One of the main privilege of overlanding is to be flexible when it comes to choose where you want to sleep and camp. You can look for the peaceful places next to a lake or go to a camping, be in the wildness or simply in a parking lot.
SO HOW DO YOU FIND A NICE CAMPSPOT ?
A campspot is something so important it can make you day the most magical in the World or the worst you ever lived. So for me finding the best one ever is key to my happiness and also (and it is important to say) to my relief because I know I can enjoy a good night of sleep without risks.
When it comes to a roadtrip, travelling and living in your car, you always have in mind that moment when you have to find a place to sleep, stay and camp. Every traveler is different and has different “rules” or ways to find the perfect campspot. And of course we all have those beautiful pictures we can see on internet about a guy camping with an incredible view.
> HOW DO WE CHOOSE WHERE TO STAY
This is a big subject when you are traveling with someone, even if it is your boyfriend. What people need are different from one to another. So I will share with you how Jordan and I choose our campspots.
Every traveler develops his own rules when it comes to choosing the place to live and stay for the night. There are no right or wrong answers to this question but you must have rules. And you always follow them to keep your head out of the water.
Otherwise you will loose too much time going from place to place looking for something that you don’t even know yourself what it is suppose to look like.
For Jordan and I we always try to find places in nature, for multiple reasons :
1- THE ROOFTOP TENT
We choose to sleep and live in a rooftop tent, it is a basically a foldable tent that sits on top of our car. We add an annex to it to have more “indoors space” and we have access to our bed with a ladder.
But this system needs space, like the size of two cars next to each other.
2- OUR CAT, HUGHIE
I have decided to bring my cat, Hughie, with me. He is the cuttest and I love him very much but it also means that we have to choose a campspot according to him. He gets really nervous around people and dogs. But he loves being outside, smelling the grass and drinking water from the lake if there is one nearby.
Quiet places are the best because then we can walk him and let him enjoy the wildness.
3- WE ARE OVERLANDERS
And last but not least, we are overlanders. Looking for places in nature, being as much as possible outdoors is the reason why we have decided to go on a roadtrip around the World. We want to explore, to find new places and to create memories about roads we crossed with our car.l
THE SCORING METHOD
So we always choose our campspots with those reasons in mind, but even if we know about them we do not always agree about what is the best place for the night. Therefor we have a scoring method, everytime that we are at a spot, we give the place a score from 0 to 100 at the same time (so we cannot cheat and change the number according to what the other said). If the number is higher than 70 then we stay, otherwise we keep looking.
SO HOW DO WE FIND THE PLACES WHERE WE WANT TO CAMP ?
> APPLICATIONS ARE A GOOD START
First of all there are few applications that you need to have on your phone such as :
This is defenitely a must have.
- It is very easy to use, when someone finds a nice campspot he can identify the spot withgeolocalisation then it will be accessible by everyone going in this area. It will save you a lot of time if you are looking to stay.
The down side of it is that this application is becoming really well known and during high season it might become hard to find a spot for your car. Or in our case to find a quiet spot for our car.
- Another nice application to find your campspot for the night. It has a little more options such as good garages for your car, whereyou car park your car.
The down side is that it is not developed in Europe so you will have fewer campspots.
This is probably my favorite option. A little bit more time comsuming than PARK4NIGHT but it definetley worth it.
- I usually turn the satelite mode on and look for lake and places in the forest, and then i search in this area for “small roads”. They are indicated with a light white line and usually it is a dead-end.
WARNING : Always make sure than at the end of the road you found you don’t see a house, otherwise you have to look for another road. And to save you some time, try to avoid towns or area where you see that there is residential area, you won’t be able to find a quiet place to stay.
The down side of this technique is that you never know what you will really find, it goes between the perfect spot to a closed road…
> FOLLOW SMALL PATHS AND GRAVEL ROADS
Then you can also find a very nice spot by yourself without any application. To do so you have to stay alert when you are driving, most of the time you will find hidden campspot just by following what seems to be an not so used path or a gravel road.
But to use to technique you have to keep in mind few rules :
- Know your vehicule. Even if you really want to reach this spot far away in the mountain, you car might not be able to get you there. Think about all the weight to put in or if you do not have a 4WD, a path is not necessary a good path for you.
- Check the road by foot. Park you car at the beginning of the road and walk for a while to make sure that you can drive safely on it (keep in mind the type of car you have and do make risky choices).
- Make sure that there is enough space for your car but also for you to move around. Sometimes we only think about our car and how it will fit and we forget that we also need space to be comfortable and do simple things like cooking.
> ASK YOUR WAY
One last good thing to do is just ask people when you are struggling.
They know their city and most of the time they are really happy to help finding a place to stay for the night. Also if you want to stay on the field of a farm, you can ask the farmers if they agreed to let you sleep there for one night, it might be really helpful when it’s getting late and you still don’t know where to stay.
One time we were parked with Jordan, in a parking lot between a lake and an electricity generator which was making a lot of noises. We weren’t not sure about this place and we were asking ourselves if it was good for us to stay at this spot. After a while, a nice couple came and we chatted for a little while and they gave us a really nice tip about a better campspot only few hundred meters away that we thought was private.
> DO NOT GET FRUSTRATED
Jordan always calls me “lizanne-lizanne” because he says that I am very good at finding nice campspots. But to be honest most of the time I trust my instincts and jump from one application to another to find what will be the campspot for one night, two nights or maybe even one week.
However it is easy to get frustrated and feel like you will never find somewhere to park your car, and enjoy the outdoor.
But I think what is important to say and remember is that at the end of the day what matter the most is that you find a place where you feel safe and confident about so you can sleep there. You might not find for every single night the most beautiful, breathtaking campspot with an incredible view, but you can every single night have an amazing moment enjoying being on the road and planning your next adventure.
That is why I often like to say that it does not matter where we park as long as we are together with some nice bacon and fresh air. We can always try our chance tomorrow and find another campspot.