So what exactly does wild camping mean?
The definition of wild camping varies for different people. At its crux wild camping is when you pitch up your tent somewhere vaguely remote with no running water or toilet facilities.
In some countries this is a totally normal and legal activity. For example, in Montana USA, folk wild camp almost every weekend to get away from the stresses of work. Families board their trucks and drive to a peaceful meadow for the night.
Similarly, in Scotland you can put up your tent pretty much anywhere within reason (Land Reform Scotland Act 2003).
And in the Amazon rain forest (provided you’re brave or silly enough) you can make a camp site in the depths of the jungle. The chirping of the birds, howling of monkeys and constant buzzing of the crickets will provide you with the perfect music to sleep to.
However, in England the rules are slightly different:
‘Strictly, all land in England and Wales is owned so you must gain permission before camping. However, wild camping within reasonable limits is often tolerated in many upland and remote areas, particularly in Snowdonia and the Lake District’. Pitchup.
So, while technically wild camping is not allowed in the UK there are instances when it is acceptable. For example, when you knock on a farmers door and ask if you can camp on his patch or if you are in a remote area and getting in no-ones way.
There is nothing more enriching than sleeping in the great outdoors, admiring the stars and watching the luminous sun set and rise.
Here are some top tips to make sure everyone has an enjoyable camping experience:
Pack it in pack it out
It is best not to leave a trace in site. Everything you take with you must stay with you. There is nothing more upsetting than seeing litter left behind by campers. Lets not give ourselves a bad name.
The only mark that should be left is a small flattened piece of grass where your tent would have been. Any loo roll, food, packaging or even apple cores need to go. The next walkers don’t want to slip on that banana skin that hasn’t had time to biodegrade.
Be choosy and pretentious
When it comes to picking a spot to put up your tent you are allowed to be a sob: ‘ohh its too bumpy’ or ‘that tree is too creaky’. The fussier you are the better nights sleep you will have.
It is worth walking over the ground first to see if the land is even. Choosing a flat piece of ground is ideal. If you have to sleep on a slight incline make sure your head is on the highest point and your feet on the lowest.
It is also a good idea to find sheltered spots, behind cliff faces, among trees (provided they are sturdy and wont fall down in the night). Stay away from roads and slightly off footpaths.
You might still have neighbours
Although you will probably be far away from human neighbors they may be other characters around.
Depending on the country you are in there may be predators around. For example, stay away from bear tracks and don’t keep any pungent food in your tent. The last thing you want is to be awoken by a wolf trying to get your half eaten chocolate bar from beneath your pillow.
Have a plan B
It’s always useful to have a quick research into the area beforehand. This way you will be able to highlight any potential B&B’s or settlements in case something goes wrong.
Chances are everything will be absolutely fine but in case you run low on water or part of your tent blows away its good to have a back up option.
All you need are the bare basics
It is best not to pack too much. Stick to the key items – sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothing layers, eye mask (so you don’t wake up with the sun), water, food and of course a tent (unless the weather is warm enough to sleep in the open).
And Last but not least …
Live in the moment, take in your surroundings and have a jolly good time. We are lucky to have beautiful landscapes, fantastic geography and fascinating wildlife. The best way to experience it all is to immerse yourself with the outdoors.
Have fun and share your favorite camping spots below.