How to Go Wild Camping in the UK: 10 Key Tips
If your looking into wild camping and your question is “how to Go Wild Camping in the UK” then this article is for you.
Wild camping is defined as “the practice of camping in places other than campsites, where there are no facilities such as running water and electricity”. Although the UK may have a small landmass, it certainly has plenty of wild places and natural landscapes to attempt a wild camping adventure.
However, where do you start? How do you go wild camping in the UK? The hardest part is stepping out the door. Once you’re underway the rest of your adventure will fall in place. By following these 10 tips, you’ll be well equipped to embark on your first wild camping experience.
What are the rules of wild camping in the UK?
In the UK, wild camping is allowed in most places as long as you follow the principles of “leave no trace.” This means that you should camp in a way that minimizes your impact on the environment. For example, you should choose a campsite that is already well-established and avoid damaging vegetation. You should also dispose of any trash properly and pack out anything that you brought with you. In addition, you should be prepared to camp in a way that is respectful of other people’s property rights. For instance, you should not camp too close to someone’s house or garden. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy wild camping while also protecting the natural environment.
To find out more about the laws and if you get caught wild camping Click Here
1 – Pick a Camping Location
To go wild camping in the UK, you need to pick a prime location to pitch your tent! National Parks are the most popular areas as they are wild, remote, and beautiful. Following at a close second are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. AONBs are also stunning areas albeit smaller and less secluded than National Parks.
To pick a good camping area, select the nature spot you want to visit then check it out on a map – by either using an OS map or an online satellite map. Try to pick a few locations that may be suitable for wild camping, so you have an idea of where to pitch when you get there.
Read our beginners guide to wild camping to help you find those locations and get you off to a good start.
2 – Choose a Camping Partner
Adventures with a friend or partner have many benefits when wild camping in the UK. A second person can help with decision-making and problem-solving. They can increase your safety as you won’t be alone if something goes wrong.
It’s also fun having someone to talk to and share your experiences with. Solo wild camping can be special for reflection and solitude, but this is only recommended for more experienced campers.
3 – Organise Your Backpack
A big part of wild camping is selecting the right gear to take with you. The more equipment you bring, the heavier your backpack will be. This will make you less mobile and add more strain to your body when hiking. However, it means you can carry more comfort items.
Search for a compromise. Try to pack as little as possible but don’t skimp on the essential items. Weigh your backpack to make sure it’s no heavier than 20% of your body weight. If it is, keep ditching gear until you’ve bought your bag down to a suitable weight.
If your struggling to get the weight down in your backpack read our How to pack a rucksack for wild camping article.
4 – Go Through a Departure Checklist
It’s incredible how easily you can leave behind essential equipment. When you go wild camping in the UK, you must remember dozens of gear items. To keep track of everything, try writing out a checklist in preparation.
That way, when you pack your bag on the day of departure, you can cross off each item once it’s accounted for to help you keep track of everything.
5 – Check the Weather Forecast
Everyone wants to hike in good weather. Sunshine and clear skies make for magnificent views and mild temperatures. However, good weather isn’t just about comfort, it can be a case of life or death. Sudden thunderstorms, hypothermia, whiteouts, landslides, and flash floods can all have serious consequences for wild campers.
Checking the weather before your trip allows you to prepare for these weather extremes and stops you from being caught out by adverse conditions.
6 – Head Out on the Trail
Before you head out wild camping, you need to get to the trailhead. This can be easier said than done! When wild camping in the UK, you may have to go off the beaten track to access your hiking area. Knowing all the transport options to/from the trailhead is important.
This information will make for a smooth wild camping trip without the added complications of transport weighing you down.
I found the wild camping UK facebook group really helpful, with over 60 thousand members there is always someone to help and that have been camping in your location you haven picked.
7 – Search Before Sunset
A key tip for wild camping in the UK is to search for your pitch before dark. You don’t necessarily have to pitch your tent in broad daylight, but you should at least find the site where you’ll pitch before it gets too dark.
Searching at night with a head torch is a challenging task that should be avoided if possible. It’s much easier to survey the surrounding area and find a prime location when you still have natural light. It also gives you more time to enjoy your campsite and relax in the evening.
8 – Clear the Ground
When you do set up your camp for the night, there are a few good tips to follow. First, search for an area of flat ground that’s as smooth as possible. Next, scan the surrounding area for any natural hazards such as waterways, rockfalls, and low-hanging branches. Then begin to sweep the ground to clear away thorns, rocks, sticks, and leaves.
This will give you a good place to pitch your tent. It will also reduce the likelihood of your camp mat being burst or damaged and it will ensure you have a better night’s sleep all around.
9 – Refuel
Camp dinners are an important part of wild camping. It’s a time for you to refuel and rehydrate. The whole process can be enjoyed for a variety of reasons. For example, it’s fun cooking al fresco and eating outdoors! Cooking over a camp stove, though limited in its functionality, is also a key part of wild camping and adds to the adventurous experience. It may not be Michelin star cooking, but after a long day of hiking, it can make a world of difference to your comfort levels.
If your not sure what food to take read our: The best foods to take wild camping article here.
10 – Pack Up Early
Wild camping in the UK only works if people respect an unwritten code of conduct. One of these rules is to leave early in the morning. You should also never stay in the same spot for more the one night. If you want to sleep in and spend the day relaxing at your camp, opt for a campsite instead.
Wild camping is about pitching up discreetly and staying on the move wherever possible. By leaving early in the day, you reduce your impact and keep the nature spots pristine for others!
Wild camping in the UK is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get away from it all. By following these 10 key tips, you can make sure your trip is safe, fun, and comfortable. From packing the right gear to choosing the perfect campsite, these tips will help you make the most of your wild camping experience. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring!