It’s been an epic day of riding. You and your two-wheeled pal have spent hours upon hours snaking through exceptional mountain passes, leaning into glorious twisties and soaking up the fine scenery that’s poured out from every new corner – bliss.
You settle down at tonight’s campsite and try to fall asleep over an annoying ambience of distant chit-chatting, tents being clumsily pitched in the dark, and bad music playing somewhere nearby. After a somewhat disturbed night’s sleep, you wake up only to hear someone’s sprogs arguing over who got more baked beans or so-and-so called so-and-so a… great.
Neighbours with noise-factor have a splendid way of ruining your zen when camping on a greatly anticipated motorcycle trip, don’t they? I’d always lay awake at night at said campsites and wonder at the possibility of packing my panniers and heading off the path, armed with my motorbike and rickety old tent, but without actually doing anything about it. To be honest, it was only the fear of the unknown that was stopping me from turning my dream into a reality and finally ticking it off my biker bucket list.
Several trips and a whole load of pondering later, I thought to myself ‘ya know what, **** it. Let’s go’ and after hounding Google for all the answers, I packed some essentials and headed off for a Norwegian wild camping extravaganza. Conclusion? Oh man. All I can say is, you need to go and give it a go for yourself.
So, if you haven’t tried wild camping before, this is for you, here are the reasons why I think you should try wild camping on your next motorcycling trip. If you have tried it before, I bet you’ll agree with me.
Fancy a brew with an epic view?
While you’re out riding, keep your eyes peeled and take your time to find the perfect wild camping spot for the night. Trust me, it’s worth the extra time because you’ll be blown away in the morning when you unzip your tent to the views of mountains, lakes and valleys in the magically hazy light of sunrise. You’ll wish all of your morning cuppas could be as epic.
‘Good for the soul’ adventure
There’s no doubt about it, wild camping is good for the soul. Not only does it release your inner adventurer, but it delights the inner child within you. Park up the bike, take off your helmet and fill your lungs with fresh mountain air. Blow out the cobwebs and shed the weight of busy civilisation, there’s no Wi-Fi here. Being alone in the open really helps put everything into perspective.
Dine at the best place in town
Who gives a stuff about restaurants with fancy three Michelin Stars when you can feast under a billion of the real things? Not me. And for some reason, dinner always tastes so much better when it’s been cooked on a campfire made by your very own hands. Release that inner caveman or cavewoman – “me make fire”.
Feel truly free
Being out in the wild is the ultimate freedom. It’s invigorating to strip life back down to the basics and surround yourself with the wonders that Mother Nature has to offer you, and with not a single soul around to bother you, the show is just for you. After a thrilling day of riding, you’ll find this is the best way to unwind. Just add beer.
Now, here’s the sensible bit. Please ensure that wherever you choose to wild camp, it’s legal to do so. Wild camping is limited in the UK, however, some areas are an exception to these rules. For example, some areas of Dartmoor national park and Scotland. You’ll also find that the rules are slightly looser in some European countries, such as Sweden and Norway, who permit wild camping under the ‘right to roam’ act. I would just make sure that you thoroughly Google your wild camping location before you set off to check the legalities. You should also be aware that even in areas that wild camping is allowed, it is illegal to camp on farmland, crops or private property.
If you do decide to give wild camping a go, it’s extremely important that you follow all of the ‘without a trace’ rules, to protect the nature around you and to leave it unspoilt for others to enjoy. These rules include keeping your campfire under control, not leaving any litter and camping away from footpaths, main roads and houses. Full details of the rules can be found online if you give it a good old Google.
Featured image: The Silmarillion