Walking on the Wild side! A beginners guide to Wild Camping.

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Escape the crowds and be at one with nature

Fancy escaping the crowds, getting off the beaten track, sleeping under the stars and becoming at one with nature and the elements? Wild camping could be just the thing for you! There really is nothing quite like it.

What is wild camping?

Although there are variations on the definition of exactly what wild camping entails, it is basically taking yourself off away from the usual campsites and people- into the wilderness and ‘camping’ either under canvas or for the more hardcore with just a bivvy bag between yourself and the great outdoors.

Is Wild Camping actually legal?!

There are varying rules across the UK meaning that Wild Camping is generally illegal in most parts of England and Wales, unless you have the landowner’s permission. Due to the open right-to-roam rules, Scotland is the only country in the UK where you can effectively wild camp where you like on most areas of unenclosed land, including many of the Scotland national parks. Of course, this is within reason, so don’t rock up expecting to set up camp in someone’s back garden or on a golf course for example! If you’re in England or Wales, you can still find some areas where wild camping is permitted such as Dartmoor and the lake district. In addition, many landowners are pretty accommodating so long as you are respectful and discreet – arriving late, leaving early and leaving no trace of having been there.

What are the rules of Wild Camping?

To ensure no impact is made upon the environment and wildlife around you when you wild camp a few simple rules need to be followed to make sure that happens.

If wild camping in Scotland, follow the Scottish Outdoors Access Code, covering the three basic principles of sharing the countryside with others. Be respectful of other people, care for the environment and take responsibility for your own actions.

Ensure that no trace of your stay is left behind. Make sure that you do not disturb any wildlife, any rubbish is taken with you and you clear up any mess you have made. This is particularly important if wild camping on protected landscapes and in national parks.

Use camp stoves or barbecues if you want a campfire and be careful to check wind conditions, and not to scorch the grass. Be careful to make sure your campfire is contained, won’t spread and is thoroughly put out before you move on.

You will inevitably need to go to the toilet whilst on your wild camping adventure so don’t forget to pack a small trowel for burying your business! Make sure you are well away from natural steams or river, and don’t bury any toilet paper or feminine hygiene products. These need to be treated as rubbish and taken away with you when you leave.

Finally, make sure when setting up camp you are as discrete as possible – blending in with the environment as much as you can. Don’t camp too close to roads or people’s homes.

What to pack for your wild camping expedition

When wild camping packing as lightly as possible is essential as you are not going to staying in one place and let’s face it, its going to be you carrying the load on your back. So, what do you actually need?

A lightweight and waterproof tent

(or for the more adventurous/hardcore just a bivvy bag)

A sleeping bag (if not taking a bivvy bag)

A sleeping mat

A cooking kit – a portable stove, pan, spork and a knife

A thermal flask

A water bottle

Some nutritious foods to keep you going during the day and night (including lightweight packets kept in a waterproof bag or container)

Matches and a lighter

A compass

A map

A swiss army knife or equivalent

A change of clothes including a waterproof insulated jacket, warm jumper and some spare socks

Sturdy comfortable walking boots

Toiletries including a toothbrush/toothpaste/wet wipes and sunscreen

A small trowel to bury your ‘personal waste’ and a plastic bag

Toilet paper

A quick drying towel to freshen up in the morning

You might want to take a book to read too!

Now all that’s left to do is to pack your rucksack, plan your route and set off into the wild to experience camping in the wild!