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What is Urban Camping? (Everything You Need to Know)

What is Urban Camping? (Everything You Need to Know)!

Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of city life and looking for a way to escape without leaving the city? Look no further than urban camping! This guide will cover everything you need to know about this unique form of camping, from what you’ll need to finding the perfect location.

So pack your bags, grab your tent and let’s hit the concrete jungle for an adventure you’ll never forget. And don’t worry, we’ll make sure to steer clear of any sketchy abandoned buildings (it’s illegal and not safe).

What is Urban Camping?

Like the name suggests, Urban Camping is the act of camping in an Urban Environment such as a town or city. There are a few different ways you can urban camp from pitching a tent on a sidewalk or park to utilizing a car or van setup for living in.

Urban camping is done in a city environment, typically with permission and often with access to established facilities, allowing people to step out of their comfort zone whilst experiencing a unique way to travel and visit cities.

What is Urban Camping? (Everything You Need to Know)

Is it Legal to Urban Camp?

Unfortunately it is not legal to set up a tent or Urban camp where ever you want in most cities. The major downsides to urban camping is that the locations you are legally allowed to stay overnight are extremely limited.

Private property is a good option for setting up camp, providing you have the land owners permission, overwise you can risk being caught and tried for trespassing. Some people decide to ‘throw caution to the wind” by deciding to participate in urban stealth camping which comes with some inherent risks.

The laws in each country and state can vary drastically so it is important to be aware of the laws relevant to where you are planning to stay. Most states and towns will specifically state whether camping is permitted. For Australian campers we have complied a list of states you can vehicle urban camp with our article ‘Is it illegal to live in your vehicle’.

Where can you Urban Camp?

Urban camping can be done in a variety of locations, depending on the city and the laws in place. Here are a few options to consider:


Many cities have parks that allow overnight camping, either in designated areas or that require a permit. These parks provide a peaceful and natural setting while still having all the benefits of being close to urban amenities.

What is Urban Camping? (Everything You Need to Know)

Community Gardens

Some community gardens offer the opportunity to camp overnight, providing a unique way to engage & connect with nature and the local community.

Sports Fields

Sports fields and stadiums can be great places to camp, especially during off-seasons. These locations provide a level surface and protection from the elements. Most sports fields are private property so it’s always a good idea to check with the facilities staff before setting up camp to avoid being caught for trespassing.

Roof Tops

For those who are comfortable with heights (the view is usually worth it), camping on a rooftop can provide a unique and secluded experience. However, this option is highly dependent on the laws and regulations of the city and the permission of the building owners.

Abandoned Buildings

Some people choose to camp in abandoned buildings, although it’s illegal in most places and it’s not safe. It’s not recommended to do so.

Campsites in the city

Some cities have dedicated campsites within the city limits, usually run by the city or private organizations. These are a great option for those who want a more traditional camping experience without having to leave the city behind.

Is Urban Camping Safe?

Just like regular camping, urban camping does has some similar risks along with other unique risks you may need to prepare for. These risks include but are not limited to:

  • Break Ins/ petty crime & theft.
  • Wild animals/ pests
  • Being asked to move
  • Extreme weather or rain

Knowing the potential risks associated with urban camping is important to ensure you are properly prepared to handle any situation that may arrive. If you are looking to urban camp in your vehicle we’ve covered some additional information on some dangers you may encounter in “The Dangers of Living in your Vehicle“.

What do you need to Urban Camp?

Depending on the style of urban camping you choose to do in most cases you will need a sleeping bag, pillow, some form of protection from the elements such as a tent or vehicle and equipment for meals (unless you are going to rely on takeout).

A durable tent is a must-have. Since you’ll be camping in an urban environment, you’ll want a tent that can withstand the elements and provide a secure and comfortable shelter.

Secondly, a good sleeping bag is essential. Urban camping can be unpredictable, and you’ll want to be prepared for any temperature changes that may occur during the night.

Having a portable stove allows you to cook your meals making you less reliant on stores and amenities.

Why do people urban camp?

There are many reasons people decide to urban camp from necessity due to homelessness to nomads wanting to experience the unique challenges and rewards associated with camping in a city environment. One of the most popular reasons is that urban camping is usually free to participate in making it perfect for those looking to travel whilst sticking to a budget.

What is Urban Camping? (Everything You Need to Know)

Other reasons you may decide to stealth camping include;

  • The ability to stay in areas that do not offer traditional camping experiences such as national parks.
  • Convenience of being closer to public amenities, shopping center’s and attractions.
  • Freedom to stay in various areas across a city.
  • The spontaneous, care free nature of urban camping.

What’s the difference between urban camping & stealth camping?

Urban camping is done in a city environment, typically with permission and often with access to established facilities, while stealth camping is done without permission, usually in a wilderness or secluded area. In most cases urban camping is legal, while practicing stealth camping is often illegal.

Urban camping refers to camping in an urban or city environment, usually in designated areas such as parks or community gardens. It is typically done with permission, and often involves using established facilities and amenities, such as toilets and water sources.

Urban camping is legal in many cities, but laws and regulations can vary, so it’s important to check with the local authorities or land owners before setting up your campsite.

Stealth camping, on the other hand, is a form of camping that is done without permission and often in hidden or secluded locations, such as in a forest or on public land.

It is typically used by those who do not want to pay for camping or are living or travelling in a vehicle camping setup. Stealth camping is often illegal, and you can get fined or get in trouble (typically due to trespassing or parking regulations) with the authorities if caught.


  • Augustus

    Augustus, an intrepid traveler and RV enthusiast, has journeyed across North America, Europe, and Australia, turning his passion for adventure into a life's mission. His love for exploring began in his childhood, with local hikes and camping trips igniting a deep connection with nature. This connection now shines through in his popular travel blog, where he shares not just tips but personal stories, captivating a community of fellow wanderers. His travels are further enriched by his partnership with Zaara, his wife and travel companion, together exploring remote landscapes and diverse cultures. Augustus is also a skilled photographer, capturing the beauty of nature and the essence of his nomadic lifestyle in each shot. His life story is a mosaic of breathtaking experiences, a testament to the beauty of following one’s passions and embracing the unknown, inspiring others to explore the world with the same fervor.

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