Parking

This is the number one question I get asked: Where do you park at night?
The answer isn’t satisfactory to most people: Pretty much anywhere.

Here’s why: I valued Stealth when I built my van. It’s just a white panel sprinter “work” van. Almost everyone just assumes that what is is. That’s the key word, Assume. You want people to assume that you belong there. That there’s some reason you’re parked where you are. That’s the first line of defense, dismisal. No one  is going to investigate something they’ve already dismissed in their minds.

Another reason stealth is so important is that many cities have laws against sleeping in your vehicle when parked on the street. I see this as legislating lifestyle and practice civil disobedience.

Most cities are full of easy places to park. Downtown can get a bit tougher due to parking restrictions. Keep an eye out for Towing company signs at the entrance of parking lots. They mean the towing company has default authority from the business owner to tow “unauthorized” (read overnight parking) vehicles and get a tidy profit off your pain.

Note: do not park anywhere with actual signs declaring that how you would park is illegal. This includes parking lot tow company signs, park closure signs, or street parking signs restricting when you can park. These are usually monitored and it’s not worth the ticket or tow. Find some street parking, a business complex with multiple businesses (so they each assume you belong to the other), an office complex with multiple offices (but not a full one! No inconvenience), etc. Try not to stay in the same stealth parking spot for more than a day or two.

Try not to park anywhere that would give anyone reason to not want you there. I avoid parking lots for a single business, as they are often more jealous of their spots than others.

The last suggestion I have for you is to become part of a community. You can meet with other community members anywhere, and they often have  suggestions/parking/showers you can use. When I was skiing in Colorado all season, parking was scarce. Spaces had to be plowed, and there is no street parking allowed anywhere. I messaged people on Couchsurfing for help, and found safe places to park that I could alternate between, as well as friends and bathrooms.

Parking in nature
It’s even easier to park outside of town. Street parking is usually abundant. You can park for free on BLM and most federal/state forest lands (observe posted signs though!). This is officially called “Dispersed Camping”, but is better known as boondocking. Freecampsites.net is a decent resource, but be warned some of the sites  are hard to get to!