8 Wild camping tips
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Ready to go on a wild camping adventure? Still unsure what to be careful of?

This article will give you 8 of the best wild camping tips and will greatly help you to make your wild camping experience awesome!

When traveling for a long period, hostels’ costs can add up to an enormous amount. One of the main advantages of wild camping is that it allows you to find free places to sleep every night, and you’ll surely be able to stretch your budget over a longer period of time thanks to this!

It’s especially suitable for bike touring as you’ll often be outside of cities.

Where do I get these wild camping tips from?

I started to wild camp when I first began my hitchhiking tour around the world, and continued wild camping while cycling around Taiwan, or hiking in the French mountains. I gathered a lot of experiences wild camping around various continents and decided to share the most useful wild camping tips with our readers.

I know that it can be a daunting process to find a place to wild camp. You need a safe place, but remote enough that the police don’t bother you and not too far away from where you are. it’s a balance to find.

Let’s start with my 8 wild camping tips!

#1 Set up camp late and leave early

Darkness will be your best friend! As long as no one can see you, no one can bother you and kick you out. Setting up camp late, once people go to sleep is the best way to make it through the night without a problem. I’d suggest setting camp after 9 pm at least in reasonably populated areas, for instance, a park outside of the city center, and even 11 pm in major cities.

The situation is different if you are wild camping in the mountains, or in a scarcely populated area, it’s fine to set your camp earlier, for instance around sunset.

#2 Check the local wild camping policy

How careful you need to be when wild camping will depend on the local policy. It can be quite different from one country to another, sometimes even from one region to another. National parks usually have some special rules which can differ from the rest of the country.

Make sure you check the rules first to make your wild camping experience trouble-free.

There are some cases where the rules are quite strict, on paper, but are not enforced. Just be ready for the strict rules, and after gathering some experience, you’ll get a good feeling about where to camp without trouble.

Wild Camping in Malaysia
Wild camping near Malacca in Malaysia, a country with a friendly camping policy!

#3 Avoid staying more than a night at the same spot

If you’ve been wild camping in a spot where you know wasn’t very legal or could get you in trouble if caught, I’d strongly suggest you find another spot for the next night.

You lucked out for a night, you might not want to play with your luck twice in a row. Some people may have spotted you and decided not to call the police or come to bother you, but staying another night might lead them to think that it could become a long-term stay.

People can tolerate easier a one-night stay, the problem is different for a multi-night stay.

Camping in Myanmar
Camping in Myanmar, on the bank of the Irrawady River

#4 Avoid wild camp too close to inhabited areas

That might sound like a pretty obvious wild camping tip but the fewer people there are in the surroundings, and the best the spot usually is, because the police will not bother you as much.

Locals might not be thrilled to see a traveler camping close to their neighborhood, so feel free to put some distance between your camp and the inhabited areas.

You’re less likely to be perceived as a threat if you’re quite far from any house, and the police might be less likely to fine or bother you.

Camping in France
Wild camping in the French mountains with my son, check our related article!

#5 Ask locals about a suitable place to camp

You are arriving in a new area and you don’t have any clue where you could camp? Why not gather some knowledge from the locals? It’s a great way to feel the vibe of the area by the locals’ reaction.

I’m a big fan of creating interactions with locals, and sometimes I even got the chance to be invited to their home. When it didn’t work, I was still able to get some good intel on where to camp in the surroundings.

If the reactions were quite hostile, then it would give me enough strength to walk further than expected to a quieter area. Most of the time though, locals just wanted to help me, and found some great spots for me, or just inform me on the local wild camping policy.

For instance, I was unsure whether I could camp on a beach in South East Asia, but thanks to talking with locals I knew where it was possible and where it could run into trouble.

Camping in Laos
Camping in someone’s house in Laos, after talking to him on the streets.

#6 Don’t make a fire

The goal of wild camping in unauthorized areas is that no one should notice you. A fire, and especially the smoke coming out of it, is a perfect way to attract unwanted attention.

You might get away with it when you are camping in a scarcely populated area, but other than that, I believe you should only make a fire when it’s explicitly authorized.

It can also be a nuisance for the surrounding wildlife.

If you plan to cook outside often, a better idea will be to bring with you a camping stove and some kitchenware.

#7 Bring the right equipment

Making sure that you have the proper equipment to stand the temperature and the conditions is a great way to sleep well. Try your equipment first in similar conditions before setting on your trip!

You don’t want to wake up every hour in the middle of the night just because you discover that your sleeping bag is not good enough for the current temperature.

I’ve been through this situation a lot as a younger traveler, and it can really take its toll on the body and the mind when you’re not able to rest well frequently over a long journey.

Camping in Hong Kong
This time it was in Hong Kong, near The Peak.

#8 Leave no trace

The most important of all the wild camping tips is to leave no trace!

Let’s cherish the chance we have to still be able to wild camp fairly everywhere. Rules are increasingly becoming stricter and stricter and leaving garbage behind is a good reason to tighten the laws, or even for the locals to resent travelers wild camping.

Make it easier for the next wild camper and keep the beauty of the site by taking everything you brought with you.

Read more about the Leave-no-trace camping movement.

Carrying a tent in China

And you? Have you been wild camping before?? Share with us your experience and let us know if these wild camping tips were useful to you!

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Maxime

A young father following his dream of travelling the world, now joined by HiuYing, his wife, and Darian, their first son.
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