Oh to get away from all your work, head towards the hills and enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? We all want to take a break from our monotonous life, and wild camping is an excellent way to accomplish just that.
Nothing beats sleeping under the stars, feeling the breeze in the woods, and waking up to the sun calling you out into the day. Wild camping in the woods is a great way to enjoy tranquility, immerse oneself in the environment, and become self-sufficient.
Continue reading to learn more about wild camping, including why you should wild camp, where you can legally wild camp, and so on.
What is Wild Camping
Simply put, wild camping means camping away from authorized campgrounds and trailer parks in the wild outdoors. You can do it for a single night or several weeks at a time, and you can set up camp anywhere in the woods.
Why Should I Go Wild Camping?
The greatest way to have a true, close encounter with a magnificent landscape is to go wild camping. It allows you the time and space you need to get away from the crowds, get off the main path, and actually appreciate the surroundings.
You will get to experience all of the benefits of camping in the wilderness without being surrounded by unwelcome people. There will be no campsites, no crowd, and hopefully no issues.
Your senses will be enhanced while you drink some coffee outside your tent alone, and you will be able to appreciate the sounds, smells, and sights of the outdoors like never before.
You’ll have a higher chance of seeing natural phenomena like cloud inversions, sunrises, and sunsets; you’ll have more time to take in the beauty of your surroundings; and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see iconic wildlife like stags and eagles in their native habitat.
It’s a cheap and cheerful method to finish multi-day walks in inaccessible spots while also allowing you to sleep and wake up in some of the most incredible places in the world.
Essentials for Wild Camping
Finding yourself in the woods without a critical piece of equipment is not only inconvenient but can also be life-threatening. So before you head out the door, figure out what camping items you’ll need.
As every night in the woods is different, you’ll need to pack for the situations you’ll encounter as the sunsets. Here are a few essentials that every wild camper will require:
- Sleeping Bag.
- Camp Stove that can be folded.
- Jacket that is both breathable and waterproof.
- Trousers for Hiking.
- Merino Wool Socks & Waterproof Hiking Boots.
- Sleeping Mat.
- Insect Repellent.
- Fire Starter (matchsticks, lighters)
- Compass and Map.
- Water Bottles.
- Water Purifier.
- First Aid Kit.
Is it Legal to Camp in The Woods?
To be honest, you can’t just show up anywhere you want. There are varying restrictions in different places when it comes to where you can lawfully wild camp.
Therefore it’s necessary to know what limits exist in your chosen country. Even in countries where wild camping is legal, restrictions vary by region, so you’ll need to conduct some research into any local rules or standards to ensure that you’re wild camping in an approved location.
Where Can You Go Wild Camping in The UK?
Wild camping rules in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom differ significantly.
England and Wales
Without the express consent of the landowner, camping in the wild is illegal in England and Wales. However, wild camping is pretty prevalent in some locations.
For example, there are huge areas in the Lake District and Snowdonia where camping is permitted, provided that appropriate measures are followed, and campers remain out of sight of all streets and human settlements. However, it is still not a right.
Dartmoor is unique in that you have a governing authority right to camp, and the national park actively promotes responsible wild camping. The rule of thumb is to camp high up, set up late, leave camp early, and leave no traces. Dartmoor National Park is open-access, which means that wild campers are permitted to visit.
However, the rest of England and Wales does not have open access. So, without the permission of the proprietor, wild camping is technically prohibited. That isn’t to say that it isn’t done. Many people camp wild in the Lake District, particularly on Scafell Pike and in Snowdonia National Park, with no problems.
Wild campers in Scotland have unrestricted access. This means that they are free to camp whenever and wherever they want.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, which went into effect in 2005, establishes access and camping rights throughout Scotland. The Act made it permissible to wild camp anywhere within Scotland as long as campers adhered to a few rules.
- Camping should be light, done in small groups, and limited to two or three nights in one location.
- Campers must be responsible, causing no pollution and leaving no trace.
- Only protected areas of crops or farm animals are excluded, and visitors must set tents distant from houses or roadways.
- In recent times, some smaller places, such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, have enacted bylaws restricting wild camping and requiring you to obtain a permit or stay in specified sites.
Where to Wild Camp in The USA and Canada?
Many regions of the United States and Canada allow wild camping, including Canadian Crown Land and US national forests and grasslands. However, there are some limits to keep in mind, such as not camping on Indian Reservation territory.
Different states and parks have different laws and restrictions, so be sure to double-check before you go. Wilderness camping is permitted in national parks and national monument regions, but you must verify local rules and may require a permit.
In the United States, you’ll have two options:
Grasslands and National Forests
National Forests and Grasslands in the United States are normally free and available for wild camping. However, the majority of these camping areas have a 14-day maximum.
Each forest and grassland will have its own set of laws, so double-check before you go. Use the National Forest Map Locator to discover a legal wild camping area.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
BLM is most commonly seen in western states. It is public land that is managed by the government. And, as long as you stay away from developed campsites, you’ll be fine.
Be aware that certain BLM areas are used for other purposes (such as animal grazing), so double-check each location before going.
It’s a little difficult to locate them. What you’ll need is a Google Maps overlay file. For the latest up-to-date version, search Google for “BLM Google Earth Overlay.”
How to Locate The Ideal Wild Camping Location
After you’ve decided on your destination, you’ll need to find a decent place to stay the night. So, what should you search for in a camping spot in the woods?
Look for sites far away from residential houses, trails, and tracks using mapping tools like Google Maps.
Arrive early enough to check over the area in the daylight, looking for signs of wildlife that might bother you during the nighttime. Also, look for any wildlife signs on neighboring roadways, especially during mating or breeding seasons.
Be wary of water sources: while it’s convenient to be close to one for cooking and hydration, you should aim to keep at least 50 meters away from a natural water source to prevent infection.
Look for an area that is naturally flat, where you can camp without damaging plants or moving boulders and stones. If feasible, choose a location that is wind-sheltered, but avoid being too close to trees that may creak all night or catch flames from your campfire.
Tips for Safety in The Wilderness
These easy wilderness and camping safety precautions can assist you in having a trouble-free vacation in the wild:
- Examine the weather prediction.
- Before you go out, make sure you’re in good physical shape.
- Refresh your knowledge of basic survival skills.
- Pack some staples for survival, such as a fire starter and extra food.
- Bring a basic first-aid kit with you.
- Change your socks on a regular basis.
- Don’t drink or use illegal substances.
- Research the area and make sure you’re prepared for any problems it may present, such as uneven terrain or steep hills.
- Carry a paper map with you in case your gadgets fail.
- Consider packing a tracking transmitter, such as a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), for longer travels or solo adventures. This will aid emergency services in locating you in case you require assistance.
We hope you found this article helpful. Here are a few other common questions people ask.
Is it Safe to Go Wild Camping?
Take the standard precautions – inform someone where you’re going and when you expect to return – but wild camping is entirely safe, especially when compared to evenings spent wandering around a busy city.
Is it Legal to Camp in The Woods?
Wild camping rules vary by nation; for example, wild camping is commonly permitted in Scotland, whereas it is only allowed with the consent of the landowner in England and Wales.
Can I Camp on The Beach?
Most public beaches make it unlawful to camp on the beach, so you’ll have to arrange where you’ll go ahead of time. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path to locate some of the nicest sites away from the major touristy beaches.
Consider wild camping as a way to spend quality time in nature. Understanding how few items you need to spend the night on is a great experience. I hope you learned some useful suggestions and ideas from this beginner’s guide to wild camping so you can make only wonderful memories while sleeping beneath the sky.
Also, remember to check the current forecast before heading out into the wilderness, and if possible, follow up with changes while on your adventure — there are various apps available for cellphones that may aid with this.