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Bikepacking on the camino.

fatboy_onwheels

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2020)
Most threads I have read here and on Facebook are only covering cycling the camino and not bikepacking/camping wild. Is it allowed and possible to do this on any route? Is it allowed to bike camp at dusk/night in the wild without having to pay for an alburgue/hostel.
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Most threads I have read here and on Facebook are only covering cycling the camino and not bikepacking/camping wild. Is it allowed and possible to do this on any route? Is it allowed to bike camp at dusk/night in the wild without having to pay for an alburgue/hostel.
First to the greatest of my understanding wild camping is not legal.
Second the alburgues are cheap. I'll take the shower, bed and roof.

Third any where that you would think to camp has been used as a toilet if you are on the main route, that are not part of climbing a fence. I don't climb fences to find a plan to will camp, people have a right to their private land.

Fourth, what is the point of a pilgrim to you? Physical challenge? (not a great one if you are taking your and stopping to look at things) Spiritual experience? (can be great if you put in the time and work to have that experience) Social experience? (how will you get that moving at a faster pace than most around you) How will camp out away from people get you the experience you are looking for.

Fifth, people do ask about camping, but the majority respond with not worth it.
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
Contrary to what Debra says, I think camping the Camino is WELL worth it.
Each to their own.

I find this forum a wonderful place. But far too many on here are against camping the Camino.
For various reasons including being totally ignorant of tenting, stealth camping, ...

I walked three caminos.
And biked one
Every time had my tent or bivysac

when tent camping I slept outside at many of the alburgues. You also can do that bike camping.

rick and Peg on here also tented. We stayed at the city campground at SJDP. Nice campground there.close to all

the alburgues not only permit that they actually like it.
More fees paid and one more bed space open for someone else.

now do beware that when tenting at the alburgues you will most likely be locked outside after hours

Pay fee. Shower, do clothes , eat sleep in my bed bug -free of snoring- tent.
Even put it up - it’s free standing REI quarter dome one - on patio and also balconies.

when few times stealth camping followed the basic rules of:
No fires
No smoking
No lights
Asked permission if possible
Never go through a gate without permissions
Set up at sunset
Pack up at sunrise
Leave site cleaner than found it
No music

the one time I rode bike with trailer on the Frances was the best time of my life.
Bike Friday with trailer suitcase

made it easy riding bus / train before and after the Camino with bike packed in the suitcase
See Bike Friday’s web page
 
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D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
Oh my, how do we not only dislike walkers who tent camp but we show such lack of knowledge of it!
 

Louise Lazar-Wright

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Compostela 2016
I love the concept of camping in my own bed, no bed bugs and no snoring! Oh joy of joys! I’m thinking of camping it have some reservations as a solo female... helpful, informative comments are welcome. Thank you.
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Contrary to what Debra says, I think camping the Camino is WELL worth it.
Each to their own.

I find this forum a wonderful place. But far too many on here are against camping the Camino.
For various reasons including being totally ignorant of tenting, stealth camping, ...

I walked three caminos.
And biked one
Every time had my tent or bivysac

when tent camping I slept outside at many of the alburgues. You also can do that bike camping.

rick and Peg on here also tented. We stayed at the city campground at SJDP. Nice campground there.close to all

the alburgues not only permit that they actually like it.
More fees paid and one more bed space open for someone else.

now do beware that when tenting at the alburgues you will most likely be locked outside after hours

Pay fee. Shower, do clothes , eat sleep in my bed bug -free of snoring- tent.
Even put it up - it’s free standing REI quarter dome one - on patio and also balconies.

when few times stealth camping followed the basic rules of:
No fires
No smoking
No lights
Asked permission if possible
Never go through a gate without permissions
Set up at sunset
Pack up at sunrise
Leave site cleaner than found it
No music

the one time I rode bike with trailer on the Frances was the best time of my life.
Bike Friday with trailer suitcase

made it easy riding bus / train before and after the Camino with bike packed in the suitcase
See Bike Friday’s web page

This post says it all and also it has been said before :) I have never understood the ignorant antipathy of the anti-tent brigade. I have tented on a few occasions since 2003
without problems (obeying the rules: written and unwritten) and have designed my own hip-belt trailer for when I can next muster the wherewithal for a section of the vdlp.
This is the only way I will manage because the distances between habitacions are too much for me with age and physical disability problems. I will strongly decide on either tarp/tent nearer the time and even contemplate bivvy! My bones are already aching at the thought but it has been said " if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough! "

Walk soft and stay safe irrespective of how you go! :)

The malingerer.
 
This is a very contentious subject and the first thing the anti camping people will say is that is illegal. They can even post screenshots to show you it is illegal.


It is not strictly true. The camping laws in Spain are very complex and vary from area to area.

I can only assumed Debra has never wild camped because some of her assumptions are total nonesense. After 50 years of wild camping, I can assure you of that. Everywhere you wildcamp has been a toilet, according to Debra. So it follows that everywhere you sit down for a rest or picnic, has also been a toilet. How ridiculous is that?

I bikepack. I carry a bivvy bag and not a tent. I do not carry cooking equipment. I work on the premise that it only illegal when you get caught when it comes to wild camping. I do not wild camp on private property. I have never been discovered wild camping.

I set up in remote area at dusk and leave before dawn. The area is spotless when I leave. I do it like this because I enjoy the solitude.

I have no objection to people staying in hotels, I can afford to, if I wish. Each to his own.
 
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Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I love the concept of camping in my own bed, no bed bugs and no snoring! Oh joy of joys! I’m thinking of camping it have some reservations as a solo female... helpful, informative comments are welcome. Thank you.
I agree with @martyseville and endorse his advice. Although I've never slept outside an albergue, I've regularly wild camped alone, both on and off the camino, and have neither been disturbed nor have knowingly disturbed others. I bring a sleeping bag, mat, bivvy bag, and a tarp (which I rarely need to use). Whenever I'd like a shower, somewhere to wash my clothes, or the company of others, I'll stay in an albergue. Use your common sense when choosing a suitable spot, and take heart: I'm a woman in my late sixties, still appreciating silent nights beneath the stars.
 

fatboy_onwheels

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2020)
This is a very contentious subject and the first thing the anti camping people will say is that is illegal. They can even post screenshots to show you it is illegal.


It is not strictly true. The camping laws in Spain are very complex and vary from area to area.

I can only assumed Debra has never wild camped because some of her assumptions are total nonesense. After 50 years of wild camping, I can assure you of that. Everywhere you wildcamp has been a toilet, according to Debra. So it follows that everywhere you sit down for a rest or picnic, has also been a toilet. How ridiculous is that?

I bikepack. I carry a bivvy bag and not a tent. I do not carry cooking equipment. I work on the premise that it only illegal when you get caught when it comes to wild camping. I do not wild camp on private property. I have never been discovered wild camping.

I set up in remote area at dusk and leave before dawn. The area is spotless when I leave. I do it like this because I enjoy the solitude.

I have no objection to people staying in hotels, I can afford to, if I wish. Each to his own.
Thanks for you comments Steve and Jenny. Much appreciated.
The only purpose of me wild camping is the solitude and to reflect on my trip as this is a religious trip for me. It’s not that I don’t want to spend money for an accommodation every night. My camping stuff is probably worth more than how much you spend for albergues the whole trip. Plus the reports of bed bugs and whatnots and I kinda snore loudly which I don’t want to disturb other perigrinos in their much needed sleep so I would prefer wild camp alone on stealth.
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
I've never understood how doing something you can do all day long suddenly becomes illegal after dark.
You can rest beside the path wherever and as long as you want during the day. You're allowed to sleep on a beach, erect shelters, build sandcastles, have barbecues all day long; you can picnic in the woods or park, erect a shelter from the sun, lounge all day, take up as much space as you want, play music or football and no-one thinks twice about it, lie down quietly in those places at night and it suddenly becomes either illegal or frowned upon.
As Paladina says use common sense, and respect the place. I think if it's O.K to spend all day there then a few hours after dark isn't doing any harm.
 

fatboy_onwheels

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2020)
First to the greatest of my understanding wild camping is not legal.
Second the alburgues are cheap. I'll take the shower, bed and roof.

Third any where that you would think to camp has been used as a toilet if you are on the main route, that are not part of climbing a fence. I don't climb fences to find a plan to will camp, people have a right to their private land.

Fourth, what is the point of a pilgrim to you? Physical challenge? (not a great one if you are taking your and stopping to look at things) Spiritual experience? (can be great if you put in the time and work to have that experience) Social experience? (how will you get that moving at a faster pace than most around you) How will camp out away from people get you the experience you are looking for.

Fifth, people do ask about camping, but the majority respond with not worth it.
Thanks Debra. You are free to your own opinion. I am a bikepacker and had done lots of bikepacking trips wild camping. Never been diturbed and never been shoo’d at by landowners or property owners. The key there is stealth camping. The reason I am asking this sort of question is because the camino trails are already an established trail and with lots of hikers and bikers so I don’t know its entirety of the trail if it is okay to wild camp (not literally on the side of the road) but away from the public eye and somewhere you can pitch your tent in safety and stealthily.
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
I love the concept of camping in my own bed, no bed bugs and no snoring! Oh joy of joys! I’m thinking of camping it have some reservations as a solo female... helpful, informative comments are welcome. Thank you.
Understand.

best wishes on your walks
Safety of one is the upmost importance
 
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D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
I've never understood how doing something you can do all day long suddenly becomes illegal after dark.
You can rest beside the path wherever and as long as you want during the day. You're allowed to sleep on a beach, erect shelters, build sandcastles, have barbecues all day long; you can picnic in the woods or park, erect a shelter from the sun, lounge all day, take up as much space as you want, play music or football and no-one thinks twice about it, lie down quietly in those places at night and it suddenly becomes either illegal or frowned upon.
As Paladina says use common sense, and respect the place. I think if it's O.K to spend all day there then a few hours after dark isn't doing any harm.
Good comment.

Gotta love their thinking...”dare you be out there getting a peaceful night’s sleep. While I suffer in this alburgue “

OMG don’t you know us tenters are the big bad boogeymen? (Laughing)

why must some on here resort to dreaming up reasons not to tent camp.

bet most of the naysayers on here never tented before on a camino.

are they jealous that us tenters don’t have to hear bag diggers at 5 am?
Or, cause they are awake all night cause of the snoring? And we should be too??
Listening to gas letting all night?


love their lame reasons not to tent....
“you won’t fit in” “ you can’t see something”
“You will step in poo poo piles and piles of it”
“ you are illegal”

Laughing.

then you have the bike haters!
 
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D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
First to the greatest of my understanding wild camping is not legal.
Second the alburgues are cheap. I'll take the shower, bed and roof.

Third any where that you would think to camp has been used as a toilet if you are on the main route, that are not part of climbing a fence. I don't climb fences to find a plan to will camp, people have a right to their private land.

Fourth, what is the point of a pilgrim to you? Physical challenge? (not a great one if you are taking your and stopping to look at things) Spiritual experience? (can be great if you put in the time and work to have that experience) Social experience? (how will you get that moving at a faster pace than most around you) How will camp out away from people get you the experience you are looking for.

Fifth, people do ask about camping, but the majority respond with not worth it.
We know there are tent and bike haters on here.
So give up on the nonsense reasoning why he can’t
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Who cares where people sleep. As long as they respect nature and the rights of the owners if they try to stay on private property then let them.
The only thing I would say is that there are lots of nice bikers who take care of unaware walking pilgrims. There are a huge number of reasons a walking pilgrim may be unaware of what is happening. In my opinion it is always the biker who must take responsibility for everyone's safety as they cycle by. There are way too many bikers who do not.
 
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
Who cares where people sleep. As long as they respect nature and the rights of the owners if they try to stay on private property then let them.
The only thing I would say is that there are lots of nice bikers who take care of unaware walking pilgrims. There are a huge number of reasons a walking pilgrim may be unaware of what is happening. In my opinion it is always the biker who must take responsibility for everyone's safety as they cycle by. There are way too many bikers who do not.
Thank you!

good comment

seems some on here want dictate how one walks , sleeps and more

agree with you, “who cares”
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Thanks Debra. You are free to your own opinion. I am a bikepacker and had done lots of bikepacking trips wild camping. Never been diturbed and never been shoo’d at by landowners or property owners. The key there is stealth camping. The reason I am asking this sort of question is because the camino trails are already an established trail and with lots of hikers and bikers so I don’t know its entirety of the trail if it is okay to wild camp (not literally on the side of the road) but away from the public eye and somewhere you can pitch your tent in safety and stealthily.
thank you

By the way I have wild camped a lot on other bike trips than then camino. Spain on the camino(VdlP in the last 100km) is the only place I was woken in the middle by the police and informed it was not legal. Forced to pack up, get moving and followed for a couple of hours, sorry if that experience stayed with me, I was also informed that it was not legal to camp outside of a campground.

As I after walked a bit of the main route I was shock at the level of toilet use outside without , any place I saw as a good stealth place for camping was used as a toilet.

If wanting to camp on the route I would look at VdlP I found it to be a far better religious experience and even though I walked feel it was a nicer route for bike based on the parts I walked of both. The anit-camping by police may be only in the last 100km due to the volume of people and my poor Spanish may have lost if the camping was a location or Spain in total. I know that other have wild camped with no problems in other location in Spain for bike trips.

I personally don't see that large gain for sleeping in a tent at the hostel for the same price as a bed.
 
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Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
I've done my share of stealth bikepacking/wild camping in UK/Europe and on the CF. However, IMHO the CF is not the best route to do this kind of thing mostly because it's so busy and the last section is well policed. Not to say you can't do it, you can, it's just that it might not be quite what you are expecting.

Worth bearing in mind that local villagers seem to be fond of taking evening strolls at dusk so you may have to wait a while to pitch and, if the weather is hot, some pilgrims get up insanely early and there may well be people walking in the pitch dark at 5am so you need to a bit more stealthy than you might otherwise be. In the last 100km there are lots of nice fields with signs up saying please doing camp which limits options if you are going to respect local wishes.

There are more than a few alternative types on the camino, thought I was freaking out one night when a tree started talking to me but it turned out someone was sheltering inside in the middle of a field calling to me, you might not always get the solitude you expect :)

You need to be very aware of this;
As I after walked a bit of the main route I was shock at the level of toilet use outside without , any place I saw as a good stealth place for camping was used as a toilet.
VDLP is a different kettle of fish, I decided not to camp on that trip (I actually headed south on a cross Spain bike trip to Tangier rather than doing a camino), but it's an ideal route for bikepacking.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I can only assumed Debra has never wild camped because some of her assumptions are total nonesense. After 50 years of wild camping, I can assure you of that. Everywhere you wildcamp has been a toilet, according to Debra. So it follows that everywhere you sit down for a rest or picnic, has also been a toilet. How ridiculous is that?
I cannot tell from your other posts whether you have actually walked or cycled the Camino Frances already. If not you may find it very different from other routes you have travelled. I would be interested to learn if you still think that Debra's comments are such 'nonesense' after your Camino journey is completed.
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
I cannot tell from your other posts whether you have actually walked or cycled the Camino Frances already. If not you may find it very different from other routes you have travelled. I would be interested to learn if you still think that Debra's comments are such 'nonesense' after your Camino journey is completed.
I walk all of the VdlP.
I walked Camino Frances from Leon. I noted the toilet issue looking for nap locations, not at a set up panic areas, or in town for a peaceful quiet nap, so I was looking for a place within say 200m of the trail. As such most of all people I saw siting or nap were are picnic set ups or in town, very little sitting on the route unless right on the side of the trail with in 2 feet.
 
I cannot tell from your other posts whether you have actually walked or cycled the Camino Frances already. If not you may find it very different from other routes you have travelled. I would be interested to learn if you still think that Debra's comments are such 'nonesense' after your Camino journey is completed.
Over the years I have bike packed parts of Camino Frances. Finding quiet clean places to put a bivvy bag is really not at all difficult. In my experience, if you walk a couple of hundred meters off almost any track in the world, you can find a spot to lay down.

I will be riding Camino Norte and so that should provide even less of a problem.

If I can find clean places to sleep in Africa and India. I am pretty sure I will manage again in Spain.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Steveand Jannie there are many places along the Norte where it is a crime to bivouac.

We carried a tent on the Norte and used it legally in designated spots, camping grounds and, with permission, in the grounds of albergues. We became very aware that there are areas of national parks and natural beauty spots where it is strictly forbidden to camp, in any form. In particular, in Asturias. In those places, to camp is a crime. Rangers go looking for people breaking this law.

On the Camino Frances, in La Rioja, you must first give notice to the local authorities of your intention to bivouac and your itinerary (i.e. where you intend to stop). To camp, without giving notice as required, is forbidden by law and therefore a crime.

Overnight bivouacking is allowed, apart from in La Rioja, in some places along the Camino Frances, but not all. For example if you are in a place considered one of natural beauty (such as the mountains), then local laws will probably prohibit it. Even when bivouacking overnight is allowed, there can be restrictions - not near watercourses or within several kilometres of a town.

If you are thinking of camping, then please, find out the laws that apply, and obey them.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I had not been following this thread, but the mud-slinging caught my attention. The use of “ignorant antipathy” is very rude, though.

Whether people wild camp or not, I think it is a legitimate response to voice an objection to illegally trespassing on others' land. That comment somehow morphed into a condemnation of all wild camping in the eyes of the defenders, and it is true that the first response to the OP was IMO unnecessarily judgmental. But it is also the case that some of the defenders of wild camping are quite clear in their own minds that they will pitch their tent in any place they find to their liking, irrespective of what the rules may be. So the law-abiding and very rational defense of wild camping got lost in the “I camp where I want and hope not to get caught” posts. That provokes more disagreement.

For me the take-away is that no one could possibly object to anyone camping lawfully on the camino, but at the same time no one should think that the rules are there to be broken if only you are stealthy and tricky enough.

IMO, just another illustration of the damage done by the “it’s your camino” mantra. Yes, I am pontificating now. Sorry, but it really irks me.

We can close this thread if the nastiness continues, but I think there is some valuable information here.
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Most threads I have read here and on Facebook are only covering cycling the camino and not bikepacking/camping wild. Is it allowed and possible to do this on any route? Is it allowed to bike camp at dusk/night in the wild without having to pay for an alburgue/hostel.

I would like to apologize for my overly harsh judgmental answers in my first post. I had just finished talking or being yelled at by the friend of a friend that wanted to go on the GDMBR staying hotels every night and cycling 50-75 miles a day starting in Jasper, AB going to Antelope Wells, NM. With his want to stay in hotels overnight thought that any sleeping or cooking gear to be unneeded and foolish to take. This ending in him snapping at our friend for having him speak to an idiot. I still hope him does not get himself kill and feel that motel every night and the GDMBR is not a good match/ can't be done.
I wonder it saying that any trip can be done in any method. In someways I saw your question as the same question asked at the other extreme.

As you want the religious experience of the camino, I strongly support you going. There are few better experiences.

A couple things you may want to think on.
Based on past holy years around 33% more people will going in 2020 than 2019 and 50+% more in 2021 than 2019. If you are on the main route the Franics 10,000-40,000+ people will be on the route(between st jean and santiago about 500 miles) each month spring to fall. Half or more of those people will only be doing the last 100km but everyone will be doing the final 100km.
The trash and toilet issue may have been very bad in 2010(last holy year) do to the giant increase of people than the past year. I believe is was around 100% more than two years before. If you didn't buy something at a shop you were not allowed to use the toilet at any business and most days I saw no public toilets, having not been back, that may not be the case any longer.
Also on a bike you will have a far easier time getting 1 km off the trail to find a camping location then me looking for a napping location when walking.
 
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anthikes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I have camped along three different Caminos and met many people that have done the same - some camped the entire French way!

You can camp legally in Spain and Portugal.

- Commercial campsites - they do exist throughout Spain but are often a little too far from the trail for walkers, but shouldn't be an issue on a bike.

- Ask Albergues if you can camp in their yards or gardens, this worked well for me on the Frances and Portuguese routes, but more so in the smaller villages. I often ended up paying just half of what I would have paid for a bed, but still got to use the facilities and didn't miss out on the social side. I did manage to avoid the unsocial side though e.g. snoring, bag rustlers at 5am etc etc...

- Ask landowners if you can camp on their land, but don't do it without permission as this would be illegal!

Don't be put off by the negativity that often prevails when camping and caminos are mentioned in the same sentence. We all hike our own hikes.

Albergues are cheap and awesome but not everyone wants to share a room with 8 to 80 strangers. Being able to camp now and again is absolute bliss for me, and that's why I always carry an ultralight tent and sleeping pad on all caminos.
 

Fvos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014: Camino del Norte. Gijon-SdC
2020: Camino Portuguese (coastal). Porto-SdC
Hi Anthikes,
What route did you take while hiking the portuguese camino?
And do you have some more tips&tricks about camping on the camino?
What gear did you take beside the tent? Did you have cooking stuff with you as well? What was the total weight of your backpack?

I would like to go camping as well, but I'm a bit terrified that it's hard to find some cheap campsites. I would be happy to hear from you!
 

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