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Old 09-26-2017, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Stealth-when good or bad

Controversial, I know, but it comes up all the time in all the class b discussion groups.

The first question is why do you want stealth appearance?

Personally, I think there may be two different reasons, one in regard to HOA rules, and another to get around municipality and other rules against camping in certain areas.

In regard to the HOA rules, I think there is some merit to the stealth if both the owner and the HOA look at it reasonably. The HOA rules are almost always based on neighborhood appearance only, so a van that looks like any other vehicle that might be used a personal vehicle would not violate that requirement any more than lots of normal vans and pickups with toppers. Common sense on both sides, I think, could make it work well. Unfortunately, HOAs tend to fill with power hungry types that like to exert their authority, and there are plenty of people that feel that it is OK to try to get around the rules than work with the HOA, reinforcing the need to have strictly enforced rules. Bottom line is that this is really a no real harm issue other than bruised egos and bad judgements that could cost some money.

The second reason, I think, is more problematic, as it often entails intentionally (often but not always) breaking the law and risking police or private security involvement. It also could be consider by some to be disrespecting the residents of the areas you are staying in when there are rules against it. I will certainly agree that sometimes there are rules and laws that seem stupid, but from the side of the local police and residents, the view of them is likely much different. Beach communities and residential areas near major attractions come to mind as examples.

I can't speak for other areas of the country, but here in exurb Minneapolis area where the county Sheriff handles police work, we are constantly requested to watch for unusual behavior in our neighborhoods, and to call if we see anything. In our area, a plain looking van with all the windows covered, parked on the street or in an access road or park, would certainly be considered unusual. I am not a cop, but I would think that approaching a parked van that has the windows covered or blacked out so they can't see in, with out of state plates, in the dark on a deserted street, would be considered a very high risk contact to them. Of course it also takes the deputies away from their regular work, and they likely would send two cars to the situation. Before we moved to where we are now, we lived in the city where on street parking is a large part of the parking available to the residents, and overnight is allowed. The street was often full of parked cars of residents (not ours as we were lucky and had our own parking) and I know lots of the neighbors would be quickly calling about a never seen before van parked there, both from a suspicion standpoint, but also a "that is my parking" perspective (bad reason). You would be legal there, but likely to get a visit during the night, either from a resident or a officer.

Personally, we don't want to cause the areas we are visiting any problems or inconvenience if we can help it, so we don't ever camp on the street or other areas where it is not allowed per rules or laws. If it is an area where there are no rules against it, no problem, just like Walmarts that allow overnighting.

I know many will disagree, and that is fine.

The best reason I can think of for going stealth is because you prefer the way the van looks
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:43 PM   #2
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1. HOA-regulated areas (including my own driveway, extensively)
2. Apartment complexes
3. Various types of private properties
4. Airports
5. Pay lots of every conceivable kind (you paid the hourly fee to have your vehicle there, so why not? My favorite is out-of-town universities when I pay visitor's parking fees to take continuing education courses that I need to maintain my state license)
6. Hospitals
7. Backcountry trail heads
8. DOT rest stops that allow overnight parking (Texas does, as long as the driver does not appear to be "camping")
9. Retailers that allow it (my favorites are Cabela's and "Crack B" in local vernacular... Walmart only as a last resort)
10. Public boat ramps
11. Public beaches
12. State and federal overflow areas where park staff intentionally turns a blind eye to overnight parking
13. Certain mixed-use National Forest lands which are not necessarily intended for "camping" (e.g., hunting muster areas).
14. National Wildlife Refuges where there is no camping but discrete overnight parking is allowed in certain scenarios (this is one of my absolute favorites).
15. Parking lots of mixed or unknown ownership (Crack B sometimes shares these with adjacent businesses)
16. I'm sure there are plenty more still to be discovered... churches are high on my list for future inquiry. For a donation of course.

Those are my reasons for wanting stealth capacity. They are also all places where my husband and I have stealth'd without incident.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:58 PM   #3
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I think Booster meant a vehicle that doesn't look like an RV ................

Yours looks like an RV.

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Old 09-26-2017, 08:17 PM   #4
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Stealth didnít make into my conversion objectives list which was long. We parked in many places listed in the previous post and never had problems by being who we are. Hiding, perhaps it is harsh word but it is what it is, is just against my grain, like a concealed RV license.

We camp since 1977, we camp in campgrounds, our stuff is out, chairs, lanterns, grills, that is camping.

We never used our RV vehicles as full timers, but even if we would, being holed up is just not my cap of tea.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
I think Booster meant a vehicle that doesn't look like an RV ................

Yours looks like an RV.

Not enough to concern many people. The T1N Sprinter series of Interstates were so rare that most folks haven't even set eyes on one (including our local RV repair shop - ours was the first they'd ever seen).

The Class Bs with the RV-style swoopy-doopy painting on the sides... THOSE are RVs, without question. Ours is ambiguous enough so that people generally ignore it.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:04 PM   #6
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Crackers Barrels can have several RV parking spots available. Just ask the manager if you can park overnight. Just park with all the other RV's at Walmart. We've always gone in and asked permission.

There's no need for a stealthy looking RV at those places. It's not camping, no mats or BBQ's outside etc. It's just a simple overnight stay.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
1. HOA-regulated areas (including my own driveway, extensively)
2. Apartment complexes
3. Various types of private properties
4. Airports
5. Pay lots of every conceivable kind (you paid the hourly fee to have your vehicle there, so why not? My favorite is out-of-town universities when I pay visitor's parking fees to take continuing education courses that I need to maintain my state license)
6. Hospitals
7. Backcountry trail heads
8. DOT rest stops that allow overnight parking (Texas does, as long as the driver does not appear to be "camping")
9. Retailers that allow it (my favorites are Cabela's and "Crack B" in local vernacular... Walmart only as a last resort)
10. Public boat ramps
11. Public beaches
12. State and federal overflow areas where park staff intentionally turns a blind eye to overnight parking
13. Certain mixed-use National Forest lands which are not necessarily intended for "camping" (e.g., hunting muster areas).
14. National Wildlife Refuges where there is no camping but discrete overnight parking is allowed in certain scenarios (this is one of my absolute favorites).
15. Parking lots of mixed or unknown ownership (Crack B sometimes shares these with adjacent businesses)
16. I'm sure there are plenty more still to be discovered... churches are high on my list for future inquiry. For a donation of course.

Those are my reasons for wanting stealth capacity. They are also all places where my husband and I have stealth'd without incident.
A lot of those places are private property, it appears. Do you always make sure to get permission?
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Old 09-27-2017, 02:02 AM   #8
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Often the rules in municipalities are meant to keep bums from living on the streets. They'd rather drive out the homeless than address the real problems behind it. We, who are just travelers and actually spend money in these places, get caught up in it. The rules is the rules as they say, and they can't make exceptions for us, as much as they may sympathize.

As I've often said, it's not really the appearance of your RV that is something to concern yourself with. "Stealth" in the common sense, is a delusion.

The trick is to not draw attention to yourself and not be a nuisance. You don't park in front of upscale homes. You don't squat in tourist spots in peak season. You don't linger in one spot more than a day. Use some common sense and you'll very rarely, if at all, have a problem.
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Not enough to concern many people. The T1N Sprinter series of Interstates were so rare that most folks haven't even set eyes on one (including our local RV repair shop - ours was the first they'd ever seen).

The Class Bs with the RV-style swoopy-doopy painting on the sides... THOSE are RVs, without question. Ours is ambiguous enough so that people generally ignore it.
I am an average Joe in recognizing RV or not RV and this Airstream has attributes of an RV in my judgment; Airstream name, solar, roof vent, awning, antenna, RV windows, straight (indeed not curvy) graphics, walls penetrations etc.
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Old 09-27-2017, 11:29 AM   #10
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Several folks have stopped to ask about my van. Without exception, all assumed it was some type of camper van. I was at a store yesterday parked on a similar angle as this older photo. The comment was "Your van looks to be in good condition, what year is it? Followup comment was "......... camper vans don't get much use in the winter.

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