Wild Camping - An Introduction
If you've ever considered packing a bag, grabbing a tent and enjoying the British countryside for a couple of days, but were never quite sure what gear you need or how it would work out, then read on. We asked wild camping expert and National Geographic adventurer of the year (2012) Alastair Humphreys for some tips on what gear you need, and how you can learn from other people's experiences.
The good news is that if you're thinking about doing this in the summer, there's not that much to it, and believe it or not you don’t even need a tent...
"For your first wild camp in the UK, you really do not need much equipment. Assuming that you are not heading high into mountains or planning something for midwinter, all that you really need is:
- Bivvy Bag
- Sleeping Bag
- Camping Mat
- Waterproof Clothes
- Warm Clothes
- Woolly Hat
- Food & Water
"At the risk of putting Ellis Brigham out of business, I think most people will be able to borrow a sleeping bag, a raincoat and a rucksack. You can wear a few layers of woolly jumpers for warm clothes, and you can take whatever food and drink you happen to like.
"Therefore, the only new kit you are likely to need is:
- A bivvy bag - like a waterproof coat for your sleeping bag, a bivvy bag is a cheaper, simpler, lighter and more exciting alternative to a tent.
- A camping mat provides padding and insulation when you sleep. Unless you are on really springy heather in the middle of summer, you'll definitely want one of these.
- You should take a woolly hat every time you sleep wild. It provides valuable warmth when you sleep, and you can pull it down over your eyes to keep out that early dawn sunshine.
- A head torch is an essential accessory too. Be sure to dig it out of your pack before it gets dark!
"If you want inspiration from other people trying their first wild camping experience, look online for people tagging their microadventures with #microadventure.
If you think wild camping sounds like fun, but probably need to buy a few bits before you set off, you can check out our Wild Camping Kit List, which includes items recommended by Alastair.
Where Can I Wild Camp?
One of the best things about wild camping is the ability to enjoy it virtually anywhere. It is legal in Scotland, apart from Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park which have bye-laws that restricting wild camping and require you to have a permit/camp in a designated area. but throughout the rest of the UK you should obtain permission from the landowner first as most land is technically private. The key is to camp responsibly - take any litter with you and leave as little trace of your camp as you possibly can.