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Old 07-20-09, 03:34 PM   #1
wear
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Hammock in Western/Central Europe

I currently have a Vaude Hogan Ultralight tent and a Hennessy Hammock with the intention of taking one or the other on a 2 month trip around Europe starting in August. I would prefer to take the hammock as it is lighter and also lends itself well to stealth camping however I'm a lttle bit concerned that I won't find many hammocking opportunites. Any thoughts from the seasoned hammockers out there?

I'm looking to travel France to Germany and then down to Austria eventually getting back to the coast of France through Switzerland to give you an idea.
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Old 07-20-09, 09:04 PM   #2
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Trees is what you need

Three years ago I bicycled across northern Australia with a Hennessy. Even in campsites there were trees or upright pipes supporting roofs, etc.

That is what you should be on the lookout for; supports for the ends of the hammock - also get a bubble pad or Thermarest so that your back is warm. Use the rainfly to keep the morning dew out of the hammock - otherwise you will wake up damp and chilled :-(
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Old 07-21-09, 10:19 AM   #3
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cheers for the info. I've read loads about hammocking but it mostly seems to be focused on non-European areas which is why I'm after Europe specific experience but thanks for the reply anyway.

Yeah I've got a Thermarest sorted, hopefully the temperatures won't reach low enough that it becomes uncomfortable *if* I decide to take the hammock over the tent.
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Old 07-22-09, 09:53 AM   #4
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I've done Europe for years and I only once had to use my Hennessy hammock as a tent. Just in case it's a good idea to carry an extendable or folding pole for just those moments. BTW, I carry my fly separately and use it as a tarp when it rains to stay dry or for some shade when cooking while on the road.

I find many Euro campsites to be open fields without many, if any trees. Stealth camping in the woods is much preferable. I know, people will tell you you can't stealth camp in Europe, or it is illegal, or whatever. They don't know what stealth camping is, or don't know Europe.

Plan your route, Google map prospective stealth camping areas using the satellite feature and always follow stealth camping rules while on the ground.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:00 AM   #5
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Hi Allan. I've actually read a lot of what you have wrote on here and on CGOAB about hammock/stealth camping. I'm planning on stealthing it 95% of the time which is why I chose the the hammock in the first place .

When using googlemaps are you just looking for wooded areas away from civilization?

Thanks.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:53 AM   #6
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Hi Allan. I've actually read a lot of what you have wrote on here and on CGOAB about hammock/stealth camping. I'm planning on stealthing it 95% of the time which is why I chose the the hammock in the first place .

When using googlemaps are you just looking for wooded areas away from civilization?

Thanks.
If you've read my journals, you may already know this:
  • I check out potential spots before hand. Google maps is good because you can see possible wooded sites and the general proximity to habitations and even agricultural land.
  • If you've arrived early, go away and make supper a few kilometres away. Never cook at your site
  • Go back to the site just before sunset. make sure no one sees you enter or leave the site
  • Remember bikes are reflective. lay the bike down and cover it if possible
  • Never camp on improved land or sites that are posted as no trespassing
  • Stay out of site and leave first thing in the morning
  • Follow Leave No Trace rules.

I find once every 3 or 4 days I need to clean up. If I'm going to a city I stay in a cheap hotel (1 star or no star) and do my washing and showering. Camp sites will allow you to use the showers as well as marinas, if you wish to avoid hotels or B&Bs.
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Old 07-23-09, 01:50 AM   #7
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I know, people will tell you you can't stealth camp in Europe, or it is illegal, or whatever. They don't know what stealth camping is, or don't know Europe.
Hi,

stealth camping is illegal. I know what it is and I live in Europe (so I know a bit of it). Every hunter for instance knows his 5 square km hunting region a bit better as you can see in Google Earth. But it's possible. In general: It's not "stealth" camping - it's "I don't care about the one who spends the night there". All stealth camping I did this year - I knew that somebody knews that I camp in radius of 2 km and I was travelling only on hiking trails (away from any street)

Thomas
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Old 07-23-09, 05:35 AM   #8
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Hi Thomas.

Are you saying that when you 'stealth' camped your spot was known but simply ignored by the landowner?

If so, how could you be so sure of that?
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Old 07-23-09, 10:56 AM   #9
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Stealth Camping is possible in much of Europe and the legality changes from country to country. So far as i know it is only illegal in Holland and Denmark.

Holland as the most crowded country in Europe would be pretty difficult to Stealth camp in anyway

As for the choice between hammock and tent, I'd pick the tent any day.
Europe does not lend it's self to hammocking, hence the reason why they are not popular here and even the largest Outdoor type shops would be unlikly to stock hammocks as standard as there is no call for them. I think you will find the hammock will limit you as to where you can stay, the tent will not.
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Old 07-23-09, 01:50 PM   #10
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Stealth Camping is possible in much of Europe and the legality changes from country to country. So far as i know it is only illegal in Holland and Denmark.

Holland as the most crowded country in Europe would be pretty difficult to Stealth camp in anyway

As for the choice between hammock and tent, I'd pick the tent any day.
Europe does not lend it's self to hammocking, hence the reason why they are not popular here and even the largest Outdoor type shops would be unlikly to stock hammocks as standard as there is no call for them. I think you will find the hammock will limit you as to where you can stay, the tent will not.
I do not wish to get into what we Canadians quaintly call a 'pissing contest' with other forum members. Needless to say, many people consider stealth camping illegal because they don't really understand what it is. Members who would never consider stealth camping should continue doing what they like to do. I don't advocate in favour of stealth camping, but merely try to explain what it is and how to do it without breaking any local laws.

It is very difficult to stealth camp with a tent because the ground is unimproved. It may be rocky, wet, or angled making traditional tenting impossible.

European campgrounds are ideal for tents since they offer little shade and rarely have mature trees. From my experience campground rules often eschew attaching anything to the few trees available.

Make your choice people, but be properly informed.
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Old 07-24-09, 05:22 AM   #11
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Yeah I can see how a hammock would be better suited for camping in the more hidden places. Maybe a naive question but from a camper with near zero experience, how do you deal with midges and mosquitoes in wooded areas? From my (limited) experience there are lots more of them in those areas....
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Old 07-27-09, 02:49 AM   #12
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Hi Thomas.

Are you saying that when you 'stealth' camped your spot was known but simply ignored by the landowner?

If so, how could you be so sure of that?
Hi,

if you are travelling 1 hour before sunset in the forest. And the hunters check there area, they know that you camp somewhere (may be not the exact spot, but if they want they will find you) . My former neighbours where as well hunters. They went to their forest - every morning. They hunt normally on the best stealth camping sites. In several countries where I stealth camp I got sometimes a fresh coffee from the landowner. Even in Argentina (3 houses on 100 km distance) I saw a glimmering cigarette in the night close to my site.

My experience is: You can camp somewhere in at least 50 % people know where camp - but they don't care. The real remote sites - you normally do reach with a bicycle.

Thomas
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Old 07-27-09, 02:28 PM   #13
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That makes sense. I would assume as long as you respect their land most folks would be pretty decent about it.
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Old 07-28-09, 03:07 PM   #14
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Yeah I can see how a hammock would be better suited for camping in the more hidden places. Maybe a naive question but from a camper with near zero experience, how do you deal with midges and mosquitoes in wooded areas? From my (limited) experience there are lots more of them in those areas....
A Hennessy hammock is not like a regular hammock. It is like a tent that floats in the air. It has netting to keep away almost any biting insect. In Canada we have 'bite through'. That's when a biting insect actually bites through the hammock into your skin. I use a self-inflating sleeping pad that keeps you warm too!

As far as dealing with mosquitoes before you climb into the hammock, I suggest a water based 40% DEET . Nothing else works for me.
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Old 07-28-09, 03:12 PM   #15
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Hi,

stealth camping is illegal. I know what it is and I live in Europe (so I know a bit of it). Every hunter for instance knows his 5 square km hunting region a bit better as you can see in Google Earth. But it's possible. In general: It's not "stealth" camping - it's "I don't care about the one who spends the night there". All stealth camping I did this year - I knew that somebody knews that I camp in radius of 2 km and I was travelling only on hiking trails (away from any street)

Thomas
As good as it is, what you describe is not stealth camping, but gypsy camping.

BTW: Stealth campers don't stealth camp during hunting season. For obvious reasons.
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Old 07-28-09, 10:51 PM   #16
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In Canada we have 'bite through'. That's when a biting insect actually bites through the hammock into your skin.
I did a weekend tour through the Kawartha Lakes (Ontario) this weekend, and took my Hennessy hammock. I woke up on Sunday morning with all the fingers on my right hand swollen from mosquito bites. I had put my hand over my head during the night, beyond the extent of my Thermarest mattress.

Lindsay, Ontario has a serious mosquito problem. I counted almost 20 of them on the other side of the bug mesh on Saturday night. I'm still itching all over.
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Old 07-29-09, 10:55 AM   #17
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I have not read the whole thread. but I live in Hungary, which is as Central Europe as you can get.

I hate tents, I love hammocks! I have only ever used Speer type hammocks but the idea is the same as for Hennesy... hang and sleep...

I have used it in Hungary, Slovakia and The Czech Republic on bike tours and hiking tours and canoe tours... just do it... nothing to worry about.

Yes, it can be illegal in many places and it is here, but I still stealth camp. Along the danube in Hungary, for instance, there are many who set up tents and fish for days, or even weeks on end...

you should have a lock with you to lock the bike to a tree or whatever just in case some fool wants to take it... The police have never, ever bothered me...

Have fun.

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Old 07-29-09, 11:02 AM   #18
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oh, bus, cold and rain.... and no trees.


check out hammockcamping for all the info you need or backpacking.net

but in brief. netting, no-seeum works wonders at keeping bugs out.

a tarp over the hammock is so cool it cannot be described. much better than a tent in summer, if you ask me.

cold... this is summer, so bring a tarp, a hammock and a campig mat thingy to lay on in the hammock because air circulating under the hammock cools you down at night....

no trees? well, I have tied ot to fence posts, light poles (obviously not stealth camping), railings, etc. I have never, ever seen any campgrounds in Europe frown on tying stuff to trees... failing sg to hang from, I just put the hammock on the ground as a ground cloth, the camping mat in it and pitch the tarp.... I have even pitched the tarp tying to my bike at one and and just staking it out at the other end....

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Old 09-14-09, 06:41 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the advice and apologies for the late reply to this thread.

I've only just got back home from my trip. I took the hammock in the end...slept in it nearly every night, not once in an "official campsite", usually in the woods. I also camped in a couple of large parks on various occasions when I had no other option. As stated above stealth camping in the true sense takes quite a bit of work to make sure you are completely stealth-like to others and I sometimes just slept wherever I could when the night approached, waking to hear dog walkers and people running/cycling by. I was never bothered* and I tried to appear as non-threatening as possible by saying hello etc.

For free camping a hammock works very well in my experience but I'm a fairly poor sleeper during the summer and it took a while to get used to the hammock which led to many sleepless nights however that's just a personal thing I know many find the hammock sleeping much better than on the ground of which I have no experience.

I took pictures of some of my camp sites, they are on my photo blog if anyone is interested:

onthebike.wordpress.com

*I should mention I was woken by the police one night in Austria when gypsy camping though. They were friendly, checked my documents, complimented the hammock and let me get back to sleep ha! I struggled to find a good site that evening due to getting lost near Linz and not realising the urban area spread as far as it did in that area so when I camped in a small park near lots of housing someone must have got spooked and called them.

Last edited by wear; 09-14-09 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 07-28-11, 05:30 PM   #20
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In the nordic countries, anyone has legal rights to camp anywhere they like, and even make a camping fire, if they do it out of sight of property and do not disturb the land. Everyone here know of these rights, and will not bother or be scared of campers. I'm happy to hear this works in other countries as well, I would like to try this in Europe next summer.

Wikipedia: Freedom To Roam
Finnish laws
Swedish laws
Norwegian laws
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Old 07-28-11, 06:34 PM   #21
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Do these camping hammocks have especially long or adaptable suspension systems? I only ask because I own two wooded two-acre cottage lots, and neither has a single place suitable for hanging a hammock. I'm talking about the regular, afternoon-nap type hammock, of course.
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Old 07-28-11, 06:43 PM   #22
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Do these camping hammocks have especially long or adaptable suspension systems?
They can. As far as I can tell, most of them come with sub-par suspension systems which people replace soon or immediately - or once they learn there's a better option. The favorite (for light weight, simplicity and adjustability) seems to be a combination of webbing straps to wrap round a tree, and "whoopie slings" which are some kind of future-material woven into an adjustable strap. I'm about to order such a combo myself but haven't seen one so I don't know exactly how they work. People usually look for trees 12 to 15 feet apart, but if you got some extra-long suspension and hung high enough you could get farther apart.

Also, why none of the hammock makers (including handmade cottage industry type ones) has teamed up with whoopieslings.com to offer that as the stock suspension is beyond me, since hammockers are real freaks about it and all seem to own like 10 different hammocks, all of which they buy new suspension for and chuck out the stock stuff.

Also keep in mind a campfire is nice, but a camp stove allows you to cook a meal quickly without leaving any trace. Making a fire is OK in some environs (heavily wooded, not dry enough that forest fires are likely) but even then, enough people doing it is harmful. Better to just bring a stove and save the campfire for special occasions.
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Old 07-29-11, 03:22 AM   #23
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I used plain old straps on the hammocks I make and they work just fine... never have heard of the whoopie things but will take a look.


all I need to hang a hammock is two trees, fence posts, pillars, whatever, just as long as they are strong enough to support my weight about 12 - 15 feet apart and i am good to go... place a tarp over it if I want to keep the sun/rain off me....


I have used them for the quick afternoon nap too... takes about 5 minutes to put one up and the same to take one down.....
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