A new craze that is sweeping the more daring among us is extreme camping; simply put, your pitch is neither grass nor hardstanding – it’s hanging in mid-air.
Located in southeastern France, the Verdon Gorge is a paradise for rock climbers. Alongside the challenging climbing routes, it offers opportunities for cliff camping. Campers can spend the night suspended on vertical cliffs, surrounded by the breathtaking limestone canyon. Maison des Guides du Verdon offers a range of extreme adventures, including Canyoning, Climbing and Cliff Camping
The Bavarian Alps are ideal for extreme camping. Campers can enjoy the majestic views of the surrounding landscape from their sleeping bags. At Waldseilgarten-Hollschlucht, an outdoor activity park in Pfronten, 'Portaledges', a metal frame covered with a fabric platform, are hung from tree branches and accessed by a rope. Campers can settle down after a meal and while away the night accompanied by a peaceful floating sensation.
Alternatively, you can opt for an experience that many climbers will be familiar with. A day's climb carrying only the bare essentials is followed by a night on the side of a cliff. Suspended up to 2000 metres above ground level, you can sleep against the rock face and wake up to a spectacular sunrise over the mountains.
Those braving an adventure night receive rope climbing training and are taught valuable rock climbing and hiking skills. The nearest shower is a local waterfall – a cool and refreshing experience after a night in the air.
Romsdalen is a valley in western Norway known for its towering mountains, waterfalls, and dramatic landscapes. It offers opportunities for extreme camping, with options to camp on cliffs overlooking the fjord while enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
The Julian Alps in Slovenia are a mountaineer's paradise. With jagged peaks, deep valleys, and glacial lakes, this region offers stunning scenery for extreme camping. Adventurers can enjoy an unforgettable experience as the colours change on Krn Mountain, rising above the historic city of Kobarid.
Switzerland is made for extreme camping, and Bergsteigerschule Pontresina offer portaledge experiences in the mountains from July to September; expect stunning views of the Engadine valley, but be warned, a head for heights and experience climbing Via Ferrata is a must!
Closer to home and a little more comfy is the tree tent at the Secret Campsite in Sussex. The first of its kind in the UK, this tent is situated on the edge of a wood and can be rented out for several nights. Inside is space for two adults and a child, and a further tent may be pitched below the tree tent – perfect for a cosy weekend away.
If you want a more extreme experience in the UK, then Rise & Summit offer coastal portaledge camping experiences in Pembroke, Dorset, and Devon. Or in the Lake District, Honister Mines offer an 'Infinity Bridge' portaledge option.
This article was first published in September 2013.
Editor - Alan Rogers Guides
Rob has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
He is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and the publication of the Alan Rogers Guides and 'Destinations' magazine.
He regularly travels with his wife and young daughter in their Dethleffs 'Campy' caravan. A keen cycling fan, Rob can often be found in a field in Belgium during the 'Spring Classics' season or riding his Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle.