Some general comments about camping

Our route in Russia mostly followed major roads, and we were there at a time of year (early spring) when the ground generally had not entirely dried out. Hence we did not do much "wild camping" (though see below for a delightful spot), but rather generally stayed close to the road often in signposted Parking places or signposted picnic spots. We were warned by Russians that parts of the route we traveled had experienced incidents of violence against tourists (even murder) and that we should where ever possible stay at Cafes (Кафе) used by truckies. We often ignored this warning. But, in the stretch of road between Ulaan Ude and Irkutsk we were twice warned by police that the place we had chosen for the night was not safe and that we should move to a nearby truckies Cafe.

Without a doubt the best wild camping we experienced in Russia was on the East side of Lake Baikal. As the road from Ulaan Ude joins the lake there are large areas of grass and sandy beaches right on the lake front. It is obviously a popular spot for locals as there is lots of improvised camping furniture. But when we were there we were alone.

There were also many nice natural camping spots in the Altai Region of Russia. That is after leaving Mongolias western border and heading towards the city of Barnaul.

The other observation to make about camping is what to do in the larger towns. Some of our Russia hosts suggested that we could pretty much park anywhere in a public place and it seemed that the truckies pretty much did that. For example in Blagoveshchensk we parked right on the river front near the towns best hotel (at the suggestion of our hosts).

In Barnual, we camped on the cities main square - as is typically named Lenin Square - right in the midst of a rock concert crowd with no problems.

In Irkutsk we would have been prepared to park overnight on Gargaran Boulevard right along side the river but we found that the Inturist Hotel would allow us to park in their rear parking lot (along with other overlanders) for a fee.

In Listvyanka we parked at a small lookout right beside Lake Baikal just south of the town; though there seems to be a good place just off the end of the paved road at the north-side of the town.

Camping log download

The following links will provide downloads of our camping log for Russia in either GPX or plain text format.

Camping places for Russia - as a Garmin BaseCamp compatible GPX file

Camping places for Russia - as a Garmin BaseCamp compatible GPX file

Diesel Fuel

We typically paid between 31 and 35 Roubles per liter for diesel fuel. At the time of our travels the exchange rate was approximately 32-33 roubles to the dollar. So the fuel price was in the range of $3.67 to $4.27 per US gallon.

We frequently saw signs for both summer and winter diesel, although by the time we were traveling the winter fuel pumps were not operating.

We also occasionally saw signs for Euro diesel which I interpreted as being the European equivalent of the US Ultra Low Sulphur Fuel. However my Russian hosts told me not to believe the signs and to quote "new model Japanese and European cars cannot eat Russian diesel" and then went on the discuss the need to remove pollution control equipment and reprogram computers.

Fuel stations

Are frequent and there is some price difference. I always tried to use Rosneft (Роснефт) as I was told it sold better quality fuel.

Most filling stations are self service. The customer goes to a cashier's window, requests a certain amount of fuel and pays for it in advance. The pump stops automatically when the paid for amount has been dispensed.

Only once did I have the experience that the pump was armed and the nozzle trigger was stuck in the ON position. BUT I always made sure the nozzle was in the filler neck BEFORE paying for the fuel. That way if the thing started pumping immediately the fuel would go into my tank rather than on the ground.