Stealthy Way of Accommodation: Cycling and Wild Camping in the EU and in the USA?

Has anyone cycled for months + with wild camping with a tent as the preferred way of accomodation? Have you experienced any issues with officials/local rules and restrictions? I know there are restrictions for wild camping in many EU countries, don't know about Asia etc. Share your experience. We cycled in Estonia, where in most places wild camping is allowed, but still many restrictions apply. Basically, we had to "break" couple times some rules and wild camp in areas, where wild camping is officially not allowed. Do you use such an approach - if you can't find an allowed area for wild camping, you just put your tent whenever you can because you have no choice?

I sleep in a hammock so more stealthy haha use a camo tarp and hammock and can stash my bike underneath my tarp I do mostly wild camping I'm from holland and here it isn't allowed also not in Germany Belgium and some parts of France so I just find a stealthy spot to hang and get up early next morning
yes, I'm not yet "ready" for a hammock, for some reason I believe, a hammock can't be compared in terms of comfort with a tent. Maybe one day I will change my mind
look into the haven tent its a hammock-style tent with flat laying get a bigger tarp to stash the bike underneath or use the bike as poles to make an awning with the existing tarp buddy of mine does this too since then switched to a bridge hammock for also a flat lay and to save some weight
Once you've tried a hammock, you'll go straight back to a tent.
seems to me like you have never had a good night's sleep in a hammock
You're right, I've never had a good one, they're great for daytime lolling even napping, but I have to be flat to sleep properly. I would have made a crap sailor.
then u have not tried a good hammock I can lay as flat as I want even on my side and stomach 🤣 just need a proper hammock system that suits your kind of sleep I can't sleep on my back so a normal hammock would not have worked for me either since I'm a side/stomach sleeper but there are so many systems out there that mimic a hammock but have flat sleeping as their primary goals like the haven tent or amok draumr and some bridge hammocks like the ridge runner
Yea you are confusing a regular hammock with one specific to camping. You can definitely lay completely flat with a proper hammock. And with a tarp/rainfly set up, it's dry and heavenly.
indeed I was thinking the same he only tried the canvas style in a stand hammock which are only meant for relaxing
You're right I have only tried 'maggots' A friend of mine has got one of the types you're talking about. He said, "it's great, flat, and comfortable. But you do need trees". If I had the space I would carry all kinds of options but I can find ground anywhere so a tent has to be.🍺 Happy cycling pedal turners.
yes trees are nice when flying a hammock lol
I find sleeping in my hammock tent way more comfortable than sleeping on the ground. I easily sleep flat in it. However, there is no room for my gear inside a hammock tent. It has a great built-in bug screen. The rain fly comes off.
The biggest problem I found was curious dogs in the morning. Apart from that, I've never been asked to move on, however, I do tend to wild camp in places where the chance of discovery is unlikely. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and use what on the surface is a compromising spot. When that happens I sometimes ask locals or dog walkers if it's acceptable to camp and I stress it's only for one night. A green tent helps. I would add that if you are sensible and don't over-worry about it 99% of the time you'll be fine. These are some of my travels with wild camping spots.
 the good thing about being from Scotland is camping is possible pretty much everywhere
loved Scotland and the Outer Hebrides although sometimes finding a dry flat spot was an issue. 😃
haha true!
No risk - no fun...
totally my approach, that's why I'm into 100% wild camping
was caught once, last night on a tour ending in Auckland New Zealand. No park close to the city was legal, set up as discreetly as possible but the park guy came around in the evening. After hearing the situation he moved us into the park office… then came back and invited us to dinner. NZ was a great place to ride.
I had something like that happen at Yellowstone NP. They found me at about 1 am, and moved me to a more public space, claiming a bear was prowling around. But the more public space only include a few hardshell containers, and now I had my food near me too.
I also had many nights of wild camping in Germany and France and have never experienced any difficulties. I always pick a spot where I can not be seen easily and try to leave as early as possible in the morning. For the most part, I really enjoy being that flexible and setting up your tent right where you are without worrying about finding a campsite.
that's the point - I don't want to plan my route via official campsites, I need freedom and the ability to put my tent somewhere suitable where I will end my cycling day
Where ever you can option is not slim If you bivouac stealth try to be invisible to the landlord, police, and security Leave early as much is possible
I do it a lot in Germany. Putting the tent up in the evening and removing it in the morning is the key. Still not everywhere legal. In some states yes (out of a forest) in others not but who cares? Don’t make a fire, take your waste with you and it should be o.k. Use a dark green or a camo tent which reduces the risk to get some visitors. Don’t do it in national parks and protected nature areas, in normal nature parks be careful to be away from places where rangers (very rare) are. Otherwise normal people will not border you and in the very rare case where someone gets angry (I have never heard about it) they may have to call the police and that may take so much time that you can make your way. In the worst case, at last out of official parks, you may get asked to go away. Fines are very rare but in theory possible. But if you are nice to them and friendly not likely that someone is doing it, tell them you don’t know where to go and…. You can also ask farmers to put your tent on the ground – normally they are o.k. with this. There are a lot of ways. I like also those simple open huts which are a lot in the nature parks
By the way: My preferred tent for the game
I like that you can fit your bike in your tent. Is that a section with a bug screen built-in on the right side? Can you share the name of your tent, please? Thanks
Thanks, 😊👍🏼
good price... Arrival over a month but i guess it s so everywhere 😅
Well, what is one month? You have to order such things early and improve the equipment with time. Aliexpress from China takes always to Germany in between 2 up to 6 weeks and in some rare cases 12 weeks. The DD Camo will be faster within Europe- you will also find something like this in green at Aliexpress even in Silicon-Nylon which is a better material in the long term which I have also but I like the camo. Ali has also very light carbon poles for the tent otherwise a walking stick will do the job. It's really good to hide the tent in the right environment (like in Europe) and light.
I agree, if you have the time, it s worth waiting, I just wanna go before... I might think of taking the random totally not lightweight tent otherwise okay-ish tent with us or try to look cheaper smaller a bit more lightweight... This time it s backpacking though, I think... Not sure but depends on how we manage... Not too much time to plan(fixed dates with family) but the good news, already started tryouts for both... The bike just tried a 7+7km trip from one side of town to the other. Was harder than thought!! And couldn't look at the bike for so many days 😅 and second backpacking with a toddler partly in my hiking bag... Omg!! It s heavy! But mostly as I don't know how to fix the size of the bag to be well proportioned... If I'll do that. It seems like bikepacking, even with the toddler on the back, is easier than bike backing, for now... For that, though I d need a well-working tent... With all the necessary parts... Imma check that first! Ps. I didn't mention, my idea is, however, to get from northeast to south, and spend some time around there...
but the dd camo seems an ok option to get now, sizewise. Not sure of the colour though :/, it makes me feel and look military(i consider myself rather a pacifist than pro-war when it comes to politics... But most politicians seem to not agree 😁 anyway. I d prefer dark green for that but they seem to only have camo :/ Also, the brown hammock looks ok, for a first-time trial... The matter of the tent I d need probably depends on whether or not I need it on the road or only on arrival(Spain-Portugal) estimated mid-May and spend there a few weeks or so...
Yes, all not so easy at the beginning. You can also look at Ali, they have a lot of these pyramid Tents, best would be in Silicon Nylon. There are also bigger ones, like this: But if you never start you will never see. Keep on improving everything and next time go for 30 after 40, 60 and maybe 80 km a day. Always keep on doing and improving. Make every month or 2 a trip for 2 to 4 days and sometimes longer. Make notes of what should be improved for the next time and search for a solution: We are always ready to help. If you are passing by Germany contact me, eventually I'm here and join you for a few days…
The more east the less controlled. In Asia, apart from a few countries like Japan or South Korea- people don't care at all. Japan and South Korea are also wild camping paradise but with more rules in mind (never cross private property).
Japan and Korea are wild camp heaven. Legal everywhere on public land, even in cities. I camped in Kyoto for 3 nights in different spots. I never hid my tent. One night dusk to dawn legal. Same with South Korea.
that's what I wrote, right? camping paradise. I spent 5,5-month cycling and wild camping in both countries, the countryside and cities. What I meant though is that when you - even by mistake, which happened to me a few times - cross the private land then it is really taken bad.
I have a lot of experience with wild camping in Asia. Mainly Japan but have the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. If corona restrictions will over I'll go to more countries. If you're interested in the scenes of wild camping of mine please check my photo albums 😊
I've wild camped a thousand times in the last 14 years I've been doing bicycle touring. A few times I was found and forced to leave, a few times people called the police (mostly England), and on rare occasions, I was guarded by soldiers but mostly fine. A green tent is the way and at least some bushes/trees help a lot. Best pitch up in the dark and leave in the dark but mornings are always less stressful. Camped on all continents and still think Europe is the best. The most difficult country to wild camp was England (Scotland on the other hand is fantastic) and the best was Sweden/Finland. But I have a strong feeling that on one beautiful day I'll be shot for trespassing :-)
Like you, I've wild camped everywhere, I'm surprised you find it hard in England for me It's the easiest there are so many places to hide away even close to the road. The Two rules I use are not to camp where pedestrians can reach, and not to camp where vehicles can reach. I have always got away with it. For me the hardest place is the Netherlands, it seems like every inch is owned and not many hideaway places, I'm going to try at least one night wild there this year when I make my trip. I love the feeling of starting my days riding already with a sense of small success for the night's sleep. Good luck.
I got my tent, while I was an inexperienced hiker/cyclist. It has light grey in colour. I should get a dark green tent instead
The day you will be shot is likely, IMHO, to be in the land of the free. (My neighbour to the south.)
7 years living in a tent - not one problem
If you are checked while in a forbidden area, just explain that you were very tired and obliged to stop to rest. Most people will understand and accept it, if you add that you will be leaving soon in the morning, leaving no garbage.
yes, exactly what I will do if such a situation will occur. I believe most people will be kind and will understand the situation
In some countries they are sick and tired of the brown cakes, some ppl leave when wild camping. Some LBS have in stock small plastic shovels to dig a hole and drop the "stuff" in there. best is to pick the right spot (away from creeks) in the evening to make the hole, then in the morning, we don't have to rush to get that business done. The other day someone said "and I stick a little flag in it for the local farmer" ...the shovel below is made of titanium, 35 grs. --------obviously ideal is to stop at a public WC like in gas stations before heading wild camping.
thanks for sharing it 👍
with pleasure... personally has given me a lot of valuable information. Continue to have a good trip Heike!
great and thank you!!!
I avoid that as you never know who might see you and, with bad intentions, sneak up on you in the middle of the night, assault you, etc.
that's the key to wild camping. Be safe. Be invisible.
Wild camping? Wait, is there another way?
The point is not to get caught! I never got caught so no clue what happens if you do. I truly believe one of our basic human rights is to live on this planet as we long as we don't harm others (there are no "others") or the planet. Wildcamping is part of that right IMHO. Usually 1 or 2 hours before dark I look for a spot. When found, before unpacking, first make a coffee, and chill. Just feel the place and see if someone is coming. Then unpack. Don't put my tarp on yet. Some cooking and eating. If someone comes, ask their opinion about you camping there. My experience is people who don't mind/are positive or point you to a better spot. In my point of view, being stealthy/sneaky makes you suspicious...I just act as if I belong (which we do!), works for me... Intuition is important! follow yours... Be nice!, always... Never panic, and if you do...just stop, coffee, and think. Never take important decisions when in a panic! Leave no trace The world is yours!, Own it
all ok except trash, toilet paper, excrement etc. etc.
yeah, that is still a 2022!🤯
Btw. Water instead of toilet paper...
or dig a hole
and better have a dark green tent... 😎👍
Wild pig encounters in parts of France and Italy are unavoidable so I hang my garbage and open food packages in the trees. Poisonous snakes in Turkey are a big concern but you learn where not to find them. Agricultural areas with working or protective dogs can be difficult as they'll bark all night if they know you're on their land. Agricultural areas, in general, can be difficult because all the land is used and you may encounter lots of fencing. I will leave major roads when looking for a camping spot. I drag my bike to strange heights if need be.
This is stealth camping at its finest, but I don't generally need to be or like to be quite so hidden. And Turkey is a 5-star country for wild camping.
In more than half of Europe it is illegal and campgrounds cost as much as hotel rooms. So I stopped caring and wild camped. The chances of being seen are small, the chances of being reported smaller, the chances of meeting up with rangers/police yet smaller and the chances of being actually fined are next to nothing.
Stealth camping means nobody knows you are there or were there. If you master that it doesn't matter.
to that end … I eschew a tent
Have to say that I'm lucky that in Finland you can put your tent in almost any place. For example parks in city centres are excluded and private yards (but you can temporarily sleep on any privately owned land as long it is no one's backyard)... But the hard part is that Finnish nature is swamps, rocks, and lots of trees, but more trees and a lot more trees. You better look beforehand for a good map to save time. A dry coniferous forest is the best. The good part is that there is no dark in summer so you can keep looking at the map all night. Often cyclists go late in the evening to a small beach and put there a tent, especially if they cycle out of the big cities. Not officially allowed but really there is no one to care. You will not get a fine for doing that. We also have free primitive huts and some of those can be close to cycle routes.
Yes, there are lots of 'huts' in the Finnish forest, often even with fireplaces and toilets too! A mosquito net is recommended! But yes, aim for a lake beach and you will do well! Love cycling in Finland! (Anyone 🚵‍♀️ in Pirkanmaa, Finland, & you may visit my place for hospitality😊
In national parks, the fine is up to a thousand euros. But I did see them camping. I don't hope so, too much of a fine. Otherwise yes, go to the forest, set up a tent and in the morning further. 🤣😜
My understanding is that in Ontario, Canada, "wild" camping is officially illegal, except on "Crown Land", which is difficult to find near most roads. I prefer the term "Stealth" camping, which has one rule only: Don't get caught. (Set up at dusk, set down at dawn.)
If it’s illegal to camp in an area it’s only for campsites to make money
in Poland generally forbidden, but many people do it anyway. Legally, recently, in state forests in certain areas allowed.
Keep out of sight...if they can't see you they can't lay the law down to you!..wild camping.. happy days👍🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
I try to find a spot while still light out - then go run errands or go to the pub. Set camp after dark and then get up at first light
I camped where I can
I've lived for years sleeping like this, but just the past two years on a bike. I do my best to remain hidden. The only issues I've had were when I was in populated areas and was desperate for sleep.
just wait til after dusk. make sure off trail approx. 100 ft. no fires. leave early morning. never had an issue.
I've camped wild dozens of times in and around what I believed was private Property. Nobody said a word. However, as a tip. Have a spare inner tube with you and tell anyone that catches you that you had a flat (show them the tube and puncture repair kit and pump) that you had just used the night before and explain that you had no choice but to settle here for the night...The main thing to put across is that you are intending to leave as soon as possible for you have a set plan...Basically, they don't want people staying for a period of days...
hmm, interesting idea. But I think, saying to people, that you don't have time to look for another place to pitch your tent because it's soon will be dark, might be a better idea.
as they come back and say, then why didn't you cycle to the nearest BnB? Nevermind. I've just got tens of thousands of miles of experience. You obviously know it all... Goodbye.
I don't know all, that's why I opened this thread, to gain knowledge
listen up. You go to a foreign country where you don't speak your native tongue. You happen upon a farmer who is about as likely to know English, your language or any other. Then he comes enquiring as to why you are on his land and you say...Oh, it's getting dark and I thought I could stay and he says Bal Bla Bla, basically he hasn't got a clue about what you are saying. However. if you do it using MY advice you look at him, hold up your inner tube and pump and then (Unless he's an idiot) realise that you've burst your tyre and had to repair it so you were compelled to stay. Now, do you get it?
In Spain, it is forbidden to plant a tent until its dark, and by sunrise, it has to be packed. On the other hand, I use a winter hammock. As long as I use trees no one has told me anything
Just hide as well as you can...
Yes, 7 mth in France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany & Poland just cook dinner earlier (around 4 or 5 pm in summer) and then continue until you find a spot to pinch the tent. A lot of times we slept in (small football) stadiums or on fishing clubs' property. Just leave no trace!
we should specify what is meant by camping or bivouac. On the national territory, free camping is forbidden, but if you show that you are vacating it is already different, if you start setting up a tent at 4 in the afternoon, to light a free fire on the ground with a lot of grill on top you can't say you are igniting, but if at sunset you open a small tent you can always say that you are in transit to that before dark you have organized yourself to spend the night. they told me that in the morning by 8 o’clock I had to dismantle everything, so I did and at 7 I had made sure there was no trace of my bivacus.
I’m going to Cuba May 30 for 30 days w/Brompton & tent
No problem
Be discreet, take your rubbish with you, and if you run into trouble be polite and move on. I went from Slovenia to Greece free-camping most of the way and never had any issues, slept on beaches, in forests, shrubs beside a road if needed. Usually set up around sunset and packed down at sunrise 🙂 have fun!!
Well, going around with a yellow tent... IQ350
Well... a bright yellow tent doesn't help. No, for real, I've been doing that for years and never got caught. Mainly Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. Paying upwards of 20Eu for a camping spot is just ridiculous. Find a place just before darkness sets in and make sure you're gone just before sunrise. And...leave no trace of course. Never had any problems, although I have to say that Sweden and Finland were amazing, always more peace of mind when you know you're not breaking the rules.