Wild Camping For Beginners
This wilder way to camp is a great way to experience natural, rugged landscapes escaping the stresses of everyday life. Wild camping for beginners is quite different from the somewhat traditional method of camping within traditional campsites. Wild campers aim to reach truly wild places connecting with nature far away from modern life and civilisation.
This makes finding a perfect place to start wild camping a little tricky especially if camping without permission is illegal. Some of the most authentic landscapes to wild camp are either woodlands or rugged mountainous terrain. The best wild camping locations have an extensive view of the surrounding landscape so you can enjoy the scenery.
Best places to wild camp
The best places to wild camp are genuinely wild places where the day to day goings on of mankind does not interrupt. Wild camping for beginners should be an adventure with locations ideally being at least an hour’s drive from major population centres. This allows for a silent environment with no light pollution. This aids the wild camper to enjoy true silence while enjoying the wonder of the uninterrupted night sky. These night time landscapes evoke a feeling of calm and peace which is difficult to describe.
Wild campers have to carry all their equipment with them so locations not too far into the wild are preferable. Usually being a maximum of an hour’s trek away from an access point is best. Bear in mind your camping gear will be heavy and you will have to carry it for a long distance. This means you will have to refine your kit and make sure you are in good physical condition.
Benefits of wild camping
Wild camping can give you access to some fantastic landscapes! Normally you cannot access these locations unless you are prepared to hike off the beaten path. The combination of fresh air and vigorous exercise can be extremely good for your well being. Getting away from TV screens and mobile phones can allow the mind to settle and enjoy the real world. Many digital forms of entertainment today have allowed us to become entrapped within our own little bubbles.
This combined with a more sedentary lifestyle has led to one of the unhealthiest younger generations in history. Not only has obesity become a problem in western society mental health problems are at an all time high. There is much new research which shows that vigorous exercise in wild environments is better than medication for such conditions. Wild camping can be an extremely enjoyable experience while enhancing these fantastic benefits for all. These benefits are experienced even more by wild camping beginners.
Wild camping activities
Wild camping usually can go hand in hand with other fantastic activities. These can occupy you during the day between wild camping hours. If you are a beginner perhaps you could also consider taking up one of these hobbies below. Most of these go hand in hand with wild camping and create a more activity filled experience.
This is usually undertaken to some degree to access wild locations. Hiking allows you to explore fantastic landscapes and discover new places. If you like the idea of a challenging cross country expedition why not backpack across the landscape while wild camping? If you are a beginner you will have to make sure your kit is light enough for you to carry over long distances. Rambling is one of the most instinctive activities for wild camping beginners.
Most people who fish love the great outdoors. When wild camping fishing can be a great way to relax and enjoy yourself during both the day and night.
This is an activity enjoyed by thousands of people across the world and is a part of our history. Hunting can be a controversial subject for many but for those who hunt it can be perfect for wild camping.
When spending time out in the wild it becomes a lot easier to experience wildlife especially around dawn and dusk. This can make wildlife and bird watching a great activity to accompany wild camping.
Kayaking gives you the advantage of utilising natural watercourses throughout the landscape. This makes wild camping a great accompaniment especially if travelling on a long Kayaking expedition covering many miles. Caution should be taken however not to pitch in an area which could potentially become flooded.
Wild camping in essence is a way of surviving outside within wild environments. Bushcraft encompasses a series of wild survival techniques utilising natural resources to live wild within the landscape. This means bushcraft can directly facilitate and help you develop your wild camping skills. Bushcraft enables wild campers to become less reliant on manmade gear and utilise naturally occurring materials.
Wild Camping Equipment
Wild camping is not just about sleeping outside in wild Places. It is about developing your equipment and habits to make you an efficient outdoors man or woman. As a wild camper you should be ever refining your methods to become as self sufficient as possible within the landscape. By being as organised and resourceful as possible your equipment should be light enough to carry for many miles. For a beginner the wild camping should be a progression to expert outdoor survivor. To make this process easier and faster it is important to obtain the best gear possible from the beginning. Why not check out our specific article on wild camping equipment here.
Your Rucksack is one of the most important parts of your kit to get right. Not only will your rucksack or bergen have to be large enough to contain your gear it must also be comfortable. Rucksacks fit some people better than others and it helps to get used to adjusting the straps correctly. This allows for an even weight distribution making hiking with loads much easier.
When choosing a rucksack think about your other gear and how it will all fit together as one unit. If you need multiple other things to hand with ease consider one with many side compartments. are you a mountain wild camper? If so colourful is best. If you are a woodland camper more neutral camouflage colours make it easy to blend in.
Tents are an important part of the wild camper’s kit and there are many to choose from. Usually wild campers go for smaller tents which are just big enough to sleep themselves and their kit. Most woodland wild campers prefer to use colours which help them blend into the background. This is good for bushcraft activities and wildlife watching. Wild campers who spend more time on mountains or vast moors usually choose brighter colours just encase they require rescue.
Hammocks are becoming an ever popular way to wild camp. They are easy and quick to set up, they are light and allow you to sleep with a good view of the landscape. There are many different types of camping hammock on the market now with quite a choice on offer.
You will also need a tarp suspended above you to keep the rain off. It is also worth investing in a foil mat to wrap around you as cold winds can blast against your body at night. The only other limitation here is you need two trees at a certain distance apart.
Bivvys bags are a water proof bag that your sleeping bag fits into so you can sleep out in the open. Some bivvys also have a hoop structure which forms a waterproof tube to sleep inside. Most of the time people who use bivvys choose to also erect a tarp to sleep under. This is especially good for keeping your other kit dry. The good thing with bivvys is you get a closer relationship with the surrounding environment. There is also no problem with condensation that you get with tents. These can make excellent wild camping for beginners who love wild places. Why not check out our bivvy page here.
Tarps are large waterproof sheets which have attachment loops or rings in the corners and around the edges. This enables them to be suspended in a variety of arrangements for shelter from the weather. Tarps can be erected using paracord or bungees. These come in a variety of shapes and colours and are an essential piece of kit for wild campers.
Sleeping bags are an essential item when wild camping and can be the difference between comfort and despair! It is important that you get a sleeping bag which is too small for you as this can prevent you keeping warm at night. Most sleeping bags have a temperature grade which tells you the coldest they can go. It is always good to work your way down to colder conditions. Some people have a natural ability to stay warm so get to know where you are on this spectrum. Wild camping for beginners is simply learning what makes you as comfortable as possible. Check out our favourate sleeping bags on our sleeping bag page here.
It is amazing just how much warmer a good camping mat can make you when wild camping. Usually if the ground is cold it will literally suck the warmth out of your body. The only issue with camping mats I find is they can be cumbersome. Instead of using the old roll mats I prefer to use the tight packing blow up lattice mats. These only take about 15-20 puffs to inflate and pack down to virtually nothing. I use this one which is available on Amazon here.
Stoves give you the opportunity to boil water, cook and warm up food when wild camping. The one you choose with depend on how much you are prepared to carry when on the move. I personally find gas stoves quite bulky but if you are in exposed environments it may be your only option. I usually wild camp in woodland and like the stick burner stoves.
However these do make smoke so not so good if you are trying to stay hidden. If you simply want to boil water and heat up food the small military hexi stoves are quite effective. These pack away to almost nothing and the burning tablets are surprisingly powerful. Find hexi stoves on Amazon here.
How and what you take for food when your wild camping will depend on the duration of your camping trip. If you are camping for only a day or can get a vehicle near your camp weight is not such an issue. If this is the case food can be either defrosted slowly in cool bags to last over a few days. I like to cook up curries or stews and seal them in screw fix beakers. These can simply be emptied out and warmed up on a stove later.
If you have the luxury of having a fire hot coals can be used to grill meats such as steak. For this I use a small flat packing grill which can fold out over the fire. These can be purchased through Amazon on this link.
For wild camping over a few days travelling on foot, food going bad and excess weight can become a problem. The best option here is to buy or make dehydrated rations. Foods like rice, lentils and porridge can be simply rehydrated with water. Alternatively you can pre-make meals at home and dehydrate them using an electrical dehydrator.
Most of the time water is the main limiting factor when wild camping for two reasons. First of all it is heavy and secondly most people do not trust water sources in the landscape. This really depends on how much of a pristine environment you are camping in. If you are in clean upland areas water is less of an issue. If you are travelling across large areas pre-planning water stops along the way can be beneficial.
Water can be extracted from livestock troths and steams but it is advised to use a water purifier. Boiling water is a way of getting rid of harmful bacteria but will not get rid of toxins. Sometimes you have to except carrying it with you is the only option.
Something that becomes obvious when wild camping is the isolation from modern infrastructure. This is particularly important when considering what you will do in an emergency. Firstly it is always useful to carry with you a compact first aid kit. There are special camping kits available on Amazon here. When planning your wild camping trips write down all of the worst case scenarios and how these can be counteracted.
Try to research the places you are camping and avoid areas with hunting or large livestock. If there are large predators or poisonous creatures seek local safety advice on these. Always let someone back in civilisation know your routes and locations even if it is a basic map. This can be left in an obvious location or emailed to friends and family. Always have a fully charged mobile phone with you and a method to describe where you are going.
When a beginner to wild camping it is natural to want to read every article and watch every YouTube video! Remember the only way to become an experienced camper is to go out there and give it a go! Do not become too hung up on being perfect this will evolve in time. By going about your own wild camping trips you will slowly refine your locations and equipment to what suits you best. Before you know it you will become a wild camping and outside survival expert.
Enjoy wild camping
Wild camping is such an enjoyable way to escape all the stresses and strains of modern life. It is easy to worry about the insecurity of living outside of the four walls of civilisation. One of the reasons people today are stressed and unhappy is because they no longer connect with themselves.
Wild camping gives us access to raw nature and a way of replenishing our spirits and letting go of our anxieties. If you are thinking of becoming a wild camping beginner, go for it! Enjoy the wonderful landscapes on your doorstep you never knew existed.
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