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Thread: A question about stealth or not stealth van

  1. #1

    A question about stealth or not stealth van

    Okay another question for those fellow van dwellers particularly the non stealthy ones.

    Currently my van is pretty stealthy. So much so I guy last night before work thought it had been abandoned despite me just finishing up washing my pans in the back.

    But... I was wondering how you guys with less stealthy/clearly house vans how to you find parking up and free camping?

    Do you happily park in laybys etc? I remember one of you guys (sorry cant remember who) commenting some time ago about feeling safer being less stealthy.

    The reason I'm asking is I have a crazy idea of having a non pop up roof bed. Sort of DIY high roof/bunk. Obviously such a project would make me less stealthy and clearly a camper.

    Just a mad idea at the moment. Maybe a summer project once I've redone the load space. I've just put so much work into my little van I dont want to get rid of it even though a bigger van would be great. It just might be an option for a permanent bed set up.

    Thanks again 😊



  2. #2
    My van can't be described as 'stealthy ' if you tried hard, and the camper I had before was an obvious campervan (being a coach build ). I have parked anywhere and everywhere, and not yet had any trouble. But I don't park for more than one night in any one place, and never leave any rubbish, or show off to the outside.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Transitvan View Post
    My van can't be described as 'stealthy ' if you tried hard, and the camper I had before was an obvious campervan (being a coach build ). I have parked anywhere and everywhere, and not yet had any trouble. But I don't park for more than one night in any one place, and never leave any rubbish, or show off to the outside.
    I never spend more than one night in a row in one location but I'm building a rotation. I tend not to use residential areas anyway.

    I've just seen a ton of american truck self build campers. I'm thinking a DIY sleep pod on top of my van would be doable. Something light weight but durable.


  4. #4
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    I just read a huuuuge thread on a Polish forum, the guy there wanted to be stealthy as he wants to live in his van. Over a year in, he said he is no longer willing to do that - and he spent last several months in the UK. He said that he never had any bother with wild camping, while on the other hand stealth campers are not welcome in some posh campings.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by orys View Post
    I just read a huuuuge thread on a Polish forum, the guy there wanted to be stealthy as he wants to live in his van. Over a year in, he said he is no longer willing to do that - and he spent last several months in the UK. He said that he never had any bother with wild camping, while on the other hand stealth campers are not welcome in some posh campings.
    Yeah I was in touch with a camping club asking if self builds are welcome on certified sites. They pretty much said windows would be needed some I'm guessing a stealth van would be out of the question. The more I get used to it the less bothered I am I think.

    I guess an overt campervan would possibly mean more freedom. And more space if I let my seed of an idea sprout.


  6. #6
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Stealth vehicles stick out in the (wild) like up to no good. Fly tippers, burglars, broken down work vehicles (with Tools in Yey) its swings and roundabouts, folk don't expect commercial vehicles in quiet field gateways or Country lanes and folk dont expect lived in campers in a high street. If your a camper in a remote place it will attracted one kind of attention. If your a commercial stealth vehicle in the same location it will attract another kind of attention. One attention will be to nick contents, wheels
    , engine, vehicle, report vehicle abandoned. Other attention will plague the arse off of you until they get bored or you move home. Nick valuable personal items. Report you and your vehicle for camping
    even a gypsy caravan is too much settling down.

  7. #7
    Ha yeah I had a run in with someone last night reporting my "abandoned" vehicle. I was parked in a quiet layby/truck stop on an industrial estate before starting my nightshift. I was there from 3pm till about 10. I happened to leave my drivers window open like an idiot.

    I heard a vehicle outside and then some saying "I dont wanna get my finger prints on it!"

    I jumped out. It turned out the guy had been past ealier and clocked my van with ita window open. He was on the phone to the police.

    I guess this is why I've considering overt. That and trying to find a country park up the other night but my transit just looks like a pikey van just not as new 😂


  8. #8
    Shed Junkie alices wonderland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    Ha yeah I had a run in with someone last night reporting my "abandoned" vehicle. I was parked in a quiet layby/truck stop on an industrial estate before starting my nightshift. I was there from 3pm till about 10. I happened to leave my drivers window open like an idiot.

    I heard a vehicle outside and then some saying "I dont wanna get my finger prints on it!"

    I jumped out. It turned out the guy had been past ealier and clocked my van with ita window open. He was on the phone to the police.

    I guess this is why I've considering overt. That and trying to find a country park up the other night but my transit just looks like a pikey van just not as new 😂
    We were pulled out of a pub for questioning one at a time. They had a report that we were sheep rustling. I had parked down a quite Country lane. The coppers wanted to check out our stories. They were really pissed off because my two dogs wouldn't let the police near my vehicle to check it out. If we hadn't have already drunk too much they would have delighted in taking us down to the station.

  9. #9
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    Totally agree with the fact that a normal van in a spot where there are normally no vans at night does look far more suspicious than a campervan who more than likely is camping up for the night.
    A beware of the dog sticker or plaque in the window and a bowl of water by the door keeps a lot of people away too. Use a cheap bowl though as someone may nick it !!!!
    Here in france,I have once in the last 16 years of parking up had the police come over to the vehicle,and they just wanted to check that all was well and that I had not broken down. Well,thats what they said,and to be honest I did believe them. Maybe a tad of curiosity too !!
    I did exagerate a bit then as for a 7 or 8 of those years I was in a yurt.
    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)

  10. #10
    Transcending Ecobob's Avatar
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    Round these parts it is quite common to see campers parked up, even in the car park there are regular 'over nighters' as it's a touristy area, no body really pays much attention to it.
    However they tend to be more suspicious of vans parked up, there have been instances of fly tippers, burglaries, poaching, and the like and the sight of a van parked in, say a field entrance would arouse more suspicion than a camper in a layby.
    Any resemblance to actual persons living, dead, or undead, is purely coincidental
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  11. #11
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    To me real stealth can only be done in a busy residential road, by looking like a tradesman's van owned by one of the residents or visiting one of the residents. Where better to hide a vehicle than in a long row of other vehicles? And one night only

    I don't pull in until 10pm and I'm gone just after 6am. Then I go and find somewhere else to cook breakfast. They don't even know I've been there.

    Sod car parks and deserted lay-bys, far too exposed and vunerable

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
    To me real stealth can only be done in a busy residential road, by looking like a tradesman's van owned by one of the residents or visiting one of the residents. Where better to hide a vehicle than in a long row of other vehicles? And one night only

    I don't pull in until 10pm and I'm gone just after 6am. Then I go and find somewhere else to cook breakfast. They don't even know I've been there.

    Sod car parks and deserted lay-bys, far too exposed and vunerable
    I have only done residential once but maybe I should look to do it more.

    I've tended to use lay bys but maybe more for avoiding detection and not really considering other safety issues.

    Mind I'm into my 3rd week of daytime sleeping so I just look like a van pulled over for some rest in laybys at the minute. A long 7 hour rest mind


  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
    To me real stealth can only be done in a busy residential road, by looking like a tradesman's van owned by one of the residents or visiting one of the residents. Where better to hide a vehicle than in a long row of other vehicles? And one night only

    I don't pull in until 10pm and I'm gone just after 6am. Then I go and find somewhere else to cook breakfast. They don't even know I've been there.

    Sod car parks and deserted lay-bys, far too exposed and vunerable
    I have only done residential once but maybe I should look to do it more.

    I've tended to use lay bys but maybe more for avoiding detection and not really considering other safety issues.

    Mind I'm into my 3rd week of daytime sleeping so I just look like a van pulled over for some rest in laybys at the minute. A long 7 hour rest mind


  14. #14
    Jesus is not your friend Fire-Tree's Avatar
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    I'm in the same stealth vs camper decision.

    Spend an unnecessarily large amount of time in London, and this requires more stealth, but feel 'boring' when I see all the other campers.

    Got stopped by police as they thought we were crimimals hiding in the woods.

    Once people find out its a camper, they're normally very friendly - except when you've gyyped up a Sainsbury's car park.
    Blog: Experiencing England in a car with no money

  15. #15
    Well being stealth paid off today. Although I decided to break the "rules" of stealth.

    Being on night shifts I parked up at 6:20 slept till 2pm moved at 2:15 from a lovely quiet residential street. A cul de sac without a through road.

    I think I'll explore that area some when I'm back on normal shifts.


  16. #16
    Heavenly Creature itinerant child's Avatar
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    The sound of you being on shifts makes me think that you are in a factory or hospital or some other business or enterprise that has land with it. Is it not possible for you to chat with your employers and park up sur place ?
    anything is possible,that my friends is a mathematical certainty ;-)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by itinerant child View Post
    The sound of you being on shifts makes me think that you are in a factory or hospital or some other business or enterprise that has land with it. Is it not possible for you to chat with your employers and park up sur place ?
    Yeah I work in a factory.

    I'm pretty sure some lads at work may be guessing my living arrangements but so far I've not wanted to discuss it. Not sure why though.

    If I was to park there some sod would no doubt hammer on the van or something. They're a real grown up bunch haha.

    Initially when I started nights 3 weeks ago I spent a night (well day) at my mams to get the comments of "the way your living doesnt work when you have to do overtime".

    So me being me decided I needed to make it work. It actually hasnt been too bad. I've found a quiet long stay pay and display carpark that fills up early and no one else around all day because they're all working. I used it once but its good to know about. I'm not too concerned about staying in laybys during the day as to most people passing I look like a van stopped for a rest.

    I'm loving the fact I can drive for 5 minutes and get straight to bed in my own bed when before I had a 30min drive 😊

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  18. #18
    Transcending popuptoaster's Avatar
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    There are campers and caravans all over the place on industrial estates round London, some obviously lived in and mobile and some with moss, flat tyres and council notices on with a removal date. if you dont make a mess, dont stay in the same place more than one or two nights a week you'll probably get little to no trouble in the majority of places.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by popuptoaster View Post
    There are campers and caravans all over the place on industrial estates round London, some obviously lived in and mobile and some with moss, flat tyres and council notices on with a removal date. if you dont make a mess, dont stay in the same place more than one or two nights a week you'll probably get little to no trouble in the majority of places.
    Industrial areas a great on weekends.

    Very quiet


  20. #20
    Transcending popuptoaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
    To me real stealth can only be done in a busy residential road, by looking like a tradesman's van owned by one of the residents or visiting one of the residents. Where better to hide a vehicle than in a long row of other vehicles? And one night only

    I don't pull in until 10pm and I'm gone just after 6am. Then I go and find somewhere else to cook breakfast. They don't even know I've been there.

    Sod car parks and deserted lay-bys, far too exposed and vunerable
    Park a strange van in my road (or the surrounding ones) and the residents association are on it within minutes, there's building site near us currently and the tradesmen have all been banished in less than a week of parking round here.

    We have trouble with commuter parking so any time something pulls up the curtains start twitching and the owner is watched to see where he/she goes, if you are going to park in a residential street best make sure it's not one that already has parking problems or you'll be hassled.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by popuptoaster View Post
    Park a strange van in my road (or the surrounding ones) and the residents association are on it within minutes, there's building site near us currently and the tradesmen have all been banished in less than a week of parking round here.

    We have trouble with commuter parking so any time something pulls up the curtains start twitching and the owner is watched to see where he/she goes, if you are going to park in a residential street best make sure it's not one that already has parking problems or you'll be hassled.
    Its something I'm going to look into more but I think this is when being able to get to the back from the cab easily would pay off.

    Around hull there are areas that are very busy for parking so busy in fact all the cars shuffle up and down the street depending on where a spot is. My brothers street is a prime example. I've parked up down there over christmas but then my van is registered there after all.

    Where I parked today was alongside a hedge and not infront of someones windows. Its mostly the new build areas that have major issues with parking. Developers are so tight now.


  22. #22
    Heavenly Creature
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    Quote Originally Posted by popuptoaster View Post
    Park a strange van in my road (or the surrounding ones) and the residents association are on it within minutes, there's building site near us currently and the tradesmen have all been banished in less than a week of parking round here.

    We have trouble with commuter parking so any time something pulls up the curtains start twitching and the owner is watched to see where he/she goes, if you are going to park in a residential street best make sure it's not one that already has parking problems or you'll be hassled.
    If it's an unregulated street, and the vehicle is street legal, I don't see how the residents can do anything about it.
    That said, that's exactly why I don't like domestic streets. I much prefer industrial areas.

  23. #23
    Transcending popuptoaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanwoman84 View Post
    If it's an unregulated street, and the vehicle is street legal, I don't see how the residents can do anything about it.
    That said, that's exactly why I don't like domestic streets. I much prefer industrial areas.

    You can complain of "nuisance parking" even if technically it's legal, our particular street not straight and its not that wide, a couple of residents have been refused garage conversions on the ground that it would put more cars on the street and cause safety issues so they (I include my landlady in this) feel they have the right to stop extra parking as the council seem to think its not safe.

    You can also complain to the traffic commissioner about "large vehicles" if they are regularly parked in the same spot, he/she has discretion to decide if a transit van or a 40 tonner is in the way and causing problems.

  24. #24
    Heavenly Creature Shroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popuptoaster View Post
    You can complain of "nuisance parking" even if technically it's legal, our particular street not straight and its not that wide, a couple of residents have been refused garage conversions on the ground that it would put more cars on the street and cause safety issues so they (I include my landlady in this) feel they have the right to stop extra parking as the council seem to think its not safe.

    You can also complain to the traffic commissioner about "large vehicles" if they are regularly parked in the same spot, he/she has discretion to decide if a transit van or a 40 tonner is in the way and causing problems.
    I had this parked up outside my mothers , thats my black bus but on occasions there is a car parked up there so I put her where the 2 lil blue cars are (there is a driveway between my bus and them in the pic that I do not block),once I did and the police came knocking about complaints from 'proper' bus drivers saying that they could not see the bus stop pictured until it was too late to stop , its a 30mph limit ffs........

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