Best Tents for Wild Camping?
Wild Camping is an outdoor activity that involves setting up a campsite in a nature area. Hikers will often head off the beaten track and into a wild landscape to find the perfect wild camping location. Generally, a tent is used during wild camping but sometimes a bivvy, tarp, or bushcraft shelter can be erected.
Wild camping involves an elusive element where it’s best to stay out of sight. In the UK, wild camping is only fully legal in Scotland. Therefore, in the National Parks of England and Wales, wild camping must be done more discretely. As a result, the type of tent or shelter you use for wild camping can greatly impact your trip’s success. Here are some of the best tents for wild camping.
Different Tent Style for Wild Camping
Most wild campers opt for a tent as it’s a secure option with many options on the market. However, there are other lightweight alternatives. A bivvy bag (or bivy bag) is a common piece of equipment used in the army. It is a waterproof sack that wraps around your sleeping bag.
A bivvy is very lightweight and offers excellent camouflage, but it leaves the inhabitant open to the elements. Pitching a flysheet or tarp over your bivvy can keep off the worst of the weather but this method is only advised for hardy hikers.
Building your own shelters in hollows or cutting down timber to erect a sleeping area is also possible. However, this form of bushcraft is less reliable and involves a good deal of knowledge and preparation to know how to suitably set one up.
The best tents for wild camping are often ones that can be strapped to your bag and carried with you on a hike. Pop-up tents used for festivals are useless, as are hefty multi-pod tents that campers pitch in RV parks.
Select a dome or A-frame tent for your wild camping adventures. Try to buy one that is as light as possible. Make sure you know how to erect the tent and consider how you will carry this tent and where it will be attached to your bag.
Useful Tent Functions For Wild Camping
The best tents for wild camping will be multi-functional. They cater to all the needs of a wild camper. For example, select a tent with muted colours. Although a bright orange tent can help you be spotted in an emergency, it is too conspicuous to be used for wild camping.
Select a tent with a high waterproof rating. A cheap tent purchased from a superstore can be used for the occasional hiking trip. But if you plan on committing to some multi-day wild camping trips, keeping yourself warm and dry at night is a necessity.
Can you erect the tent solo or in high winds? Both these features are worth considering when looking at the best tents for wild camping. Solo wild camping is a fantastic way to explore the outdoors, but you need to trust your knowledge and rely on your tent during harsh conditions.
How tall are you? How much space do you need inside a tent? A low-profile tent has a lot of benefits when wild camping. It is sleek and discreet, blending in amongst rock features and vegetation. It will also be more streamlined in high winds. However, a small tent makes it difficult to sit up inside and doesn’t provide much room for manoeuvre.
What will a Tent Cost for Wild Camping
Simply put, the more expensive a tent is, the better it will be. A pricey tent will be more waterproof, more wind-resistant and generally more reliable in extreme conditions. However, the key feature is often related to weight.
There is a big jump in price between normal weighted tents and lightweight tents. A cheap tent can wight 3-4 kg. A mid-range tent will weigh 2-3kg. A top-of-the-range tent will weigh 1.5kg or less. When hiking, this weight difference can have a huge impact.
Fibreglass is generally the material used in cheap tent poles. It is relatively heavy and breaks easily. Aluminium is strong and lightweight, but more expensive. Carbon fibre is then super strong and very lightweight but the most expensive.
You can pick up a cheap tent for £20-30 from most superstores. A considerable upgrade, and well worth the extra money, would be a mid-range tent from a camping store. This will cost you anywhere between £80-120. At the top end, the most lightweight tents can easily set you back £250-300 or more.
Tent Options from Low to High Range
Cheap Tents – You will save plenty of money going cheap, but you may regret it on the trail later. Try to go for a slightly more upmarket choice to get a better bang for your buck. Stores like Mountain Warehouse, Trespass, Millets, Cotswold Outdoor, and Decathlon all sell cheap home brand tents.
Mid-Range Tents – There are hundreds of good mid-range tents on the market. The Coleman Cobra 2 tent is an excellent choice for a mid-range option. It is windproof and waterproof to 3,000 mm, good for quick assembly, and relatively lightweight at 2.9 kg with sturdy aluminium poles. The Vango Banshee 300 or the Vango Orion 200 are also great choices.
Top-of-the-Range Tents – Here you’ll find the specialist brands such as The North Face, Marmot, and REI that design tents for serious expeditions and adventures. They make some of the best tents for wild camping and an investment in one of these tents is advisable for serious hikers. Check out the MSR Hubba Hubba NX or the Terra Nova Laser Compact.
Don’t try to buy the most expensive tent the first time you go wild camping. Start with a cheaper tent from a reliable brand. Over time, you’ll soon learn what you do and don’t like about the tent. You then know exactly what to look for when you upgrade.
Even the best tents for wild camping take some getting used to. Practice pitching your tent in the garden before you leave on your adventures. Get to know its limitations and get comfortable with using it in a range of situations. Your tent is crucial when wild camping and it pays to know how to use it well!