Can You Camp Anywhere While Backpacking?

By Michael Ferguson

Backpacking is an incredible way to travel and explore the world. But one of the most important questions that many backpackers struggle with is: Can you camp anywhere while backpacking?

The answer is both yes and no. While there are no universal laws governing camping in the wild, there are certain protocols that are generally agreed upon in different countries and regions. In some places, camping is restricted to designated campgrounds or areas, while in others, it’s allowed in more remote areas with few restrictions.

In the United States, national parks and forests typically allow camping with few restrictions. Some may require permits for overnight stays, but most will allow you to set up a tent or hammock anywhere as long as you are respectful of the environment and leave no trace behind when you leave. Additionally, many states have laws allowing for dispersed or primitive camping on public lands outside of protected areas such as national parks.

In Europe, camping is usually restricted to designated campgrounds, which can be found in abundance throughout the continent. These campgrounds often have facilities such as bathrooms, showers, and even restaurants onsite.

However, wild camping (camping outside of designated campgrounds) is becoming increasingly popular in some parts of Europe due to its affordability and convenience. Wild camping is illegal in some countries like Switzerland, however it’s allowed with restrictions in others such as Scotland.

Conclusion: Can you camp anywhere while backpacking? The answer depends on where you are traveling and what the local regulations are regarding camping.

In some places like the United States it’s typically allowed on public lands outside of protected areas such as national parks with few restrictions. In other places like Europe it’s usually restricted to designated campgrounds although wild camping is gaining popularity with some countries allowing it with restrictions.