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Camping outside of campsites

N1TRON1TRO Posts: 103
edited May 2016 in Tour & expedition
I was wondering if anyone had experiences to share regarding camping outside preset camping grounds, so woods, fields etc. I'm not sure what the law says in regards to that, but surely people might look strangely at you overnighting in your pitched tent, especially in western Europe.

So, has anyone ever come into an unpleasant situation while doing so?

Posts

  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,718
    There's no shortage of Bikepacking sites that will help you out - bearbonesbikepacking is a good UK one and they re all friendly.

    In short, it's technically illegal everywhere but in reality it's possible everywhere. I ve only just started doing it really but IMO if you wait until dusk, find a spot which is tucked out of site and be quiet you'll almost certainly be fine. Next morning, pack up and leave at dawn. Have breakfast back on the route for example. It's only really farmers or early morning dog walkers that will find you at that time and most of them will ignore you or at worst be curious. Obviously in the "real" countryside even that won't be an issue.

    In most places, the biggest reason that "bivvying" is illegal is that to make it legal would encourage people to do it everywhere and real campsites would lose business. For example Belgium and the Netherlands allowed Paalkamperen (literally Pole camping) where you re allowed to camp in a 10m diameter around a pole. In Belgium, they have made small platforms, fire pits, long drop toilets and even have poles to hang hammocks from. They ve found that the majority of people don't stay in them anyway as they want a proper toilet and a shower etc.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • bikes`n`gunsbikes`n`guns Posts: 959
    Camp anywhere you like in Scotland. No one bats an eye.
    Trek,,,, too cool for school ,, apparently
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Plenty of stuff on stealth camping and wild camping around.

    I've done a little over the years, getting more into it again as I am carrying a bivy bag for a forthcoming fast tour. I hadn't bivied for 20+ years and I had forgotten quite how amazing it is (in good conditions!).

    If you are sensible, you shouldn't have any issues.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,718
    A bivi bag is easier than a tent though to be fair (just re-read the OP). A bivi bag in the rain SUUUCCCKKKSSSS though

    some examples of my "adventures" in my blog btw
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    ^ yep I am yet to relearn that level of misery in my rediscovery of the bivi. But 25 years ago, I tooled around the Pyrenees on mountain bikes with a mate for a few weeks with bivi bags; we suffered horribly with the storms in the mountains.

    Similar principles apply whether it's a bivi or a small tent though. As you said, rock up late, make sure you're well away from houses, leave it as you found it, be away soon after dawn.

    And carry wet wipes.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Dartmoor is pretty relaxed I heard mentioned recently.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    This is a guide to where is it and isn't legal in Europe. In the UK as mentioned above Scotland and some of Dartmoor.

    https://www.bergzeit.co.uk/journal/wild ... e-allowed/

    http://v-g.me.uk/WildCamp/WildCampLegal.htm

    However, I spent last weekend wild camping in England. Looked at a map found some promising looking woodland checked it out a bit before it got dark and stayed the night. I didn't use a tent or a bivvy but a tarp hung between two trees. A thick piece of plastic as a ground sheet, a therma-rest and sleeping bag. The weather was excellent, other than a shower on Sunday morning, which is why I went. I stayed in two places one 15 metres from a foot and cycle path and someone did pass by at 6.45am on Saturday morning but didn't see me in amongst the trees under a green tarp.

    No fires, no breaking branches or pulling up plants and burying my human waste well away from any paths or water course with fast bio-degrading toilet paper. If you stay somewhere sensible move on after one night and don't damage anything you'll probably have no trouble.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    ddraver wrote:
    if you wait until dusk, find a spot which is tucked out of site and be quiet you'll almost certainly be fine. Next morning, pack up and leave at dawn.

    While I can see why 'wild camping' might sound romantic (although 'rough sleeping' is probably more accurate and less romantic). The reality just sounds like a load of hassle.'If I'm cycling in summer by the time it gets to 5 or 6 I've had enough and I just want to have a shower, something to eat and a good night's sleep. I really don't want to be hanging around until it gets dark (about 4 or 5 hours later) before being able to settle down for the night. Assuming the place I've chosen isn't a favourite hangout for local doggers.

    All that hassle for for the sake of saving a tenner? Life's too short: put your hand in your pocket, stay in a legit campsite and get a good night's sleep knowing that you'll be left in peace.

    And a bivvy bag takes the whole thing to another level of pointless masochism. Fine for weekends but not for anything longer.

    PS camping *outside* campsites sounds like a sure way to really hack off the campsite owner ;-)
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    ="andymiller
    'If I'm cycling in summer by the time it gets to 5 or 6 I've had enough and I just want to have a shower, something to eat and a good night's sleep. I really don't want to be hanging around until it gets dark (about 4 or 5 hours later) before being able to settle down for the night. Assuming the place I've chosen isn't a favourite hangout for local doggers.

    All that hassle for for the sake of saving a tenner? Life's too short: put your hand in your pocket, stay in a legit campsite and get a good night's sleep knowing that you'll be left in peace.

    And a bivvy bag takes the whole thing to another level of pointless masochism. Fine for weekends but not for anything longer.



    If that's what you want then do it. There are plenty of people for whom camping is a real faff and they would rather pay the extra and stay in a hotel. For that matter the majority of the population see cycling as something done by those who can't afford either a car or bus fare.

    There's nothing stopping you finding somewhere to stay, going and having something to eat and coming back a little later.

    Like riding a bike it's not always about money, many campsites especially in the UK you struggle to get a good nights sleep or be left in peace as they're full of p*ssed people shouting until the early hours.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    edited May 2016
    duplicate post
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    whoof wrote:
    Like riding a bike it's not always about money, many campsites especially in the UK you struggle to get a good nights sleep or be left in peace as they're full of p*ssed people shouting until the early hours.

    IME they aren't like that at all. This is just something people claim when you question the glamourising of sleeping rough/freeloading.

    Mostly campsites are filled with OAPs and/or people with pre-school age kids. OK maybe if you stay in a campsite in Newquay in the school summer holidays, or a Bank Holiday weekend, you might experience some late-night noise, but otherwise if you pick your campsites with a degree of nous you'll be fine.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    andymiller wrote:
    whoof wrote:
    Like riding a bike it's not always about money, many campsites especially in the UK you struggle to get a good nights sleep or be left in peace as they're full of p*ssed people shouting until the early hours.

    IME they aren't like that at all. This is just something people claim when you question the glamourising of sleeping rough/freeloading.

    Mostly campsites are filled with OAPs and/or people with pre-school age kids. OK maybe if you stay in a campsite in Newquay in the school summer holidays, or a Bank Holiday weekend, you might experience some late-night noise, but otherwise if you pick your campsites with a degree of nous you'll be fine.

    It's not that I don't camp I do and have had many nice nights on various sites but British people, middle aged and even elderly people go on holiday drink too much and get loud. A few millimetres of canvas doesn't block it out and I use ear plugs when using a campsite. I am spending two weeks cycle touring and camping in Europe this summer and will be using campsites. I have never had a problem in Europe only the UK and as such I don't camp often these days in the UK, more often than not I will stay in b & bs on tour.

    Spent a week in a Gower last year. Checked the website spoke to the owner and was assured there would be no noise or music allowed. We turned up and it was full of families. Was fine for 6 nights until the last Saturday a party turned up and screamed and shouted until 3 am. The site owners were long gone. The owners spoke to the 'shouters' in the morning and they apologised and the owners apologised to everyone, but there were a lot of people who didn't get much sleep.

    I used to stay in a secluded site on Devon a couple of times a year. The last time I was there some people in VW campers started turning up at about 10.30. As each one came on site all the others sounded their horns and shouted and they played really loud music. This when on for some time, the site owner (in his late 70s) went to speak to them for was knock to the ground. At about 1.00 am the police turned up and it went quite and in the morning they were all thrown off site. Again lots of apologies.
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    It's often nothing to do with saving a tenner.

    Having true flexibility can make fast touring easier (my next tour, I will ride 250-300km a day and want to be able stop when I have to).

    Equally, you can sleep anywhere and in places few people get to experience at night, or more excitingly, at dawn. And you have it all to yourself.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    I camp about 3 months of the year. Yes you get the occasional problem but really not that often. Certainly not often enough to justify the ducking and diving involved in sleeping rough. Not to mention potential hassle from any passing f***wit (drunk or sober).

    It seems to me that the major point here is about putting money into the local economy and supporting local people and local businesses. I think that that applies just as much in Somerset as it does in Sardegna (where I am now). If you are somewhere remote, then that's one thing, but if you really are somewhere remote then you're not going to have to do the ducking and diving routine.

    And Marcus - you cycle 250-300 kilometres and you can't find a decent campsite for the night? Pull the other one. These days researching campsites is really easy.

    And after cycling 250-300 kilometres you're really going to make do with wet wipes? I think that's taking the competitive suffering thing a bit far. :wink:
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Campsites are generally not going to be staffed at the point of the evening I am going to stop. Nor will they be staffed when i leave. I just need somewhere to sleep for a few hours.

    I have ridden rather further each day and relied on wet wipes. My distance on this trip is somewhat less than normal daily distance, but for rather more days.

    There will be hotels in the mix as well, but only every 3-4 days.

    Bivi bag suits my purpose for this trip nicely. But, sure, not going to be for everyone, much like riding 250km+ a day!
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    andymiller wrote:
    Certainly not often enough to justify the ducking and diving involved in sleeping rough. Not to mention potential hassle from any passing f***wit (drunk or sober).

    It seems to me that the major point here is about putting money into the local economy and supporting local people and local businesses.

    People don't roam in woodland a night, drunk or otherwise at least not unless it's an episode of Midsomer Murders.

    I do put money into the local economy. The last weekend I went wild camping, on the Saturday I paid for breakfast (£10), went to a tea shop in the afternoon and had a meal in a pub (£20) in the evening. If you really want to put money into the economy stop camping, especially if you making your own meals on a camping stove and stay in a b+b/ hotel and eat at restaurants.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,718
    andymiller wrote:
    ddraver wrote:
    if you wait until dusk, find a spot which is tucked out of site and be quiet you'll almost certainly be fine. Next morning, pack up and leave at dawn.
    .'If I'm cycling in summer by the time it gets to 5 or 6 I've had enough and I just want to have a shower, something to eat and a good night's sleep. I really don't want to be hanging around until it gets dark (about 4 or 5 hours later) before being able to settle down for the night. Assuming the place I've chosen isn't a favourite hangout for local doggers.

    ...kay

    I havent, I don't mind, heard of a camp stove? I get a good night in a bivi bag, and have you ever heard of a pub?

    Call it luck but I ve never had an issue with doggers, whilst camping (Winter MTBing after work is another story)

    If you don't like it, don't do it. No one is forcing you...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Rode to the North Cape last summer. Once we'd got to Norway, the number of wild camps progressively increased til we probably reached over a third of nights wild in the far North. No choice - camp sites are often more than a days ride apart.
    The only real hassle was finding locations - most places suitable for camping are too close to properties. Once location was found there was never any problem. I preferred the wild camps to the sites because of the quiet.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,902
    Rolf F wrote:
    I preferred the wild camps to the sites because of the quiet.

    Although when you need a dump, it becomes an issue with what leaf is in season...
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,718
    :lol:
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
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