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.
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. 😉
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…
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: