Camping has become increasingly popular in recent years. If you can imagine a holiday in a tent, you should consider a few things.
Camping is still trendy. Although things have largely returned to normal after the corona pandemic, many still prefer a night in a tent to a hotel room. If you want to try it for the first time this year, you should consider a few important points. Because not only the right equipment is important, but also the location.
According to the German Alpine Association, the terms tenting or camping mean a planned overnight stay outdoors that takes place outside of official places. But there's a catch: Camping without the landowner's permission is illegal in this country. Anyone caught wild camping will be fined. In Bavaria, for example, 10 to 200 euros are due if you have pitched a tent or caravan illegally.
If the tent is also placed in a nature reserve without permission, there can even be a risk of up to 500 euros. In other countries, wilderness camping is not a problem. In Sweden or Norway, for example, you can pitch your tent anywhere - except of course on private property.
Distinguishable from camping: bivouacking. According to the German Alpine Association, this is an unplanned overnight stay in alpine terrain - without a tent. If this happens intentionally, bivouacking is equated with camping in many regions. This means that you are not exempt from possible fines here either. One speaks of an emergency bivouac when one has injured oneself or the weather has become so bad that there is no other option than to spend the night there.
In Germany there is an interim solution to enable camping in nature. However, paid trekking sites usually have limited capacity and can only be reached on foot. In addition, such places are usually only intended for an overnight stay. So the camper has to look for a new place to sleep every day. There are such trekking spots in Schleswig-Holstein, in the Black Forest, Franconian Forest and in the Eifel, among others. Campsites naturally offer more comfort. However, these are significantly more expensive, but they have sanitary facilities and much more.
The most important thing when camping: choosing the right tent. The size should not be too small, so that necessary things can be easily stowed away. It should also be waterproof and easy to transport when carried around in a backpack. The same applies to sleeping bags and sleeping pads. For the latter, a self-inflating model is recommended, so the mat takes up less space. In summer, a thinner sleeping bag is usually sufficient, but it depends on the location. Temperatures can drop sharply at night, especially in the mountains. It is best to seek advice from a shop and, if in doubt, go for the thicker one.
A sharp knife, cutlery, plates and cups, a camping stove, a headlamp, a kitchen towel, washing-up liquid and a small sponge to clean the dishes are advisable. A camping table and chairs are a must for those who don't like sitting on the ground. A clothesline can be useful for drying towels and bathing suits.
When choosing clothes, you should make sure that they are as practical as possible. Less is usually more. If you have a tube of hand detergent with you, you can remove smaller stains. Many campsites also have a washing machine. A thick sweater in case it gets cold at night and a rain jacket should always be on the packing list. A backpack is not only advisable for hikers, but also for day trippers. Those who like to climb mountains should always have their hiking equipment with them. After all, you never know when you'll get the urge to climb mountains.
Especially on a trekking site it is important to be quiet during the twilight period. Otherwise wild animals could be disturbed. In addition, you should not walk around at night with a headlamp if possible, as this could also scare animals away. Of course, it is important not to leave any rubbish behind and to leave the site as you found it. If you want to do something good for nature, you can also dispose of other people's waste.
(This article was first published on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.)