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Steathy in California


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Hi All, ( I meant stealthy in the title)

I hope I'm not wearing the forums out but I'm on the bubble about whether to jump into RV life or not and which type of vehicle is right for me.

Having been raised in southern California mostly, I want to spend time there. I am solo. I am curious about those of you who have had or have small or intermediate size RVs and don't stay in RV parks. Being able to "not" plan ahead very much or make reservations I have dreamed of just driving and pulling over when I'm tired and finding a safe night spot and just roaming all over northern and southern California. There is an inert hippy inside of me from the late 60s I guess. I assume a 20 to 27 foot unit would be best. Even 27' might be limiting though. Would enjoy stories/experiences from any of you. Difficulties with police or residents or cities regarding parking overnight.


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I am also from So Cal, at least currently. I have read much about truck stops, rest stops and Walmart type opportunities. But, I work around commercial buildings for 20+ years and often see big rigs sticking around those buildings after they have loaded or unloaded until they need to leave for their next destination. I think those places are pretty good for overnight stops as long as respect is shown. Dont draw attention to yourself by throwing trash out, BBQing, leaving chairs outside etc. Stealth is best. Being in neighborhoods is likely a formula for a problem esp in So Cal. So any cities are controlling their homeless population with ordinances that allow PD to ticket or regulate those folks. And while I understand it, it doesnt suit my intent or my behavior. So, my direction will be to use commercial areas and arrive late, leave early and be STEALTH.

A CLass C motorhome esp without slides that MUST be deployed should allow you to do what you are interested in.


Hippie ON!!

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Just as a disclaimer, stealth camping doesn't make it any less illegal to camp or park overnight in non-camping areas just because it's not obvious that you are camping in your vehicle. Potential problems with LEO's, property owners, or city tow ordinances are just a part of the lifestyle you will likely contend with from time to time. Across the country... more times than not... you'll probably just be asked to move on, but SoCal is fairly notorious for LEO's to ticket first and ask you to move on after. Even with just a "move on".. you know your plates and ID have been logged. You know how computers gossip these days. ;)

A motorhome/RV of any kind is probably not going to work well for a stealth camper. Most use van conversions or cargo trailers with no external "appliances".. like water/power hookups, external vents or access doors, A/C's, solar panels, etc. When locked down for the night they appear to be nothing more than a passenger van or truck towing a utility trailer.

I've seen some really well done cargo trailers that are quite stealthy for urban camping but open up into a very usable little RV when in actual camping situations.

As for camping overnight in commercial areas.. it's likely to go unnoticed, but to be aware that big rigs parked overnight as a necessity are doing so with the knowledge and permission of the company or property owner.. you would not be.

You also need to be aware that in many cities, it's not just camping overnight that is illegal, but simply parking a recreational type vehicle on the street is illegal. I wouldn't for a second assume that LE isn't "hip" to the number of "urban campers" in their cities, so if it's a lifestyle you choose, just be aware that you don't have much of a leg to stand on if they come knocking on your door.

I'm not trying to squash your dream. More just things for you to consider when making a decision on how you choose to camp.

As a further disclaimer... I've never been a stealth camper, however, I know people that do. The above is simply information I've gleaned from them over the years and the situations they have faced.

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My van was 24' long. It did not fit into one parking space. Needing two spaces draws attention. So, I didn't try to stealth park on streets. I did use Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, rest areas, etc. Do be aware that not all of those locations allow overnight parking. It only takes a phone call to check that out. I often called right from the parking lot in which I was hoping to stay.


Linda Sand

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My perspective was NOT based on stealth CAMPING, but rather stealth overnighting when traveling between destinations. I am not sure how I feel about stealth camping, no matter where. I understand the need but then again it depends on the resources of the camper. I have seen expensive RVs avoiding park fees for days, those I dont understand, but then again, vandwellers that dont have the means to pay for parks unless they borrow from Peter to pay that Paul(park) are another matter. I guess personal circumstances are all different and we each must make the decision that makes the most sense for us.

No one seems to mind the truckers that stop to get their mandatory rest period on a street near that Amazon warehouse they just went to. I would rather they get their sleep to help them be safer on the road than to chase them off without the sleep. And HDTs are self-contained, most W/O slides and not stopping for camping. We dont see them in RV parks.

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No one seems to mind the truckers that stop to get their mandatory rest period on a street near that Amazon warehouse they just went to. I would rather they get their sleep to help them be safer on the road than to chase them off without the sleep. And HDTs are self-contained, most W/O slides and not stopping for camping. We dont see them in RV parks.



"No one seems to mind........etc." WRONG!


Depends on location.

Example: The city of Irvine (in So CA) *does* care where you park your HDT - whether you are over your behind the wheel hours or not. Your problem - not theirs. Move on or be cited.


Same for "overnighting " in more mundane vehicles.

Ditto most So.CA cities where you might like to spend the night..


Some cities with major industrial areas, (Fontana, etc.) may not care what vehicles park on *streets* in their industrial areas - however you might *not* want to be parked there at night,


HDTs -

If you and your HDT are in/on a private (industrial business) parking facility - no problem with the LEOs, but sure *will* be a problem with the property owner (or on-site security) if you don't belong there.

Look forward to meeting the local LEOs.


Depending on what you consider "self contained". HDT's usually have a fridge and microwave.

Sometimes neither.


RV parks do *not* want truckers (commercial vehicles) in their campgrounds - or other non-RVIA RVs.

Truckers overnight at truck stops - you can too.....but you won't find truck stops in urban areas of So.CA.


BTW - "w/o slides" - of course, ya gotta be kidding! An HDT *with* slides, yeah right, LOL!


Bottom line - you can catch some daytime Zs at Wally or Home Depot (etc.) when they are *open* for business in So.CA, but at closing time, it's time to find new digs......like a 24 hr restaurant lot,

Even that is very "ify"




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