Wild Camping Top Tips

Part of the fun of the activity you are about to embark on is discovery. Reconnecting with nature and finding out what makes wild camping unique and fun for you. The purpose of this article is not to spoil that process. More to highlight a few things that may not necessarily be front of mind, especially when it comes to camping safety.

In this section we cover
Food and Water
The Ideal Camping Spot
Packing Light

Wild Camping Top Tips

Food and Water - Top Tips

Firstly let’s talk about the most basic of human needs, and the need to source clean water. Often it’s just not practicable to carry all the water you need for a trip on your person so planning for places you can top up your water carriers or where there might be a natural source of water is essential. There are plenty of methods making water drinkable these days, boiling, “Big bubbles no troubles” as they say in Sweden. Water purification tablets and more recently handheld filtration systems. If you are taking water from streams and rivers, Check immediately upstream for animal carcasses or waste. Getting a dicky belly from bad water will ruin your camping experience.

How To Leave No Trace – Carry all waste home or to a proper bin. Remove all food waste that might attract scavengers and put animals at risk. Never go to the toilet within 30m of fresh or running water to avoid polluting water course.

Weather - Top Tips

For me, planning for a few peaceful days camp in perfect sunny weather, clear skies and no breeze is not where the fun lies in Wild Camping. Knowing that the weather might turn, lying in the warm camp you have made yourself while the rain starts to fall puts a wide childlike smile on your face. It adds to the whole ‘back to nature’ element of the outdoor activity and give you a feeling of being alive. But nature is exactly that – natural and the weather can turn rapidly and not always follow the forecast so having the right camping equipment for everything you might encounter that trip is not a corner you should cut. Rainstorms, high winds, hail, even lighting all come with there dangers and while you might not get much sleep you do want to make sure you stay dry, warm and hopefully come home with all your equipment intact. The tip is to pack accordingly, not only tarps and the right sleeping bag but also camping spares, paracord, carabiners, tape, spare layers of clothing including walking socks as socks are most likely to get wet first or while adjusting the camp.

The Ideal Camping Spot - Top Tips

How do you choose the ideal camping spot? The best piece of advice I can bestow here is, don’t walk past that ideal wild camp location! If you see a site at dusk and you’re tempted to put in a few extra km. More often than not, unless you know the area, you’ll fall short. Pitch there and pick up the trial in the morning. Arrive late, leave early! You’re looking for a spot off the beaten track to avoid being seen and creating alarm. Covered, wooded, bushy areas that breaks the line of site and also provides protection from the elements. Tree’s provide the necessary anchor points for hammocks and if your camping on the ground you’ll be looking for flat spots with enough room for you and anyone else on the expedition. If cover is unavailable camp in the corners of fields but not in full view of dwellings. This gives you cover to the rear and 180 degrees of protection.

Our British countryside is for everyone to enjoy and we should leave it as we found it. The general rule is ‘Don’t light any fires’ however with the landowners permission or on designated camping grounds lighting a fire is acceptable. It’s a great source or warmth, light and an opportunity to cook in the most natural of ways. If you’ve ever found yourself staring into the flames of a fire, you’ll know we’re programmed to be drawn to them. Do not light fires on top of peaty soils and dry vegetation, clear the area and surround rocks if possible to eliminate any risk of the fire spreading.

How To Leave No Trace – Take care not to damage vegetation, especially at higher altitudes where it can be susceptible to human trampling. Taking toilet waste home with you is not always possible so make sure it is buried at least 15cm below ground and well covered. Do not bury used toilet paper or other personal sanitary items as they will be dug up by wildlife.

We are by nature, hoarders. We want all the gizmos and gadgets and it’s very easy to get carried away and fill you backpack kit you’re just not going to need. Plus, the very pleasure of Wild Camping is its minimalist simplicity. Try your best to unplug and don’t stress if you forget that battery pack for your phone unless it’s essential to navigation.

Unfortunately, it’s a very real truth that the more expensive camping kit is generally smaller and lighter. This goes for the essential and largest items such as Sleeping Bag, Tent or Hammock and Tarpaulin and your Ground Mat or Under Blanket. As you camp more and more though, you’ll start to discover which camping style you prefer, and you’ll begin to justify the spend. The return for this investment comes back tenfold as you start to discover a new way to switch off and clear your head. We aim to provide impartial advice on lots of different equipment set ups and where we cannot source our favourite items we’ll link out to where you can buy them.

A couple of tips however to reduce your pack size. Check the weather, evaluate what you need for that trip before you leave and only take that which you need. Choose a rucksack that doesn’t have lots of spare room, tempting you to pack a few luxuries. Use Stuff Sacks, very handy anyway for keeping vital equipment and garments dry but Stuff Sacks allow you to squeeze the air out of items that would usually be loose or uncompressed. Giving you that few extra litres of pack space. Be sure to take these out of the sacks to breath after your camp to prolong their life, especially if they are damp.

More great articles…
Country File
The Guardian

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