A Guide to Your First Time Wild Camping

Words by Le Chameau

April 04, 2024


The Ultimate Camping Experience: A Guide To Your First Time Wild Camping

Imagine waking up to a dawn chorus, unzipping your tent, and taking in the sights and sounds of a seemingly undisturbed landscape. As your eyes adjust to the morning sunlight, you see fields abuzz with wildlife. It’s just you and the natural world – no distractions. This might seem surreal, but for anyone who has been wild camping before, this is an experience they may well have vivid memories of.

Wild camping is a popular hobby among Brits. The sense of freedom is magnetic and will make you feel at one with nature. But how different is wild camping from traditional camping, and what should you be aware of before going on your first wild camping adventure? In this guide, we will tell you exactly what you need and how to prepare for a camping trip on the wild side.

How Is Wild Camping Different To Traditional Camping?

Entering a traditional campsite, you will be greeted with many other people and their tents. There will be facilities such as showers on hand and lots of chattering from campers enjoying their time outdoors. A traditional campsite has been purposely put in place to allow people to spend time with Mother Nature. It is maintained and offers you a safe, enjoyable experience outdoors. You may even get WiFi. With wild camping, there are no facilities, no roads in sight, and probably no access to your Instagram feed.

Wild camping in the UK is often done in national parks, beside lakes and mountains and near wildlife. When wild camping, you'll get the chance to fully immerse yourself in the outdoors, but there are certain rules you must stick to and a lot of preparation needed before taking on your first wild camping adventure.

So Why Should I Go Camping In The Wild?

Wild camping offers many benefits traditional camping cannot. You may be an experienced camper who wants to immerse themselves deeper in nature. If this is the case, then wild camping is for you.

Wild camping will give you a unique experience of the outdoors, an appreciation for the natural environment, a chance to learn new skills, and is a cheap and stress-free experience to enjoy with loved ones. It is also a way to grow confidence, according to award-winning adventure blogger Siân Anna Lewis of The Girl Outdoors:

"Wild camping is totally worth a try, even if you've only been used to the safety and amenities of traditional camping sites. It takes you far, far from daily life and crowds and routine and into amazing empty landscapes where often your little tent will be the only sign of humanity. It lets you camp in your own private paradise."

Wild Camping Essentials

Wild camping comes with its own kit list. Whilst with traditional camping, you can bundle everything you need in a car or leave it in a tent, when wild camping you have to carry everything with you, and that means everything. So you really have to be selective about what is essential and what isn't.

Pitching For The Night

Sleeping under the stars, surrounded by nothing but mountains and hills, sounds wonderful, but you need to ensure you can carry what you'll be sleeping in. A bivvy may be your best choice here. ‘Bivvying’ is the equivalent of sleeping in bag that covers you from head to toe. With thermal insulation, protection from the wind and waterproof properties, you can rest assured that you are well protected for a night sleeping outside. Alternatively, you can use a lightweight single-person tent that is easy to carry. Either option is good, but bringing a roll mat and blow-up pillow case would also help you with a comfortable night's sleep.

Feasting In The Wild

While you will definitely not be cooking up five-star restaurant meals on your wild camping trip, having a hearty meal is definitely necessary. Bringing a small, lightweight stove to cook meals and brew hot drinks over is all you need. Packing light items, such as pasta, dried fruit, and instant oats, are all the ingredients you need to power you through your wild camping adventure.

Suitable Clothing Options

Making sure that you pack clothing that is suitable for all weather conditions is essential. Your clothing must resist the elements and keep you protected and comfortable. Even in the summer, the nights can get very cold, so bring thermally insulated clothing, thick socks and waterproofs for when the heavens open. Your choice of footwear is also essential. Having a pair of walking boots that will support you whilst hiking and be comfortable for a long day in the mountains will make your wild camping trip even more enjoyable.

Read our How to choose the right footwear for your activities guide for more help choosing the footwear you need for camping.

Keeping Safe

Being prepared for all eventualities when wild camping is important. Remember to pack a head torch, a first aid kit and a power bank to charge your phone and any other electrical items. A GPS app or a map will help you navigate the countryside and find public rights of way.

What Are The Rules With Wild Camping?

Respecting the outdoors and the environment is central to any wild camping adventure. You must follow certain rules when on your wild camping trip – the Countryside Code is worth a look, but most important of all is to leave no trace of your activity. That means leaving no litter behind and being as quiet as possible so disturbance is minimised.

When planning a wild camping adventure, you must ensure that you have permission to be wherever you settle down for the night. Wild camping is illegal in most parts of the UK, but you are allowed if you have the permission of the landowner or are in specific wild camping spots. It is also a rule of thumb to only stay one night in the same place and not light any fires during your time on your pitch.

Another strict rule of wild camping is how you wash whilst in protected areas. Never wash with soaps in natural water as this will cause pollution, and make sure you bury any toilet waste and cover it all up.

Finally, one more time, never light an open fire.

Wild Camping Advice

Wild camping is an experience that will unearth feelings like no other. Spending a whole weekend in the fresh air will give you a new perspective on your world, but it can also be a daunting experience if you are unprepared. Siân Anna Lewis of The Girl Outdoors explains that planning your wild camping trip and practising at home is the best way to prepare for your first wild camping experience. Also, tell someone where you are heading before setting off, and give them an idea of when you will be back. Whether you are < a href="">planning a coastal adventure or a weekend-long hike in the mountains, make sure you know exactly where you plan to spend the night and know the rules before setting off.

Wild Camping With Le Chameau

So, you are ready for your first wild camping trip. Whether you choose to go with friends or brave the trip alone, ensuring you are prepared with all the essential equipment is vital – and a good pair of boots is no exception. Our leather walking boots are made from premium materials and utilise clever design and cutting edge technology to keep you dry, comfortable and supported wherever your wild camping adventures take you.