Staying free and wild - wildcamping in the nature

The 1x1 of "wild camping" with by camping car. Staying free in the nature with a campfire

Each Traveller did has his own way how to handle wildcamping. Some are looking for campsites if available, others did try alway to stay remote, to enjoy nature without the noise of a neighbor. 

Of course, you need a slightly better sorted equipment if you want to get by without the infrastructure of a campsite. Water must be carried, a folding bowl for washing up, a spade - but then it has already, depending on the comfort requirement. More always goes, for example, a folding toilet, a throw tent for toilet / changing clothes / showers, hot water - as so often in life you can beef up the list quickly. 

I love to watch the nature, to spot animals, to see the stars at night. It is not about saving bucks - travelling by car is usually more empensive than doing backpacking with airplane, bus and hostel. 

It feels more adventurous to stay wild. It is so lovely to barbecue on the campfire and otherwise always a pain to stay on a regular campsite with limited options and the noise of other travellers.

Wild camping - simply looking for a nice romantic place in nature for the night, preparing a delicious meal, sitting comfortably around a small campfire in the evening - what could be better?

But how you can get these wildcamp spots by yourself? You have to get them by yourself, otherwise you never know who will join the party in the middle of the night, using well known wildcamp-spots provided by severall apps.

The 1x1 of "wild camping" with the car

If staying wild is legal or not is mostly different in each country. I do not want to go deeper into that, who sets up his tents in the evening and leaves in the morning - offers little room to have to discuss this question. 

I would like to help you in this article - how you can camp wild without attracting attention. We have crossed Africa and camped wild, but also travel so in Europe, from Switzerland to Germany, Italy, France or Spain. Wild camping is possible everywhere, if you consider some things.

How does wild camping work? What should be considered when wild camping? What characterizes a good wildcamp spot?

Basically, the following points should help you not to get into trouble if you are discovered, and to keep the place attractive for the next overlander:

  • Mount and use a garbage bag (at best clearly visible)
  • keep the campfire small (or use a hobo oven)
  • do not burn any holes in the meadows (dig them out with a spade if necessary
  • Extinguish the campfire at the end if necessary and cover it
  • do not leave excrements & toilet paper lying around (spade or folding toilet with bag)
  • do not make noise
  • be friendly and open to all other outdoor activities, hunters and forester

howto wildcamping, howto get the perfect wildcamping spot in the nature
If the forester/farmer/land owner finds a pile of garbage after you, he will not be very happy about the next off-road vehicle that drives around in the evening - and will rather call the police. Even if you should be discovered by a hiker / forester / farmer - it helps immensely if the camp looks tidy and no garbage is lying around.

The search of a wild camp spot

  • Start early to look after a decent wild camp spot (2h before getting dark)
  • Use google/bing/apple satellite images to look for remote spots without civilisation
  • Stay as undiscovered as possible when searching for a spot
  • Choose the wildcamp spot somewhat hidden and out of sight if possible.
  • Avoid light and noise as much as possible
  • Light a campfire only in safe or well-concealed spots
  • Cooking, eating, washing up while still in the light also helps to hide from mosquitoes.

 With the help of detailed maps or satellite images that can display any smartphone today, which can also be downloaded for offline use, it is recommended to look for regions that are remote. Of course, this can also be done simply by feeling - but some technical support can make life easier.

The goal is to find a nice place that is secluded, a place where you are alone and not disturbed, a place where you are not expected, where there is no through traffic.

Here I already distinguish the travel region. If I think it is safe, then I look for a place directly, accepting that I could be seen during the search. Safe in the form that the law enforcement officers could get me out of bed at night, "safe" but also that I do not have to expect a robbery or a pack of drunken youngsters.

The 1x1 of "wild camping" with by camping car. Staying free in the nature with a campfire
In case of increased risk, I make sure that I am not watched when I leave the street. Means if I see a junction, but there is a car behind me or a cyclist/pedestrian can see the junction - then I continue for now and turn around later - to be able to leave the junction unnoticed. With increased risk I leave the place again if I was observed there or with the closer approach. I also leave a place where I do not feel comfortable.

Sometimes it is in populated areas simply not possible to stand so apart, because the way past a house / hut ends after 200m - or because you have chosen a hilltop that lies in good sight distance to a house.

In my opinion, it is then advisable to ask for permission. In this case you should be friendly, point out that you have to remove all traces and take the garbage with you. I have never been denied this request.

In crowded areas I often did scout the Wildcamp spot during day, where the spot is crowded by walkers, runners and so on. If you save the spot and get back after dark without light - you should too be able to have a nice sleep.

Try to set up your wild camp so that you are somewhat hidden and cannot be seen directly from the path. Of course, I do not stand in the middle of a half-high meadow - often there are field paths or junctions with dead end that offer themselves or a natural area with less vegetation.

Very often at the evening a farmer/local was driving nearby - and you are happy if you are not recognizable there from the track/field way/road and you did stay undiscovered.

If the place is found, it is usually worth a short walk, especially in the corners that you could not see on the approach, to get a feel for the place - and to avoid surprises.

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