For many long distance touring cyclists, wild camping is one of the favorite aspects of their trip. Who wouldn’t want the privacy of camping alone, with fantastic views over majestic mountains or impressive desert landscapes?
Not only is it cheap (Free!) it also allows them the freedom to stop when they want to. Plus sometimes it’s just not possible to reach a hotel or paid campground within a day’s ride. So it’s always good to know that you can wild camp if need be.
But for beginning bicycle travelers, it can seem a bit daunting.
So I’ve put together a short list of wild camping tips, plus a curated list of web pages with more in depth information on stealth camping while bicycle touring.
1. Find a hidden spot where you can’t be seen from the road or via car headlights.
2. Green and beige tents blend better into the landscape than brightly colored ones.
3. If you can’t find a place, ask the locals for a place you could put your tent.
4. Be on the lookout for a suitable spot at least an hour before you wish to stop.
5. Don’t camp in dry riverbeds.
6. And finally, don’t leave litter behind.
You can’t go wrong by reading Tom Allen’s take on the subject. It’s titled; How to camp anywhere and not get busted.
Stephen Fabes of Cycling the 6 writes; “I have probably spent around 800-1000 nights rough camping over the six years I was on the road, so there have been a remarkable number of nights without fire ants and the threat of rabies.” He also explains in the article why he didn’t do it in some countries.
One of Ed and Marion Shoote’s tips is about not leaving your shoes outside of your tent while stealth camping since these places tend to be alive with creepie crawlies. The rest of their informative article can be read on their website We love mountains.
Will and Annie of Wheely Wild Adventures have put together a humorous flow chart on what makes a good wild camping spot.
Every country treats wild camping differently. Some places such as Oman and the Pamir plateau – nobody will batt an eye if you free camp there. But you might think twice about trying to wild camping on private property in America. So it helps to do a bit of research beforehand.
For those looking to pedal through Europe, check out Diane Vukovic’s page on wild camping laws in Europe.
For those who think wild camping for solo females isn’t a good idea, Heike Pirngruber aka Pushbikegirl believes otherwise. She has put together the excellent article “Safety tips shared by 6 experienced solo female cyclists”.
The interviews are full of in-depth information based on the personal experiences of 6 very experienced touring cyclists. Their straightforward advice is also applicable to male bikers and couples.