In choosing a stealth site, I find somewhere that will have the smallest impact from my presence. Most often, this means choosing a site where no one has camped before, rather than further developing a lesser-used site (a basic LNT principle). Sometimes, stealth sites require effort to find. In addition following LNT guidelines (i.e. away from water and sensitive areas), plus the hammock-specific guidelines (i.e. to stay warmer and out of the wind), my goal is to find something hidden. But if I take the extra time and follow my gut instincts, I can always find a spot. One of the biggest advantages of hammock camping is more options for where I can camp-- I am not restricted to flat ground or bare dirt, and I believe I make much less impact on the environment when I hang.
When I leave the trail to find a site, I take care that no one else is watching where I am going. After I set up, I walk back up to the main trail to be sure I am truly hidden from view. When I leave my hammock site, I turn around and take a photo of where I leave the main trail and note any distinguishing trees or rocks so I can find my way back and not get lost. Then, I walk along the main trail to check that my hammock is not visible. Honestly, this may sound totally paranoid, but it makes me feel safer. When I'm on the AT or the Foothills trail, I feel safe and don't bother, but I like doing it in other areas.
|Looking down at my stealth site from the main trail.|