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  1. #1
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    Hammocking on German and other European campsites?

    Hi,

    although this forum seems to be dominated by people who mainly camp in North America, I thought I'd try my luck. Has anybody experience with hammocking on German campsites? Experiences with campsites in other European countries would be interesting as well.

    I could imagine that it might be a bit difficult to get permission to set up a hammock in a campsite that has never seen a hammock camper before. If I remember correctly, there are also quite a few campsites that have assigned lots. In this case it's probably asking for trouble if you set up your hammock in a place where you find trees...

    BTW - It might be an idea to set up some region-specific categories in this (otherwise fantastic) forum, where you can exchange tips, tricks and experiences.

    -hutzelbein

  2. #2
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    There really is no backcountry camping in Germany, and most of the campgrounds are set up for camping trailers.
    You might read this thread on BPL to see how confusing it is.

    The apparent consensus is that it is easier to seek forgiveness than permission.

  3. #3
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    Wow, seems like somebody has an issue... (in your thread).

    It's a while since I last used a German campsite, but the campsites I have visited in the past have not just catered for trailers and the likes. Most were ordinary campsites for tents (although most campers get there by car). I can't imagine that this has changed in the last 10 years.

    With regards to the difficulty of finding a campsite: there are (German) handbooks that list sites, although I suspect that they are far from complete. Most small towns have a campsite, and if you buy hiking/topographic maps, they're usually marked with a little tent.

    My worry was not so much finding a campsite, but more what the reaction towards hammocking is.

    Wild or stealth camping is another issue. I'm not sure that I want to start stealthing right away, seeing that I've only done it once on a remote Irish beach with company. I don't think I've the confidence, yet, to stealth on my own as a girl...

    However, I checked a couple of German forums with regards to stealth camping, or "wild" camping, as it's called there. It seems that the law doesn't permit "camping" in the public forests, same as in a lot of other densely populated European countries. However, in reality, if you don't cause trouble (making fires, leaving your trash etc.), it seems that in most cases you won't get into trouble with the law. This is, what most German hikers report anyways.

    -hutzelbein

  4. #4
    Member Col_M's Avatar
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    The Czech Republic is quite laid back in this respect, "wild" camping is pretty common, there are lots of forests here and as long as you are respectful and leave nothing but footprints (and the odd buried poop) you're golden.

    Just be careful lighting fires, if someone sees smoke in a forest and calls the fire brigade, the person who is responsible for the fire will pay the costs of the call out whether the fire is under control or not.

  5. #5
    Hi Hutzelbein,
    You should look for campground that advertise "Natur Camping." This means the campground has no designated campsites so you can set up anywhere on the campground.

    I was recently in such a campground on Rügen. It was in some ways the typical European campground with lots of trailers and campers, but there were several areas that were occupied by tent campers and cyclists. A hammock and tarp would have been no issue, only finding a place to tie up might have been a challenge.

    But Euro-camping definitely has little to do with what American hikers call camping.

  6. #6
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    Thanks, yes, I passed such a campsite (very nice spot). Unfortunately it was in the middle of the day and I didn't want to stop that early.

    After completing 2 trips, here are my experiences:

    As expected, campsites were few and far between. In some areas, there were quite a few - in others, there were almost none on my route. I found that a number of campsites were not shown on the maps I used, probably because they were private and B&B style (people were offering camping in their garden or barn).

    All in all I used only 2 camp sites. The other nights I stayed at B&Bs, either because the weather was awful (it rained and I didn't have anything dry left), or because there simply wasn't a campsite available. I didn't want to go stealthing just yet.

    With the 1st campsite, I was too shy to ask if they had 2 trees I could use. The campsite was basically divided in 2 areas: one area for people without cars/vans etc. and one area for motorized people. The area for cyclists, hikers and so on was a large lawn with trees around, but unfortunately the bushes were to dense to put up a hammock. In hindsight, I should have simply asked if I could use one of the spaces reserved for cars. It was already late and unlikely that the empty spaces would have been filled later on. And I would have been happy to pay a bit more. Spaces for cars were bordered by bushes and trees, and I think it would have been possible to put up a hammock. But since there sometimes are people who don't have anything better to do than to make sure that everybody else follows the rules, even if it doesn't make a difference to them, I'd not try it without getting the permission of the caretaker.

    At the 2nd campsite, I simply asked if they had a space where I could put up my hammock. They were very surprised that somebody would sleep in a hammock, and were a bit unsure how to react, but they were still very friendly, and after thinking it over, gave me the only space with 2 trees.

    I also asked at another campsite when I was looking for a place to stay for the night. Again, the caretaker was very friendly, but said that they didn't have any trees that would be big or strong enough. I had already expected this: there were almost only hedges, and a couple of small bushes.

    What I learned on those trips is, that people were really friendly most of the time, and also very, very helpful. I still wouldn't just put up my hammock in a campsite without asking, unless the designated site had trees and I could put up the hammock without clearly breaking the rules of the campsite.

    Can't say anything about stealth camping, other than my brother has done it a lot, and he said he never had trouble. He also thought it's a matter of season: officials and people responsible for the area seem to be worried that campers might start forest fires in summer. While it's officially not allowed to camp outside of designated areas, I have heard of quite a few people who do this regularly without problems. As long as you use common sense, are friendly and don't do stupid things, it seems that 95% of the people you meet won't give you trouble.

  7. #7
    swampfox's Avatar
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    You're right hutzelbein,
    This site is dominated by North Americans. One of the great things about it though, is a growing number of you guys. I love to see a thread like this and would really enjoy seeing pictures or vids of your adventures, even if you're hanging between two cars.
    He is your friend, your companion, your defender... he is your dog. You are his life, his leader, and master. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of that devotion.

  8. #8
    New Member Dunk's Avatar
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    Hanging in Ibiza

    Just got back from a few weeks over in Ibiza, Spain. Both of the sites I was on were hammock-able. The one in Cala Bassa especially so. I'll attach a pic.

    The majority of UK sites and Euro ones that I've been on would be a different story as they don't really have a lot of trees or a wooded area.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Senior Member BlueSkies's Avatar
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    I was just camping over in Italy for about 8 nights outside of Florence and on the west coast. I found that most of that camp grounds we're primarily filled with tenters, and maybe a few trailers, about the same ratio as we have her in the NorthWest. I didn't come across any other hangers, but everyone I did meet sure wanted to talk about my hammock, including a lot of Germans [they seem to dig the Italian coast as much as I did]. I even had a few camp grounds give me a discount, since I was taking up less space [in their minds anyway]. I loved it, and would do it again in a heart beat.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  10. #10
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    I'm sorry to bring this thread up -- I know it is old and dead -- but I have a nice place to tell you about. There is a German trail through the Pfälzer Wald with hidden campsites in the forest itself where you'll definitely find trees to hang your hammock. Even though the sites are not free of charge you will have the security of being allowed to stay overnight and also, thanks to the stealthy chosen locations, you will have company of other trekking-loving people only. Fire is allowed using the already established fireplaces except the weather has been too dry in the previous days/weeks.

    There is also a caretaker you can call -- makes this trail also nice for female solo-hikers.

    Have a look here: http://www.trekking-pfalz.de/

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