Being young and adventurous has its perks, it can bring you to explore the least-explored places and gives you new perspectives on the world.
That includes camping, and specifically, wild camping. Camping helps you appreciate what’s outside of your four walls and can also give you a feeling like no other, and wild camping takes it a step further. However, while taking a camping trip in a place without any set regulations sounds like good fun, there are many rules and regulations all around the world you’ll need to take note of before heading off. You’ll also have to take responsibility for protecting our Mother Earth. To save you the trouble of doing extensive research, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions that campers usually ask:
Q: Where is Wild Camping Allowed?
Want to head off the beaten track? Exploring Scotland is a good way to discover hidden gems and landscapes and to get close to nature. Before you go, make sure you familiarise yourself with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and apply the rules of ‘leave no trace’. Essentially that means leaving only with good memories and your footsteps – nothing else. In Scotland, you’re allowed to camp on almost all unenclosed land other than the East Loch Lomond, which is subject to wild camping bylaws.
- England and Wales
While there is plenty of land in the English countryside, most land you see is privately owned. Be sure to check out the Forestry Commission or the National Trust before heading down. Only those in there are for public use. If you would really like to pitch on private land, do first check with the owner.
In Norway, Sweden and Denmark, visitors have the right of way. What that means is that the general public has access to public or privately owned land for recreation or exercise. As long as you pick a spot that is more that is 150m from homes, you are given the green light to camp there. Camping has become such a big part of the Scandinavian culture but caring for the environment and not leaving any trash is something that they stress a lot on. Follow the rule of thumb to be ‘considerate and thoughtful’ and you should be fine. Similar to the rules in England and Wales, if you’re planning on camping out on private land, remember to ask permission first.
The rest of Europe allows camping in many public areas, there are many land areas that are owned privately. Camping there requires permission from the owner and wildlife is a big part of their conservation efforts. Take note that although most countries in Europe encourage the public to camp, countries such as Italy and Germany aren’t too big on the camping culture and thus you’ll have to be more cautious when it comes to camping in those places in order to not get in trouble.
- USA & Canada
USA and Canada are home to many beautiful outdoor parks and camping is an activity widely accepted and embraced by many. However, the land in these two countries is often owned by many different people. Before you set foot on any park, make sure to do your research on who owns the land just so you don’t get accused of trespassing. In many national parks, camping is common but you might need a permit for it.
- Australia & New Zealand
Camping in Australia & New Zealand is a household pastime. However, choosing the wrong place to pitch your tent might land you a hefty fine. At national parks, you would need a permit for overnight camping. In Australia, there are many designated overnight camping spots that are regulated and managed. You’re not allowed to find a random beach and pitch a tent. As Australia experiences extreme weather changes (especially in Melbourne), you might want to check the fire safety warning before heading off on a hot day. In each Australian state, different rules apply so be sure to be clear of each regulation.
Q: What are the rules?
- Don’t take the car along
In some countries, having a car isn’t necessarily very welcomed when it comes to wild camping. If you’re camping on private land, it’s more likely that landowners will let hikers or cyclists the permit to stay.
- Take proper care of human waste
No one likes human waste, and more so for the environment. If you need to go in the wilderness, find a spot near a water source and dig a hole. Be sure not to bury your toilet paper along with it (it is very damaging to the environment), especially since it takes a long time to finally biodegrade.
- Keep out of sight
It is not advisable to camp with a group consisting of more than 5 people. Keeping your group small is the best way to keep tabs and look out for each other. Respecting the land that you’re on is important in order to stay away from trouble.
- Understand your environment
Wildlife is a big part of camping and it’s almost 100% certain that you’ll come face to face with wildlife. Respect their space and know that you’re the outsider here on their land. Storing food irresponsibly can attract unwanted wildlife. You certainly don’t want to have to deal with a grizzly bear while asleep at night! USA and Canadian authorities suggest hanging your food on a tree to prevent these animals from reaching it. If you’re planning on camping out on a beach, make sure that your tent is waterproof and set up a good distance from the shore. Take note of the tide levels as well.
- Be aware of fire safety
In warmer and drier climates, there might be fire restrictions that you’ll have to abide by. In Victoria, there can be a total fire ban on hot days as there were instances of forest fires due to campers. We recommend always bringing along a gas stove to prevent scorching the ground.
Camping is fun when you don’t get into trouble. Make sure that you make a checklist of what you need and what you don’t. Try not to overpack or under pack. If you’re interested in wild camping, here is more information about wild camping what is it all about. With that, happy camping!