So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015
The free waterfolk
Yesterday it was all about free camping on land. Today I'm going to cover those of us who love life on the water.
In previous posts I've covered living on a boat at anchor. There are free places to anchor all over the world. It's even considered normal. A good boat will have all the things you need to live in relative comfort. As long as you stay out of marinas most of the time, know how to do much of your own repairs, it's a pretty cheap way to live.
What about people in boats considered too small to live on? How small is small? I've a 12 foot Ooze Goose that I've built that has a cabin big enough for me to stretch out in. Even small open boats can be rigged with a bed across the seats and a tarp tent to keep the weather off. I met a guy who was traveling from the Florida Panhandle all the way down to the Florida Keys in such a rig.
Boats that size might be a bit too heavy to drag very far up the beach. If that's the case care must be taken to only beach camp where you'll be left alone. It used to be easier to do that years ago. There's a lot more developed beach front property these days. Places that once allowed beach camping are now wildlife preserves and totally off limits. However, by carefully choosing one's campsites it's still possible to do it.
If you have a canoe or a kayak there's the chance to stealth camp. I've done it myself with a canoe. My dark green canoe blends in nicely with the underbrush. I've spent the night sleeping right under the canoe, but stretching out a tarp over it provides much better rain protection.
I've also camped at remote campsites for free that are not free sites. How did I do it? By camping off season, both before they officially open after they close. While it's technically not legal, I've never been bothered. It's only illegal if there's someone to enforce the rules.
There are large parts of Florida where camping is prohibited. That's where it can get interesting. Once again, setting up camp in the dark and leaving before first light is a tried and true method. One guy got so bold he'd set his tent on random docks along the water. That's not as difficult as it might seem. There are an awful lot of seasonal houses along our waterways. Less bold campers prefer to camp a bit more out of sight.
Campfires are nice, but make sure you are in a place where fire won't attract attention. A lot of people who stealth camp will not cook at all while trying to stay under the radar. If you do cook, a small backpacker stove is just the thing. It doesn't make any smoke and a meal can be cooked rapidly. I like something like a Whisperlight stove that can burn Coleman fuel and regular auto gasoline. Coleman fuel is nice, but auto gas is less than a third the cost.
The beauty of life on the water is being able to go places the land bound can't. If I lived in a city along a waterway I'd make sure to have a small boat. In times of unrest one can quietly slip their boat in the water, toss in a bag of essentials, and glide away.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.