Have you heard the words “wild camping” and wondered what it meant? Or perhaps you already know, and are interested in trying it out for yourself. In this article we’ll break it down: the good and the bad, the do’s and the don’ts. We’ll share with you why you should give it a shot. So if you want to learn about wild camping, read on!
An introduction to wild camping
Do you love travelling without being bound by anything? Do you cherish your freedom above all else? If so, you’ll probably love wild camping! Camping in the wild is, among other things, a fantastic way to save on travel costs. It's a bit more adventurous, and you're closer to nature… in fact, you’re in it. Camps certainly have many benefits, but most of the time, they don't give you the same level of intimateness and privacy. Like all things though, there are a few downsides too: complete responsibility for your security, fines (if you pick the wrong place) and, of course, a complete lack of facilities besides what you have.
If you’re camping in nature and you plan to stay away from the campervan or motorhome for a longer period of time, you should definitely think about securing your motorhome in advance. It may seem to be completely safe when you’re in a remote place (and you well might be!), but this may not always be the case. The basic rule for preventing theft is, of course, keeping everything locked up. But, that alone may not be enough. It’s also a good idea to consider steering locks, pedal locks (like the clutch claw), and extra locks for doors and storage spaces. An alarm is also a great idea too, or even a camera linked to your phone so you can keep an eye on your motorhome when you’re away from it. There are a lot of options on the market to make your motorhome safe.
Camping in the wild is one of the most natural and liberating forms of travel, in our opinion.
Advice for wild camping
So, how do you handle being solo? Solar panels and leisure batteries are practically a must have if you want a consistent source of electricity, even without a mains hookup. Also, be sure to check your tank capacity for both fresh water, grey water and black water. Most vehicles don’t have tanks big enough to last for an entire trip, so they’ll need to be emptied / refilled. It’s often possible to empty your black and grey water tanks at certain car parks, or even at a petrol station. You can also replenish your fresh water at the same places too. Just make sure you ask any staff that are present.
Wild camping in Czechia
Sleeping anywhere you choose is a tempting idea, but it’s not always feasible. In some places like the USA it’s relatively common to do this, but there are countries in Europe where it’s not possible to camp outside the permitted places, and some are super strict. Even in the birthplace of Campiri, Czechia, you can't park wherever you want. When choosing a place, do your best to ensure you’re not on private land, in a national park, or on a protected area.
While Czech law technically allows you to spend the night freely in the forest, it’s not actually possible to park your campervan there overnight… okay, let us explain. A one-off stay without signs of long-term residence is allowed. An example of this would be to park your campervan in the woods not to sleep, but rather to come and rest a little. Camping in the formal sense of the word is forbidden in most places. So you can't just get a fireplace going, stretch out the clothes lines, and bang out the hammock. You can find out about where to spend the night, where to camp and how to prevent inconveniences on the 4camping.cz website (it’s in Czech, but can be translated by Google).
However, camping on some private plots isn’t a problem, and this is where you’ll have a lot of fun. The bezkempu.cz service (also in Czech) which offers legal camping advice for various private plots will help you with this. You just need to find the location where you want to go, and book it beforehand. This way, you can still get all the peace and privacy you desire at a reasonable price. Essentially, ask before you camp, and you’ll know for sure!
Wild camping in other countries
If you go outside of Czechia, the situation is different in each country… but you’ll find that the general advice is still the same (you can camp if you have permission from the owner, there are generally useful websites for each country, and so on). Some places have very liberal rules on camping, whilst others are considerably more strict. Some countries allow camping only on private land and by prior arrangement with the owner. To make it even more complicated, the situation is constantly changing as digital nomads and remote workers become more common. Bans and permits will likely change from country to country over time. The situation regarding wild camping is currently changing, for example, in Portugal, which is a popular winter destination for campers from all over Europe. However due to recent changes overnight stays and night parking are now prohibited everywhere except where it is strictly permitted. For violations of the regulation you can get up to a 300 euro fine, and in the case of wild camping in a protected area, even more. So always check for the most up-to-date information on news in the countries you choose to camp in!
Finding the perfect place to park your dwelling doesn't have to be hard. Apps help!
Apps for wild camping
Today, thanks to smartphones, you’ve got the opportunity to search for ideal parking spaces using mobile apps (and we highly recommend taking advantage of them!). There’s no single perfect app that finds all places in all countries though… so it’s best to combine apps. The park4night app is one of the most popular, and with good reason; it’s a nice all rounder to get you started. You’ll be able to use this to find a car park or picnic area when you’re in a pinch. The app can also be used offline, but you’ll need to pay for the premium feature.
If you don't mind an app that only works online, then Camping.info is a great choice where you can choose spots by country… super handy for bigger cross country (or even cross continent) trips. It's great to use this app as a travel preparation tool, we find.
If you’re focussing on just one area, you may find that there are more helpful apps too. For example, if you’re in Scandinavia and are looking for a fully offline app free of charge, download Stellplatz. We’ll soon share an article giving you the full breakdown of the best apps and websites for wild camping in specific places, so watch this space!
And if you’d like to get started right now, you should check out the Campiri website for your next steps.
See you on the road!