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Best Camouflage for Stealth Camping

Stealth Hammock Camping

People often ask me what kind of shelter is best for stealth camping. The answer varies depending on the type of stealth camping you want to do. If you’re out backpacking and decide to stay at a site where camping is uncommon due to heavy day use (be sure to check local regulations), then you’re going to want a shelter, like a hammock, tarp, or small tent that has a low profile and whose color blends with the local vegetation or geology.

Dark green, grey or camouflage colored shelters will usually ensure your privacy in these circumstances, particularly, if you pitch them at dusk when the light around you is poor. If you’re stealth camping because you want to get away from other loud campers or you are trying to avoid a bear encounter by camping in a virgin spot that does not have the lingering scent of human food, then any type of shelter or color should do.


  1. This tarp, with the mural of cows, is cute. Unfortunately, a cow does not look much different than a deer to a drunken hunter. Cows would be unlikely to be seen far in the woods, so even a sober hunter would be reasonable to think they were deer. Miles from a road, more than a few hunters feel there is no such thing as a hunting season. Using a tarp like this at any time of year would be a little less safe than wearing antlers, a tan jacket and a white ballon on your butt. If you are going to camouflage yourself, it is probably wise not to choose to look like a target.

  2. I wasn't being literal here. I also thought the photo, which is linked from Chris Cowell's blog at

    was cute and fit the topic.

  3. I'm always hearing about these drunken hunters shooting cows but in 45 years of hunting have only read three stories about it in the Media but have heard hundreds of word of mouth. One true story was where the Hunter shot the Deer and the bullet went through the Deer to hit a cow who was in a field beyond the Deer. The other was a real drunk from New York City and the other another drunk from Los Angeles. So I sure would like to hear some real truthful stories if anyone has one… Anyway onto the subject at hand..Since Hiking in the 70's became popular I have found myself forced to stealth camp for a number of reasons and well they are all Human.

    I enjoy the peace found only in nature and watching wildlife and catching stream trout and both require quiet, which you do not find much of these days in established campsites, especially with one of those "Tree Hugger Tours" with rude, obnoxious Elitist rich people, scaring up the trails who give little back of the millions they make back to trail maintainence..

    My shelter of choice started out as a plain canvas tarp which I rolled up into, whihc was a a real pain should it rain and nature call..This was followed by a number of different tarps made out of different materials up to including Bivys and their off spring in various forms, on which I wasted a few hard earned hundred dollars on, that are still on the market today for about $208…

    Today I use only use four items exclusively; 1. My Tarp Tent for 3 seasons use 2. My Military Issue Bivy bag in Camoflage, especially for winter hiking. 3. A one man Bivy tent in camoflage from Treated with extra silicone, I really like how it rolls up into a tiny little bundle. 4. A Sportsman Blanket in Olive Drab to provide an awning for the Bivy Bag and Bivy Tent. I used a silicone Tarp but found I had leakage problems as well as melting issues from campfires. The Sportsman's blanket has a metalized side that reflects heat back to you and is 100% waterproof. I just wish they made them about a foot wider and longer…

    I make sure I camp at least 500 yards away from estblished sites and at least 200 yards off the trail in the thickest set of trees or rocks I can find. I rely on my Sno-Peak stove for cooking and if I have a fire, it is no bigger than the inside of a Baseball Hat. One would be surprised at how much heat a fire that size puts out, plus you can get closer to it and it is easier to control and feed than the towering infernos todays kids build and then have to stand back 40 feet from it….

  4. I just updated my equipment and bought the new Bivy from Outdoor Research. It should be here next week some time. I purchased the "Highland Bivy" over their other Bivy's for one bug main reason.. The is called Fossil and if the color was true on the internet it should blend in well with the background for my Stealth Camps, if not, I will return it…Either way I'll write you a note here to let you know what I think of it and how the test weekend progressed.

  5. Cool – never heard of the Highland model. Must be new.

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