Wild camping: In the wrong place at the wrong time

4x4tripping

Adventurer


After our Trans-Africa and South America trip, I had taken a more relaxed view of the topic of "safety on the road", at least for our overlanding trips within Europe. Of course, we prepared for eventualities, thought through possible incidents and our possible reactions to them.

I would never have thought that even after more than 400 nights of lonely wild camping, the pump could go so badly again - even on a seemingly tranquil trip in Europe or Spain.

We were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, on a deserted beach in Spain.

Article: In the wrong place at the wrong time - pure adrenaline - https://vanlife.4x4tripping.com/2022/05/in-wrong-place-at-wrong-time-vanlife-wildcamp-overlanding-safety.html

Not only was my ticker going - I was scared. Afraid that this was not going to end well. And with our reaction - we probably didn't improve safety for other travellers wild camping on the beach.

The article is also available in german language

trippin
 
Last edited:

grizzlypath

Member
Nothing creepier than having someone roll into a dispersed (wild) campsite in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. I can't imagine having an entire squad of people pull an operation around my sleeping vehicle! Sounds like you handled it as well as you could, and in my humble opinion, did the right thing laying low "we don't bother them they don't bother me" in that situation. Thanks or sharing!
 

Jupiter58

Active member
Very fortunate! They probably realized no one would look for them for smuggling but would at least try if they killed some tourist.

I recall in the early 80s if you were caught at night on some beaches in Spain the guardia would shoot first and ask questions later.
 

4x4tripping

Adventurer
Very fortunate! They probably realized no one would look for them for smuggling but would at least try if they killed some tourist.

I recall in the early 80s if you were caught at night on some beaches in Spain the guardia would shoot first and ask questions later.
That was our luck I guess. Two missed swiss tourists would have caused unwanted publicity.

And true, the call could too had an bad impact if the police would have reached us - soon enough and not afterwards of the operation...

trippin
 

Heading Out

Adventurer
In the early 80s there was in incident on a secluded beach on the
west coast of Southern Mexico, A guy I grew up with on the central coast
of CA and his brother, where shot to death while camping in a van .

There where never any details as to what had happened, no one was
ever arrested and it is still a mystery as to what actually went down.

I'd say you did the right thing, and at the same time where
fortunate it didn't go very wrong.
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Lots of criminal activity not that long ago on the west coast of Baja. A local guy and his girlfriend were assaulted big time south of Punta Colonet. I know some people from Santa Cruz that were lifelong Baja fans who were camped at El Socorro south of San Quintin. Sitting around the fire strumming guitars they were approached by a group of guys. My friends are bilingual and welcomed them to share the fire. Out comes a machete with the blade to his pregnant wife's throat. Predictably they wiped them out and held the knife to the wife's throat until forcing them to disclose all the "secret" spots they had cash stashed. They did leave them their truck however. There's still honor among thieves I suppose. They returned and went back down but never camped a secluded spot accessible by misfits anymore. Stuff happens.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
A good read, thank you for sharing.

I have been uncomfortable a few times camping, I don't think the discomfort was caused by criminal activity, just rowdy rednecks and alcohol.
But it has set a few standard operationg procedures for me.

Number One, I always park facing the route out.
I sleep in a trailer which is always coupled up before bed time.
And everything is buttoned up so I can start the Jeep and drive away.

Some of those things are just standard in bear country.

Keys are always in the same place, no fumbling required.
And a pair of shoes are on the floor in the Jeep.

Another reason to be ready to move fast is flood and wildfire hazards.... and wildlife in bear country.

It is always good to read thru these stories and adjust my mind accordingly.
I don't think you made any mistakes even calling the police got them to you before any stupid decisions threatened your life.

Morbid thoughts enter my mind.
In the event these were human smugglers and they decide you and your wife have a dollar value, that one call to the Police, likely recorded, gives the Police a massive head start compared to having nothing.
 
Last edited:

Photomike

White Turtle Adventures & Photography
Number One, I always park facing the route out.
I sleep in a trailer which is always coupled up before bed time.
And everything is buttoned up so I can start the Jeep and drive away.

Keys are always in the same place, no fumbling required.
This is what I was taught growing up by my father ex military with a transport battalion. ALWAYS think about an escape route.

Has helped me as much with people troubles as with weather. Getting a couple feet of snow overnight and being able to drive straight out is easier then backing up, turning, backing up, then driving.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I sail was actually out racing today. Many friends cruise very remote regions. I have cruised some. All of them are very aware of illegal sea based activities, drugs, people, pirate fishing boats etc. They communicate a bunch with others in the region and avoid places known to be “places of criminal activity”

Heck on youtuber sailor posted a drone flight in a remote area south of the Panama Canal gulf side a decent sized island about a mile away from them was covered in stacked rows of contraband. It was a distribution center. They got the heck out of there. I do think he sent a note to the US Coast Guard.
 
Top