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How to make the Camino more tent friendly. Ideas?

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
Buen Camino peregrinos :)

Since more and more people seem to be interested in the option of sleeping in a tent on the Camino, it might be time to think about ways to make it more tent friendly. While so far it might be possible to camp if you really want to, it is not really easy, certainly not usual, and also often not seen in a very positive light (even when done legally).

This is what this thread is about. It‘s written from a tent-carrying-walker's point of view, but it would be great to get some input from those who work at albergues, too!


Despite all prejudice, I think it could be quite easy to make the Camino more tent friendly - legally, without any loss for local business, with no littering problem, and while still keeping the pilgrim spirit. In other countries, like France, it works well already.


So, let‘s collect ideas about that. Time for some brain storming! And please stay positive!


(and just so nobody will get this wrong, it‘s all assuming that the Corona situation is under control and the Camino open again for pilgrims in general)


I‘ll start, feel free to add your ideas and wishes!



1. I wish they would Include camping as a normal form of accomodation.

A similar list as the one for albergues could be created and given to pilgrims in St. Jean, but for camping only. Or the camping options could be indicated in the albergue list (for example a tent symbol).

In the official camping options list for pilgrims, you could also make it very clear that wild camping and making fire is not allowed and that it‘s obligatory to use the official options from the list.

If people had good information about where/how to legally setup camp and still meet their fellow pilgrims, there‘d probably be less attempts to wild camp. Also, that way you have all the tent pilgrims in the same spots and where they won‘t bother the locals, and they'll be in areas with bins and toilets, so that littering will not be a problem.


2. I wish camping in albergue gardens would be easier, more common, and officially welcome

Some albergues already welcome tents (thank you!), but there are probably many more that could allow camping than do so far. I guess the whole concept is just not common in Spain. In France, for example, it works very well. Information on whether gîtes allow camping is included in the guide books. It is a regular option for sleeping just like booking a bed.

You pay a fee for the night, then you can use the bathroom facilities and kitchen and still meet up with your pilgrim friends. Perfect solution for me. You get to sleep in your tent, but you‘re still part of the pilgrim community. In Spain, so far, you might feel like a second or third class pilgrim right now if you're asking for a spot for a tent... A tent!? Must be a freeloader, a hobo, or worse!

Albergues could put up a sign if they allow camping, so that tent-pilgrims know for sure where they're welcome (instead of having to ask everywhere and hope for the good will of the current hospitalero of an albergue, while the next one might change the rules and not accept tents at all). Put a price tag on it, if you want. Same price as a bed. No loss then.

Include the „tent friendly“ information in accomodation lists also.

To prevent overcrowding and unhappy bunk-bed walkers ("why are they carrying a tent and still use the albergue bathroom/kitchen instead of staying in the wild and cooking on a stove"), rules like the ones for bikes could be used. For example "tents can only check in after 5pm". That way they can't take away space from others. If there's laws that only a certain amount of people are allowed in one albergue, this way the pilgrim could pay for a bed and then just decide to sleep outside in the garden anyways. Bed is left empty, but not taken from anyone, and everybody‘s happy.


3. I wish they'd create official small pilgrim camping spots.

These don‘t really exist yet, but could be a good solution - a middle way between wild camping and official big campgrounds, and therefore between complete isolation and having to camp between noisy tourists's giant caravans - that could still be a pilgrim's meeting point.

For this, you could easily use already existing picnic areas. Those are usually outside of town, just before or after (that way the locals wouldn‘t be bothered much). They often already have benches/picnic tables, bins and sometimes even a water tap. Add a compost toilet and it should work. Then you just need a person to come by in the evening for collecting the fee that is neccessary to maintain the campsite. Or you could sell permits in town. If those spots are not too far outside town, pilgrims can still go to meet friends, for mass, for shopping, or a pilgrim‘s menu (and spend some money that the local business so desperately needs).

In Germany for example this kind of tiny semi-wild-campsites have been created a few years ago on a new hiking trail, close to the Czech republic, because there was a high demand for tent camping outside of big offical campsites by hikers (wild camping is forbidden in most parts of Germany, just like in Spain). There, you buy permits before and leave them in a box. 5 Euros per night. Max. 5 small tents per campsite, walkers only, only for one night, no fires. Compost toilet. From what I read this has been working very well so far.

These tiny campsites could be like a "camino camping municipal". Or, if there are private people interested in offering this service, the private version. Just like with albergues.



What do you think might make the Camino more tent friendly, whithout harming the way, the environment around, or the people that live along it, and while still making it feel like a pilgrimage?



What would you wish for as a tent-carrying pilgrim?



What would albergues need to be more welcoming to tents, what could we do to help?
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I am the hospitality coordinator for the FICS (International Fraternity of the Camino de Santiago.) We run the donativo Albergue Villa de Grado on the Camino Primitivo, and participate in a lot of policy chatter in the Camino world. I have brought up this great upsurge in interest in tent camping to the people who run albergues on the caminos as well as those who write policy... Everyone says Yes, Yes, Ain't it the Truth? It will be so much better if more people bring tents! But so far, the post-Covid government guidelines for albergues (not specific to camino shelters) has absolutley no advice or guidance at all for camping or tenting at albergues, or the use of albergue sanitary facilities by people not sleeping inside. I think it has not occurred to them that this might happen.
There are tons and tons of things for them, and us, to consider.
At this point, accommodating tents is very much a sidelight, footnote, and detail. Don't take it personally. The next few months are going to be a learning curve to compare with the climb up O Cebreiro. Pilgrims who arrive had better be ready for that.
 

Lexicos

Jimmy
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
It’s for the Spanish to determine what they want in their country, in their regions and their municipalities on their Camino trail. In spite of what any of us want, say or think it’s their call. You don’t visit someone’s house and tell them how to arrange their furniture. It’s the simple rule of being a gracious guest.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Buen Camino peregrinos :)

Since more and more people seem to be interested in the option of sleeping in a tent on the Camino, it might be time to think about ways to make it more tent friendly. While so far it might be possible to camp if you really want to, it is not really easy, certainly not usual, and also often not seen in a very positive light (even when done legally).

This is what this thread is about. It‘s written from a tent-carrying-walker's point of view, but it would be great to get some input from those who work at albergues, too!


Despite all prejudice, I think it could be quite easy to make the Camino more tent friendly - legally, without any loss for local business, with no littering problem, and while still keeping the pilgrim spirit. In other countries, like France, it works well already.


So, let‘s collect ideas about that. Time for some brain storming! And please stay positive!


(and just so nobody will get this wrong, it‘s all assuming that the Corona situation is under control and the Camino open again for pilgrims in general)


I‘ll start, feel free to add your ideas and wishes!



1. I wish they would Include camping as a normal form of accomodation.

A similar list as the one for albergues could be created and given to pilgrims in St. Jean, but for camping only. Or the camping options could be indicated in the albergue list (for example a tent symbol).

In the official camping options list for pilgrims, you could also make it very clear that wild camping and making fire is not allowed and that it‘s obligatory to use the official options from the list.

If people had good information about where/how to legally setup camp and still meet their fellow pilgrims, there‘d probably be less attempts to wild camp. Also, that way you have all the tent pilgrims in the same spots and where they won‘t bother the locals, and they'll be in areas with bins and toilets, so that littering will not be a problem.


2. I wish camping in albergue gardens would be easier, more common, and officially welcome

Some albergues already welcome tents (thank you!), but there are probably many more that could allow camping than do so far. I guess the whole concept is just not common in Spain. In France, for example, it works very well. Information on whether gîtes allow camping is included in the guide books. It is a regular option for sleeping just like booking a bed.

You pay a fee for the night, then you can use the bathroom facilities and kitchen and still meet up with your pilgrim friends. Perfect solution for me. You get to sleep in your tent, but you‘re still part of the pilgrim community. In Spain, so far, you might feel like a second or third class pilgrim right now if you're asking for a spot for a tent... A tent!? Must be a freeloader, a hobo, or worse!

Albergues could put up a sign if they allow camping, so that tent-pilgrims know for sure where they're welcome (instead of having to ask everywhere and hope for the good will of the current hospitalero of an albergue, while the next one might change the rules and not accept tents at all). Put a price tag on it, if you want. Same price as a bed. No loss then.

Include the „tent friendly“ information in accomodation lists also.

To prevent overcrowding and unhappy bunk-bed walkers ("why are they carrying a tent and still use the albergue bathroom/kitchen instead of staying in the wild and cooking on a stove"), rules like the ones for bikes could be used. For example "tents can only check in after 5pm". That way they can't take away space from others. If there's laws that only a certain amount of people are allowed in one albergue, this way the pilgrim could pay for a bed and then just decide to sleep outside in the garden anyways. Bed is left empty, but not taken from anyone, and everybody‘s happy.


3. I wish they'd create official small pilgrim camping spots.

These don‘t really exist yet, but could be a good solution - a middle way between wild camping and official big campgrounds, and therefore between complete isolation and having to camp between noisy tourists's giant caravans - that could still be a pilgrim's meeting point.

For this, you could easily use already existing picnic areas. Those are usually outside of town, just before or after (that way the locals wouldn‘t be bothered much). They often already have benches/picnic tables, bins and sometimes even a water tap. Add a compost toilet and it should work. Then you just need a person to come by in the evening for collecting the fee that is neccessary to maintain the campsite. Or you could sell permits in town. If those spots are not too far outside town, pilgrims can still go to meet friends, for mass, for shopping, or a pilgrim‘s menu (and spend some money that the local business so desperately needs).

In Germany for example this kind of tiny semi-wild-campsites have been created a few years ago on a new hiking trail, close to the Czech republic, because there was a high demand for tent camping outside of big offical campsites by hikers (wild camping is forbidden in most parts of Germany, just like in Spain). There, you buy permits before and leave them in a box. 5 Euros per night. Max. 5 small tents per campsite, walkers only, only for one night, no fires. Compost toilet. From what I read this has been working very well so far.

These tiny campsites could be like a "camino camping municipal". Or, if there are private people interested in offering this service, the private version. Just like with albergues.



What do you think might make the Camino more tent friendly, whithout harming the way, the environment around, or the people that live along it, and while still making it feel like a pilgrimage?



What would you wish for as a tent-carrying pilgrim?



What would Albergue need to be more welcoming to tents, what could we do to help?
looks like a combination of the French and German models could be a winner. I definitely like the idea of small locally supported places. could possibly dispel some of the more entrenched anti - tent attitudes.

The malingerer.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
It’s for the Spanish to determine what they want in their country, in their regions and their municipalities on their Camino trail. In spite of what any of us want, say or think it’s their call. You don’t visit someone’s house and tell them how to arrange their furniture. It’s the simple rule of being a gracious guest.

Are you referring to the Original post questions?
 
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Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
It’s for the Spanish to determine what they want in their country, in their regions and their municipalities on their Camino trail. In spite of what any of us want, say or think it’s their call. You don’t visit someone’s house and tell them how to arrange their furniture. It’s the simple rule of being a gracious guest.

Please remember that the Camino, or you could actually call it the Pilgrimage, while it ends in Spain, passes through other countries. It is not the property of any one country. Each country applies its own methods, has its own rules. I don't think the French would take kindly to having Spain decide what happens in France, or vice versa. That doesn't mean we can't make suggestions. Any more than it means that anyone has to listen to them, of course.
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
Great thread! I have been considering camping the Camino for a couple of years due to the bedbug issue on the Frances. (I am so allergic it's almost dangerous but that's another story). I love the Frances especially in high summer and was going to walk it again as a camper.

My method was going to be that I would email private albergues in advance, asking if I could camp in their yard happily paying full price if needs be in return for a spot to set my tent up and use of the bathroom facilities and somewhere to charge my power bank. I would deal with my toileting as per albergue policy/hang on if I needed to (and would certainly clean up/pack out any mess I made)

My Camino Camping wish list (in an ideal world) would be:

1. Albergues that allow camping and use of facilities. (Price doesn't matter to me).
2. Recharging points for tech (I love the idea of an outside locker with an inbuilt powerpoint - one of those ones that need a coin (1-2 Euros) to open and access - this could assist with the electricity bill)
3. Maybe a portaloo in the Albergue camping area so we don't have to mess in the yard/wake anyone up to get in/ compromise security by having doors left unlocked for us.

Ahh we can dream but I know it will be a while before any Camino for me is a reality. I think it is definitely a viable option for those of us who are able and a safer from a COVID perspective.

EDIT: BTW If camping assists with the bed race (if it indeed still exists after COVID) then I am more than happy not to have a bed and to sleep outdoors so that someone who actually needed a bed could have it.


Tara
 
Last edited:

Lexicos

Jimmy
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Quite so, the Camino passes through many countries and I think what I was trying to say is that we need to respect the laws and rules of each country, region and municipality. My apologies if that didn’t come across correctly. In any event I think I’m stating a very obvious point which probably doesn’t need emphasis on this forum.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
1. Albergues that allow camping and use of facilities. (Price doesn't matter to me).
2. Recharging points for tech (I love the idea of an outside locker with an inbuilt powerpoint - one of those ones that need a coin (1-2 Euros) to open and access - this could assist with the electricity bill)
3. Maybe a portaloo in the Albergue camping area so we don't have to mess in the yard/wake anyone up to get in/ compromise security by having doors left unlocked for us.

Sounds good to me. Mess in the yard is NEVER an option. Keys to get in to the toilets? Portaloos are expensive. Composting toilets?
This is a wild camping only option, and you need to carry a trowel. Failing all else, move behind a hedge, dig a hole.

Yup, I need electricity too. Have been known to charge the bike at lunchtime. It gulps power on the fast charger so I always leave some money.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I am wondering, when we propose this, what we want to achieve. On my first camino, there were a few groups who chose to use tents, and I would see them regularly walking, and every so often when they were allowed to pitch their tents in the grounds of an albergue.

There was also plenty of evidence left that 'wild camping' was going on in fields, etc adjacent to the walking path, but I only recall one occasion where the individual was still in-situ when I passed by early one morning. This may have included the groups that I was seeing from time to time that had pitched their tents in albergues. (As an aside, there is nothing necessarily bad about this. I expect that regular hikers will know how difficult it is to completely remove all evidence that a place has been used as an overnight camp site even when all the leave no trace principles have been observed.)

Further, I did a quick check of the places where I stayed in 2010 on the CF, and 12 of the 34 places I stayed had campgrounds in the locality, and a further eight had campgrounds that I could have used with some minor adjustments to my stages or by using an alternative route. There were a further three places that didn't fill one of these criteria where the albergue had allowed camping. So if I had wanted to camp, there would have been 23 out of 34 places where I think that would have been possible.
  • so there might be some value in finding ways to make camping a good option where it isn't yet, but it seems to me that the CF might already be considered 'tent friendly'. I think this would mean addressing any regulartory provisions, and working out whether any changes albergue operators would need to make to allow even a couple of tent spots would be worthwhile. Could they afford the changes in the first place, and would any ongoing arrangements be sustainable?
I didn't put a lot of effort into researching pricing for the campgrounds that I did find. My previous experience is that camping plots at any reasonable facility will be expensive. The one that did have tariffs that were easy to find charged 17 Euro for the plot, plus 7 Euro per adult for a basic plot. A group of eight would find that only marginally cheaper than a 10 Euro/night albergue, and even then they might not have enough space and need a larger plot.
  • It seems that we are caught in a conundrum here. As pilgrims, we are unlikely to be demanding all the higher end facilities and services that these camping grounds are offering, but the minimum standards which we might be happy with won't satisfy the requirements for a commercially successful enterprize.
  • I don't know what minimum level of facilities local authorities might require, but it might be useful to discuss what facilities over a basic national park style campground would be needed to be 'acceptable'. In Australia the minimum NP camp would be an unpowered site with a pit composting toilet, no potable water and no rubbish collection. Things that come to mind include:
    • showers and latrines
    • electrical power
    • meal preparation areas
    • cooking facilities
    • eating area, eg picnic tables and chairs
    • running water
    • potable water
    • rubbish collection
    • laundry
    • sheltered drying area
    • sheltered common area
For various reasons, I think this would be easier to achieve if it were based on an existing albergue rather than a local picnic area, noting that not all albergues will have space for this anyhow.

Finally, @good_old_shoes do you already how you would raise this with the different camino associations and government authorities that might need to be engaged in moving these ideas forward?
 
Last edited:

Dsavid Keyte

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
Camino Lebaniego 2017
I am sorry as a pilgrim,and someone who lives very close to the Camino,I would hate to see widespread camping. I believe no matter how discreet the campsites maybe, they would detract from the countryside and create a mess
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I am sorry as a pilgrim,and someone who lives very close to the Camino,I would hate to see widespread camping. I believe no matter how discreet the campsites maybe, they would detract from the countryside and create a mess
Exactly. A few wild campers on the Camino, as in the past has little impact. If it becomes the majority it will have a big impact. A negative one. Fires. Human waste left in the area. Trash and garbage.
 

TaraWalks

Peregrina without a skateboard
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2016 & 2018, planning for Le Puy 2019/2020ish and for some shorter Caminos stacked
I understand your response. Wild camping should not be allowed and that should be respected. Fires a definite no no. Use of kitchen facilities should be factored into the cost (if the pilgrim still wants to self cater). I’ll still be eating pilgrim meals and drinking cafe con leche at bars as I’m not interested in carrying a stove.

As for human waste being left in the area, that has been an issue for a while on the Camino. Not that it makes it ok. We are all responsible for leaving no trace.

If people ensure they camped in the appropriate places and respected the rules, then the impact likely would not be that great. It would still bring in money to businesses. It would allow for social distancing, especially seeing there may be fewer pilgrims per room/albergue.

But yes, I see your concerns.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I am sorry as a pilgrim,and someone who lives very close to the Camino,I would hate to see widespread camping. I believe no matter how discreet the campsites maybe, they would detract from the countryside and create a mess
From the Walking4Fun website - La Grajera park west side of Logrono

1591172471872.png

Virtual camping prohibited too it seems.
 
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Dromengro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
I am sorry as a pilgrim,and someone who lives very close to the Camino,I would hate to see widespread camping. I believe no matter how discreet the campsites maybe, they would detract from the countryside and create a mess

Technically all pilgrims live close to "the Camino", but I presume you mean a popular busy Spanish part. I agree many pilgrims can be untidy spreading their gear around and leaving a mess and I imagine they would be no tidier camping, but at least a campsite is only temporary and most of the time will be just a grassy field/garden.
To me The Albergue at Orisson detracts from the countryside, with its parking full of cars, bikes, benches, cafe umbrellas etc especially when you remember a time it wasn't there. Not to mention all the proliferation of way markers, big metal signs and other pilgrim infrastructure that there is now.

Exactly. A few wild campers on the Camino, as in the past has little impact. If it becomes the majority it will have a big impact. A negative one. Fires. Human waste left in the area. Trash and garbage.

This thread from @good_old_shoes is about legal camping on campsites, beside Albergues or peoples gardens or designated camping areas not wild camping, where facilities would be provided so there would be no excuse to litter, foul or have fires so no negative impact.
There is absolutely no excuse for litter, toilet waste or fires even if wild camping and in my experience I find that most, although unfortunately not all wild campers, generally have more respect for the countryside than others. Wild camping if done properly does not cause any more damage or mess than sitting down and having a rest, it is education which is the problem and that applies to ALL no matter where they prefer to sleep.
But can we please keep this thread to legal camping only.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
Some very interesting answers. Thank you all!

A special thank you @Rebekah Scott . Thank you for your hard work.The Camino with its albergue system is basically the complete opposite of social distancing, I can‘t even imagine how difficult it must be to bring these two together! Maybe tents could play a small role in helping to do that, who knows?


So... since this is starting to be a wild camping debate, once more to be clear: This thread is not about wild camping. It‘s basically the opposite: it is about how to integrate tents into the Camino in a way that makes wild camping more unlikely.

The Camino in Spain is wonderful just the way it is. But these are strange times, and of course people think about different ways to adapt to the current situation. Apparently, in these times of the pandemic, sleeping in a tent seems to be more appealing than sleeping in a dorm room to many more pilgrims than before.

In Germany, where tourism is now allowed again (with strict rules), a lot of campsites are already booked out long term. There‘s a much higher demand than usually, as camping is promoted as a good option for a Corona times vacation by the media.

So the idea was simply to think about ways how legal tent-sleeping could be made easier on the Camino to adapt to that trend, in a way that doesn‘t harm anyone, and instead even could be a benefit - for those who walk as well as for the locals.

Sadly it seems to be impossible to do this without it turning into a debate about "how camping will destroy the Camino".

Person in a tent ≠ wild camping and leaving a mess.

On the GR65/ Via podiensis tents are welcome and there is less littering than on the Camino Frances!

I am afraid the mess is going to happen if more (and especially camping-inexperienced) people want to sleep in a tent because of Corona and there is no easy to find, directly on the Camino infra structure for that. Then the dreaded wild camping (and this time I do mean its messy version) might really become a problem.


Why not make something positive out of it instead?
 
Last edited:

Dsavid Keyte

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
Camino Lebaniego 2017
Technically all pilgrims live close to "the Camino", but I presume you mean a popular busy Spanish part. I agree many pilgrims can be untidy spreading their gear around and leaving a mess and I imagine they would be no tidier camping, but at least a campsite is only temporary and most of the time will be just a grassy field/garden.
To me The Albergue at Orisson detracts from the countryside, with its parking full of cars, bikes, benches, cafe umbrellas etc especially when you remember a time it wasn't there. Not to mention all the proliferation of way markers, big metal signs and other pilgrim infrastructure that there is now.



This thread from @good_old_shoes is about legal camping on campsites, beside Albergues or peoples gardens or designated camping areas not wild camping, where facilities would be provided so there would be no excuse to litter, foul or have fires so no negative impact.
There is absolutely no excuse for litter, toilet waste or fires even if wild camping and in my experience I find that most, although unfortunately not all wild campers, generally have more respect for the countryside than others. Wild camping if done properly does not cause any more damage or mess than sitting down and having a rest, it is education which is the problem and that applies to ALL no matter where they prefer to sleep.
But can we please keep this thread to legal camping only.
When I said i live close to the Camino, I mean I see it every day from my Terrace, mind you I doubt camping would be allowed in León city
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
To all the questions about tenting on the Camino. Basically, go by the rules, accept what’s on offer.
I totally agree we should go by the rules and accept what is on offer. I just don't think expressing in a forum what would help us out conflicts with that. Who knows, perhaps our Spanish hosts would like to make the Camino more tent-friendly but aren't sure what would be the most useful thing to do and don't know where to ask? If the poster was describing or promoting going on Camino and forcing tents on unwilling hosts or showing up at albergues and complaining about the lack of camping space, then there might be grounds for protesting that we should accept what is on offer. But that doesn't seem the case to me here.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I totally agree we should go by the rules and accept what is on offer.
The other side to this coin is what local, regional and national government rules and regulations will be applied to albergues who might want to offer support to tent campers. Clearly there are albergues that won't have the space to do this, but for those that do, it would be unfortunate if they face regulations that either prevented that completely, or require facilities investments the owners just cannot afford.

Let me admit that I don't know what the plethora of regulations might be, and how they would impact on albergue owners. But let me tell you why I am concerned about this. Last year I was planning to do a stretch of the Australian Bicentennial Trail from Canberra to Jenolan, about a fortnight walking (and camping) through a combination of national park and grazing land. There three small to middling sized towns along the way, none of which have formal campgrounds, although all three allow camping on local showgrounds and sports grounds. Outside the national park, walkers and riders on this trail can get permission to use reserves established as part of the droving routes in the area known as Travelling Stock Routes (TSRs). These TSR reserves are completely facility free. Most, but not all, have some water source for stock - non-potable and in some cases clearly heavily contaminated by stock use.

In researching other camping options, I was surprised to discover that outside of registered campgrounds, property owners are only permitted to host two camp sites, with some other restrictions on that. This included the gamut from caravans and motor homes to tents. Clearly these regulations protect the interests of the existing campground industry, which might argue that individual campgrounds make considerable investments to ensure that they are operating legally.

I clearly don't know if similar conditions exist in Spain, nor how much local or regional authorities might move on such matters in the current extraordinary circumstances to allow albergues to support tent camping where they have space to do that. It might be equally important in terms of making the camino more tent friendly to support the various albergue associations. They already have the challenge of re-opening with a raft of new rules. What makes sense in helping them address this as well? Perhaps we also need to hear from owners about what support they would need to make this happen.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I agree with the opening post. I disagree with the "don't tell Spain what to do" posts as I think that asking for change can bring to the fore something that had not been seen - there is a difference between suggesting/asking and demanding.

The nature of evolution is that form follows function ... if the function alters so does the form - and societies evolve in the same way, nothing is static. So if the circumstances change then the Camino will change - how else could it be?

As for tents "cluttering up the landscape" .. the same was said about television aerials on roofs, now about wind pylons - some hundred of years ago a local may have said the same about foreign pilgrims "cluttering up the landscape" ;).

For humans the world has changed. For the Camino to survive it also has to change, don't you think?
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
It seems to me that the problems with pilgrims leaving uncovered faeces and pee and used toilet paper is continuous along the busier Camino routes - I have noticed it myself in many beauty spots where people go - either on a day visit or holiday. It does not seem that all these people are the wild campers that get so maligned.... I have very rarely seen anyone wild camping - as they are gone without a trace before most people are up and about....
The problem is people leaving human waste - why do we not suggest educating them into using their brains a bit more - if necessary - carry a trowel- bury your waste and ensure it is ALL biodegradable!
It seems to me this is a much more widespread problem than the wild campers....
Perhaps when the Camino is open again pilgrims could count each day - how many wild campers they see versus how much human waste they see.....:rolleyes:
 
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2018
As i prefer al
Buen Camino peregrinos :)

Since more and more people seem to be interested in the option of sleeping in a tent on the Camino, it might be time to think about ways to make it more tent friendly. While so far it might be possible to camp if you really want to, it is not really easy, certainly not usual, and also often not seen in a very positive light (even when done legally).

This is what this thread is about. It‘s written from a tent-carrying-walker's point of view, but it would be great to get some input from those who work at albergues, too!


Despite all prejudice, I think it could be quite easy to make the Camino more tent friendly - legally, without any loss for local business, with no littering problem, and while still keeping the pilgrim spirit. In other countries, like France, it works well already.


So, let‘s collect ideas about that. Time for some brain storming! And please stay positive!


(and just so nobody will get this wrong, it‘s all assuming that the Corona situation is under control and the Camino open again for pilgrims in general)


I‘ll start, feel free to add your ideas and wishes!



1. I wish they would Include camping as a normal form of accomodation.

A similar list as the one for albergues could be created and given to pilgrims in St. Jean, but for camping only. Or the camping options could be indicated in the albergue list (for example a tent symbol).

In the official camping options list for pilgrims, you could also make it very clear that wild camping and making fire is not allowed and that it‘s obligatory to use the official options from the list.

If people had good information about where/how to legally setup camp and still meet their fellow pilgrims, there‘d probably be less attempts to wild camp. Also, that way you have all the tent pilgrims in the same spots and where they won‘t bother the locals, and they'll be in areas with bins and toilets, so that littering will not be a problem.


2. I wish camping in albergue gardens would be easier, more common, and officially welcome

Some albergues already welcome tents (thank you!), but there are probably many more that could allow camping than do so far. I guess the whole concept is just not common in Spain. In France, for example, it works very well. Information on whether gîtes allow camping is included in the guide books. It is a regular option for sleeping just like booking a bed.

You pay a fee for the night, then you can use the bathroom facilities and kitchen and still meet up with your pilgrim friends. Perfect solution for me. You get to sleep in your tent, but you‘re still part of the pilgrim community. In Spain, so far, you might feel like a second or third class pilgrim right now if you're asking for a spot for a tent... A tent!? Must be a freeloader, a hobo, or worse!

Albergues could put up a sign if they allow camping, so that tent-pilgrims know for sure where they're welcome (instead of having to ask everywhere and hope for the good will of the current hospitalero of an albergue, while the next one might change the rules and not accept tents at all). Put a price tag on it, if you want. Same price as a bed. No loss then.

Include the „tent friendly“ information in accomodation lists also.

To prevent overcrowding and unhappy bunk-bed walkers ("why are they carrying a tent and still use the albergue bathroom/kitchen instead of staying in the wild and cooking on a stove"), rules like the ones for bikes could be used. For example "tents can only check in after 5pm". That way they can't take away space from others. If there's laws that only a certain amount of people are allowed in one albergue, this way the pilgrim could pay for a bed and then just decide to sleep outside in the garden anyways. Bed is left empty, but not taken from anyone, and everybody‘s happy.


3. I wish they'd create official small pilgrim camping spots.

These don‘t really exist yet, but could be a good solution - a middle way between wild camping and official big campgrounds, and therefore between complete isolation and having to camp between noisy tourists's giant caravans - that could still be a pilgrim's meeting point.

For this, you could easily use already existing picnic areas. Those are usually outside of town, just before or after (that way the locals wouldn‘t be bothered much). They often already have benches/picnic tables, bins and sometimes even a water tap. Add a compost toilet and it should work. Then you just need a person to come by in the evening for collecting the fee that is neccessary to maintain the campsite. Or you could sell permits in town. If those spots are not too far outside town, pilgrims can still go to meet friends, for mass, for shopping, or a pilgrim‘s menu (and spend some money that the local business so desperately needs).

In Germany for example this kind of tiny semi-wild-campsites have been created a few years ago on a new hiking trail, close to the Czech republic, because there was a high demand for tent camping outside of big offical campsites by hikers (wild camping is forbidden in most parts of Germany, just like in Spain). There, you buy permits before and leave them in a box. 5 Euros per night. Max. 5 small tents per campsite, walkers only, only for one night, no fires. Compost toilet. From what I read this has been working very well so far.

These tiny campsites could be like a "camino camping municipal". Or, if there are private people interested in offering this service, the private version. Just like with albergues.



What do you think might make the Camino more tent friendly, whithout harming the way, the environment around, or the people that live along it, and while still making it feel like a pilgrimage?



What would you wish for as a tent-carrying pilgrim?


I did some non-Camino tent-camping with my sister, and that was okay though I did it to be with her, not by preference. At the end of a day of walking, having to set up a tent is about the last thing I can imagine wanting to do. So, I'll not bother you all with any more of my comments. Have a good time! Really. Each to his/her own.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
On the Portuguese Cahmino before Porto,I didn't stop,but maybe an option for the Covid times!
That looks like a reasonable option. Did you notice what facilities were provided beyond the gazebos and deck chairs. It looks like there might have been a rubbish bin, but it isn't clear. And was there a toilet of any kind that you saw?
 

Hansel

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
I'm afraid I didn't, last September,and the albergues were pretty good.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
I think the human waste problem on the Camino has a little to do with Wild camping. It has to do with that a lot of people are passing through areas with not enough bathrooms.

The problem with human waste is an infrastructure problem. If an area opens itself up to tourism in a massive way, they have a responsibility to provide places for people to go to the bathroom. People HAVE to go to the bathroom. There is no alternative. If facilities were available, people would use them. If you have hundreds of thousands of people coming and you don’t provide enough bathrooms, It’s not the fault of the visitors. It’s the fault of the hosts. If you want the money that the visitors bring in to support the local economy, you have to consider the visitors needs. If you’re not willing to do this, you should discourage the visitors.

And if you want people to use them they need to be free. (And of course, if you go in the woods because you have no choice, you should dig a little hole and cover it up).

But providing facilities cost money. Probably you have to add an Albergue tax to fund it.

I lived in Amsterdam for a few years, and I remember how every weekend the Porta potty’s came out in the entertainment district. Because otherwise people were pissing up against the walls. There was an acknowledgment that people have to use the toilet, and just telling them not to wasn’t going to work. People become desperate, no matter how well-intentioned.
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
please see signature
In the easily accessible back pocket of my pack, along with all my changes of clothes, is this:

Trowel, plastic, orange, holes for the digging of, 1
Paper, roll, white, perforated, without core, for use with a trowel, 1

This assemblage was used last week close to a major road, behind suitable cover, some 5 km after the last possible stopping point and 10 km before the next. For the sake of brevity I wont go into all the details except to say, everything was left neat and tidy and the ground looked almost as though it had not been disturbed.
 
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Deleted member 67185

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If tent or tarp camping:

A tent stake works well as a trowel (multi tasker). They also work well to hold kebabs to shish over a fire. . .which is illegal in general in Spain. But if you do use tent stakes for both activities, it helps to be able to distinguish the poo-hole digger with just a glance. :)


1591573467828.png


A poncho for a privacy screen (if the 'urgency' is at a location with little natural cover)

1591573712184.png


Wet wipes in a ziploc, rather than TP. I am going to be carrying it out anyway, not burying it, and I rather prefer how they do the job.

1591574154182.png
 

Carlos Santiago

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
A poncho for a privacy screen (if the 'urgency' is at a location with little natural cover)

1591573712184.png

I'm glad it is for extreme emergencies only.
I can imagine the smell rising with with the heat to escape through the opening at the neckline. :p:p
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
Albergues could put up a sign if they allow camping, so that tent-pilgrims know for sure where they're welcome (instead of having to ask everywhere and hope for the good will of the current hospitalero of an albergue, while the next one might change the rules and not accept tents at all). Put a price tag on it, if you want. Same price as a bed. No loss then.
What would albergues need to be more welcoming to tents, what could we do to help?
As I pilgrim a completely agree with you, but as a hospitalero I simply cannot put up a sign....

The thing is that albergues are officially just not allowed to allow people camping. At least this is the case in Galicia. The whole camino is seen as a touristical thing by the government. All albergues need to comply with the rules of the ministery of tourism, so more and more pilgrims accomodation must have tourist standards. There is no difference made pilgrims standards and tourist standards, sad but true.

This means that (nearly every) albergue is just not allowed to facilitate tents, then they become a camping with many many new rules. We tried to ask for it in our albergue, but gave up very quickly, the rules are impossible/to expensive for us at the moment.
So no albergue will put itself on an official list, and every albergue also doesn't want to be on a non-official list. The albergue will soon be in trouble. 😟 No one knows yet how strict the rules will apply this year.

You asked what you could do to help. What might help is that you ask your national/local pilgrim association to help pointing out in their international/Spanish contacts that the camino is not an attraction for tourists, so the camino should not be according to tourist rules but according to pilgrims rules. Whatever that would be.

So for the meanwhile, we will not put a sign that tents are allowed on our albergue, but everyone can always ask us if they can put up a tent..... :cool:
 
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good_old_shoes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
@Thomas1962

Thank you very much for that insightful reply. I suspected that there might be rules that make it hard to allow it, at least in some areas - to know that for sure makes it much easier to understand why there are not more places that are offically tent friendly. Not an easy situation for hospitaleros if they can get in trouble for it. Thank you for explaining, and thank you for your work as hospitalero!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Exactly. A few wild campers on the Camino, as in the past has little impact. If it becomes the majority it will have a big impact. A negative one. Fires. Human waste left in the area. Trash and garbage.

Don't understand how there would be fires, human waste, trash and garbage on a regulated small campsite? I have seen human waste, trash and garbage on the routes between Albergues! I would agree with the anti tent brigade if they were referring to large campsites which I find abhorrent. Its some time since last I used the French municipal sites which as I have previously stated, I found to be well regulated and maintained. Don't understand the antipathy to that model whatsoever.

There is a lot of talk about the "new normality" post Corvid but I for one will carry on as usual in that I avoid Albergues where possible because I am not a group person. I use rooms and where I carry a tent I do NOT use Albergue facilities but use the facilities wherever I get a room. I do not require ditch-pigs to follow me on the trail!

I will, as usual, take my good manners with me.

The Malingerer.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Quite so, the Camino passes through many countries and I think what I was trying to say is that we need to respect the laws and rules of each country, region and municipality. My apologies if that didn’t come across correctly. In any event I think I’m stating a very obvious point which probably doesn’t need emphasis on this forum.

To all the questions about tenting on the Camino. Basically, go by the rules, accept what’s on offer.

I see no problem with offering constructive suggestions for the camino that “good old...” is making. The writer never suggested breaking laws or rules.. but, instead, to explore camping opportunities that would, in effect, reduce the liklihood of wild camping.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi. I'm English and live in Spain and am looking at hiking the Camino whenever it may be possible. I MUCH prefer to wildcamp if possible because I also prefer to hike alone. I'm not hiking for religious purposes, i just want to hike and wild camp and it's highly likely that once I've hiked there, I will hike back. So this forum is of interest to me so I can find some information. For what it's worth, I'm an experienced wild camper and do it a lot, both here in Spain as well as when i go on trips abroad. I look forward to reading people's suggestions.

Many thanks.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Which route did you plan on taking, and roughly when?
 

Arn

Veteran Member
Wild camping has it's own drawbacks:
1. Many “wild” locations have wild animals.
2. Often, the wild animals are people.
3. Setting up in the dark can result in you being in wild/domestic animal poop.
4. If you are a late riser, don't worry, the sound of cow bells will wake you up.
5. “Good” wild campsites will have plenty to remind you that campers poop too.

I am sure there are more. Then again, bed bugs are likely not a problem. That said, there are thirteen variety of snake in Spain, but only five are venomous.
 
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Which route did you plan on taking, and roughly when?
At this stage, I'm not sure because of the covid situation, it's impossible to plan anything. It could now possibly be in 2022. I did look at the route from Portugal but although only approx 3% of people hike this route, it doesn't sound like it's a very picturesque route to take, so still working on that. I live in Barcelona so could possibly go to Zaragoza and go from there but as I say, I'm still unsure at this stage. Thanks.
 

Mark L

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Done : Le Puy to SJPdP in 2020.
Planned : Saint Jean to Santiago in 2021
Having managed to get across the French Le Puy route to SJPP in 3 phases between the various restrictions last year, I was both pleased and sad to be camping all of it instead of hostels.

sad because of the isolation of doing it alone and not getting together much with others.

pleased because of the isolation in covid times and not having to get together
odd isn’t it.

i would really like to camp legally once into Spain (when we can do), but frankly, my research to date has not shown it to be easy or normal really. I was really surprised to find that. Given the covid situation I’d have thought it a good option but not one that seems to have existing provision. It also doesn’t seem cheap either.

I suspect it’d need changes in Spanish regulation and some investment, both of which are not realistic right now but that doesn’t mean it shouldn't be brought up as a subject.

i am actually quite surprised at a vague “anti camper” buzz around the Chemin comments. Nobody likes irresponsible people leaving a mess but that surely shouldn’t reflect on the desire to actually camp responsibly ?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Wild camping has it's own drawbacks:
1. Many “wild” locations have wild animals.
2. Often, the wild animals are people.
3. Setting up in the dark can result in you being in wild/domestic animal poop.
4. If you are a late riser, don't worry, the sound of cow bells will wake you up.
5. “Good” wild campsites will have plenty to remind you that campers poop too.

I am sure there are more. Then again, bed bugs are likely not a problem. That said, there are thirteen variety of snake in Spain, but only five are venomous.
Hi. I'm aware of all these things and in all my time wild camping, I've yet to have an issue with any wild animal (I've been close to them but never had a problem with them and snakes are clever enough to keep their distance) I'm a very early riser and i always have good ear plugs with me. As I said, I'm an experienced wild camper, my wish is to find people who have wild camped the Camino so I can hopefully find some nice spots. Many thanks and happy hiking! :)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Having managed to get across the French Le Puy route to SJPP in 3 phases between the various restrictions last year, I was both pleased and sad to be camping all of it instead of hostels.

sad because of the isolation of doing it alone and not getting together much with others.

pleased because of the isolation in covid times and not having to get together
odd isn’t it.

i would really like to camp legally once into Spain (when we can do), but frankly, my research to date has not shown it to be easy or normal really. I was really surprised to find that. Given the covid situation I’d have thought it a good option but not one that seems to have existing provision. It also doesn’t seem cheap either.

I suspect it’d need changes in Spanish regulation and some investment, both of which are not realistic right now but that doesn’t mean it shouldn't be brought up as a subject.

i am actually quite surprised at a vague “anti camper” buzz around the Chemin comments. Nobody likes irresponsible people leaving a mess but that surely shouldn’t reflect on the desire to actually camp responsibly ?
I agree. Many people ae very anti camping, especially wild campers for some reason but the reality is, 99% of wild campers are the most responsible kind of campers and very much have a 'Leave no trace' ethos. The waste created at legal campsites and Albergues is far more than any wild campers create, more water, electricity etc. But yes, Spains camping laws are very outdated and some of it is to prevent wild fires, given how parched some of the land is but this applies in many countries with much more modern attitudes to camping.
 
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Albertagirl

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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I have been wondering about numbers of pilgrims in the two Holy Years that we are just into. Will those walking busier routes find that, by summer of 2021 (or 2022), there are more pilgrims than sleeping facilities? Will camping have a place in providing for this need? I seem to remember reading a post about a huge tent somewhere which was set up as an emergency facility in a previous Holy Year. At the moment, I am considering taking my camping mattress as well as my sleeping bag with me on my next camino, and hoping that some sort of shelter will be available wherever I walk as a pilgrim.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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There is the "ask a farmer" option but that works better if you are walking with a donkey. Because donks are loved by nearly everyone.
I love donkeys...and assume most do!
@Nomad Pack has posted pictures of his little 4-legged tribe of two donkeys, a dog, and his runaway cat, and written of how many people have helped him with food and places to stay along the Camino's and other trails as well. He wildcamps often in Spain.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I agree. Many people ae very anti camping, especially wild campers for some reason but the reality is, 99% of wild campers are the most responsible kind of campers and very much have a 'Leave no trace' ethos. The waste created at legal campsites and Albergues is far more than any wild campers create, more water, electricity etc. But yes, Spains camping laws are very outdated and some of it is to prevent wild fires, given how parched some of the land is but this applies in many countries with much more modern attitudes to camping.
Many Kiwis are anti wild camping and I am one. Despite people saying that they are responsible, unfortunately, some are not and I quickly get tired of coming across other peoples sh*t. See: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/touri...oken-to-by-police/XNQPGZVXW6OLBXZAV7FLHR2MNM/ for just one example.
And another: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/what-...on-motueka-street/5IPW7WQBCH74AD4KL6MG2O5B5Q/
 

David61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
That said, there are thirteen variety of snake in Spain, but only five are venomous.
Only five? That's alright then! Caught short, squatting behind a bush, Hissing Sid turns up. Not the best of time to have to decide if he is venomous!
 
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Lindsay53

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Frances April / May 19
Many Kiwis are anti wild camping and I am one. Despite people saying that they are responsible, unfortunately, some are not and I quickly get tired of coming across other peoples sh*t. See: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/touri...oken-to-by-police/XNQPGZVXW6OLBXZAV7FLHR2MNM/ for just one example.
And another: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/what-...on-motueka-street/5IPW7WQBCH74AD4KL6MG2O5B5Q/
The people in your references are not walkers or trampers. I have walked a few times in NZ and have found that the vast majority of those who get out into the bush on their own two feet are very conscious of the leave no trace ethos.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
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Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
The people in your references are not walkers or trampers. I have walked a few times in NZ and have found that the vast majority of those who get out into the bush on their own two feet are very conscious of the leave no trace ethos.
I went tramping in New Zealand in 2014, the year before I discovered the camino. I tramped the Round the Mountain track on North Island and an area below Arthur's Pass on South Island. I was very impressed with the trails, the facilities and the good shape that they were in. Having not reached the hut on my last night on the Round the Mountain track, I "wild camped" that night, without gear for camping, and without leaving behind any trace of my night on the trail, except possibly some grass bent down where I had lain. I saw no trace of careless camping anywhere I went. I hope that the situation has not changed for the worse since.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I went tramping in New Zealand in 2014, the year before I discovered the camino. I tramped the Round the Mountain track on North Island and an area below Arthur's Pass on South Island. I was very impressed with the trails, the facilities and the good shape that they were in. Having not reached the hut on my last night on the Round the Mountain track, I "wild camped" that night, without gear for camping, and without leaving behind any trace of my night on the trail, except possibly some grass bent down where I had lain. I saw no trace of careless camping anywhere I went. I hope that the situation has not changed for the worse since.
It was once possible to drink untreated water from NZ back country streams but not anymore. Giardia is now a major problem and it was introduced to NZ by people who did not take care of how they defecated in the back country.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I went tramping in New Zealand in 2014, the year before I discovered the camino. I tramped the Round the Mountain track on North Island and an area below Arthur's Pass on South Island. I was very impressed with the trails, the facilities and the good shape that they were in. Having not reached the hut on my last night on the Round the Mountain track, I "wild camped" that night, without gear for camping, and without leaving behind any trace of my night on the trail, except possibly some grass bent down where I had lain. I saw no trace of careless camping anywhere I went. I hope that the situation has not changed for the worse since.
In general, the further that you go from the popular and easy trails the more responsible trampers (hikers) are about where and how they defecate. I will attach a quote at the end that highlights this.

However, this thread is about trying to make it easier to wild camp on a Camino. Most Caminos are the popular and easier to walk trails that attract a very diverse population of walkers/riders. Therefore the people who are not responsible/disciplined are going to be in abundance.

A quote from the President of a local tramping club in their magazine follows, it is a bit long but it needs this length to get the context. Emphasis added by me:
"The decision to increase helicopter landings on the Ngapunatoru plateau in Fiordland from 10 to 80, a 700%
increase, has angered many in the tramping and climbing fraternity. This is in contravention to the Fiordland
National Park management plan and was without consultation to many affected parties.

.....

It is a shame that this sort of thing keeps happening given that the outdoors community, by and large, support DOC in all they do. However, as I mentioned in my last report they are under intense pressure from the tourism industry to open up more opportunities for tourists.
Although this is something that can benefit us as a country we cannot let tourism ruin the experience for kiwis that live here and basically, kill the golden goose.

It is up to DOC, as guardians of the conservation estate, to try and find the balance.

Unfortunately, this is proving to be very difficult. One can only hope that they can do their job without caving into commercial pressure.

A recent article in the Otago Daily Times quoted a NZ Aviation representative as complaining about trampers leaving the biggest mess in terms of faeces and other mess. This is a ridiculous statement and demonstrates their desperation in trying to justify the 700% increase in helicopter landings. The biggest mess that I have seen are on the Great Walks, Te Araroa and places like tracks near Mt Cook village. It is no surprise that these areas are where the heaviest tourist presence exists.

Therefore, do the numbers of tourists need to be regulated further rather than increased? I’ll leave you, the readers with that thought to ponder.

I often find it difficult to comment on this type of stuff as it is usually quite negative but it is so important for us all to realise what we stand to lose if we let all and sundry do what they like in our parks.
"
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
There are similar challenges in protecting the natural environment in the Canadian national parks against the arrival of numerous tourists, who support the local economy while sometimes being a burden on the environment.
 
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Mark L

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Done : Le Puy to SJPdP in 2020.
Planned : Saint Jean to Santiago in 2021
Why is this thread now about NZ ?
maybe discussion on NZ camping could be started on another thread ?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Why is this thread now about NZ ?
maybe discussion on NZ camping could be started on another thread ?
The conversation has become about why wild camping along easily accessed trails that attract a wide variety of walkers and riders is undesirable; with appropriate local examples for emphasis.

Of course, camping in made for camping areas with appropriate toilet facilities is certainly a possibility that could be explored and possibly encouraged. 🙂
 

Mark L

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Done : Le Puy to SJPdP in 2020.
Planned : Saint Jean to Santiago in 2021
The conversation has become about why wild camping along easily accessed trails that attract a wide variety of walkers and riders is undesirable; with appropriate local examples for emphasis.

Of course, camping in made for camping areas with appropriate toilet facilities is certainly a possibility that could be explored and possibly encouraged. 🙂
Yeah I know because I can read ....
my question was more along the lines of the OP which was nothing to do with wild camping (in NZ or anywhere else)
it was specifically examining options on how to make the Camino more tent friendly
how does examining desirability of wild camping using unrelated examples actually contribute to that discussion ?
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
To be honest, I have given up on this topic. It always turns to wild camping and / or how camping is bad in general, or not wanted or too difficult to do on the Camino anyway. I regret having started this thread. Maybe it can be deleted? It‘s not exactly being helpful to anyone this way.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Oh I don't think it's an unhelpful thread. Just some people with their own agenda who are easy enough to tune out. Let's keep it because a lot of it is useful.
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
please see signature
@good_old_shoes, it is a useful, helpful thread. Thank you for starting it.

I carry a two person tent (me and my pack) at the bottom of my pack. Less needed on the Frances. But essential of the Via Francigena.

And I suspect it would be needed on longer journeys (such as Via de la Plata?) where the infrastructure might be less plentiful in some places.

Kia kaha (be strong, take care)
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
@good_old_shoes, it is a useful, helpful thread. Thank you for starting it.

I carry a two person tent (me and my pack) at the bottom of my pack. Less needed on the Frances. But essential of the Via Francigena.

And I suspect it would be needed on longer journeys (such as Via de la Plata?) where the infrastructure might be less plentiful in some places.

Kia kaha (be strong, take care)
I walked the VdlP and saw no sign of any tent camping anywhere on the route. I was always able to get to a place to stay for the next night, although a couple of times I walked a long day. I believe that one or two pilgrims whom I met at the time may have been carrying some sort of shelter, but did not use it in my presence. And some arranged for taxis or pick-up by hotels from various locations where getting to accommidation was challenging. On one occasion, I sent my pack ahead in such a taxi. Arranging transportation is possible when much of the day's walk is along or near roads.
 

AlwynWellington

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Year of past OR future Camino
please see signature
@Mark L, knowing the conditions that @Doughnut NZ was citing I can transfer the outcome that he was bringing to our attention to popular pilgrimages in Spain and France.

A particular point @Doughnut NZ was bringing out was those pilgrims that have not had tramping (hiking) experience are not aware of the outdoor conventions. He gave the example of most hygiene issues being found where the most tourists (one day trippers) are to be found and that those places are but a minuscule part of the stopping points for the routes he mentioned.

So @Doughnut NZ and others from this part of the world are saying that pitching a tent and all that goes with that are not problems in themselves.

When walking in Spain the worst sight I saw was about an hour after Villamayor de Monjardin. There was toilet paper on the ground and caught on the wild growth over an extensive area. I don't think anyone had camped there. I had my trusty trowel (always in the outside pocket of my pack) in hand and was able to go on a bit further to did the necessary hole and to fill it in.

So, @Mark L, I recommend you take the example given and provide feedback on how you would apply it in your area and on you pilgrimages, if you would be so kind.

Kia kaha
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
To be honest, I have given up on this topic. It always turns to wild camping and / or how camping is bad in general, or not wanted or too difficult to do on the Camino anyway. I regret having started this thread. Maybe it can be deleted? It‘s not exactly being helpful to anyone this way.
I think it is a useful thread, especially the points you made at the start.
I would like to see legal camping as a normal acceptable option, especially along the Frances. Surely in these days where one hopes we are trying to lessen our carbon footprint, it's more environmentally friendly to have a network of small low impact pilgrim campsites, which need be little more than a field with a compost toilet and water tap than more material consuming Albergues to keep up with the increasing number of Pilgrims. As well as more profitable, I'd be quite happy paying the same for a basic campsite as I would a bed in an Albergue.
Camping is also closer to the experience of the earlier pilgrims, more simple, more self reliant, more back to nature and less modern without the constant wifi that seems to be required everywhere. But can still have the same camaraderie as in an Albergue. Although there were always hostelries along the way I'm sure that it was more normal to have slept out in the open or sought refuge in simple shelters, especially for the less well off. It's just a shame that camping threads always seems to descend into toilet habits, as if camping gives you some sort of bowel and eating disorder that leaves a trail of toilet paper and rubbish everywhere.
I'll certainly be using a tent again, or at least some form of shelter, at least until I get to the Frances. After that it will depend more on the nocturnal habits of my fellow pilgrims.
 
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Although there were always hostelries along the way I'm sure that it was more normal to have slept out in the open or sought refuge in simple shelters, especially for the less well off.
Sleeping in barns, yes, if given permission by the owner. Camping and sleeping in the open countryside, no.

Some cultures were different than others, but in general in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, camping was just not done as we know it, see for example here.

One reason was fear, not only of attacks by criminals and animals but also serious real fear of whatever and whoever came to life during the dark hours of the night. It was a different world than today. Another reason was, surprise, surprise, that, in most areas, it would have been illegal to be at large without patronage. All land was owned by someone high up in the food chain. And you risked a more severe penalty than just a few friendly words from the tolerant Guardia Civil guy in case you did not live by their rules.

So this argument won't fly. However, I wish @good_old_shoes success for this endeavour. Don't get discouraged by the inevitable thread drift. People want to share their thoughts. I myself would not be interested in camping options. I sometimes wonder why there are not more options to stay "chez l'habitant" as they say in France. Families renting out a room or two, especially during high season. Also something that is apparently not common in northern Spain but common in other popular areas in Europe.
 
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Dromengro

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
Sleeping in barns, yes, if given permission by the owner. Camping and sleeping in the open countryside, no.

Some cultures were different than others, but in general in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, camping was just not done as we know it...
I wasn't thinking quite that as far back as The Middle Ages, but more like just before I walked, (which in some ways feels like it was the Middle Ages) and it started getting really popular, with Albergues and other pilgrim infrastructure, technical clothing and lightweight gear. More like Laurie Lee rather than the Lord of the Manor sent on Pilgrimage as Penance.
But yes you're correct, there was certainly not much freedom in the Middle Ages, (we think we're hard done by now) I doubt if the poor would even have been able to travel far, if at all, certainly not without permission outside their own area, only the better off nobles and landowners could have gone on Pilgrimage.
An interesting site that you linked to, some of the gear in the other sections looks like my old often homemade camping gear, of canvas tent, wool blanket and external framed pack.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
I think it would be great to work with national, regional, and local governments to promote more legal camping on the camino routes. The gardensharing.it link that was posted in a previous post offered a fascinating idea in an Airbnb manner, but for camping. If you can rent a spare bedroom, why can’t you rent a spare plot of land? Obviously you would have to let the campers use your plumbing.

Is this kind of thing allowed in Spain?

Myself, I couldn’t imagine going as a guest to a foreign country and deliberately breaking the law with wild camping. At least on a busy route like a Camino. Shame on you for thinking about it👻!

 
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Year of past OR future Camino
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Some albergues already allow tent camping in their yards; Orisson, Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Hospital de Orbigo, and others. Maybe chat with them about issues they have faced? My experience has been to be allowed to use the kitchen and bathroom facilities as long as I paid as any other pilgrim.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
Some albergues already allow tent camping in their yards; Orisson, Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Hospital de Orbigo, and others. Maybe chat with them about issues they have faced? My experience has been to be allowed to use the kitchen and bathroom facilities as long as I paid as any other pilgrim.
And I’m not sure if you’re replying to my comment, but I was actually thinking of private land owners as opposed to albergues, being able to rent out a camping spot in their backyard. So just one or maybe two tent sites, as opposed to a full blown campsite. That seems to be what the gardensharing.it website is about. Kind of an Airbnb, but for camping.
 
Year of 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
And I’m not sure if you’re replying to my comment, but I was actually thinking of private land owners as opposed to albergues, being able to rent out a camping spot in their backyard. So just one or maybe two tent sites, as opposed to a full blown campsite. That seems to be what the gardensharing.it website is about. Kind of an Airbnb, but for camping.
I was replying to the OP. :) cool about gardensharing
 
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I'm pleased to see that there is still some interest in a tenting option oh the Camino. Last May when COVID was just starting to take hold I started a topic about the existing Albergue/Hostel infrastructure would be challenged in the post COVID days (topic changes to the Albergue paradigm). Even then, it was evident that a perfect storm of holy years, pent up demand to get out and about, delayed Caminos in 2020/2021, number of Albergues/Hostels shuttered due to economic realities, etc., will be in full force in 2022. Fast forward to the real world realities today.

The view I took was perhaps a structured approach to creating tenting facilities that could be managed locally, would alleviate the strain on accommodations, while providing a clean, safe and convenient environment for pilgrims and a profit centre (private lands can be leased) and employment opportunity for local municipalities. Aside from overnight accommodation, things like toilet/shower facilities might be made available since they will be taxed to the max (proposed day use opportunities). Strict rules about trash, campfires, washroom facilities, time of use etc. could be enforced. Also these tenting centres could be placed in locations that were "off trail" visually but easily accessible. For those that state that this creates competition or takes business from albergues/hostels, I respectfully disagree... the worst thing for Camino(s) are the reputation that there is no accommodation or facilities are overburdened and supply/demand causes the inevitable price increases or even gouging.

I was somewhat surprised at some of the hostile responses I received (take a look at the original thread) and was even accused of commercial intent. I did make the mistake of mentioning that 40 years ago in another life I was formally educated in forestry/park recreation and management before getting a real job and I naively thought that I had some experiences to offer in my diatribe. My Camino addiction however was my only agenda then and now however and although I love albergues as much as anyone, reality kicks in when there are no beds available and we go further down the rabbit hole of "reservation only" pilgrimages. I still am puzzled that those who find tenting objectionable might take solace that if various accommodation options exist, it would make more albergue or hostel beds open. Also because out of necessity I choose to tent, does not mean I still don't prefer pilgrim meals or buy my food for dinner at the local supermarket.

So back to the original post... I heartily endorse and the in"tent" (sorry about that one) of the thread and hope that those who may have original misgivings about the topic, might look at it with what we know now. My hope is that one day tenting locations are as readily available and albergue/hostel lists of today and pilgrims can plan appropriately or even better yet walk as the spirit takes them and stop when they want to stop (no cell phone or booking app required!).
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I've started watching a series of vlogs from someone walking from Lisbon to Santiago in 2020. He was warned that there were only three albergues open at the time between Lisbon and Porto. So far, we have only got as far as Santarem in the episodes I've watched (the rest are posted, but as yet unseen). He doesn't seem to have had too much trouble getting permission to camp on private property. One night he stopped in at a lorry company to ask if he could get some water and they threw in a camping spot on their property. The next night he got permission to camp just outside a vineyard, which seemed to be the first place he asked. So it seems that property owners are not unwilling to let pilgrims set up and camp if you ask first and if it clear that there aren't a lot of alternatives.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
I was doing a little research about the Airbnb version of camping. Another words, people renting space in their backyards or gardens. I found two places that listed spaces in Europe. There’s many more listings in the United States. The app was “hipcamp“and “campspace” is a webste. Definitely in the early stages. There isn’t much in Spain, but a few people are doing it, so that sheds some light on whether this is legal or acceptable in Spain.

For example here’s a link to someone near Madrid. I’m just not sure what kind of rules or regulations there are...? Anyone? If such a thing was allowable, I think once it got started, I bet many people along camino routes would be willing to offer it as an extra income source.

 
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