It is deafeningly silent when I wake up. My tent is in the middle of nowhere. No water, no electricity. Back to basics. I left with my backpack and tent to go wild camping in Sweden. Go as I want and every night picking a nice place to spend the night. You can’t get much closer to nature (and yourself).
In Sweden, wild camping is allowed thanks to allemansrätten, provided that you follow some rules. You have to respect nature and the environment to the maximum and you have to stay away from fenced grounds and stay out of sight of houses.
Wild camping in Sweden: what’s allowed?
- You can place your tent for 24 hours in a place that is on a non-enclosed site, out of sight of houses and where there is no prohibition sign for wild camping. In certain national parks it is not allowed. This is indicated by a sign at the entrance.
- Respect nature: you must not destroy, disturb or leave waste behind.
- Picking berries and mushrooms is permitted. Make sure you know which fruits are edible!
Tips for wild camping
Wild camping for the first time?
Build up slowly. Start with 1 or 2 nights of wild camping and combine with a stay at a campsite or even a few nights at a hotel or in an airbnb. And if the weather suddenly changes completely, you can still continue your holiday with more comfortable hotel stays. Die hards will of course continue to wild camp. Sweden is a good place to go if you’re wild camping for the first time!
Pick the right spot
Look on the map where you can find a nice place. This can be near a lake, along the water, … It is advisable to install your tent when it is still light. In Sweden during the summer months this is not a problem as it does not really gets dark.
Wild camping next to a waterfall may seem idyllic but the water keeps flowing at night too so good ear plugs will be a must. A place close to the water also seems like a dream, but in the summer season that will mean more mosquitoes, especially if you go a little later in the summer season. It’s better to place your tent a few hundred meters away from the water.
Electricity and water
Wild camping is really back to basics. Make sure you are provided with everything. A good backup for essential things is not a bad idea. Do not only rely on Google Maps or a GPS for navigation, but bring a compass and a detailed map. You wouldn’t be the first to suddenly fall out of battery or have no range. Of course it is best to also take an extra external battery with you!
If you go wild camping in Sweden, you normally don’t have running water. The toilet can be found behind a tree. You can wash in a lake. Biodegradable, ecological soap is a must if you don’t want to do without soap for a few days. You will find special products in the specialized store that you can use both as a shampoo and for washing dishes. Do not use more than necessary. It is even better not to use any soap at all since even ecological soap still has an impact on the environment!
Take enough water with you. The lakes in Sweden are generally pure enough to drink from. With a water filter like the life straw you’re safe.
Light your fire
Do you want to light a fire to warm up, cook food, …? Make sure you know whether there is a ‘eldningsförbud’ or prohibition of open fires or not. Don’t make a fire on bare rocks anyway, they could burst. Choose a substrate of sand or gravel. Make sure the place is refractory and extinguish the fire completely before you move on.
Bears and other animals
The chances are rather small to see and meet bears or wolverines but it is possible. In general, making a lot of noise is sufficient to keep them at a distance. Also make sure that you always put away the food properly. You can also come across snakes in Sweden.
Wild camping by car?
Keep in mind that the distances in Sweden to help, a gas station, supermarkets, … can be greater than expected. Make sure you always fill up well on time, stock up on a sufficiently large supply of food and drinks, …
It is less easy to reach unique places by car. It may be more comfortable to be able to take your things with you in the car, but vehicles may not just go everywhere or park anywhere. Allemansrätten doesn’t apply to cars, campers and caravans.