First ever wild camping tour ... shall I?!

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by bladesman73, 14 Jun 2019 at 23:35.

  1. bladesman73

    bladesman73 Senior Member

    Hi All

    Am seriously considering going off to the Netherlands by myself for a few days with just my bike and a rucksack! Never wild camped before so wanted to hear from anyone who has done this before and maybe in the Netherlands. What essentials do i need to take (apart from cycle tools, food etc), what do i need to consider? My list of essentials is so far:
    Sleeping bag, inflatable pillow, beanie hat to keep the head warm at night, toothbrush/paste, wetwipes, portable phone charger, bike lock, pair of trainers (wear when i take cycling shoes off), torch, pair of cycling shorts for each day plus top for each day, hoodie to wear at night, joggers again for nightime.socks of course!

    I reckon im missing out obvious essentials. E.g would i need a small camping burner, mini kettle, cup etc for tea,coffee or do I rely on finding a cafe in the morning?!

    Am i overthinking this?! Any tips much appreciated.
  2. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    You do realise wild camping is illegal in the Netherlands?
    Apart from the legal aspect, the Dutch landscape does not particularly lend itself to wild camping, vast flat areas where it would be difficult to conceal your campsite.
    Regarding your list............., I doubt you would need a beanie at night, it should be warm enough in your sleeping bag. If you must take a torch, take a miniature one. Phone charger, can't you manage without the 'phone for a few days? Do you have the adaptor for mainland Euro electric sockets? You could wing it regarding kettle and stove, but do take water containers to quench the thirst if warm. Don't take a helmet, unless you want to look like a tourist from the UK. Have you got a map or maps? Might be as well to buy maps over there,(bigger choice) in ANWB or VVV (vay vay vay)office, ask locals for directions. Tip, follow up a light breakfast with an uitsmijter mid morning to keep you going for the rest of the day. Enough from me, others will be along in the morning.
    Have fun!
    uphillstruggler and raleighnut like this.
  3. OP

    bladesman73 Senior Member

    I had no idea it was illegal! I need a phone for emergencies, I have heart issues so need access to call for help in the event of any problems, so cant go without it unfortunately. Anyway thanks for the tips, much appreciated. From your link the Pole sites look as close to wild camping without breaking the law.
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2019 at 00:22
    uphillstruggler likes this.
  4. Dont let it being illegal put you off. Arrive late leave early. Wild camping in Holland is just like wild camping anywhere else. There are lots of places to hide away. You will need at least a waterproof bivvy bag but try and get under cover as well. Bus shelter, doorway. Try to sleep not to far from a bakery so you can have breakfast early. Do take a beanie. It weighs nothing and it does get cold at night. You may not use it. But I bet you will. Cooking kit. Forget it. Local cuisine and cafes is what you are going for. Mcdonalds is your cheap friend. Leave the sleeping spot cleaner than when you arrived. Go and try it. You can always bug out and get a bnb.
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2019 at 08:08
  5. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    ^What @steveindenmark says.

    Lots of areas in ‘The Dunes’ are fenced off because they are protected. That’ll cause double trouble for you. And the Dutch police don’t mess. Believe you me, I’ve tried. Think gendarmerie but without the exotic accent.
    bladesman73 and uphillstruggler like this.
  6. I have wild camped all over the Netherlands and never had a problem. I would never camp on sand dunes or beaches. Finding a quiet place out of the way is easy in most places. If people are in doubt about that, maybe they have not done much wild camping.
  7. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    I camped further north in the dunes on a designated site. Only place available at the time. ALL the tents collapsed in a storm and the bikes were covered in sand. Worst worst site ever. The zip on my sleeping bag still doesn’t work properly.

    I have slept quite a bit on beaches in France but only compacted sand or with vegetation.
    Dayvo likes this.
  8. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Veteran

    I've wild camped a couple of times in the Netherland.
    But wide flat spaces with few trees/hedges plus a high population density means there are few "sites" that are easy to find.
    So in more a case of an "audex" type stop from dusk to dawn.
    You'd be better aiming for a "Natuurkampeerterreinen" as they are probably the cheapest official sites.

    Luck .......... ^_^
  9. woodbutcher

    woodbutcher Veteran

    S W France
    This may not be entirely relevant to Holland but l have camped sort of illegally in France in rough ground around service stations / truck stops (not on main highways).
    Doing this has a couple of benefits , most important, water is nearly always available and the toilets may even be open all night !
    Plus if you keep a low profile, people either ignore you or as has happened to me, they just don't see you. Of course you need to keep an open mind's quite surprising what folk get up to when they think no one else is around:blush:
    Anyway have a great trip , take it easy !
  10. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    Most sensible people stay away from wild campers. The assumption is that we are unhinged. Add long hair and a beard to the mix and the rumours soon start.

    Here’s a good YouTube clip I saw last night. These guys wild camp in some pretty brazen places
    bladesman73 and steveindenmark like this.
  11. Yes we should promote that impression ^_^

    I only bivvy and dont like sand. Too much sea noise, seagulls and sandflies. Plus sand gets everywhere. Not good if you have to sit on a saddle all day.
  12. HobbesOnTour

    HobbesOnTour Senior Member

    The Netherlands
    First tour? Excellent!
    First Camping Tour? Great!
    First Wild Camping Tour? Exciting!
    First Wild Camping Tour in NL? Ehhhhhhh.....don't think so.

    You don't say when, but presuming between Easter and end September there are literally hundreds of campsites, most well suited to bike tourists.
    The Netherlands is full of people - finding a good/safe space to camp unnoticed while not impossible, is difficult, especially if your first time.
    Some of the border areas are used as dumping grounds for chemicals from synthetic drug production. You don't want to be caught camping there.

    My advice? If you have the money for the ferry but not campsites then stick closer to home. If you have the money for the campsites use them. The paalkamps are OK. I've tried a few of them, but some are used by big groups and have bad reps. They're also not the easiest to find!

    Avoid the rucksack. The weight on your back will not be comfortable.
    Clothing depends on time of year. It's not like you're going to be camping out high in the mountains! :smile:
    Shorts & tops for each day? OK for a couple of days.
    Relying on local services be aware that getting an early morning cup of coffee on a Sunday morning can be tricky in places. Especially if you're been wild camping for several nights!
    Your gear list does not mention a tent/tarp/bivvy. If you're expecting to sleep unsheltered in your sleeping bag, then you're depending on a lot of luck!
    Google "Bikepacking list" for ideas or look over on CrazyGuyOnABike for same.

    My advice? Perfect your skills and gear closer to home, then hit the road for a decent amount of time.
  13. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Seems there may be differing views as regards the definition of wild camping.
    Wild camping AIUI is the most relaxed form of camping possible, free of any concerns about times of arrival or departure or who may see you come and go, no need to hide anything.
    Stealth camping OTOH requires at least some degree of deviousness, and when taken to extremes probably needs military training^_^.
  14. DP

    DP Chasse patate

    bladesman73 and Heltor Chasca like this.
  15. OP

    bladesman73 Senior Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone. Will try the pole sites and see what happens!
    snorri likes this.
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