Legal, Trends

Are you lacking ideas for a camping trip? Plan it with us

The long May weekend is just around the corner, and the hotels and guesthouses are still closed? You can spend the night in an apartment found on the Internet, or you can pack your backpack and go camping. And not just for Corpus Christi. Overnight camping in nature doesn’t require any reservations, so if you enjoy spontaneous trips, this option will be perfect for you. Especially since, as of May 1, the National Forests program “Stay overnight in the forest” comes into force. So go camping!

Why is camping a good idea for a trip?

As we wrote in early April, the National Forest’s “Overnight in the Woods” program is going permanent starting this year. What does this mean for you? As the name suggests, you will be able to legally camp overnight in the forest. This change in the aftermath of a pilot program operating since 2019, which checked whether there is indeed a need among citizens to use the accommodation “in the wild”, but also whether these citizens can behave in the forest.

Since the results of the pilot program were more than satisfactory, the National Forests have designated dozens of large areas throughout the country where you can legally camp and enjoy time spent in contact with nature. Naturally, you should follow the designated rules, including the Leave No Trace rule (which we wrote about HERE). If you don’t stick to them… you’ll see, we’ll find you and say a few words to your ear.

Why is camping a good idea for a long weekend (and not only)?

In addition to the “Stay overnight in the forest” program, the first of May marks the beginning of Poland’s national barbecue games. The delicious smell of grilled sausages and less tasty, but sometimes very juicy voices of the participants spreads through the streets. So if you like to spend your free days enjoying peace and quiet, for the long weekend (and all other free, warm days) choose places far away from civilization.

We are laughing a little bit here because we also love barbecuing and we devote ourselves to this sport with great commitment. However, we appreciate the opportunity to spend time surrounded by nature, where no one will be shouting or playing loud music. Such situations can meet you not only in your own garden but even during a vacation in a guest rented apartment. Therefore, camping is a great idea for Corpus Christi and other free, warm weekends. And for some, also the cold ones.

Planning a camping trip step by step

You are probably wondering how to get prepared for a camping trip. This type of trip does not require long planning, which is why you can decide to go camping spontaneously. However, if you haven’t been camping before, it’s a good idea to prepare a few things before you set off. Otherwise, you risk a very unsuccessful trip, which is not what we want.

When to go camping

Planning a camping trip is closely linked to the weather. The vast majority of campers prefer good weather conditions, i.e. at least moderate temperatures, sunny days, and no rain. Believe me, there is nothing pleasant about drying wet clothes under the tent. Everything dampens – sleeping bags, mats, underwear, food, and you. That is why the period from May to September will be optimal. However, you can also have a good camping trip in April or October. It is best to carefully keep an eye on the weather so that you are not unexpectedly caught out by snow in your tent.

Where to go camping

As we mentioned earlier, the National Forests have declared dozens of areas in Poland open for camping. These areas are available above all for survival and bushcraft enthusiasts. However, this doesn’t mean that ordinary campers can’t also take advantage of the possibility to legally spend the night in the forest. Simply behave yourself and do not disturb others, and it will be a nice time spent.

If you’re wondering where you can legally camp overnight in the woods, here, especially for you, is a list of the 46th “Overnight in the Woods” program areas in each forest district.

  • Antonin – Lasy Rychtalskie
  • Baligród – Lasy Bieszczadzkie
  • Brzeziny – Lasy Spalsko-Rogowskie
  • Celestynów – Lasy Warszawskie
  • Chojnów – Lasy Warszawskie
  • Cisna – Lasy Bieszczadzkie
  • Czarna Białostocka – Puszcza Knyszyńska
  • Dąbrowa – Bory Tucholskie
  • Dojlidy – Puszcza Knyszyńska
  • Drewnica – Lasy Warszawskie
  • Elbląg – Lasy Elbląsko-Żuławskie
  • Gdańsk – Lasy Oliwsko-Darżlubskie
  • Gryfino – Puszcze Szczecińskie
  • Jabłonna – Lasy Warszawskie
  • Janów Lubelski – Lasy Janowskie
  • Karnieszewice – Lasy Środkowopomorskie
  • Karwin – Puszcza Notecka
  • Kliniska – Puszcze Szczecińskie
  • Lubsko – Bory Lubuskie
  • Łagów – Puszcza Świętokrzyska
  • Międzychód – Puszcza Notecka
  • Milicz – Lasy Doliny Baryczy
  • Mrągowo – LKP Lasy Mazurskie
  • Oborniki – Puszcza Notecka
  • Olsztyn – Lasy Olsztyńskie
  • Osie – Bory Tucholskie
  • Pisz – Lasy Mazurskie
  • Polanów – Lasy Środkowopomorskie
  • Sieraków – Puszcza Notecka
  • Skwierzyna – Puszcza Notecka
  • Syców – Lasy Rychtalskie
  • Szklarska Poręba – Sudety Zachodnie
  • Świeradów – Sudety Zachodnie
  • Trzebciny – Bory Tucholskie
  • Tuchola – Bory Tucholskie
  • Warcino – Lasy Środkowopomorskie
  • Wejherowo – Lasy Oliwsko-Darżlubskie
  • Włocławek – Lasy Gostynińsko-Włocławskie
  • Woziwoda – Bory Tucholskie
  • Wronki – Puszcza Notecka
  • Żmigród – Lasy Doliny Baryczy
  • Niepołomice – Puszcza Niepołomicka
  • Piwniczna – Lasy Beskidu Sądeckiego
  • Nawojowa – Lasy Beskidu Sądeckiego
  • Bielsko – Lasy Beskidu Śląskiego
  • Wisła RDLP w Katowicach – Lasy Beskidu Śląskiego

You can find the specific boundaries of permitted lands on the Forest Data Bank map. If you have any doubts, you can always ask the Regional Directorate of State Forests responsible for your chosen location – contact details can be found on the State Forests government website.

        What to bring on a camping trip

Even the best getaway can turn into a nightmare if you don’t have the right gear with you. Are you wondering how to pack yourself for a camping trip? We’ll give you some hints and hopefully, you’ll use them. Besides things as obvious as clothes, food and a tent, take as well:

1. A sleeping mat or inflatable mattress. The former folds up quickly, although after one night you feel like your spine is twisted. The second one though provides comfortable sleep but looks a bit silly in a cramped tent.

2. First aid kit with painkillers, bandages, sterile gauzes, hydrogen peroxide, plasters, mosquito repellent, sunburn remedy, something for indigestion and intestinal problems, and if you are allergic, also antihistamines.

3. A sharp knife. This is an essential tool for any camping trip, no matter if it’s a camping trip with kids or a bushcraft expedition deep into the woods. A good knife will provide you with support in many daily activities, like helping you to prepare the area for camping, cooking a meal, and setting up camp. If you don’t have a suitable blade, it’s time to get one – for example, one from this large collection of outdoor knives.

  • 4. Flashlight. While summer days are long, they’re not as long as they are in Iceland. Therefore, be prepared for the dark night hours and take an appropriate flashlight with you. For a demanding survival expedition, take something that will last many hours without recharging, such as the RovyVon Angel Eyes E200s model with ample power and a large battery. It will also be suitable for weekend camping, but if you prefer something more compact, think about a small and handy flashlight block that you can clip to your backpack, trouser belt, or keys. You can find a good selection of them HERE.5. Cooking equipment. A mess-tin is a must, but you can also take with you tourist dishes (they fold easily, take little space), tourist gas stove, and cutlery (also tourist).6. Shovel. You know, some things will not bury themselves.7. Water filter or tablets for water disinfection.We know that a real man does not use cosmetics, but if from time to time you would like to feel at least a little bit of freshness, and you are camping far from water, take some wet wipes with you (very good are those for babies if only your pride can stand it 😀 ).

Everywhere is good, but the best is in the forest

Now that you know how to prepare for camping and where to go, there is nothing left to do but pack your backpack and hit the road. There are many warm weekends ahead, including Corpus Christi, and then the summer vacations. As we mentioned, camping doesn’t have to be planned days in advance. You only need an hour to pack your backpack and hop on the train/bike/ car. So… long live spontaneity! And grilled sausage, everyone likes grilled sausage.

Legal

Can you sleep in the wild in the woods? Now yes!

Ognisko

Exactly 30 years had to pass before the act on forests was interpreted to the satisfaction of lovers of entertainment such as survival or bushcraft. This is great news! Because let those who have never spent the night in the wild in the forest, risking a mandate from the forest inspector, throw a stone … How did the changes come about? Where in Poland can you legally sleep in the forest? Do you have to meet any conditions? You can read about it later.

Sleeping in the wild in the forest and the Forest Act from 1991

Until 2019, the law for sleeping in the wild in the forest was unclear. In the Act on forests of 1991, Art. 30 said:

 “It is forbidden (…) to camp outside the places designated by the owner of the forest or forest inspector”.

It did not specify what camping is and how an authorized area should be designated. The forest inspectorates created tourist points with toilets and litter bins. Any wild camping was therefore illegal and carried the risk of a mandate from a forest ranger.

Bushcraft and survival require wild terrain, far from civilization. Therefore, fans of outdoor entertainment were not satisfied with the permitted camping points. In addition, there were definitely too few of these spots on the entire map of Poland. The only thing left was to give up your favorite way of spending time, or break the rules and set up a campsite in the middle of the forest. Some tried to come to an agreement with local foresters, but such arrangements could end up unpleasant for both sides.

The State Forests pilot program – from 2019 sleeping in the forest is allowed!

When, in 2019, the State Forests announced the annual pilot program for wild camping in the forest, enthusiasts of survival and bushcraft saw a light in the dark tunnel of the existing regulations. Although the program did not guarantee complete freedom, its assumptions led to the designation of initially 41 (later 46) areas with a total size of over 65,000. ha. available to anyone who wanted to spend the night in the forest.

The legal re-interpretation of the 1991 Act made it possible to change the perception of the “allowed place”. Instead of specific points, forest districts could indicate a larger area with specific, clearly marked borders. And so, from November 21, 2019, for 12 equal months, not only survivalists and buchcrafters, but all lovers of spending time outdoors, could legally plunge into the forest and enjoy contact with nature.

Of course, the program had some limitations, mainly due to security regulations. No open fire was allowed under any circumstances. It was forbidden to destroy trees, bushes or forest litter in order to create a camp. After the bivouac was finished, it was necessary to restore the place to its pre-arrival state and apply the international principles of the Leave No Trace philosophy at all times.

Successful pilot? Yet how! From 2021, staying overnight in the forest is permanently legal

During the pilot program, opinions of both foresters and participants of forest expeditions were collected, surveys and interviews were conducted. After its completion, it was verified whether the opening of larger forest areas for campers would actually take place without harm to nature. The conclusions were surprising – 70% of foresters voted to keep the program. We didn’t wait long for the results.

Already at the beginning of 2021, the State Forests announced that the assumptions of the pilot program will be introduced permanently as the “Night in the forest” program. Moreover, the existing 46 areas will be joined by new ones, and ultimately each forest district would have an area at the disposal of people interested in spending the night in the wild, with an area of approx. 1500 ha.

Legal accommodation in the forest – where, from when, what rules?

You will be able to spend the night in the forest legally from May 1, 2021. This information is especially pleasing now, during the pandemic, when more and more people are looking for alternative ways to spend their holidays. However, everyone should remember to follow the regulations, which say, among other things, that:

  • you can only stay in designated places,
  • in one place you can camp for no longer than 2 nights, and with a team of no more than 9 people,
  • if you stay overnight for more than two days, or there are more than 9 people, you are required to report your stay to the appropriate forest inspectorate, min. 2 working days before arrival. Remember to wait for the return e-mail,

Before you go to the forest, check if the area you are interested in is not forbidden at the moment, e.g. due to a fire hazard. The entry ban may also apply permanently in places of forest cultivation or animal sanctuaries,

  • do not enter the forest with any motor vehicle, moped or car,
  • do not light fires outside the designated places,
  • do not use wood from the forest for a bonfire or for building a campsite. If you took a knife with you in the hope of cutting a few stalks, better use it to make a tasty forest meal. And if you don’t have a knife, get one of our models, e.g. the foldable Penguin by QSP Knife,
  • avoid contact with forest animals, do not feed them, do not camp on their routes,
  • take all your rubbish with you, do not leave food residues, cover all traces of physiological needs,
  • keep silent and for your safety mark the campsite with bright colors. Leave the light on at night with the rugged RovyVon titanium flashlight with a removable battery and a maximum runtime of 72 hours.

Full regulations can be found on the State Forests website.

“Stay overnight in the forest” – exceptions to the regulations

From the point of view of survival and bushcraft enthusiasts, the most important exception is the one concerning gas cookers. Although open fire is forbidden in forests, this type of equipment can be used in areas that have already been piloted. However, you must ensure your safety and the safety of the forest by meeting the following conditions:

  1. On the day you plan to use the stove, double check the fire hazard: 10:00 and 14:00. You will do it using the map (select BDL maps, then the fire hazard map). In case of a degree 3 hazard (red), the use of the gas stove is absolutely forbidden.
  2. The fire must be under constant supervision.
  3. It is not allowed to use the stove on “peaty soils, in young stands and stands where the height of tree crowns is less than 5 m from the ground, and on forest surfaces covered with tall grass and heather.”

Sleep in the wild, Leave No Trace

In order to spend the night in the forest, you should also learn the philosophy of the Leave No Trace movement, ie “leave no traces”. These are the 7 basic principles of good tourism practice:

  1. Plan and prepare accordingly.
  2. Travel and camp on rugged surfaces.
  3. Dispose of your waste properly.
  4. Leave what you find.
  5. Minimize the impact of fires.
  6. Respect wild life.
  7. Remember the others.

Following the above rules, will be made easier not only by your own sense, but also by properly prepared equipment. When getting ready for a trip to the forest, always remember to pack all the necessary things. Our tips on what to take with you for survival can be found in this article. Personally, we recommend a good knife that will not let you down at any time, for example this trinket from MK Knifes & Tools.

Are you sleeping in the wild? Take care of nature!

Only appropriate behavior in the forest and in other wild areas will guarantee that the Polish Forest program will not be cancelled, and the areas available for camping enthusiasts will be regularly enlarged. Leaving rubbish behind, destroying trees, shrubs and forest bedding or making noise and scaring animals is a simple way to return to old, restrictive regulations.

It seems, however, that the social awareness of caring for nature is growing year by year, also due to ecological environments. Therefore, our task is to ensure that man and the forest can live in harmony. As close to each other as possible.

Legal

The right to carry a knives – what will change?

We’ve all waited for information about the new knives carrying laws. And it happened – the Sejm announced amendments to the act of May 21, 1999 on weapons and ammunition, which will enter into force on May 1, 2021. Unfortunately, this means the end of carrying knives without permission. In addition, everything indicates that most knife owners have to prepare for another expense.

The right to carry a knife – current regulations

Until now, each knife was considered a utility item and was not bound by the provisions of the Weapons and Ammunition Act. As long as the blade was not hidden in items such as a walking stick or an umbrella, the knife could be carried on a daily basis without permission. However, the Code of Petty Offenses specified situations in which carrying a knife was prohibited, namely:

  • in public space with the intention of committing a crime,
  • while participating in a meeting or mass event,
  • during the trip of an organized group of participants of a mass sports event.

However, the possession of the knife was not subject to any records or additional fees. You could buy knives regardless of their purpose and use them not only for survival or bushcraft, but also in everyday life. Unfortunately, that has already changed.

Changes to the right to carry a knife

Now, if you wish to become the owner of a non-kitchen knife, you will have to go through a two-step verification process. The verifying authority will in each case be the Knife Committee established at each County Police Headquarters.

What will the verification look like?

Stage 1 – formal. You should report to the poviat police station appropriate for your place of residence and submit the application together with the relevant documents. Those are:

  • Certificate of no criminal record
  • Employment certificate
  • Certificate of no medical contraindications for knife possession

Your application may be accepted or rejected – e.g. due to errors or missing documentation. You can then complete or correct the data and submit the papers again – but not more than 3 times a year. After verification of the documents, you will be directed to the second stage.

  • Stage 2 – psychological tests. These will determine whether you are a knife holder or a suit for the wrongdoing with a blade. They are carried out by a psychologist at the Knife Board at the poviat police station appropriate to your place of residence. You will receive notification of the test date by mail.

    If you pass both steps of the verification, you will be entered in the register of knife owners and will be given permission to own a knife. However, if there is any uncertainty, the Knife Committee may ask you for a new review at any time. Then you will have to go through the whole process again.

The law and the knife – where do these changes come from?

According to the Ministry of National Defense, the law on the use of knives has become stricter due to the increasing number of attacks by the so-called “stabbers” throughout the country. In just 2020, over 500,000 dangerous events involving a knife were registered!

“Too easy access to” military “knives makes some people want to do things that they have only seen in action movies or computer games,” says Jan Kowalski from the Department of Armaments Affairs.

Interestingly, according to research, kitchen knives provoke this type of behavior much less frequently. “This is because kitchen knives are not militarily associated. In the eyes of the average person, a kitchen knife is just ordinary home equipment. It does not evoke bloody associations and does not provoke violence, ”explains the psychologist on duty at the headquarters of the police in Sromowce Niżne. “Unless someone watched Hitchcock’s Psycho,” he adds.

As a preventive measure, the film has already been entered on the list of works prohibited by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports.

Do knife users agree with this change?

To get to know the opinion of our followers on Facebook, we conducted a survey that clearly showed what knife owners think about the new provisions. Over 90% indicated that the new regulations are, in their opinion, pointless and unnecessary. There were, however, voices praising the changes to the act.

“And very well! It finally will be safer. You go everywhere  with these knives, wait till I get stuck on one, ”comments Nosacz_58.

However, these are exceptions that prove the rule that knife users do not want new regulations.

What about the knife carrying tax?

The law is not retroactive, therefore existing knife owners will not have to undergo verification. However, for this reason, the government levies an 18% tax on carrying a knife on them. The given amount is calculated from the value of your knife according to the price list, which will soon be on the website of the Ministry of National Defense and every district headquarters in Poland. If you bought a knife cheaper or second-hand, you will be at a loss.

According to the new regulations, each owner of a knife other than a kitchen knife should, within one month of the entry of the act into force, report to the poviat police headquarters appropriate for a given place of residence and enter the register of knife owners. Then he has to pay the appropriate amount to the Knife Committee. Payments must be repeated every year. Note – anyone who conceals the possession and use of a knife other than a kitchen knife is subject to a fine of PLN 5,000!

 

“We take it very seriously,” warns Jan Kowalski. – The safety of our citizens is the most important for us. “

For this reason, the Knife Committee will have full access to customer data of every Polish knife shop. This is to make it easier to reach those who will attempt evading tax. The first inspections are expected to start in June 2021.

Knife law has never been so strict

While the law on owning and carrying a knife has changed over the years, it has never imposed such severe restrictions on citizens so far. We can only guess that the new regulations will discourage people from buying knives, and the current owners will prefer to get rid of their copies and switch to kitchen knives.

The government is also announcing a new blade law that will apply not only to all kinds of knives, but also to scissors, forks, crochet hooks, ice skewers, needles and spits. The bill is to be submitted at the beginning of 2022, but we hope that the Sejm will give up further restrictions by then.

We believe, however, that die-hard knife lovers will do everything to continue to enjoy having their favorite blade despite the limitations. Therefore, in order to meet the expectations of our customers, from May 2021 we are introducing the following services to our offer:

  • advising on applications for permission to have a knife,
  • assistance in obtaining appropriate documents,
  • mock psychological tests and mental support in case of bad results.

We are with you and for you. Especially today, April 1, 2021, if you know, what we mean … 😉

Legal, Trends

Can you carry a knife without permission? Check if you know the current regulations in Poland

Many people mistakenly believe that they cannot carry a knife every day. In fact, both owning and carrying a knife are absolutely allowed. However, you have to follow a few rules. What kind? Read on.

Can any knife be bought without permission?

The answer to this question is: YES. In the light of Polish law, a knife is a utility and it is not treated as a white weapon, therefore it is not subject to the Act of May 21, 1999 on weapons and ammunition. You can easily buy a folding knife, spring knife, butterfly knife and knife with a fixed butt. However, watch out for any other items that have a hidden blade in them. Such a device is already a weapon according to Art. 4 sec. 1 of the above-mentioned Act. Therefore, an umbrella or a cane with a retractable blade requires an appropriate permit issued by the district police commander.

Interestingly, in the light of the law, a saber, sword, ax and any other historical weapons are not considered weapons. However, although you do not need a permit to have it, we do not recommend walking down the street with a sword. Getting a good knife would be a better option.

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Is it allowed to carry a knife?

You will certainly find a lot of inaccurate information on the Internet about the limitations of owning white weapons due to the length of the blade. It results from two legal acts: the Regulation of the President of the Republic of October 27, 1932, Law on weapons, ammunition and explosives, and the executive regulation of January 27, 1936, on white weapons and on restrictions on arms trade. However, these laws were revoked a long time ago and do not need to be complied with.

You can carry a knife with you, regardless of its size. It also doesn’t matter whether you hide it under your jacket or keep it in view. However, there are a few situations where it is illegal to carry a knife.

When is it forbidden to have a knife?

Firstly, according to 50a § 1 of the Code of Petty Offenses, anyone who carries a knife in a public place with the direct intention of using it for criminal purposes is punished. In such a situation, the law enforcement authorities must prove that in fact both conditions exist: possession of a knife and the intention to commit a crime with its use.

Another case where the possession of a knife can be prosecuted is when attending a mass gathering or event. You don’t have to intend to use the blade for criminal purposes – just have it with you. And while in the case of an assembly it is only an offense (art. 52 par. 1 of the Code of Petty Offenses), it will be considered  a crime during a mass event (art. 59 par. 1 of the Act of March 20, 2009 on the safety of mass events).

The Code of Misdemeanors indicates one more situation in which mere possession of a knife is illegal. We are talking about the participation in the ride of an organized group of participants of a mass sports event (Article 50a § 1a). Do not take the knife with you if you and an organized group of fans are going to the game by train, metro or bus.

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The right to carry a knife – who has it?

Anyone can buy and carry a knife or other blade, as long as it is not hidden in an object that does not seem to be associated with a melee weapon at first glance. So you can walk the streets without any problems with your favorite model in your pocket. However, it’s better to leave it at home if you want to attend a gathering, mass event, or a trip to a match.

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