Worthwhile destinations for bikepacking adventures are everywhere. The fact that the landscape, the weather, the trails, and languages differ is not as dramatic as the differences in outdoor culture and the respective laws. In Europe, there are considerable differences especially in the latter. Scandinavia is the most liberal. There they have a “right of access” (Norwegian: Allemannsretten), everyone has the right to go into and make use of nature – this expressly includes staying overnight. Of course, there are a few rules and restrictions, but these are nearly common sense and rather obvious.

In Germany, the situation is considerably more complicated. So-called “wild camping” is largely prohibited or only allowed with the permission of the forest owner. Wind shelter huts are, as their name implies, intended for people to take shelter in from the weather if necessary. This also includes spending the night in the case of an emergency; however, it is not expressly allowed. Of course, the laws do not prevent you from sleeping on the spot outdoors in the case of an emergency (weather, exhaustion, etc.). However, what exactly an emergency is, how much “camp” may be set up for an emergency bivouac, and what actions can be considered premeditated are not clearly defined. These are only a few of the questions that bikepackers have to ask themselves in Germany. Our tip: Head to nature campgrounds (for example: http://www.trekking-pfalz.de/de/trekking-plaetze/) or ask at farms if they have a spot where you can camp. Respect nature and the legal regulations.

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Overnighter (Picture: Gunnar Fehlau)

Overnighter (Picture: Gunnar Fehlau)