people easily and comfortably.
This two-person tent has a super-sized double door that makes it easy to get in and out. It has a freestanding design, two doors, and vents for air circulation. It can be used in three seasons.
The fly and floor are made from 68D polyester taffeta. The canopy is made from 100% polyester mesh. It has double walls and a roomy interior.
We really like that there are two doors. This is ideal when camping with another person. This tent is also quite easy to set up and to take down. We also like that it is made from polyester, which is great at standing up against tears and abrasions.
We don’t like the weight of this tent. It is over five pounds, which is actually quite heavy for a tent that is going to be used for stealth camping.
This pick from Vango makes our list because of its professional construction and proven durability.
This tent is highly waterproof and is made from a really durable fabric. It comes with alloy poles that are color-coded, which makes it really easy to set up.
The entrance to the tent has a full mesh door, so you’ll be able to keep the bugs out while also getting a good amount of ventilation. There are two flysheet doors. This is a great tent option if you plan on stealth camping with at least one other person. If you are alone, you can use the extra space for storage, if needed.
There are also several reflective points on this tent. It has a tunnel design, as well, which means that there is both an entrance door and an internal door.
We like that there’s plenty of space in this tent. Having the entrance and internal doors means there is plenty of space for storing supplies and materials. The design also offers some protection in poor weather conditions. We also really like that the tent is durable and made to be waterproof.
We don’t love that this tent has several reflective points. In general, this isn’t bad. However, for stealth camping, you obviously do not want to make yourself more visible.
This camping tent from Chillbo comes in a variety of colors and designs. It is also backed by a lifetime guarantee.
This tent is marketed as a two-person tent but could also be used to house up to three people, if needed. It has a covered entryway, wind responsive frame, and full coverage flysheet. There is also a no-see-um mesh that keeps bugs out.
It comes in six different custom patterns. The camouflage pattern is likely the best option if you want to stay hidden while stealth camping. It has 2000mm waterproofing, two internal pockets for storage, and cross-wound poles.
We like that this product comes with a lifetime guarantee. We also really like that it uses cross-wound poles to add to its durability. We like the waterproofing as well as how spacious the tent is, even despite its compactness.
This tent is quite heavy. All in all, it weighs about eight pounds, which would make it very hard to carry around with you.
We chose this camping tent to give you a larger option. You can use this when stealth camping with others or when you have extra storage needs.
This tent comfortably holds three to four campers. It is made using 100% waterproof, 2500mm, 190T polyurethane-laminated polyester. It offers UV protection, as well, thanks to its thermoplastic coating.
The tent has an anti-fungus floor material, which prevents leaks and helps keep you dry. The tent uses no-see-um polyester mesh so that you stay protected from bugs.
This tent has great construction, ranging from its high waterproof rating to the UV protection and the anti-fungus floor materials.
We like its sturdy frame, which uses Non-Flex technology. The oversized zippers make it easy to open even if you have gloves on.
This tent is pretty spacious, which is good, generally. However, for stealth camping, it is a bit large. It is also quite heavy at just under eight pounds.
There are a few key considerations you should keep in mind when selecting the best tent for stealth camping. We’ve highlighted the top ones here.
If you are planning on stealth camping, you will likely find that you are camping in areas that are out of sight and off the beaten path. For this reason, it’s always recommended that you choose a tent that is lightweight.
You don’t want to be lugging a heavy tent around with you, especially as you maneuver around landscaping that will hide you while camping. This makes this tent a good choice.
The entire point of stealth camping is to stay hidden, which means that you will likely need to navigate some hard areas. You don’t want a heavy tent to weigh you down while you find the perfect spot.
The measure of your tent material’s water resistance is known as its hydrostatic head rating. That rating measures the height of a column of water that your tent can withstand before it allows water to leak through.
For example, if the rating is 5000mm for your tent, this means that the fabric can hold water with a column height of 5000mm.
In general, you want your stealth camping tent to be as small as possible. You want to take into account how many others will be camping with you. If it is just you, limit your tent size to as close to the size of your sleeping bag as possible.
You aren’t likely going to have a lot with you if you plan on stealth camping, so having a larger tent is most cumbersome. It will take longer to put up and longer to disassemble.
You don’t need to waste time putting something up that has more space than you need. Instead, you want to be in and out of your campsite quickly. That is much easier to do with a smaller tent.
Bear in mind that if you plan on stealth camping with others, you will need to take that fact into consideration when selecting the size of your tent. Again, try to choose a tent that is the same size as the sleeping bags it will hold. So, if you are camping with two other people, try to select a tent that is the same size as the three sleeping bags.
Most tents are made from either a polyester blend or nylon. Usually, family tents will be made from a polyester blend. On the other hand, nylon is used in lighter weight tents. It is up to you which material you prefer.
Both polyester and nylon make for an affordable tent. They are both more lightweight than natural fabric, and they both dry quickly. They also require very little maintenance, which is great when considering the best tent for stealth camping.
Both materials are also more resistant to damage, such as tears and rips. However, neither of the two provides a whole lot of protection from the elements, so that is something to keep in mind.
Tents that are made from cotton are typically better at giving you some insulation. On the other hand, tents made from polyester and nylon are more likely to fade over time because of the constant exposure to the sun.
How you assemble the tent is another big consideration. The best tent for stealth camping is going to be one that is very easy and quick to set up.
You also want it to be just as easy and straightforward to take down. You’ll be leaving camping early in the morning, likely right after you wake up. Hence, you don’t want the tent to take a long time to disassemble.
In general, stealth camping is not considered illegal. The majority of the time, you are just camping in an undeveloped, wild area. In most instances, the reason for camping is really just to stay out of sight and get some rest.
Then again, it can also be illegal. As such, you want to pay attention to any trespassing laws.
You want to make sure you cover your tracks. This is the first step in hiding your campsite. It includes covering your footsteps and any bicycle tracks, if that applies.
Pay attention to any branches you break along the way, too. You want to keep nature as undisturbed as possible. This will prevent people from finding your site.
For the most part, the answer is yes. The only exception is when you enter private land. In that case, you want to make sure you get permission before pitching a tent.
A good estimate for how far away a campfire can be seen is roughly 3.1 miles. That distance can actually be greater if the person looking at you is doing so from higher ground. You also will need to take into account any weird terrain or landscaping, which can also impact visibility.
It isn’t necessary, but it is always a good idea to put a tarp under your tent. Doing so can prevent your tent from getting any holes or tears. A tarp can also help prevent any moisture from soaking into your tent.
Any one of the five options here could easily be considered the best tent for stealth camping. However, we have chosen the River Country Products Trekker Tent 2 as our top choice. It is very easy to set up and has a minimalist design, making it ideal for stealth camping.