During our recent overland travel by car across Turkey, Georgia and Armenia, we got lots of questions about wilderness camping. I guess it is best, to write our thoughts about it in a blog post for everyone who is interested in it and afraid to ask.
I think more and more people like camping, but more or less in the official camping grounds, where they get electricity, hot running water, toilets and some kind of security. But there are also some, us included, who enjoy wilderness camping without any commodity. Some might do it because they want to save money, but some prefer just having peace and quiet around them. Well, we are doing it for both reasons.
If you are not traveling with a campervan / RV having the private shower and toilet, you will always need to improvise. Washing clothes, going to the toilet and taking a shower, which normally represent a cold river, lake or if you are lucky, warm sea.
There are countries around the world, where you should forget about wilderness camping as it is not legal, but luckily there are also countries, where wilderness camping is widely accepted. Some of our favorite countries for wilderness camping have been Greece, Italy, Albania, Romania, Oman, UAE, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia. If we have the right information, you should be fine when doing wilderness camping in Scandinavia, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Australia – to just name a few. Well, but many travelers who do wilderness camping don’t really obey the rules and do it even if it is illegal. In that case, if the police find you, you might be fined.
The best way to do wilderness camping is to avoid main roads and trying to find a spot away from the curious eyes. If you are traveling with a 4WD that should never be a problem. Just don’t make your bed or pitch a tent on a backyard of someone without asking for permission upfront. And be sure to clean up after yourself when gone.
Sometimes you get carried away and it is already dark when realized, you need to find a spot for wilderness camping. Sometimes the landscape does not allow it… in this case we normally ask locals if we can stay the night in front of their house. So far not a single person said no and to be honest, they all were so hospitable, we sometimes felt so small…
Wilderness camping definitely is not for everybody, but if you have never tried, you don’t even know. After all, nothing can beat the freedom of star gazing in the middle of the night, surrounded with nothing but nature.