A STEALTH camper who loves pitching his tent in bizarre locations says there are a number of gadgets that can help beat the weather but it can still be brutal.
When most people consider going camping they think of some picturesque spot in the countryside but Richard Severn, from Walsall, West Midlands, has other ideas.
The 36-year-old considers himself to be a stealth camper – someone who pitches their tent in urban environments, such as on a roundabout, and sleeps hidden in plain sight.
Richard documents his adventures on YouTube under the name of Richie Outdoors and has set up camp in supermarket car parks, near busy train stations and on roundabouts on busy roads.
The dad-of-two goes all out too when he sets off for an urban adventure and will even cook his dinner out there, saying he enjoys the “real adrenaline rush”.
For Richard, stealth camping is a way for him to escape everyday routines and allows him to go on a “mini adventure”.
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Not only does he get a “real buzz” from it but he says it has allowed him to “develop as a person”.
Richard told Birmingham Live: "I started watching videos about stealth camping on Youtube about five years ago and I thought I'd give it a try.
“I love the excitement you get from camping somewhere you shouldn't be – it gives you butterflies in your tummy. You get a couple of hours to yourself to unwind and relax – and it's a budget-friendly activity – so it ticks all the boxes for me.
"Before I started doing this I was stuck in a rut, getting up for work, looking after the kids, not having the time or energy to go out anywhere.
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“But throwing myself out of my comfort zone and doing something like this really has helped boost my confidence. I could just be sitting at home watching TV with a couple of beers – but instead I'm outside testing myself."
The dad is part of a “growing community” of urban campers who share their lifestyle and love of the outdoors on social media.
Richard also like to challenge himself when camping and combine that with his love of al fresco dining.
Many campers may think just taking some sandwiches will do as a meal but Richard likes to cook a proper meal, which he says also helps pass the time.
In the past, he’s rustled up chicken curries, beef stews and wraps.
However, Richard says stealth camping isn’t for the feint-hearted as he spent many nights battling the cold and wet – and there are a number of safety aspects to be aware of.
For Richard though, that’s all just part of the challenge and he sees it as all “building you up as a person”.
As for concerns about how safe it is, he says that if you can find the right roundabout with lots of trees for cover, it can be safer than camping out in the wild as you have an “extra ring of security” provided by the traffic going around you.
He said at first his wife and two daughters thought he was “bonkers” when he told them about his new hobby but are now fully behind him.
Richard said: "I think everyone I spoke to about it at first was a bit bemused.
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"But there's a real stealth camping community out there.
"I sometimes question myself and think 'how did I end up here?' – but then I remember I'm here for a reason which is to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. I'd go out every week if I could."
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