If you are here, chances are you love camping. I do, and if you check out some of my previous articles, you will see that I have been a LOT of places, and have come across some pretty awesome experiences. But have you ever gotten crazy about your camping? Not like dancing around the campfire naked and howling at the moon, but just camped in some of the craziest places you could possibly imagine? We have.
Pushing the limits is what we like to do, and we are going to share these with you. Be warned, some of these places take very specific skills to get to, so, if you have them, great! If not, might as well learn the skills needed to get there, because every place on this list is FANTASTIC.
For the first spot on our list, we are going to start off with an easier camping experience, but crazy, in every sense of the word. Ever think about camping in a beer can? Guess what. We’ve done it. Smukfest is one of the most popular music festivals in the Nordic countries and is an annual event. A local brand of beer, Royal Pilsner, sets up hundreds of huge “beer cans” that people can rent for camping during the festival. It’s incredible, actually. The cans have beds and two levels, and you can get up to six people in one, although four is better.
There are bathrooms nearby, places that sell food (out of huge beer cans, naturally) small deck areas and chairs, and sport areas set up. It’s not your traditional woods camping, but considering the festival is held in an area that is sparsely wooded, it FEELS like you should be in nature, even though you are surrounded by people. And what an environment it is. Hundreds of pick-up groups with every instrument you can imagine, dozens of countries represented, and everyone there to have a great time.
The party is HUGE and the feeling surreal, because, well, everyone goes back to sleep in a huge beer can. It’s urban camping at its best, and it just doesn’t get crazier than that place. Oh, yeah, and the festival is held during the warm months, so you won’t freeze. No need of any gear either, unless you want to be popular, and have something like a guitar, soccer ball, frisbee, etc. This one is SO worth checking out, we cannot recommend it enough.
In reality, camping is pretty much staying outside of a permanent shelter and creating a temporary home area, if even just for a night. Ice caves are an extreme example of this, and closer to the Arctic Circle, most notably in Finland, Iceland and Norway you can do just that (though Alaska and northern Canada have them too). A quick search can find you hundreds of ice caves online, and the farther north you go, the less civilized it can get.
Heading out to an ice cave takes a lot of preparation, as well, since you can’t exactly light yourself a fire. We suggest all the normal Arctic camping gear (sans tent) and a few small battery-powered thermal heaters. Pro tip: check the air temperature and heat it up to just a few degrees above freezing. The ice may get that wet look, but the huge force of cold coming from the ice behind it will keep it from melting and dripping all over you, and the additional warmth will make the place feel (in comparison with everything else) warm and toasty. Make sure you take high calorie food with you, as well, since you expend more in an environment like that, but normally don’t feel hungry as often. Ice cave camping is for the hardcore, believe us.
Bulgaria Cliff Camping
You would expect to find something about the crazy campers who pitch their tents or sleeping pallets literally on the side of a cliff in this article. Rightfully so! But there is one place that stands out, in the country of Bulgaria, in Eastern Europe. The Orlovo Gnezdo (Eagle’s Nest) is a truly far out place to camp for the night.
Approximately 950 feet up a cliff face, overlooking the Iskar River at the bottom, is a tiny cabin for two, built on a natural shelf on the cliff face. About ¾ of the way up, it’s a fantastic place to spend an evening, after a long day of climbing, and yup, you have to be crazy to get there!
Two Bulgarian climbers, who were climbing this cliff near the town of Lakatnik, carried the boards and tools up there over a number of climbs, and built a tiny cabin, complete with a small fold-down table, a few pallets, and a roof! It took them a LOT of trips. If you go, you are highly encouraged to take a few nails and screws, and a scrap piece of wood or two. Make repairs if needed. It is completely maintained by the climbers who go there. This is one of the places we talked about needing a special skill, which obviously is climbing. It isn’t an easy cliff face, either, so start early!
Bring out your inner squirrel for this one. This is tree camping at its finest! While this is a popular thing in Europe, those from the U.S. don’t know as much about it, which is why it is on this list. In Pfronten, Bavaria, is Waldseilgarten, which specializes in extreme adventure camping. One of their specialties is a hanging platform tent suspended from some of the absolutely huge trees there. If that wasn’t enough, you can pick a limb that hangs out over a cliff face, or a tent that is hanging from an overhang on a cliff face. If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is! The more mundane camping there involves, in the winter months, building your own igloo and kitting it out to sleep in. The views from these suspended camping spots are nothing short of incredible, and the camping is a once in a lifetime experience. But it is NOT for the fainthearted.
I know what you are thinking. What?! How is it possible to camp under water? It is actually possible. One way is the “easy” way, the other more difficult. The difficult way is to make sure you are in pretty shallow water, but clear. Salt water is more difficult, but doable.
Make sure you have a full wetsuit, and it would be nice to have a boat chained nearby for gear and maybe an air generator. Get yourself some heavy-duty airtight cloth or flexible plastic, and have it made into an octagonal pattern like a tent. Make sure you have a bunch of reinforced holes at the bottom. Pick your underwater spot, get your dive weights, and weight that sucker down. Rocks help a lot too. Then thread the air line from the boat compressor under the tent, and voila! The water gets pushed out, the tent fills up with air. Of course, there is water at the bottom, but depending on how well you do with weighing it down, very little. Enough to sleep in, especially if you have your wetsuit.
If you want to go really crazy, wrap up a cot in some waterproof cloth and take it in there, unwrap it, and go about your business. If you have made your tent, for example, out of a clear plastic, it is the most amazing experience you will ever have. This sounds unbelievable, but it has been done, and it works. If you want to have an extreme experience and SERIOUS bragging rights, this is the difficult method.
The “easy” underwater camping method is cave diving. There are a number of places in the world, such as Norway, where you can find caves that you can access only by traveling through the water. This takes preparation, and daring. Hyper-small packable sleeping materials (think heat reflective blanket instead of a sleeping bag) and other small camping supplies are essential. When we went, it was our scuba gear, low-waste energy bars, a few liters of water, and a small pack that held it all strapped to both sides of the tank. Take some military grade glowsticks with you as well. That helps with having a serious source of light.
The other way you can do this, which is another thing we did, is wreck dive. There are wrecks all over the world, and many of the newer wrecks are in pretty good shape. If you aren’t too deep, and can pump a section or room full of air, it makes for a pretty interesting experience. Be careful, though, to take a CO2/O2 monitor with you, so you don’t end up in trouble.
One Person’s Crazy Is Another’s Stupendous
You can find amazing places around the world to camp, and lots of them would be considered crazy by the normal person. This, though, is just a label, and for those of you who are reading this, crazy probably means super awesome. Don’t take our word for it though, go out there and find your spot! Tell us about some of the “craziest” places you have been camping, and how you found them!