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Camping-- Concern

staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hello everyone,

I am planning on walking El Camino from Le Puy to SJPD to Santiago to Muxia to Finisterra ( or maybe will go the Norte route instead of the Frances... we'll see where the wind blows me) next June to Aug (73 days approx). I have been reading and researching message boards for the past several months so I've heard all the arguments for and against camping/wild camping as far as the social aspect goes... and all the legalities, sensibilities regarding "Leave no Trace" and not starting fires, etc. I know there are plenty of camping options along the route and I'll be using Gronze and MMDD to find these spots as well as wild camping if the opportunity arises.

I am an ultralight backer (somewhat novice and very cautious-- still learning) in the US so I have all the appropriate gear dialed in and would like to camp/wild camp the majority of the way. I have one hang up due to some experiences I heard about through all my research. I know it's not a common occurrence that will detract people from camping, but I'm worried about wild boars, rutting stags, and other creatures roaming at night that might be aggressive with the potential to attack. I would love to camp but I need to be able to sleep well and not loose sleep being afraid of these creatures. :). For those of you who have camped, did you have any animal encounters and what did you do to handle the encounters. Thank you for any information!

PS. I'd LOVE to hear encouraging responses so I can put my mind at ease and continue with my plans to camp, but if it's dangerous I'll have to concede. :)
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
There is virtually no wildlife to compare with the US in terms of objective danger. I’m not entirely sure where you came up with ‘rutting stags’ as a potential hazard, but you can certainly cross that off the list.

I can’t think of much in Spain - apart from the occasional Spaniard - which ought to cause concern.

Spain’s fine.

Don’t consider Africa and don’t even open a book with Australia on the cover. The wildlife there would eat anything in Spain for breakfast.

Whilst wanting to be suitably fluffy, supportive and so on, are you entirely sure that the ‘wild camping’ thing really is for you?
 
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David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Stags rut end of September to November - their hormones only switch on then.

Boar?
"When are wild boar dangerous? Wild boars are not always dangerous.

Usually, wild boar are nocturnal anyway. They can be shy and prefer staying far away from humans. They become dangerous only when…
  • They feel they are cornered, ignored, or threatened
  • They need to defend themselves from animals, humans, and hunters
  • They need to protect their young. This is one of the major causes for many wild boars being dangerous in terms of attacks – particularly females with their young. "
Boars breed November to January.

I would be more concerned with scorpions, camping out wild. (They will not cross bunches of Lavender).

I don't know if this helps but territory is important to feral hunters. Back in the late 70's there was a hunter turned photographer who often went to the North Canadian and Alaskan wilds, where wolf packs roamed. When he made camp he would dribble small amounts of his urine all round the perimeter of his camp. He said that wolves would come as far as his perimeter but never cross. He never had any problems with wild animals when he set up his urine perimeter - does this help??
 
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staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
There is virtually no wildlife to compare with the US in terms of object danger. I’m not entirely sure where you came up with ‘rutting stags’ as a potential hazard, but you can certainly cross that off the list.

I can’t think of much in Spain - apart from the occasional Spaniard - which ought to cause concern.

Spain’s fine.

Don’t consider Africa and don’t even open a book with Australia on the cover. The wildlife there would eat anything in Spain for breakfast.

Whilst wanting to be suitably fluffy, supportive and so on, are you entirely sure that the ‘wild camping’ thing really is for you?
LOL. So funny! I've had the exact same thoughts on Australia and Africa.

Yes, camping/backpacking is a new hobby/passion and I am working through the process of learning and gaining experience. Yes, in the US we have mountain lions, rattlesnakes, bears, etc, etc. I started reading message boards about the wild pigs in Europe and the horror stories being discussed. So I thought I'd ask for advice here. Thank you so much for your reply! Greatly appreciated! :)

Oh and yes, the stag 'incident' was a vlog about wild camping in Scotland. ;) Glad to hear this won't be a problem in Spain. Thank you again!
 
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staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Stags rut end of September to November - their hormones only switch on then.

Boar?
"When are wild boar dangerous? Wild boars are not always dangerous.

Usually, wild boar are nocturnal anyway. They can be shy and prefer staying far away from humans. They become dangerous only when…
  • They feel they are cornered, ignored, or threatened
  • They need to defend themselves from animals, humans, and hunters
  • They need to protect their young. This is one of the major causes for many wild boars being dangerous in terms of attacks – particularly females with their young. "
I would be more concerned with scorpions, camping out wild. (They will not cross bunches of Lavender).

I don't know if this helps but territory is important to feral hunters. Back in the late 70's there was a hunter turned photographer who often went to the North Canadian and Alaskan wilds, where wolf packs roamed. When he made camp he would dribble small amounts of his urine all round the perimeter of his camp. He said that wolves would come as far as his perimeter but never cross. He never had any problems with wild animals when he set up his urine perimeter - does this help??
Yes, greatly appreciate your reply and excellent advice! Yes, I read that boar use the same paths as humans do at night to forage so it's recommended to not set up camp near animal migration paths (downed brush, well-worn path, etc) and keep food above the ground (hanging in trees like you would in bear country). Thank you again!
 
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David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
LOL. So funny! I've had the exact same thoughts on Australia and Africa.

Yes, camping/backpacking is a new hobby/passion and I am working through the process of learning and gaining experience. Yes, in the US we have mountain lions, rattlesnakes, bears, etc, etc. I started reading message boards about the wild pigs in Europe and the horror stories being discussed. So I thought I'd ask for advice here. Thank you so much for your reply! Greatly appreciated! :)

Oh and yes, the stag 'incident' was a vlog about wild camping in Scotland. ;) Glad to hear this won't be a problem in Spain. Thank you again!

hahaahha - of the venomous species on this planet 70% are in Australia - 70% !!!!
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
hahaahha - of the venomous species on this planet 70% are in Australia - 70% !!!!

All an exaggeration! As long as you wear thick gloves while gardening (for the killer spiders that live in holes) check under the toilet seats (for the painful but non killer spiders), check under wood in the garden (for the killer snakes). Apart from those and a few dozen other things............... everything else is fine.

Just don't go in the water..........that's another story.........
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
No experience with camping, but I can assure you that wild boars are very present in many regions of rural France. They roam along creeks and brooks, from one foraging area to another. They have become less shy and more used to humans; you can occasionally see them when you are going by car, in quite populated areas. And yes, there are every year many serious incidents, although most of them involve hunters. The usual lively debate between conservationists and farmers is sometimes present in the newspapers.
I would ask local people about the situation, for example at the bistro where you stop to have a café au lait; or the albergue manager.
 
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William Garza

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
All an exaggeration! As long as you wear thick gloves while gardening (for the killer spiders that live in holes) check under the toilet seats (for the painful but non killer spiders), check under wood in the garden (for the killer snakes). Apart from those and a few dozen other things............... everything else is fine.

Just don't go in the water..........that's another story.........
Reminds me of the back 40s in Texas
If it dont stick you, it will sting you or cut you, bite,chew, suck,

Venomous
Verminous
Voracious
Poisonous
Pernicious
Painfull
...
On the shore they bite, sting, lovingly drape their portuguese slimy limbs and give a little kiss
Rattlesnakes
Copperheads
Coral
Black widows
Brown recluse
Fire ants
Cow ants
Wasps of every livery...

But thats nothing compared to what you outback dwellers deal with!!!
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
Hi Stacee @staceegutierrez
I think they’re all ‘taking the Mickey a bit 😂😂’ with those warnings.

the reality of walking the routes you’ve mentioned is that it’s a lot easier and not as wild as you’re imagining. I’ve walked these routes but not camped myself.

It’s not expensive to stay in places along the way where the other pilgrims stay. There’s the amenities and comfort and ease plus camaraderie..

But if you feel it’s safer for you doing the camping bit … then I’d suggest you check out the posts on this forum by @shefollowsshells
. Neve has walked the Norte & others in spain plus camped along the Le Puy and in Spain with her children. Maybe she’ll weigh in here.
Buen camino
Annie.
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
I've only walked in France from SJPP and Bayonne, so can't apeak to the first part of your walk.

In Spain the only place I've seen boar was after Monforte de Lemos on the Invierno. A group of them crossed the road in front of me, but hightailed it out of there PDQ when they saw they weren't alone. I never for a moment felt in any danger - they were much more freaked out about me than I was about them.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Nobody has mentioned the bears and wolves that are in Spain yet 😂.

Thing is, Stacee, western Europe is pretty mild. If there were problems with ferocious wild animals anywhere along Camino they would have been reported on this forum.

Wild camping alone can be a bit nerve jangling at first as every single sound out there beyond the tent wall at night seems magnified. But the night is full of sound, so many nocturnal creatures.
I remember once being woken by a crunching snuffling sound - to me it sounded like a fox chewing a dead rabbit or a boar snouting into the earth ..... I got my torch and nervously unzipped and peered out ... to see a sweet little hedgehog chewing a cigarette butt (of all things) ... it was just a few inches away and in my tent I had enlarged the sound to be a bigger thing happening some yards away .... after a while you get used to the night noises, becoming happy to sit outside your tent in the dark and just soaking it all up ... thing is, animals can smell humans and they are wary of us - for obvious reasons - so a Camino path, well beaten and walked upon by hundreds of thousands of humans is not a happy place for them, so they tend to stay away unless they have to cross it.
You will be doing your wild camping on the edge of the Camino so the chances of being disturbed, let alone attacked, by a wild animal are just about nil.

Thing is, once you are on Camino, which is essentially a necklace with a string of villages and towns threaded along it (hmm .. more like an unclasped rosary really) ... beds and showers and bar restaurants in every one ... will you still find that you want to wild camp? To daily carry all that camping gear?
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
I've camped a lot mostly with a bivvy bag or tarp throughout wild areas of Europe and I've often opened my eyes in the morning and to find deer grazing around me, young wild boar running past or marmots staring me right in the face. You probably won't see much wildlife on the Frances but I did have 3 feral pigs wander past me one night near Roncesvalles and a large bull sit on my tent a bit further on. There's usually nothing to fear from the larger wildlife, they mostly stay away, ignore you if not a threat, or some like marmots and squirrels inquisitive, although I was chased by a pack of weasels once. The biggest "danger" is usually from biting insects like mosquitoes and especially Scottish midgies, some ants can bite, spiders are ugly but usually harmless, slugs and snails just slime you. Ticks are the only thing that concern me, a growing problem in Scotland although I've been lucky not to be bitten by an infected one. I ended up with a load one day on the Frances, but I think they are rare there I was just unlucky.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Stags rut end of September to November - their hormones only switch on then.

Boar?
"When are wild boar dangerous? Wild boars are not always dangerous.

Usually, wild boar are nocturnal anyway. They can be shy and prefer staying far away from humans. They become dangerous only when…
  • They feel they are cornered, ignored, or threatened
  • They need to defend themselves from animals, humans, and hunters
  • They need to protect their young. This is one of the major causes for many wild boars being dangerous in terms of attacks – particularly females with their young. "
Boars breed November to January.

I would be more concerned with scorpions, camping out wild. (They will not cross bunches of Lavender).

I don't know if this helps but territory is important to feral hunters. Back in the late 70's there was a hunter turned photographer who often went to the North Canadian and Alaskan wilds, where wolf packs roamed. When he made camp he would dribble small amounts of his urine all round the perimeter of his camp. He said that wolves would come as far as his perimeter but never cross. He never had any problems with wild animals when he set up his urine perimeter - does this help??
Canadian pee is likely to be laced with LaBatts or Molson so no wolf worth his salt will come near!

When we owned a farmhouse in western France we had a quarter share of a wood and one day my two small daughters came in from their "camp" and asked: "Daddy, do French piglets have stripes?"
"No, er I don't think so?"

Hurried discussion with neighbour (joyously) "Ah! She's back! I'll make sure the chasse privée (private hunting) signs are all intact - we don't want hunters tormenting her! But best keep the girls away."

We explained this and they were disappointed they couldn't camp out anymore - we'd bought a farmhose as a holiday home for goodness sake!

The smallest then tried with . . . . can we take one home with us?

1627029214713.png

A few days later we were in a branch of Supermarche LeClerc and on the wall was the head of an 85kg sanglier with enourmous tusks, shot in the local woods - that's 190 pounds of ferocious pigmeat!
 
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06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
I've camped a lot mostly with a bivvy bag or tarp throughout wild areas of Europe and I've often opened my eyes in the morning and to find deer grazing around me, young wild boar running past or marmots staring me right in the face. You probably won't see much wildlife on the Frances but I did have 3 feral pigs wander past me one night near Roncesvalles and a large bull sit on my tent a bit further on. There's usually nothing to fear from the larger wildlife, they mostly stay away, ignore you if not a threat, or some like marmots and squirrels inquisitive, although I was chased by a pack of weasels once. The biggest "danger" is usually from biting insects like mosquitoes and especially Scottish midgies, some ants can bite, spiders are ugly but usually harmless, slugs and snails just slime you. Ticks are the only thing that concern me, a growing problem in Scotland although I've been lucky not to be bitten by an infected one. I ended up with a load one day on the Frances, but I think they are rare there I was just unlucky.
I doubt Scottish midges will have their digital certs yet...
 

staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
No experience with camping, but I can assure you that wild boars are very present in many regions of rural France. They roam along creeks and brooks, from one foraging area to another. They have become less shy and more used to humans; you can occasionally see them when you are going by car, in quite populated areas. And yes, there are every year many serious incidents, although most of them involve hunters. The usual lively debate between conservationists and farmers is sometimes present in the newspapers.
I would ask local people about the situation, for example at the bistro where you stop to have a café au lait; or the albergue manager.
Thank you Felipe for your response. :). Some people have given me the impression that I'm crazy for even asking about safety when regarding wild boars but I know for a fact as well that they are there and I definitely need to use caution. Thank you for the information! I think my solution is to mostly camp near gites/albergeus. Felipe, do you mind if I copy your response and post it to my FB post with the same question so the people following my post are made aware and I can be validated in asking my question? :)
 

The Austrian

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF Nov 11, 2016
CF Oct 31, 2018
No experience with camping, but I can assure you that wild boars are very present in many regions of rural France. They roam along creeks and brooks, from one foraging area to another. They have become less shy and more used to humans; you can occasionally see them when you are going by car, in quite populated areas. And yes, there are every year many serious incidents, although most of them involve hunters. The usual lively debate between conservationists and farmers is sometimes present in the newspapers.
I would ask local people about the situation, for example at the bistro where you stop to have a café au lait; or the albergue manager.
I concur. Seen them in the Charente all the time. Make for great Sunday roast, don't they.
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Hi Stacee, just to add to all the good stuff above: as I'm sure you're aware, wild animals are pretty much always hungry. They're generally wary of humans, but sometimes their hunger, and the smell of food, makes them bolder. This is not to say that you're going to be in danger, in the same way as people in the States who have to guard against bears etc. But worth remembering they're not coming in contact to find you, just to see if they can access your food. As others have said, mosquitoes likely to be the main issue, so worth having a tent inner or some kind of net you can sleep in.
Also, I carry a small 'tick key' tick removal tool in my wallet, which is very handy and gives me peace of mind. I got it after it was recommended on this forum - at least 5 years ago..
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Past OR future Camino
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
I agree with most of the advice so far that wild animals shouldn't be a problem for wild camping. However, wild camping is discouraged in France apart from above the treeline - which doesn't really include much of the Le Puy route. In the right places with permission from the landowner or by pitching at dusk and breaking camp at dawn, you'll probably be fine. However the hunters (and there are many in France, often fortified by strong liquor) may be less frightened of you than their prey. It is said that there are more gunshot wounds treated by medical services in France resulting from hunters accidentally shooting each other than from gun-related crime!
Having hiked all of the routes you mentioned I would not like to have missed the excellent hospitality (especially evening meals!) in French gites (cross between backpacker hostels and B&Bs) or the wonderfully camaraderie of sharing space with other hikers/Pilgrims in Spain. And the small additional cost of accommodation is more than outweighed (pun intentional) by the extra pounds on the back of a tent, sleeping bag, mat, cooking gear and food.
Of the three elements of your proposed route, the Del Norte might lend itself more to camping, but would also be the toughest hike (elevation and descent) to carry all that extra weight.
Whatever you decide, Buen Camino/Bon Chemin to you!
 
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Felipe

Veteran Member
Thank you Felipe for your response. :). Some people have given me the impression that I'm crazy for even asking about safety when regarding wild boars but I know for a fact as well that they are there and I definitely need to use caution. Thank you for the information! I think my solution is to mostly camp near gites/albergeus. Felipe, do you mind if I copy your response and post it to my FB post with the same question so the people following my post are made aware and I can be validated in asking my question? :)

Obviously, I am not an authority in the matter, but you can use my post at your discretion.
I have been looking at the distribution of wild boars in France, and Gers and Hautes Pyrenees are particularly mentioned. For the Podensis, that means after Saint Antoine, as the landscape becomes hillier.

I concur with @Tandem Graham...I am more worried by trigger-happy hunters than by cute wild animals that mostly avoid humans. When I see hunting stands, I stick carefully to the path.
 
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Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
On the VDLP waaaaay back in 2009, we were walking before sun-up one morning.
I heard a "snort" and pointed my camera in that direction.
Took a flash photo and this is what was snorting. Hahaha!
But they were just curious. No threat.
The only other scary things I've seen were on the Aragones route.
I saw a viper alongside the trail.
About 8 inches long and deader than a doornail.
And one year I was pretty sure I saw cougar tracks on top of a mountain trail but that was pooh-poohed by the forum. I still believe it was a large cat, but :🤷:
I walk alone all the time.
Don't fear - just go.
 

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staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I've camped a lot mostly with a bivvy bag or tarp throughout wild areas of Europe and I've often opened my eyes in the morning and to find deer grazing around me, young wild boar running past or marmots staring me right in the face. You probably won't see much wildlife on the Frances but I did have 3 feral pigs wander past me one night near Roncesvalles and a large bull sit on my tent a bit further on. There's usually nothing to fear from the larger wildlife, they mostly stay away, ignore you if not a threat, or some like marmots and squirrels inquisitive, although I was chased by a pack of weasels once. The biggest "danger" is usually from biting insects like mosquitoes and especially Scottish midgies, some ants can bite, spiders are ugly but usually harmless, slugs and snails just slime you. Ticks are the only thing that concern me, a growing problem in Scotland although I've been lucky not to be bitten by an infected one. I ended up with a load one day on the Frances, but I think they are rare there I was just unlucky.
Thank you so much for telling your experiences! Before walking El Camino I will be walking the West Highland Way and St. Cuthbert's Way in the UK. I planned my trip specifically to start in April to avoid the midges and I've got a good plan of prevention and attack for the ticks. My aunt has been plagued by lyme disease her whole adult life so it is definitely something to prepare against. I appreciate hearing your experience because this is the "realistic" scenarios that could happen and I'm not ready for the fright, so I'll stick to very public camping places for now until I get some more experience under my belt. :) Thank you again!
 

frida1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
I haven’t camped on any of my European walks, although have a lot of experience with backpacking in the USA. They are totally different experiences. Anyway, I was a lot more scared by local hunters out boar shooting while walking than I would have been by the animals themselves. In season, you can see and hear hunters after boar in Spain and Italy. I hope they know better than to shoot a human, although those mistakes definitely happen in the USA.
 
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coldcoqui

New Member
Hello everyone,

I am planning on walking El Camino from Le Puy to SJPD to Santiago to Muxia to Finisterra ( or maybe will go the Norte route instead of the Frances... we'll see where the wind blows me) next June to Aug (73 days approx). I have been reading and researching message boards for the past several months so I've heard all the arguments for and against camping/wild camping as far as the social aspect goes... and all the legalities, sensibilities regarding "Leave no Trace" and not starting fires, etc. I know there are plenty of camping options along the route and I'll be using Gronze and MMDD to find these spots as well as wild camping if the opportunity arises.

I am an ultralight backer (somewhat novice and very cautious-- still learning) in the US so I have all the appropriate gear dialed in and would like to camp/wild camp the majority of the way. I have one hang up due to some experiences I heard about through all my research. I know it's not a common occurrence that will detract people from camping, but I'm worried about wild boars, rutting stags, and other creatures roaming at night that might be aggressive with the potential to attack. I would love to camp but I need to be able to sleep well and not loose sleep being afraid of these creatures. :). For those of you who have camped, did you have any animal encounters and what did you do to handle the encounters. Thank you for any information!

PS. I'd LOVE to hear encouraging responses so I can put my mind at ease and continue with my plans to camp, but if it's dangerous I'll have to concede. :)
The only bad experience I had with wildlife was in a very remote part of the Camino Primativo. In this region they have wolves, and because they also have a lot of stray dogs, there is a bit of a problem with wolf dog hybrids. I had a nasty run in with 2 of them while hiking there early one morning.
 

flickchic98

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May 18,2015 - June 23,2015 El Camino Frances
May 25, 2017 - June 30th, 2017 Le Puy to Moissac
Hello everyone,

I am planning on walking El Camino from Le Puy to SJPD to Santiago to Muxia to Finisterra ( or maybe will go the Norte route instead of the Frances... we'll see where the wind blows me) next June to Aug (73 days approx). I have been reading and researching message boards for the past several months so I've heard all the arguments for and against camping/wild camping as far as the social aspect goes... and all the legalities, sensibilities regarding "Leave no Trace" and not starting fires, etc. I know there are plenty of camping options along the route and I'll be using Gronze and MMDD to find these spots as well as wild camping if the opportunity arises.

I am an ultralight backer (somewhat novice and very cautious-- still learning) in the US so I have all the appropriate gear dialed in and would like to camp/wild camp the majority of the way. I have one hang up due to some experiences I heard about through all my research. I know it's not a common occurrence that will detract people from camping, but I'm worried about wild boars, rutting stags, and other creatures roaming at night that might be aggressive with the potential to attack. I would love to camp but I need to be able to sleep well and not loose sleep being afraid of these creatures. :). For those of you who have camped, did you have any animal encounters and what did you do to handle the encounters. Thank you for any information!

PS. I'd LOVE to hear encouraging responses so I can put my mind at ease and continue with my plans to camp, but if it's dangerous I'll have to concede. :)
I walked the gr-65 from le Puy in 2017, made it all the way to Moissac (was going to finish it in 2020) and my biggest regret was not taking a tent. In France yes, you can camp out in camping sites, plenty of them in GR-65. you can alternate with staying at hostels or b&b's though they are more expensive than the albergues in Spain. treat yourself once in a while to a home cooked dinner and a bed with clean sheets. I found all food in France to be exquisite. I never saw, heard or smelled any creature on the trails. Though I did see lots of goat excrement.
In Spain, there wasn't too much opportunity to camp. I did the Camino Frances in 2015 (way before covid so things were different) but there were so many albergues everywhere that there was no need to camp and I think it's frowned upon to do it unless it's a campsite (which there aren't that many on the way) perhaps things are different now.
I suggest camp out as much as you can in France and then mail your tent to yourself back home once you get to Spain but keep your sleeping bag. Buen Camino! I count the days until I can go back.
 

staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
The only bad experience I had with wildlife was in a very remote part of the Camino Primativo. In this region they have wolves, and because they also have a lot of stray dogs, there is a bit of a problem with wolf dog hybrids. I had a nasty run in with 2 of them while hiking there early one morning.
Oh goodness! Seriously. No bueno! Is pepper spray or your trekking poles a good deterrent?
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Only chiming in here as likely the most important item has not been mentioned. Camino camping is very much frowned upon most of the area that you have mentioned. As a guest in the country, the very first thing is to honour the requirement. The rule is not there for frivolous or even economic reasons but to keep Visitors safe. In fact, beyond all other responses here, it is the things that we do not or cannot foresee that would be of greater concern.

Wild camping in the UK and Ireland is a whole different ball game and I have done that myself. In Spain, I, like you, was going to camp, but never did, out of respect for our Host, España, and its Citizens. As independent as we wish to be, it is those Citizens that we all need, and their services that allow us to accomplish our pilgrimage.
 

Dawsie

Mature member
Past OR future Camino
Via De Plata (2019); Camino Del Norte (2019)
Hi Stacee,
Having walked half of the del Norte, I think that you are missing one of the important reasons for walking a Camino if you intend to exclusively Wild Camp - even in these difficult times, spending time with other pilgrims in B&B, restaurants, bars or albergue is a major part of the experience.
If you really want to do some nights under canvas, then why not consider doing so over a section of your route and shipping your camping gear for collection when you arrive at Santiago. That way you might be under canvas for the more rugged start (and perhaps the Santiago to Finisterre bit too) but can take advantage of the lighter backpack and better infrastructure as you get closer to Santiago.
Alternatively, if you are selecting camping to avoid getting too close to other people (to avoid Covid infection), then you might want to ship your camping gear for collection at a half way point instead and take advantage of a lighter backpack for the more strenuous starting sections.

PS: if you walk Del Norte then you can skip some sections using the train.
 
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Henry B

Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Hello everyone,

I am planning on walking El Camino from Le Puy to SJPD to Santiago to Muxia to Finisterra ( or maybe will go the Norte route instead of the Frances... we'll see where the wind blows me) next June to Aug (73 days approx). I have been reading and researching message boards for the past several months so I've heard all the arguments for and against camping/wild camping as far as the social aspect goes... and all the legalities, sensibilities regarding "Leave no Trace" and not starting fires, etc. I know there are plenty of camping options along the route and I'll be using Gronze and MMDD to find these spots as well as wild camping if the opportunity arises.

I am an ultralight backer (somewhat novice and very cautious-- still learning) in the US so I have all the appropriate gear dialed in and would like to camp/wild camp the majority of the way. I have one hang up due to some experiences I heard about through all my research. I know it's not a common occurrence that will detract people from camping, but I'm worried about wild boars, rutting stags, and other creatures roaming at night that might be aggressive with the potential to attack. I would love to camp but I need to be able to sleep well and not loose sleep being afraid of these creatures. :). For those of you who have camped, did you have any animal encounters and what did you do to handle the encounters. Thank you for any information!

PS. I'd LOVE to hear encouraging responses so I can put my mind at ease and continue with my plans to camp, but if it's dangerous I'll have to concede. :)
I have read most of the posts and they give sound and sometimes whimsical advice.
My view is that the Camino experience is immeasurably enriched at modest albergue cost in the meetings, brief encounters and friendships made. You also tend to stay pretty clean and well fed!
The world has many wild camping opportunities but few caminos B.C
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I’m just going to point out you are traveling during fire season. If you must ignore the law please at the very least don’t ever ever ever light a match. EVER. People in my state have died from massive fires started by homeless camping in dry river beds.
 

staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Only chiming in here as likely the most important item has not been mentioned. Camino camping is very much frowned upon most of the area that you have mentioned. As a guest in the country, the very first thing is to honour the requirement. The rule is not there for frivolous or even economic reasons but to keep Visitors safe. In fact, beyond all other responses here, it is the things that we do not or cannot foresee that would be of greater concern.

Wild camping in the UK and Ireland is a whole different ball game and I have done that myself. In Spain, I, like you, was going to camp, but never did, out of respect for our Host, España, and its Citizens. As independent as we wish to be, it is those Citizens that we all need, and their services that allow us to accomplish our pilgrimage.

I’m just going to point out you are traveling during fire season. If you must ignore the law please at the very least don’t ever ever ever light a match. EVER. People in my state have died from massive fires started by homeless camping in dry river beds.
Hello, I won't be ignoring the law and will not be starting fires. :)
 

staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hello everyone,

I am planning on walking El Camino from Le Puy to SJPD to Santiago to Muxia to Finisterra ( or maybe will go the Norte route instead of the Frances... we'll see where the wind blows me) next June to Aug (73 days approx). I have been reading and researching message boards for the past several months so I've heard all the arguments for and against camping/wild camping as far as the social aspect goes... and all the legalities, sensibilities regarding "Leave no Trace" and not starting fires, etc. I know there are plenty of camping options along the route and I'll be using Gronze and MMDD to find these spots as well as wild camping if the opportunity arises.

I am an ultralight backer (somewhat novice and very cautious-- still learning) in the US so I have all the appropriate gear dialed in and would like to camp/wild camp the majority of the way. I have one hang up due to some experiences I heard about through all my research. I know it's not a common occurrence that will detract people from camping, but I'm worried about wild boars, rutting stags, and other creatures roaming at night that might be aggressive with the potential to attack. I would love to camp but I need to be able to sleep well and not loose sleep being afraid of these creatures. :). For those of you who have camped, did you have any animal encounters and what did you do to handle the encounters. Thank you for any information!

PS. I'd LOVE to hear encouraging responses so I can put my mind at ease and continue with my plans to camp, but if it's dangerous I'll have to concede. :)
Thank you everyone for your replies! I received some very good advice and I now know how to proceed. Thank you!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Hello, I won't be ignoring the law and will not be starting fires. :)
Hello, camping where prohibited is ignoring the law. Also I said light a match, not start a fire. Most people who start massive wildfires didn’t mean to do so. A cigarette has set Costa Brava on fire right now with hundreds forced to leave their homes. Camp on camp grounds, be a polite traveler.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
On the VDLP waaaaay back in 2009, we were walking before sun-up one morning.
I heard a "snort" and pointed my camera in that direction.
Took a flash photo and this is what was snorting. Hahaha!
But they were just curious. No threat.
The only other scary things I've seen were on the Aragones route.
I saw a viper alongside the trail.
About 8 inches long and deader than a doornail.
And one year I was pretty sure I saw cougar tracks on top of a mountain trail but that was pooh-poohed by the forum. I still believe it was a large cat, but :🤷:
I walk alone all the time.
Don't fear - just go.

Annie, no cougars in Europe but we do have wild cats - you most likely saw the Iberian Lynx. They go up to about 90cms long.

shutterstock-298807481.jpg
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Travel318
We walked with two people who part camped and part stayed in albuergues. They usually found down by a river spots or other little places that were available. There are super lightweight tents you could take. I would suggest not cooking, rather eating at bars and places along they way and having some bread/sandwich material for late dining. We didn’t camp but took super light cutting board and one sharp serrated knife to cut things. That said, I’m guessing our friend camped less that 50%of the time. The other person was female and walking with a big dog. She was more approaching the Camino from the donativo perspective, so spend the least amount of $$ possible/rural pilgrim. She could only stay at places that allowed dogs and that cost more so would alternate as necessary. I would guess she also camped less than 50% of the time. You can always send your tent/bag ahead if you know you need a break/shower and are staying at albuergue.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Annie, no cougars in Europe but we do have wild cats - you most likely saw the Iberian Lynx. They go up to about 90cms long.

View attachment 105457
Thank you, thank you, THANK you!
I've hunted with my uncles since a child and I KNEW those were cat tracks but everyone laughed.
 

Richard Smith

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
Back when things were normal, we met a young Irish guy on the CF who was working through some life questions. He had set himself a challenge to travel the CF on 4 euro per day, and he was doing long days.
He had a hammock (set up after dark, pack up before dawn) and also slept on church porches. Food was from stores and basic. He was very happy with our table company for cover as he charged his phone and used the cafe wifi trying to spend as little as possible.
Yes you can do your camino your own way, but albuergues/hostels, cafes and pilgrim friends are nice too.
 
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good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
On the way from Le Puy it is very safe and easy to camp. Many gites allow to camp in their garden for a small fee (5-10 Euros usually) and then you can use the bathroom and the kitchen which is also perfect for meeting fellow pilgrims, share a meal and so on if you feel like it. There are also many official campsites along the way. If you camp in such environment, you can be very sure not to get eaten by wolves, bears and the like at night ;-)

You can find information about possible camping spots in the "miam miam dodo" guide book which you mentioned in your post, as it lists not only hostels but also the information whether they allow you to pitch a tent. BUT: Best call ahead and ask to be sure, a few times the information was not correct when I walked 2017.

France in general is very camping friendly. If you wild camp responsibly (no fire - including candles, stoves and cigarettes! - no littering and so on, but you already know that!) you most likely won't be bothered by anyone even though it is not legal.

Spain is completely different in that regard. It will be more difficult on the Frances from St Jean onwards to camp but is possible at least some days. Please don't wild camp in Spain though, not only is it illegal but the Spanish are much more strict about it than the french and dislike it in general. Please respect that.

Have a good trip and enjoy the fresh air under the stars :)
 
Last edited:
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staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
On the way from Le Puy it is very safe and easy to camp. Many gites allow to camp in their garden for a small fee (5-10 Euros usually) and then you can use the bathroom and the kitchen which is also perfect for meeting fellow pilgrims, share a meal and so on if you feel like it. There are also many official campsites along the way. If you camp in such environment, you can be very sure not to get eaten by wolves, bears and the like at night ;-)

You can find information about possible camping spots in the "miam miam dodo" guide book which you mentioned in your post, as it lists not only hostels but also the information whether they allow you to pitch a tent. BUT: Best call ahead and ask to be sure, a few times the information was not correct when I walked 2017.

France in general is very camping friendly. If you wild camp responsibly (no fire - including candles, stoves and cigarettes! - no littering and so on, but you already know that!) you most likely won't be bothered by anyone even though it is not legal.

Spain is completely different in that regard. It will be more difficult on the Frances from St Jean onwards to camp but is possible at least some days. Please don't wild camp in Spain though, not only is it illegal but the Spanish are much more strict about it than the french and dislike it in general. Please respect that.

Have a good trip and enjoy the fresh air under the stars :)
Good Old Shoes, thank you so much for your reply! This is exactly the information I was needing. :). The info you suggest will be my plan! Many thanks!
 
Past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
No experience with camping, but I can assure you that wild boars are very present in many regions of rural France. They roam along creeks and brooks, from one foraging area to another. They have become less shy and more used to humans; you can occasionally see them when you are going by car, in quite populated areas. And yes, there are every year many serious incidents, although most of them involve hunters. The usual lively debate between conservationists and farmers is sometimes present in the newspapers.
I would ask local people about the situation, for example at the bistro where you stop to have a café au lait; or the albergue manager.
I would forget about the café au lait and drink it black like God intended and then you can crap on the vipers! My only worry when doing some wild camping was if the mad axeman was loose from some penal establishment and specifically looking for ME!

I think that's part of a guilty conscience from a slightly ne'er do well past :) :) I personally prefer a tarp under these circumstances as you can bolt out from it much easier and run off screaming into the night. This might discommode the intruder!

Good luck and Buen Camino!

Samarkand.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I see two dangers in your planned walk. You will be walking in summer. It will be hot. Pilgrims die on the camino, some from dehydration. Be sure that you carry lots of safe water. There may be fountains along the way, but some are likely to be marked "non potable" and others to be dry. A secondary risk, mentioned above, may be hunters. I don't know the hunting seasons in Spain, but I have heard gunfire at the edge of a village (target practice?), picked up a spent shotgun shell from a camino route and seen many hunters along the Way. I have always walked in autumn, As your walk is planned to end in August, this may be a lesser risk, depending on the hunting seasons. Take care and be sure to be hydrated. Buen camino.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
@staceegutierrez I just realized that, if all goes well, I'll be walking the le Puy at roughly the same time as you next year (if covid allows). Starting from home, I should be on the Le Puy in june. So you won't be the only maniac doing it with a tent around that time! Maybe that's reassuring or maybe scary, I guess it depends. Lol. If you see a strange lady with a giant backpack (I am nowhere near ultralight!) and a tiny olive green tent that might be me. Ignore me or say hello if you like. Bon chemin anyways!!
 

Old Bamboo

Member
Past OR future Camino
CF, Francigena, KumanoKodo,Benedetto, Iseji, Assisi, Kunisaki, Shikoku 88 (1~24), Kohechi,Dajia Mazu
I didn't have any camping problems with creatures in Spain on the CF but in Italy on the Via Francigena I had a late night attack by some animals which charged and rolled over my tent and stepped on my face through the fabric. The tent popped back up but had a couple of rips in it. I was startled to say the least and kept totally quiet and still as the animals stood right outside breathing heavily. It was a bit scary for sure. Eventually they left and giving them time to be away i quickly packed up and fled. I always assumed it was a boar attack as i saw them a few times on the cammino but later back home i decided they were probably stags according to the sounds they made (I listened to sounds of various animals on Youtube). I continued wild camping but had and have more respect for surprises in the night. I suppose it would depend on where you're set up. My site was remote in a wooded area so a more likely place for wild animals.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
Years ago, I set up my tent for the night on a game trail in the White Goat Wilderness Area north of Banff National Park. All night, herds of deer trotted busily past. But I did get a little sleep. The land on both sides of the trail was so thick with bushes that there was nowhere else possible to pitch the tent. The deer hardly had space to get past.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I wild camped in Botswana. Heard some faint rustling noises during the night. In the morning there were elephant prints. They had literally tip toed between the guy ropes. We came across the culprits a bit further along the sand track that day – a nursing herd of females and calves. Just thought I’d throw that in here 🤣 🤣.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
I wild camped in Botswana. Heard some faint rustling noises during the night. In the morning there were elephant prints. They had literally tip toed between the guy ropes. We came across the culprits a bit further along the sand track that day – a nursing herd of females and calves. Just thought I’d throw that in here 🤣 🤣.
Tip-toing Elephants. I so love that!!!!

Also off Camino anecdotes, but some 50 years ago I met and became pals with a vicar visiting from Africa. Of a white European family, born and brought up in Africa. A few years before he was camping with his girlfriend and dreamt that a lion had put its head into the tent and was quietly dragging his girlfriend's sleeping bag out of the tent with her still sleeping in it. It was so frightening that he woke up - to see a lion dragging his girlfriend's sleeping bag, with her still sleeping in it, out of the tent!
He roared and shouted and the lion let go and ran away. Just saying. Don't wild camp in Africa!
 
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shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Hi Stacee,
Having walked half of the del Norte, I think that you are missing one of the important reasons for walking a Camino if you intend to exclusively Wild Camp - even in these difficult times, spending time with other pilgrims in B&B, restaurants, bars or albergue is a major part of the experience.
If you really want to do some nights under canvas, then why not consider doing so over a section of your route and shipping your camping gear for collection when you arrive at Santiago. That way you might be under canvas for the more rugged start (and perhaps the Santiago to Finisterre bit too) but can take advantage of the lighter backpack and better infrastructure as you get closer to Santiago.
Alternatively, if you are selecting camping to avoid getting too close to other people (to avoid Covid infection), then you might want to ship your camping gear for collection at a half way point instead and take advantage of a lighter backpack for the more strenuous starting sections.

PS: if you walk Del Norte then you can skip some sections using the train.
I camped 80 percent of Le Puy en Velay to Muxia with five children (youngest 9) and we too had "amazing experiences", so much so TWO pilgrims from Europe have been guests in our home, one we flew out to spend 6 weeks as our guest in our home, with a wonderful tour of the East Coast of the US, DC, NYC, mountains, primitive beach. One can describe their experience but let's not imply that others "miss out"...
Our trip was a trip of a life time.
With that said I couldn't dare give advice to others on camping, we just went with our gut and made it happen, not really traditionally. My blog does capture our nights, any difficulties and our spirits...
One of my favorite camping experiences with animals while in tent was on the GR11 (Spanish side of the Pyrenees) , I was literally frozen to death with my two daughters, it was so misty that it felt like it was raining and it was dark. We set up our tent, wet, cold and possibly miserable...but woke to the sounds of bells EVERYWHERE, as a Sheep were running by. It was a very dreamy experience...
 

staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
@staceegutierrez I just realized that, if all goes well, I'll be walking the le Puy at roughly the same time as you next year (if covid allows). Starting from home, I should be on the Le Puy in june. So you won't be the only maniac doing it with a tent around that time! Maybe that's reassuring or maybe scary, I guess it depends. Lol. If you see a strange lady with a giant backpack (I am nowhere near ultralight!) and a tiny olive green tent that might be me. Ignore me or say hello if you like. Bon chemin anyways!!
Ha ha ha! I will be definitely be on the lookout for your green tent. :). We may be neighbors on the journey. Just knowing fellow pilgrims are there, give me peace about the adventure!
 
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staceegutierrez

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I camped 80 percent of Le Puy en Velay to Muxia with five children (youngest 9) and we too had "amazing experiences", so much so TWO pilgrims from Europe have been guests in our home, one we flew out to spend 6 weeks as our guest in our home, with a wonderful tour of the East Coast of the US, DC, NYC, mountains, primitive beach. One can describe their experience but let's not imply that others "miss out"...
Our trip was a trip of a life time.
With that said I couldn't dare give advice to others on camping, we just went with our gut and made it happen, not really traditionally. My blog does capture our nights, any difficulties and our spirits...
One of my favorite camping experiences with animals while in tent was on the GR11 (Spanish side of the Pyrenees) , I was literally frozen to death with my two daughters, it was so misty that it felt like it was raining and it was dark. We set up our tent, wet, cold and possibly miserable...but woke to the sounds of bells EVERYWHERE, as a Sheep were running by. It was a very dreamy experience...
Thank you for posting your experience! Definitely an adventure of a lifetime!
 

shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
I see two dangers in your planned walk. You will be walking in summer. It will be hot. Pilgrims die on the camino, some from dehydration. Be sure that you carry lots of safe water. There may be fountains along the way, but some are likely to be marked "non potable" and others to be dry. A secondary risk, mentioned above, may be hunters. I don't know the hunting seasons in Spain, but I have heard gunfire at the edge of a village (target practice?), picked up a spent shotgun shell from a camino route and seen many hunters along the Way. I have always walked in autumn, As your walk is planned to end in August, this may be a lesser risk, depending on the hunting seasons. Take care and be sure to be hydrated. Buen camino.
On the Le Puy route, you literally walk among some hunters. Their standing in areas and don't really walk with you but you could say "bonjour" to them and they would hear you. I actually think I am going to get some orange vests for my daughter and me on this upcoming Le Puy route...
 

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