WILD CAMPING – SWITZERLAND

Do you like camping and being in the nature?
Are you open for a new adventure?
Have you ever thought about wild camping but don’t know what you need?
Have you ever wanted to go wild camping but heard it is not allowed?
If you answered any of the above Questions with “Yes” keep reading.

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First I want to touch the topic of “It is not allowed.” It might not be allowed in terms of “Hi! here you can camp!” but there are places where it is accepted or nobody really cares. There is no general wild camping legal prohibition in Switzerland.

Rule number 1: Avoid private areas OR ask for example the farmer, that the farm/field belongs to, if he would be fine if you stayed over night.

Rule number 2: You should not set up your tent in sight of any house, unless you know that you are allowed and nobody will be bothered.

Rule number 3: Check if this area has restricted areas, like military regions or some parts during hunting/breeding season when you should not disturb animals or hunters. Inform yourself in the region about special regulations.

Rule number 4: If the next house is quite far and you can for sure not see it, if it is not exactly on a hiking trial and you are more or less hidden from people passing, if it is not a restricted or private area ( unless you have permission), I would say you are good to go.

Rule number 5: Do not leave any trash. Do not destroy anything. Do not touch or feed animals. And be quite so you do not disturb wildlife. Fires in the wild can be dangerous.

So next step is to plan your Trip. We usually like to choose mountain areas, where we can walk up or walk from a cable car stop. We also think it is important to be next to running water, so we usually camp next to a river. You can take a “shower/bath” clean your dishes and clothes, and sometimes even use the water for cooking. So far we have always used the river water for cooking, even for tea. But if you are worried, maybe just bring enough water. I will not take any responsibility for stomach bugs. 😉

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So you know now where you want to go and the weather should be stable, so what do you need to bring?

  • You need a tent, makes sense. Try to go for a lighter version if you plan to hike a while.
  • We always bring an extra tarpaulin to cover the floor underneath the tent and some part in front of the tent for comfortable sitting. The tent also does not get that dirty and wet.
  • Sleeping bags, inform yourself how cold it could get during the night. This is a big one, because it can be all sunny and hot during the day but once the night falls, it can get very chilly in the mountains.
  • Isolation matt, you want to have something to lay on that is at least semi comfortable and helps to keep you warm.
  • Gas cooker, if you plan to cook or drink tea you should bring one. We love ours, it is so much fun cooking in front of the tent and eating a warm dish in the middle of the mountains.
  • A pan to cook something in it. And some dishes and tools.
  • Food, bring some instant noodles and soups. Some vegetables, fruits, snacks, whatever you like and is not to hard to cook and transport. We even like to bring eggs, because we love eggs, but they have to be transported carefully. 😉
  • Clothes, of course you need clothes. But also bring some warmer clothes for at night, so you can layer if it gets cold. I also like to bring a small packable down/fake down jacket, this recently saved me in a bitter cold night in the tent.
  • Pack everything in a Backpack that is very comfortable to carry around, depending on your plans you will be hiking for a few hours. And you don’t want to come home from this adventure with crazy back pain.
  • Swiss Army Knife, even if you are not Swiss, get one. It is amazing, I have had mine for about 15 years already. It is useful in so many situations.
  • Torch, you will need light at night. You can also use your phone, but maybe you want to save that batterie for later, as you will not be able to charge your phone at night.
  • Speaking of charging, bring an extra batterie pack if your phone tends to run low on batterie fast.
  • Trash bag, PLEASE bring a trash bag and collect all trash that you might produce, do not leave anything behind. The are should look exactly the same when you leave. This is very important, because only this will be THE argument if someone from the asks you if you went wild camping. Having a good conscience when telling them about your experience and that you brought back any trash will help you enjoy this adventure even more. And remember if you don’t follow this, that might lead into signs all over Switzerland (or anywhere else) that say “Do not camp wild here/anywhere!” and we really don’t want that.
  • I always bring some yarn to fix stuff or hang stuff.
  • I also bring some small plastic bags, in case…

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Be aware that camping wild can also be risky, depending on where you stay, you might not have reception and the next house might be hours away. So be sure to inform somebody that you are taking this trip. Don’t go alone, share this experience with someone, it is saver and much more fun, and warmer in the tent ;-).

I want to add, that all our camping experiences only come from trips in Switzerland, rules and regulations might be different in your country. But with some research and common sense I am sure you will be able to adapt to the area where you want to go.

So all I can say now is: ENJOY and BE SAFE!

If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to write into the comment section or contact us directly. If you have anything to add, leave us a note.

 

There are some links with recourses or other Blog posts about this topic, mainly in German:

http://www.nachhaltigleben.ch/39-natur/2369-wild-campen-in-der-schweiz-abenteuerlicher-urlaub-in-der-natur

http://www.familienleben.ch/freizeit/ferien-reisen/camping-und-zelten-mit-kindern-779/4

https://www.bergzeit.de/magazin/wildcampen-europa-deutschland-frankreich-spanien-schweden-daenemark-polen-schweiz/

http://www.wandern.ch/de/wandern/vorbereitung/essen-und-Uebernachten/campieren-und-biwakieren

 

 

 

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5 Responses

  1. Akemi Akimoto says:

    Hello! How are you? I am Akemi from Japan and I am so inspired about your wild camping experience that i wanna try it. Did you use a map or something? How did you get to that isolated area where you set up your tent? I want to know the exact path you took because unfortunately we only have a night and a day to cover our switzerland trip. Me and my friends are going there on August 16th. I am sorry for bothering but i wish you can help.

    • tabea says:

      Hi Akemi! Thank you very much. We used MAPS.ME which is a App that allows you to download the offline map of an area that you want to visit, very helpful especially if you don’t have a internet flat rate. But you can also use any other offline map app. How we did it in Kandersteg: we took the train to go there on a Friday night, and walked up the hiking trial that same evening, we just decided to find a spot on the way up to Oeschinensee, it is in total only about a 1.5 hour hike. Last year we went to another place, called Bachalpsee in Grindelwald, there we took the cable car up to the mountain during the day, hiked 1 hour to the Bachalpsee, stayed there during the afternoon. And when all the other people left to walk back to the cable car we searched for a spot where nobody would see us and set up our tent. The next day we hiked down, but you can also just walk back to the cable car. I really hope that helps, but if you have further questions you can always also contact us over our Facebook! =) Enjoy your travels, Tabea

  2. James Gordon says:

    Hi!

    I’m Canadian, but living in Switzerland (Schaffhausen) at the moment. I’m looking for places to go with my kids so they can experience some wild camping. I want to teach them “no trace” practices etc without dragging them high up in the Alps (for now). We all watched your video and would like to give it a try as well. Can you tell me, where were you camping exactly? I’ve looked at google maps, and the area around Oeschinensee looks fairly built up with restaurants and huts etc. Were you at another smaller lake?

    Great video, thanks for sharing!

    James

    • tabea says:

      Hi James,
      Sorry for our late reply. We think it is great that you want to teach your kids about “no trace” practice and show them the beautiful nature.
      It is true Öschinensee is not the best place for wild camping as it is quit built up and touristy during the day. We camped on the hike up about half way up a little of the trail. We camped there on a Friday night after coming from work, so on Saturday Morning we could enjoy the area around Öschinensee without traveling far. But it is definitely quite touristy. Otherwise, I would suggest maybe the other hike we have a video on, in Sulwald Lobhorn, basically we camped around 10-15 away from the hut where you could also stay over night if you book in advance. I hope that helps. 🙂 We can not wait to hike again this summer. Enjoy and all the best!
      Tabea & Top

  1. August 12, 2016

    […] WILD CAMPING – SWITZERLAND […]

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