Next summer, leave the tent and hang instead
You want to answer the call of the wild? Have a vacation at home this year – or at the campsite, in the forest, in the meadow around the corner? Congratulations! This is a great idea. Time spent in the great outdoors has been shown to strengthen our immune system and reduce stress. So: Out with you!
You still have no idea how camping is going to work and what you should look out for? No problem. We at HaNG think that outdoor time is the best time. Over the years we have learned several hacks that will definitely make your first outdoor trip easier.
Tip 1: Preparation is everything.
“I plan every vacation anyway,” you’ll tell me now. We think. But if you want to spend your free time outdoors you have to think about things that otherwise don’t play such a big role for your vacation planning. Be honest with yourself: What do you think you can do, and what can you do?? 40 kilometers of march directly at the first tour? Rather not. Better divide the routes into shorter stages.
Besides, the better informed you are, the more relaxed it will be. If part of your route is steep uphill, for example, this stage should be shorter than on flat plains.
No desire to hike? Also not bad. In Germany alone there are more than 3000 campsites with 255 sites.158 (!) pitches. There’s something for everyone: campervans or tents, in the forest or by the water.
Also very important: Read the weather forecast! Sounds banal, but the right equipment is elementary. If you walk through mud in summer slippers in monsoon-like rain, the joy of camping will surely disappear quickly. And it is not completely harmless.
And while we are on the subject of equipment..
Tip 2: Pay attention to light and practical equipment.
There’s not as much room in the van as at home, and especially when you’re on foot, every gram counts. Weigh therefore exactly, what you take with you. Our tip: First make a rough packing list, and then gradually cross out things you can do without.
For some things you should pay attention to how much they weigh and how much space they take up before you buy them. Especially with sleeping bags and hammocks there are big differences. Gadgets that you can use in different ways are ideal. You can use the THECKS.B. Use a sleeping bag as well as a picnic blanket.
Another thing you can’t do without: a headlamp or flashlight for nighttime trips to the bathroom. A first-aid kit and a small first-aid kit. And if something gets broken on the way: A multitool, needle and thread and armor tape can effectively repair small damages.
Depending on the season and destination, you will probably also need sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
Tip 3: Think about where and how you want to spend the night.
Being outside is fantastic. So fantastic that you would like to stay in the forest 24/7 on vacation. We understand. But wild camping is not really allowed in Germany. In nature reserves and on the beach camping is generally strictly forbidden. In private forests (and that makes up almost half of the German forests!) it requires the permission of the owner:in. But: Only camping in the forest is forbidden. Fortunately there are other possibilities to camp for the night.
There are also in Germany some bivouac- or hammock-areas. Nature campsites. They are in the middle of nature, but have a solid ground on which you can and may pitch your tent without hesitation.
No desire for a campsite atmosphere? Then you can just roll out your sleeping mat and sleep on the ground. Without a tent. Or you can put up a hammock; in case of bad weather you can put a rain tarp over it. This has the additional advantage that (most) forest animals will leave you alone at night. Besides, it has been proven that you sleep better in hammocks.
Tip 4: Be considerate – of nature, animals and other outdoor friends
The forest is not our home, but that of plants and wild animals. Accordingly, consideration is called for. That means: Don’t break anything, don’t leave any dirt and don’t make any unnecessary noise. Leave your camping site as you found it yourself.
By the way, this is also true on the campsite.
Tip 5: Dispose of your waste properly.
Okay, the topic is not very sexy – but it’s part of the story. Whether you travel by motorhome or on foot, you will produce waste. It has no place in nature. As a general rule, everything you take into the countryside goes home with you. This applies not only to packaging, but also to food waste. Therefore, take enough garbage bags with you. And remember, it has to fit somewhere when it’s full.
By the way, human excrement has no place in the forest either. But of course, if you are on a long hike, sometimes you can’t do it any other way. You can then use a sog. Cathole digging. That should be 15-20 cm deep and at least 200 steps away from water sources. After going to the toilet it is then shoveled again. So pack a little shovel. By the way, toilet paper does not belong in there, but in your garbage bag.
And, last but not least: If you are an absolute camping newbie, your destination should not be too far away from civilization. Nothing is more annoying than setting up camp in the evening and realizing that something very important is missing – and then having nowhere to buy it. After all, on vacation you want to relax!