Stealth Camping (Upper-Intermediate Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate (B2/C1)
Lesson Topics: stealth camping, freedom, conformity
Skill Focus
: Reading, Vocabulary, Speaking
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: stealth-camping-upper-intermediate-062023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • This lesson was inspired by a fascinating thread by @shagbark_hick (on Twitter) about stealth camping. After warm-up questions, students read a summary of some of the most fascinating tidbits from his seven years of travels living and sleeping wherever he could.
  • Note that the passage contains some semi-mature themes (using a steel bar for protection, pretending to be insane to avoid being robbed). One of the keywords is also 'suicidal'. Please sanitize the lesson a little if you are teaching younger, more innocent students.
  • After the reading, students complete some comprehension and vocabulary activities.
  • Next, there is a debate about the validity of stealth camping as a lifestyle. This is followed by an activity that asks students to consider a few stealth camping scenarios. Next, there are three roleplays.
  • On the last page, students create a story using vocabulary from the lesson and a set of images. Then they discuss three famous quotations about freedom and conformity. 
  • Finally, the lesson ends with discussion questions and a quick collocation review.

An alley at night

UPPER-INTERMEDIATE (B2/C1) EFL Lesson Plan on Stealth Camping

Warm-up Questions

  1. What is the longest time you’ve ever traveled for? Have you ever had the ‘travel bug’?
  2. What is the most uncomfortable place you’ve ever slept?

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-- Lesson plan on Stealth Camping written by Matthew Barton of (copyright), excluding the quotations from @shagbark_hick. Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Possible answers to comprehension questions:

  1. Stealth camping is the practice of sleeping anywhere, even if it means trespassing or breaking laws, in order to travel and camp covertly.
  2. The two main rules were waking up early, usually at 4:30 am, and sleeping in high places where necessary because people do not look up.
  3. To avoid confrontations in dangerous neighborhoods, Randy slept in a hammock between tree branches, screeched to himself like a mental patient while walking, and tried to appear unpredictable or "crazy."
  4. According to Randy, the most frightening aspect was hearing people confess how miserable they were during hitchhiking rides.
  5. This is debatable. You could say it is false because he finds the lifestyle rewarding and challenging. It makes life seem realer and more intense. On the other hand, he states that it is addictive and makes it hard to live a normal life. He seems doomed to this lifestyle as it is in in his genes.
  6. Randy believes the lifestyle and problem-solving that comes with it stimulate both the mind and body in a way that is absent in a mundane and routine existence.

Vocabulary Answers: 1-i, 2-a, 3-c, 4-m, 5-k, 6-d, 7-g, 8-j, 9-e, 10-h, 11-L, 12-v, 13-f

Collocation Answers: 1-d, 2-b, 3-f, 4-g, 5-h, 6-a, 7-e, 8-c

 [1] Original post: Some ideas taken from comments in the thread. The name ‘Randy’ is inferred from @shagbark_hick’s blog, which references Randy as the author.

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