Urban camping, boondocking, pirate camping, stealth camping… whatever you want to call it, it’s free. Basically, urban camping is street camping.
Early on in our vanlife days we found ourselves up in Carmel, California without a place to stay for the night. We drove into a fuel station and drew the curtains within the bus. Then we deployed the bed, made the bed up with linens for the night, and prepared ourselves to hit the sack. Next, we found a parking spot on a residential street, parked, turned out the lights and climbed into our bunk for the night.
In the morning, you roll out of bed and climb in the drivers seat. Start her up and drive to Starbucks for a coffee and a bathroom break. Simple, no?
Now, this isn’t exactly legal, and probably not for the faint of heart because you won’t be getting any shut eye if you’re worrying about being asked to move on. If possible, finding a private and safe spot where you can rest for the night is much better than an unsafe side-of-the-road option. But, ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” EXACTLY… “tap, tap, tap… is anybody in there?” Ignore it, or answer and then move on. The beauty of the VW bus is that it is small and insignificant, it doesn’t stick out in a lineup of vehicles on a street like an RV would. Since our first night of boondocking in Carmel way back when, we’ve practiced this type of camping time and time again.
8 Tips for Urban Camping
1. Park Somewhere Safe
Safety should always be your #1 priority. If you don’t feel right about it, move on. You won’t get any sleep worrying anyways.
2. Stay Quiet
Try to blend in to your environment. Don’t make it obvious that you’re in the bus. Keep noise to a minimum.
3. Leave Early in the Morning
When parking in neighborhoods, try to leave before people start driving off to work. This way you can avoid confrontation and you can catch an awesome sunrise and surf sesh.
4. Have a Clear Path to the Driver Seat
Always clear a path to the driver seat in case of an emergency, where you can easily start or stop the bus immediately.
5. Check for “No Trespassing” & “Private Property” Signs
This is pretty obvious but always check your surroundings.
6. Move to a Different Location Each Night
Don’t stay at the same location each night to avoid suspicion from locals.
7. Plan Ahead
Have in mind where you want to stay each night. This will eliminate any anxiety that may arise from not knowing where you will be camping each night.
8. Clean Up & Have Fun
Respect the location you camp at. Leave your area cleaner than you found it. Remember, every moment is apart of the adventure. Even the midnight knocks to move locations… Have fun!!!
Are you ready to go urban camping? Adventure Awaits.