What does to camp mean? To camp is to live for a while in a tent. As simple as that! It started since military wars were more frequent than now, but people also used this activity driven by their desire to escape the urban regions and its busyness and have fresh air, silent nights and no social constraints. Thus, people started going camping for recreational purposes.
Camping is for any season and any land form, but the whole preparation depends on whether you go on mountains or at the seaside, whether you prefer sunny seasons or cold ones. On these criteria, you must get ready differently.
Due to the fact that Romania has four seasons and they are still well-defined, you can camp anywhere and anytime here.
If you prefer warm seasons, at the seaside or any other low altitude regions, there are lots of public campgrounds you can use having some facilities as well. When choosing a campground you must take into consideration the following: surface of the whole campground, the opening hour, pet access, car parking conditions, water, power supply, nearby lakes, rivers, pools, sea, etc.
The tent you use for camping has to accomplish certain specifications regarding fabrics, dimensions, weight, protection, ventilation, pitch difficulty, etc.
No matter the region you go camping (either seaside or mountains), the tent should have a high grade of impermeability (minimum 3,000mm water column for outer foil and minimum 5,000mm water column for floor foil). You should also bring with you foam mattresses and one to two season sleeping bags with limit comfort temperature of about 0ºC. Another important thing is to use a tent calculating the number of persons going camping plus one more. You will have additional space for your luggage. In your travel equipment, don’t forget to add a first-aid kit, a head light, a pocket knife, matches, some rope, water recipients and waste bags. You should also take care of the clothing you choose to wear. It has to be adequate to both day and night temperatures. So, before going camping, inform yourself on the weather forecast of the period and region you want to travel to.
If you go camping on mountains, you have to be much more aware of the temperatures, no matter of the season, as mountains are unpredictable. In addition of the equipment mentioned earlier, the tent must have an even further higher level of impermeability (5000 mm water column for outer foil and 8,000mm water column for floor foil). The material of the outer foil should be a silicon coating as it is the most efficient in the case of any extreme weather phenomenon. The poles have to be of duraluminium and the recommended thickness is 11 mm. They are easy and resistant to extreme conditions.
The best shape of the tent for mountain camping is the geodesic tent. It has minimum five intersections of poles which offer best stability under extreme weather conditions. Moreover, you should have thick foam mattress and some lightweight sleeping bags with goose down fill withlimit comfort temperature of about -15ºC. Take as well a GPS with you and the clothing should be technical: technical T-shirt, 3-layered soft-shell pants and jacket, mountaineering boots.
When camping on mountains, you have to carefully choose the place to pitch your tent. Do not pitch it in the forest, do not pitch it around an avalanche passage. Try to find an open, flat area, but not too exposed to winds and rain.
In Romania, there are both private and public campgrounds around mountain regions starting from the oldest mountains – Măcin Mountains (dating from the end of the Paleolithic Era) to the most imposing ones – Făgăraș Mountains (2.544 m).
As over 30% of Romania surface represents mountains and forests, the foreign tourist is recommended to take a local licensed guide on their journeys. He can guide you towards the most picturesque places, interesting spots unmapped officially, tell you stories and legends, give you adequate traveling advices. One breathtaking place to camp in Romania is the Ceahlău Mountains. The surroundings of Dochia Hut (1.750 m) offer a perfect environment for camping while exploring the mountains. This also offers you the chance to experience a magnificent sunrise from Toaca Peak (1.904 m). That moment of silence when you see how light turns everything from simple outlines to colour, shape, energy, life.
Here, you may also see an interesting phenomenon: the “shadow pyramid”. This effect is an optical illusion, which is formed because of the positioning of two mountain peaks, combined with the clouds of mist, including particles of water and sunlight. It looks like a pyramid with a square base, figure considered to be extremely rare in nature. The phenomenon is unique in the world. It appears yearly, especially in August.
The Danube Delta is another fascinating place to camp. It is the second greatest delta in Europe after Volga Delta (Russia). It is another type of land form. Camping is somehow restricted to warm seasons despite that the temperatures are pretty high. But foreign tourists from hot countries will accommodate easily and those who are not used with such temperatures will be marvelled by the delta’s grace.
No doubt that the impressive range of habitats and species which occupy a relatively small area makes the Danube Delta a fundamental centre for biodiversity in Europe and a natural genetic bank with inestimable value for global natural heritage.
In order to have a full experience of camping, the last place to recommend is a cirque glacier called Mălăieşti, in Bucegi Mountains. The corrie is surrounded by 2,500m height stonewalls. There is also Mălăieşti hut (1.720 m), but with limited number of beds, so, if you reach Mălăieşti and have to stay overnight, there is space to pitch your tent. The area offers astonishing views, a place for relaxing thoughts and peace. It’s just you and the imposing nature. Yet, it is much safer for you to hike guided by a professional. For that Oxygen Association (http://asociatiaoxigen.ro/en/) offers you some of the best mountain trainers in the matter. Explore, dream, discover Romania!
Words By: Ileana Buzoianu