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Covertly Sleeping in a Vehicle

Discussion in 'Survival Forum' started by glostamon, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. glostamon

    glostamon NES Member

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    From Survivalblog.com:

    How to Covertly Sleep in Your Car--Jolly

    I'm fairly frugal. Several times I have worked out of state. I hated giving upwards of $100 / per night to hotels so I developed a system for sleeping in my car that ensures that I would not be noticed. The first vehicle I used was a pickup truck with a bed camper top - not a real camper, just a top with windows on the side. The second vehicle was Chevy Suburban. Both vehicles were reputable looking, and not too new or old - completely innocuous.

    Cover all the windows on the inside with large sheets of butcher paper (white) or brown wrapping paper. Both can be found for cheap at Wal-Mart. It's important to do a neat job of it so there are no wrinkles, holes, or other damage. I use clear wrapping tape, and cut to fit. On both vehicles, the windows covered were tinted, and only a close look would you even notice they were blocked off. They just look - blank.

    On the Suburban, I bought a bungee cord and tan curtains for $10 - again from Wal-Mart. String the curtains on the bungee cord. Then, attach the cord to the coat hanger hooks behind the driver's and passenger seats. Make sure they hang straight and neat. There will be a gap at the top of the curved roof, but it's nothing to worry about.

    The last step is to turn off your car's interior light if you can. On many newer cars, this is done with a switch on the driver's console. Other cars have a switch on the light itself to prevent the light coming on with an open door. If all else fails - disconnect the light bulb.

    The hard part is finding a place to sleep. Here is one time when you cannot sleep in Wal-Mart's parking lot. You're not driving an RV, just a car. And "empty" cars will be scrutinized by flashlight-wielding security or police.

    In a large metropolitan area, the best places are large apartment complexes, preferably straddling a street. Park in the street right behind another car already there. I did this for well over a year without any problems at all.

    In the drive-in apartment complexes, ensure there's a lot of extra spots, and that the one you pick is not marked in any way. Usually, I try to pick a spot that the front of the car faces a wall, or the garbage dump area. You don't want to face a park or sidewalk. You want your car to be one among many. Don't park way off to one side - dog walkers may be too common and wonder about the car with curtains.

    Small office parks are another good choice. Here, the opposite of apartment complexes is wanted. Park the car as far from the building entrances as possible. Here it's easier to face a wall or line of bushes. People will do anything to shorten their walk to work.

    Going to sleep is not normally a problem - I usually went to sleep well after midnight. Whatever you do, don't dawdle when entering your sleep area. There may be people that notice a slow-moving car driving slowly through a parking lot more than once. Scope several places in advance, and have a primary and secondary location for the night.

    The two most observable times will be going to sleep and getting up. Usually, you'll be more visible during daytime, obviously. But, getting noticed depends on what time you're leaving and where you parked.

    If you can wiggle into your driver's seat without getting out of the vehicle - you have it made. Neither time was I able to do that. I had to leave the car to get into the driver's seat.

    I left small flaps in the paper on both cars and would open them to look in all directions (as necessary) for pedestrians and security vehicles. When you're sure you're clear - make a very fast exit, and get your feet on the ground. After that, if required, you can pretend you're retrieving something, and take a leisurely pace. Unless somebody was looking directly at your car when you exited, they will almost assuredly assume you just opened the door, rather than popped out of it.

    In an office park, ensure your exit is on the opposite side from the office buildings. Imagine a bored secretary staring dazedly out the window. Suddenly - a scruffy looking man with wild hair pops out of a car door, walks quickly around the hood and drives off. Not good. In my favorite park, I was between a wall and a tree break. Though I finally got noticed after six months, and had to use backup.

    Do not stretch, or scratch your head, or hang around at all at this time. Get into your car seat. Start it, and leave at a normal pace. I don't know about you, but it you're like me - you'll be way too scary an apparition for most people. You should have also designated a place to go in the morning to do the ritual wake-up duties such as bathroom, teeth, hair brushing, etc. I usually use McDonald's. I then repaid them for their facilities by buying breakfast.

    Other items to remember are ventilation and security. The pickup was no problem - I just left the windows open a crack, including the back panel. This allowed me to hear my surroundings pretty well, too. On the Suburban, it was more problematic. One inch on each window was left open at the top, and I didn't leave the back open. I also engaged the car alarm.

    Unfortunately, one morning I forgot about the car alarm, and opened the door causing it to go off. I had the key in my hand, and stopped it very quickly, and I was sure the whole world had noticed my faux pas. Alas, nobody even hears car alarms anymore, and I didn't have to abandon that spot.

    Never, ever go to rest stops on the interstate to sleep. While traveling, if I couldn't find an apartment complex or office park, or other suitable location, I'd park on the onramp of a highway - many times between trucks doing the same. I got rousted three times by cops over the years. Technically, it's illegal to park there. Each time I told the truth - I was very tired, and unsure I could proceed to the next motel location. Two of the three times, the cop said that's fine, and go ahead and stay. The third time, he helpfully noted that the very next exit had a motel.

    If you have a regular route, other considerations might come into play. For me, sleeping in a tiny Honda Civic, I would have problems with biting insects - and very warm nights. Both problems were solved with an onramp location in an extremely windy spot next to San Francisco bay. (Parish Road off of I-680 in case you're wondering ). My pattern was to arrive about 2 am on a Sunday night and sleep until 7am Monday morning. I then proceeded across the bridge and went to a Burger King in Walnut Creek. I was rousted twice in a six month period.

    I have less experience in rural areas. Though extreme familiarity with a route can help by allowing you to identify good spots during the daytime for possible use on another trip. For example, I used to drive between Oregon and Pahrump quite often (on my way to attend training at Front Sight). I spent one whole day identifying likely spots for impromptu camp spots.

    One spot, south of Tonopah was a short road that led to some kind of a relay station. I'm pretty sure it was a microwave station, but it doesn't matter. The small fenced-in building was partially hidden behind a hill from the main road, and clearly was not visited very often. The road leading to it went further around the hill, leaving a nice void hidden from the station itself.

    Between Tonopah and Hawthorne, I identified two spots very similar to the first, though both were very windy. North of Hawthorne, Walker Lake had parking spots that I felt comfortable enough to use without hiding.

    Rural terrain will dictate your choices, too. In South Carolina, I identified two spots on US-25 north of Greenville that looked pretty good. Their characteristic? They were both old houses that had been completely covered in kudzu! I could literally drive under a canopy of kudzu and hide the entire car.

    Finally, etiquette inside the car. I always wore gym shorts and T-shirt in a sleeping bag. Never anything resembling underwear. I never used a flashlight or listened to the radio. I was there strictly for sleeping. I didn't eat, cook, brush teeth, or anything else except sleep. The human eye is especially tuned to see movement. Even with covered windows, a brief movement might catch a dog-walker's attention enough to wander over and look at the car. Not a good thing.

    I estimate I've saved more than $10,000 in motel bills over the years.

    The main thing is to have people assume the car is empty, and belongs to somebody nearby. Obviously, in a serious crisis, extra thought may be necessary to keep below the radar of both security and nosy people.
     
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  2. newenglandjeff

    newenglandjeff

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    And dont forget an empty bottle with a screw on top in case nature calls [wink].
     
  3. Walter Smitty

    Walter Smitty

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    Cheap is a virtue. Good info, thanks.
     
  4. Gadsden

    Gadsden

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    Preferably a large jug so you don't miss or overflow. I accidentally pissed in a friend's car when I was a kid because the bottle I was urinating in filled up.
    Luckily I kept quiet about it and he blamed his mom's cat. [smile]
     
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  5. glostamon

    glostamon NES Member

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    +1 maybee a 5gal. bucket on drinkin' nights(vomit,feces,urine/all of the above)


    [laugh2] LOL,you must have some pretty pungent p*ss
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  6. Gadsden

    Gadsden

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    Yup.. IIRC mom cooked asparagus for dinner that night... then we were drinking southern comfort and natural lite. Bad combo! [puke]
     
  7. wolf223

    wolf223 Guest

    [rofl]

    how about a truck stop on a highway?

    done that a couple times, but just for quick naps driving across the USA. it's actually quite common once you get out of new england and no one really bothers you.

    -good info, but overall a bad idea if you aren't familiar with the location you are squatting in. there is nothing "covert" about trying to save $$$ on a hotel room.

    might be better to just catch some z's late afternoon / early evening, then again in the early morning hours.

    or just spring $40 bucks for a roach motel [laugh]


    *covert*
    for "survial" purposes, i'd rather pull into the woodline, facing traffic (dirt road or secondary road) and catch some "light" z's with my alarm going off every 30 to 40 minutes... place has to be totally dark, so any "movements" will be heard / detected and any light will be seen miles away.

    -all depending on the weather too. keep your clothes on and keys in your pocket. lock your doors and be prepared to wake up in a jiffy and take appropriate actions

    gun handy, flash light, blankets ect.... also the woodline is better to use the bathroom.
     
  8. Chrisg67

    Chrisg67

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    i sleep quite often on the road...but not overnights. i work, nights and on my way home ill usually sleep for a bit on my way home in the morning. i have no issue sleeping at a rest stop during the day.

    i was fine with it on my way in at night...until recently i was just waking up, some dude pulled up next to me (entire place was empty...probably 50 other spots) and was staring at me. as i woke up i kept noticing him not taking his eyes off me. so i backed up , and pulled away...still watching him stare at me. as soon as i began to pull onto the on ramp, i noticed him pull out of the spot and leave. not a huge fan of staying in such an obvious spot anymore at night.

    also i sleep with a knife and pepper spray in the seat next to me covered by something.
     
  9. glostamon

    glostamon NES Member

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    Truck stops and rest areas are havens for sexual deviants,prostituits and petty theives.The creep "Checkin' you out" was probally looking for a date.[laugh]
     
  10. wolf223

    wolf223 Guest

    i was thinking the same thing...

    "you sure got a purrrrdy mouf" [rofl]
     
  11. Lucas McCain

    Lucas McCain

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    Are you sure it wasnt this dude?

    blitz.JPG
     
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  12. Blitz1

    Blitz1 NES Member

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    That guy looks pretty effin creepy to me. [smile]
     
  13. Lucas McCain

    Lucas McCain

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  14. MACGYVR

    MACGYVR Guest

    This just happened last week!

    My cousins pulled into a rest stop on I95 I think heading south to Florida.
    This was a full service rest stop with gas, mcd, dunkin etc.

    They parked over in the empty lot area away from the building just to get a few hours of sleep. About 30 min later, a crown vic pulls up crooked to the drivers door and this thug gets out of the car and starts yelling and banging on the window GIVE ME MONEY MAN GIVE ME MONEY over and over. He quickly put in drive and blew out of there and called 911 with a description.

    He is a 20+ year brigadier general in the army with 2 tours in Iraq and a few in desert storm and it scared the crap out of him.

    Rest stops are notorious for wackos. Remember the mass state snowplow driver that killed the girl in the bathroom of the reststop on I90 a few years ago?

    Better off risking it in the apt complex (watch out for restricted parking, dont want to wake up on the back of a flat bed) or the office park.

    24hr walmart lots. They even will let you park an RV there and stay.
     
  15. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    This one was far more notorious... and the guy at the rest area WORKED
    there.

    http://www.wyff4.com/news/1566322/detail.html

    -Mike
     
  16. Chrisg67

    Chrisg67

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    how did you know that!
     
  17. iefstath

    iefstath

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    I slept in my suburban for 8 weeks last fall when I took a road trip out to alaska...I never was rousted but I am fairly sure someone must have "watched me" sleep a time or two. I did the curtain thing with a rope around all 4 sides and a sleeping platform of 3/4 in plywood and a mattress. Most paranoid sleep of my life...mostly off absolutely desolate dirt roads in northern canada. I drove 1400 miles with out stopping to sleep because the lady at the gas station told me " there aint alot of people on these roads and the ones that are, you dont ever want to meet".
     
  18. Jose

    Jose Guest

    I'm not sure I understand the need for secrecy.

    Just like my house: I go to sleep armed. Someone wants to force his way in, well, let's just say that will be a failure in the victim selection process.
     
  19. glostamon

    glostamon NES Member

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    You didd'nt happen to see this guy in your travels?..perhaps,"Hitch-hikin'.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. DukeInFlorida

    DukeInFlorida NES Member

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    Damn, I'm looking at Glostamon's avitar, and the pic he posted, and they kinda look like an older and younger version of the same guy. Scary.

    When my internal alarm system goes off (Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!) I usually listen, and take the safe way.

    I don't know about anyone else here, but the $10,000 sounds like a lot, but my life is worth a hell of a lot MORE than that! All those stressful nights, all that uncomfortable sleeping, all those hours of scouting and scheming....... For a mere $2 an hour, you would have been much better off to just get a room at a motel.

     
  21. Palladin

    Palladin NES Member

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    Motel 6 for the $69.....

    shower & shitter...for less than three 30paks of Bud lite.
     
  22. ryan81986

    ryan81986

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    Want a good way to sleep undetected in your car at night? Tint the windows (even the lowest MA allows (35%) will work. And get one of those sun reflectors for the windshield. Paint it a dark color if you have to and put it in the windshield. I have 35% tint and I would be invisible in the car if the windshield was blocked. Granted it wont help if someone has a flashlight but for someone just walking by it will.
     
  23. Chrisg67

    Chrisg67

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    ya i have been planning on getting my windows tinted with this as a secondary reason, but i didnt think of the sun shade, good idea!
     
  24. GSG

    GSG

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    Is this really true? The only other time I've heard of this is the movie Something About Mary, but I've never had problems sleeping at rest stops.
     
  25. glostamon

    glostamon NES Member

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    Everything in the Survival sub-section of NES is true... especially if I wrote it.[laugh]

    Seriously....be vigilant and aware of whos around you @ rest stops at night.
    Dregs,gypsies,perverts,pedaphiles,drug addicts and nomads need piss breaks & pitstops too.
    Hookers & crooks lurk around some truck stops and prey on motorists.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
    1 person likes this.
  26. BHP1935

    BHP1935

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    From some experience with sleeping in cars I would not recommend sleeping anywhere other than in the driver's seat, keys in the ignition, maybe even running the car. If you do get disturbed by some miscreant, all you have to do is start up, throw it in gear, and get outta there. If it is comfortable enough, keep the seat more or less up and throw on some dark sunglasses (so no one can see your eyes), this would tend to deter some of the aforementioned miscreants. Just my .02
     
  27. Blitz1

    Blitz1 NES Member

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    Uh Huh. [rolleyes]

    You're kidding right?
     
  28. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    Today I saw an interesting truck cap that looked like a ghetto camper of sorts... it actually had an AC unit mounted to the top of it... but it just looked like a bigger than normal truck cap, not a camper insert.

    -Mike
     
  29. Titan

    Titan Banned

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    The author has an interesting outlook on truth. He talks about sleeping outside for a year or six months at a time and then posts this...

     
  30. Blitz1

    Blitz1 NES Member

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    ???? Hmmm
     

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