The romantic notion of sleeping in the mountains in a lone little canvas tent doesn’t just have to be a fantasy. Wild camping is the fine art of setting up your tent in the back of beyond and waking up a pocket of nature that’s all of your own, far from campsites and busy places.
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 – do you fancy kipping in sand dunes, or in a peaceful wood, or halfway up a mountain?
Like most adventures and active sports, I recommend building your confidence up slowly. Heading off into the hills on your lonesome with just a tent for company can be scary. Even if you’d like to spend weeks living in the wild or fancy going solo backpacking my advice is to try it for just one night first, and picking somewhere close to home. Pack up your kit and pick somewhere easy and hike onto the moor, making navigation and planning simple. And if I’m going to camp alone of an evening I like to tire myself out first – plan a day hike or a cycle to your destination and you’ll nod off to sleep no problem.
Practice setting up your tent on your own before you wild camp, so that it’s easy and quick to get set up. Take a few extras to make your tent feel like a cosy home – a pillow is good if you aren’t walking too far, a lantern is useful and you could even bring fairy lights. If I’m feeling a bit nervous I bring a cheerful book or a funny podcast to listen to. And I actually find that once I’m tucked into my sleeping bag reading a book with my tent zipped up I don’t tend to think too much about the big scary world outside.
And when you wake up in the morning to a fresh new morning you’ll also feel extremely proud of yourself. There’s nothing like packing up your tent and leaving the wild with your camping kit on your back for making you feel a huge confidence boost – give it a try and I bet you’ll surprise yourself.
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