My manfriend is taking me camping and canoeing for a week, which is already PRETTY EXCITING, but even better this time because the campground we are staying at doesn’t even supply toilet paper — we have to bring our own. Yay!

Let me explain why this is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Before I came to Germany, I thought camping was something you did to get away from people, and restaurants, and wires, and corporations. An ideal camping trip was solitary and exhausting and involved cooking over a fire, clearing creepy-crawlies out of the tent before going to sleep, and waking up to birdsong. The whole point was to strip away all the luxuries of modern life and get a little hint of what the world was like before the Era of Wires and Pre-Chewed Meat Products.

A typical campground where I grew up was nothing more than a long-drop toilet, a little mailbox where you left your name and a few dollars for the park-ranger, and a sign telling you to boil the water from the stream before drinking it and please respect the local wildlife.

An "official campground" in NZ

An “official campground” in NZ



When I got to Europe, and especially Germany, I learned that the word “camping” can also mean that thing you do when you go to a designated area with some trees in it, walk across the car-park to the large reception area filled with shiny brochures and souvenirs, and then stand in queue to wait your turn to register for your little square of nature (and to pay a fee for each item you will place in that square).

Instead of waking up to birdsong in the mornings, you can wake to the soft rumble of satellite-equipped RVs rolling in and slowly disgorging more humans into the same small area of “nature,” which has now been augmented with food stalls, high-tech amenities, and hire services. Feel the thrill of the wilds! While standing in the queue waiting for your gourmet wurst with sauerkraut.

A campground in Germany

"camping" in Germany

“camping” in Germany

Loads of campgrounds in Europe even promote themselves based on how unlike camping they are. Cheesy scrolling videos show you views of a few orderly trees and a lake while a soothing voice explains how all the luxuries you thought you left behind are only a few euros away.

Don’t worry, some campgrounds promise, we have everything you need. Just sit your ass here on this comfy deckchair overlooking the pool and soak up how beautiful this place was, before we installed the industrial-size toilet complex, fully equipped kitchen, convenience store, swimming pool, waterslides and restaurant/bar.

Hey, when you’ve had enough of “roughing it,” just put some fresh product in your hair and then head along to our campground BOWLING ALLEY.

Some campgrounds are onto it and ask, Why bother going out in nature at all when you can stay right in the city and go camping in a hotel?

This is the price list of a “popular” campground in New Zealand.

Adult (18+ years): $10 per night
Child (5 – 17 years): $5 per night
Infant (0 – 4 years): free

This is the price list of a popular campground in Germany:

Camper parking of cars  1,50 Euro / night
Camper Parking-Krad     1,00 Euro / night
Parking of camper-trailer load    1,50 Euro / night
Adults   6,50 Euro / night
Child 4 to 14 years            3,00 Euro / night
Dog (under supervision)               2,00 Euro / night
Car as a sleeping place   6,00 Euro / night
RV / teams (including car)            7,50 Euro / night
Supplement Comfort Pitch          2,00 Euro / night
Tent small           5,00 Euro / night
Large tent           7,00 Euro / night
Camping Cabins (No. 01-08) for 2 persons             25,00 Euro flat rate / night
Holiday house (No. 09 – 13) for 4 persons              60,00 Euro flat rate / night
Holiday house (No. 14) for 2 persons      50,00 Euro flat rate / night
Canoe home to 19 people            220,00 Euro flat rate / night
Cleaning fee for only one night accommodation in           10% of the price of accommodation
Linen hire 1x complete  4,00 Euro
Heating Accommodation              0,30 Euro / kWh
Electricity meter reading costs   0,50 Euro / kWh
connection fee 1,00 Euro one-time
Hire ECE adapter              1,00 Euro once
Antenna connector         0,50 Euro / day
rental fee antenna cable              1,00 Euro one-time
Showers (4 min. Pure water supply)        1,00 Euro per chip
Bicycle  2,00 Euro / hour
8,00 Euro / day
Paddle boat – two
(two-seater kayak tour)                4,00 Euro / hour
16,00/ day
Paddle boat – three
(three-seater kayak tour)            5,00 Euro / hour
19,00 / day
Canadians – 3 persons € 5.00 per hour     5,00 Euro / hour
19,00 / day
€ 1.50 plus tax for adults, children taxes free
cancellation policy
Basically we ask, clearing the pitch and the accommodation by 12.00 to 10.00 clock clock. Please leave the accommodation clean and tidy, we continue to maintain reservations to 18.00 clock.
Reservations are not drawn upon to pay:
21 days before arrival – 30%
14 days before arrival – 50%
7 days before arrival – 80%
extra cancellation conditions canoe home
60 days before arrival – 50%
45 days before arrival – 80%
If the clock out after 12.00, we charge a flat fee of € 5.00.

So, after eight years of “camping” in this lovely but not-very-wild country, I have resigned myself to the fact that if I want to camp I have to accept the constant odor of grease-fat on the breeze, the background chatter of portable TVs, and companies leaping out of the bushes to sell me things.

But whenever I find a campground that offers hardly any services, I get really excited and am grateful for every service and luxury not provided. No toilet paper. WHOOP!