Stealth Camping in the Catskills

Stealth Camping in the Catskills is a nice solution for camping further from roads and other people than designated sites allow. Designated sites in the Catskills tend to be near roads or trailheads and fill up early in the day. You’re allowed to camp outside of designated sites if you follow a few rules. Keep reading to learn more about stealth camping in the Catskills.

stealth camping in the catskills
An Ideal Stealth Site in the Catskills: off the plants and well away from the trail.
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Tent Platform Anchors

Guyot Campsite Platform
Platform at Guyout Campsite

If you do enough backpacking, you will probably run into tent platforms. These wood platforms are constructed in overused back country sites, where constant use has eroded away the soil. Tent Platforms are OK if you have a self standing tent, but they are pose a problem for tents that need to be staked down. I carry Tent Platform Anchors whenever I expect to use a platform platform.

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Tarptent Stratospire Li – Long Term Review

The Tarptent Stratospire Li is a two-person, trekking pole tent produced by Henrey Shire’s Tarptent. The unique geometry of this tent makes it capable of fending off harsh winds and rain and moderate snow loads. The double wall design and numerous venting options offer excellent breathability. Dyneema fabric makes this tent extremely waterproof. The Stratospire Li is my go-to tent for solo trips when don’t expect campsite space to be an issue or when I may need to share, or if I want the option to linger.

Tarptent Stratospire Li
Tarptent Stratospire Li
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Planning Backpacking Trips

Planning Backpacking Trips is both an art and a science, but I know more about the science. When I plan a backpacking trip, I always start out by making a chart. I include as many campsites, road crossings, and other useful way-points as possible. I then list the cumulative mileage and elevation gain from the beginning to each way-point. Then I calculate cumulative hiking hours to each of these way-points. I use this chart to decide the ideal starting and ending point for each day of the trip.

planning backpacking trips
Trip Details with Peaks and Campsites
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Winter Backpacking Rules

I’ve had close calls with hikers getting hypothermia, so I always insist on a few basic rules for winter backpacking. These rules should always be followed in order! They are based on your survival priorities: “You can survive for three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food.”

Fire at Governor Clement Shelter
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Vermont Appalachian Trail: US 4 to VT 103. Snow!

In late January 2020, I lead a group of six Argonauts from Hudson Valley Hikers to tackle the Vermont Winter for a weekend of backpacking. We traversed Kilington Mountain Southbound along the Appalachian Trail, and then descended into the wilderness lying to the south, finishing at VT Rt 103. Temperatures were consistently about 30 degrees F with some strong winds Saturday and occasionally snow flurries during the day and moderate freezing rain over night.

winter backpacking
Argonauts Ready for Winter Backpacking
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Massachusetts Appalachian Trail: Dalton to North Adams – A Snowy Slog!

Continuing in the theme of “misunderestimating” snow, we take a look back at March of 2019. We had planned a 23 mile hike from Dalton to North Adams in Massachusetts. Snow maps were sketchy, but from what we could tell there would be no more than 2 inches on the ground. The weather had different plans. Four to eight inches of fresh snow on this relatively unused section of the Appalachian Trail made route finding and forward progress difficult. Imagine trying to spot white blazes when every tree is covered with white snow!

Mt Greylock
Greylock in the Snow
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Appalachian Trail: Bennington to North Adams

In November of 2019, I took a group of Hudson Valley Hikers on a backpacking trip from Bennington, VT to North Adams, MA. We covered only 18.7 miles, but bridged a gap between two longer sections. Weather in November can be tricky. We call it shoulder season. Fall is over, but winter hasn’t quite started yet. You can get an odd combination of conditions. Over the last couple of years, we’ve learned to expect snow when hiking in Vermont or Massachusetts between November and March.

Vermont Massachusetts State Line
Our group stops for a photo at the Vermont / Massachusetts State Line. This is the southern end of the Vermont Long Trail.
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Appalachian Trail / White Mountains: Wildcat, Carter, Moriah Traverse

Labor Day Weekend of 2019, the Argonauts contingent of Hudson Valley Hikers spent 3 days backpacking the Wildcat-Carter-Moriah range in the White Mountains. This range is full of challenges, but we broke it into three very manageable days. This was my last section of Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire, completing a continuous section from Shenandoah National Park to Grafton Notch. Everyone on the hike earned 6 New Hampshire 4000 footers.

The Argonauts at Wildcat D
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White Mountains: Owl’s Head and Thirteen Falls Loop

On a cold and rainy weekend in August of 2019, I lead a small group of Hudson Valley Hikers on a backpacking trip to Owl’s Head in the White Mountains. Owl’s Head is the only 4000 foot peak in New Hampshire’s White Mountains without an officially maintained trail, although there is a well established herd path. We camped for the night at AMC’s Thirteen Falls Campsite.

lincoln woods bridge
Our Group at Lincoln Woods Bridge
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