Stealth Urban Camping

In the summer of 2014, after spending a couple months of selling or donating most of my possessions, which included most of my kitchen items, a full suspension Yeti Mountain Bike, books, and clothing, it felt as if a tremendous burden had been lifted off my shoulder. When compared to most people my age, I was a minimalist long before I made the decision to own a van, but over the years of renting, I had accumulated enough crap to fill a small garage.

I had taken a bold step to sell my black 2008 Toyota 4Runner, to fund the acquisition of the vanagon. I felt hesitant to give up a vehicle that was not only mechanically reliable, but by far, a safer mode of transportation for those long distance treks across country; for a white 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia vanagon. I was still excited while at the same time scared about an abrupt change in life style. I spent the weeks ahead personalizing my new living space during my final weeks of renting. I installed bamboo floor, and fabricated curtains to replace the filthy loose textile drapery. I had a satellite stereo installed and the windows tinted. One evening, I turned the interior lights on in the van with the new drapes closed and peered into the black of the night through my kitchen window of the nearly empty duplex. It was stealth! I camped for the first night in my new tiny home. I was ready to move in.

I found an advertisement online after sifting through dozens of possibilities, none suitable for immediately moving into, nor relying on to travel much beyond the city. It was the first year they made wasserboxer motors. It was supposedly a marked improvement over the previous air-cooled motor, that overheated regularly, especially when driving up long grades or warmer days. Regardless, I had chosen a VW camper for stealth urban camping because they contained the necessary amenities, including sink, stove, refrigerator, and beds (upstairs and down), within the same footprint as an SUV. They were so popular, especially in the coastal towns I commuted between, that they were indiscreet from any other camper including the trendy Mercedes Sprinters.

Stealth Urban Camping on the curb

I lived in a duplex in a quaint neighborhood of a coastal college town in California for about eight years, while employed as an engineering geologist with the state.