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How to actually enjoy wild camping

Updated: Apr 26

Wild camping is without doubt one of the most freeing adventures we can seek out. Our day to day lives can become so busy that stopping to really be quiet, mindful and in our own time is so important. It's no wonder that wild camping has seen an increase in popularity. That said, there are so many things to think about that it can be easy to make mistakes, regret choices and have a miserable night in your tent. Trust me - We've all won that coconut!

We've gathered our top five tips for wild camping to help you enjoy yourself responsibly. We also asked some of the participants from our recent "Introduction to Wild Camping" weekend to share the key things they took from the course.


Practice pitching your tent before you go into the wild!

Picture the scene. You've walked for miles, you're hungry and the midgies are too. You find the perfect camp spot and go to set up your tent only to find you don't know how to pitch it and even worse, the friend who loaned you the tent didn't loan you tent pegs! You have to feed the midgies for a solid hour before arriving at something resembling a tent.

Practice setting up your tent in your garden to make sure that everything is there and you know how to set the tent up. Don't have a garden? Use the local park. Worried you'll look a bit odd setting up a tent in the local park? Next time you're at the park look around at all the other odd things going on that you've never thought twice about. That applies to you. It's unlikely people will be paying too much attention to you.


Sample meals before your adventure

The latest freeze-dried meals might seem tempting but they're not to everyone's taste. Equally, the effort of a multi-ingredient meal might make you avoid eating (always eat - eating is good). A meal you enjoy can really improve morale after a hard day.

We'll do a full post about meal choices another time but the main message is don't find out you don't like canned mackerel when you have no choice but to eat canned mackerel!


Choose your pitch carefully

Where you put your tent makes all the difference. It can be tempting to set up quickly in the first alright spot you see but at 2am when you're sliding off your mat or unable to sleep because of the large rock digging into your back then you'll regret it.

Key things when choosing your site include::

  • flat ground free from rocks

  • close to running water

  • dry ground that isn't likely to be flooded by rivers or tides

  • away from roads and paths

  • shelter from the wind

  • respectful of others

We've seen some pretty questionable camp sites before but pitching on the middle of the path on the way to one of the most popular Munros in the middle of summer is up there. Possibly topped (but it's a close one) by the flooded tents whose occupants had pitched on the shore and didn't seem to understand the concept of tides!


Find a balance between light and luxury

Everything that is marketed as being ultra lightweight will compromise on comfort and/or durability. That's just how it is. Your wild camping set up will sit somewhere between ultra light and ultra comfortable and it's up to you what sacrifices you make.

You probably don't need to saw the handle off your tooth brush but equally you don't need to bring a feather pillow either.


Bring something to do

If it rains or the midgies are out in force then being trapped in a tent without anything to occupy you can be a slog. A book/kindle. a sketch book or even a crochet project to keep you busy can make a big difference. If your busy project is screen free then you'll probably fall asleep earlier and have a better quality of sleep. A young person I recently took camping asked me to keep his mobile phone because it was "ruining the magic" - I think we should listen!


Read what our wild campers said:...

I took away so much good advice on trekking and hill camping but the most valuable thing I learned was that I hadn't pegged my guy ropes properly. Thanks Cat for showing me how to do it and saving me from having a pool of water on my tent.


Plan appropriately for the most extreme weather you could get at that time of year. April can be nice but we had blizzards, gales and it was baltic. Without the right gear you could easily get hypothermia.


My main thing, for a complete beginner, is that the confidence you get from attending a wild camping introduction course with knowledgeable guides is invaluable as it provides you with the toolkit to go out on your own safely... Oh and to tie a guy rope to your bag when it's blowing a hoolie (which could be a regular occurrence in Scotland.). Handwarmers were amazing to have in the Baltic conditions.



Have your own wild camping top tips? share them in the comments below!

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