Wild camping is a unique experience when out exploring the wild. However, there is nothing worse than setting off on your wild camping adventure and forget some important items that may make your camping trip uncomfortable.
This guide will help you in your wild camping experience, from what to take, to the laws of camping and most of all how-to wild camp safely. At the very end we've curated a wild camping gear checklist so that you don't miss anything!
What is wild camping?
Wild camping is a lot different from traditional camping. Traditional camping involves the tent being set up on a campsite or a caravan park whereas wild camping involves individuals being outside their comfort zone and setting up a tent in the wilderness. Wild camping involves a lot of preparation and safety know-how which can make the camping experience a little daunting for beginners. Wild camping is all about embracing nature and being in a peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of campsites and caravan parks.
What are the laws around wild camping?
In the UK, there are set legalities around the laws of wild camping. In England and Wales, the laws are different from the laws in Scotland which must be adhered to in order to avoid any penalties.
Wild Camping in England and Wales
Wild camping in England and Wales is illegal unless express permission is obtained from the landowner however there are some English parks where wild camping is allowed in designated areas. Dartmoor National Park demonstrates this practice by allowing some forms of wild camping.
This should not be mistaken as just being able to turn up and pitch a tent, Dartmoor National Park will allow you to wild camp if you are on a multi-day walk in which you will be allowed to pitch up a tent but if the reason for your visit is sole to wild camp this will not be allowed.
When it comes to other national parks across England and Wales, such as the Lake District and Peak District, the landowner’s permission must be sought in order to wild camp and no trace of your arrival should be left upon departure.
If you are planning on wild camping in Wales, there is a list of local farms that allow wild camping, this information can be obtained by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.
Wild Camping in Scotland
The regulations around wild camping in Scotland are more relaxed as opposed to England and Wales. Wild camping is legal under the right to roam. The right to roam is a freedom individuals have to camp, swim and hike in nature without restrictions however this should not be abused as some restrictions may still apply. It is still best practice to check if the site you wish to camp at is unrestricted and general housekeeping rules must be followed such as being respectful of the land and fellow campers.
The Unwritten Rules of Wild Camping
It is always advised that campers should follow rules in order to respect the land, nature, and other campers. Your wild camping experience should not have any negative impact on the land and the wildlife. If you’re a beginner to the wild camping world, then these rules are for you or if you’re a seasoned camper then continue for a refresher.
1. Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
Wild camping in Scotland requires you to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The code outlines the basic principles that must be followed including, respecting the interest of others, looking after the environment, and taking responsibility for your own actions.
2. Do not attempt to light any fires
This is extremely detrimental to the land and can be disturbing to wildlife. If you need heat to warm up food then a camping stove or portable BBQ is advised. Under no circumstances must you light a fire on the ground.
3. To ensure the area is clean and useable for others
It is important to not leave a trace of your stay. This means, cleaning up any litter and leaving the area in the condition you found it.
4. Be conscious of your waste
It is understandable that everyone who wild camps will need to use the bathroom, but in the wild, the only bathroom you have is nature so it is important to be respectful of how you manage personal waste. Make sure you use the bathroom away from any natural rivers and dispose of waste respectfully by burying it underground.
If any feminine hygiene products are used during your visit, then please ensure you treat it as household waste and take it with you to dispose of later In an appropriate receptacle.
5. Don't obstruct other campers
It is best practice to not obstruct other camper’s and hiker’s enjoyment. When pitching a tent you must remember that other people may want to enjoy the view as much as you therefore bringing a tent that either fits on the roof of your car or using one that blends into the surroundings is best recommended. If you are able to spread out your belongings too that would be much appreciated by your fellow campers.
Wild Camping Checklist
This list is compiled of the things you should take to ensure maximum enjoyment and comfort.
- Blow up mattress or camping mat
- A small folding chair
- A lightweight tent
- Sleeping bag
Camping Kitchen Gear
- Small camping stove or camping BBQ
- Ready made food supplies
- Energy bars
- Thin cutting board
- Water purification tablets
- Water bottles
- First Aid Kit
- Power bank to charge phones
- Pocket Knife
- GPS or paper Maps
- Flash lights
- Toilet paper
Wild Camping Clothing Essentials
- Waterproof Jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Thermal undergarments
- Hiking Boots
- Hiking Socks
In conclusion, wild camping is a fun and alternative way to experience nature. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned camper with a roof tent, it is always helpful to have this guide on hand to ensure the best possible outcome for your adventure.
Have fun exploring and embrace all that nature has to offer