A Guide to Stealth camping

A Guide to Stealth camping
Paganism is a nature-based spiritual path and as such usually involves a lot of travelling and, on occasion, camping in the great outdoors. Where today’s Pagans tend to come unstuck is that most of them are urban dwellers and the great outdoors is not as familiar to them as it was to their ancestors. Only with experiences like the ones described below did I realise how fortunate I was to have grown up learning how to live in harmony with my environment, be it wilderness or urban jungle. Camping is one way of regaining this integration with the land, but most camping these days is restricted to designated sites which mostly have a civilised “Bubble” around them. Because of this some Pagans practice Stealth Camping, which is camping covertly in nature unnoticed by other people and thus being more able to attune to the energies of the land.

From when I was 4 years old until I was 6 my Dad, who was in the Royal Navy, My family was posted to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Today Mauritius is known as one of THE luxury resort islands to go to on holiday, but in the 1960’s it was undeveloped and used mainly by the RN as a relay station for rebroadcasting signals via the ionosphere because this was the era before satellite communications. Mauritius was also a base of operations for UK special forces to engage in “proactive diplomacy” in various parts of the Far East. My Dad taught at the Signals School there, I don’t know if he went on any missions but his friends certainly did. They also used to go snorkelling at the local beaches frequently arriving the evening before to catch the dawn tides for the best conditions and camped overnight.

I didn’t realise how unusual the camps they made were until years later when camping as part of my school’s Combined Cadet Force. In Mauritius you could go ten paces from most of the camps, turn around and not know they were there. Even the fire was in a special pit in the ground, or its equivalent of coffee/oil tin lined construction on the beach, with optional hot rocks so that it stayed hot for longer without needing a lot of fuel. Conventional camping with the tent in plain sight seems very odd to me as it leaves the tent vulnerable to the elements. It is also lot colder and draughtier than the practice of digging a pit between two and four feet deep and lining it with insulation such as heather or leaves. Then covering that with a groundsheet and 'roofing' the now quite comfortable hollow with the main body of the tent. The groundsheet and tent were then folded in together a few times and the edge weighted or pinned by tent pegs set at an angle and covered with earth to seal it against animals and insects working their way in. Then the tent forming the roof of the hollow was covered with a layer of sand/soil and sometimes other items in the environment to make it blend in,

What to do with the soil or sand dug out making the hollow can be a problem. In the case of my Dad and his friends they used to fill sandbags, or old mailbags, with it and place them nearby. It wasn’t unusual at the beach for the bags to be turned into ‘furniture’ in the water near the beach so that you could sit in the sea in a chair made out of sandbags, and even eat off a sandbag table. In stealth camping using this technique it is always considered part of good camping that you fill in any holes you dig for living and cooking so as not to endanger other people or animals. Ideally when you leave the area should look as if it had never been used as a campsite, in addition to the filling in of any holes all organic rubbish should be burnt and all inorganic rubbish plus equipment taken away.

Some people like to use the same area for camping several times a year and in this case you can leave some of your paraphernalia in the filled in hole rather than carrying everything to it and back every time. If you do this there are several things to remember:
If you bury food, be it traditional sustenance such as pemmican, or dried fish, or modern items like military rations, tins, and pasta, it has to be buried deep and well wrapped otherwise the local wildlife will help themselves.
From my and other people’s experience the minimum depth is three foot (about a meter) or more and a layer of a strong smelling and antiseptic plant such as Juniper, Pine, or Lavender should surround any supplies. Both to mask the scent of food and help keep the foodstuff fresh
If you are going to use ‘airtight’ containers such as Tupperware, then the best way is to place several inside each other with a packet of silica crystals or other desiccant in each box. Bury the containers lid side down so that any animals trying to dig up the container waste time scrabbling at the base of the box and might give up.
Another burial system is to use PVC pipe with a screw top cap. As with the Tupperware bury several inside each other with desiccant crystals in each one.
If you are going to leave the area undisturbed for some time, if possible leave a sack or two of earth concealed nearby because the earth you fill the hole in with compacts with time. No matter how much you walk, stamp, or jump up and down on the earth you fill a hole in with it will still sink under the effects of natural weathering over time. The only exception to this is if you have buried stuff in the sand or earth of a cave when it takes a much longer. Then, if you can nip back there for the day, you can re-cover the site with fresh soil and erase any sign of the burial if the weathering is obvious
To really secure your property scatter bits of magnetic metal in the top layer of your burial. A Pagan friend of mine once went through the ashes of a November 5th bonfire and gathered all the old nails, springs (from an old mattress) and other ferrous bits from it. Then, when he decided on a site to stay at for a week or so during the Solstices and buried most of his camping and heavier ritual gear there, he scattered these all over the area and covered them with soil. The area was popular with amateur metal detector groups at the time, but was soon given a wide berth by them because of all the ‘rubbish’ they kept finding and he was able to go about his rituals in peace.
Hopefully this simple guide will help you if you decide to practice Stealth camping whether to attune to the energies of the land or work with a earth energy nexus. Just remember to respect the land and leave no trace of your occupation of it when you leave.

You Should Also Read:
The Art of Caching
The Art of Invisibility
The Art of Caching – Non burial methods

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