5 Tips for Wild Camping on a Budget
5 Tips for Wild Camping on a Budget

Wild camping is becoming a really popular option for those who want to experience a getaway without the cost of a big holiday. What is not to love about an adventurous trip into the unknown?

Wild camping will nourish your mental well-being as well as your physical fitness as you commune with nature in the great outdoors.

Wild camping is a chance to explore what is on your own doorstep without experiencing carbon-loaded, long flights or the hassle of mile-long airport queues. All of these perks make it not only a popular option but a really smart and sensible one for yourself and for your bank account.

Wild camping is both eco-friendly and cost-effective and these benefits should be very appealing to all of us, especially those of us who find ourselves increasingly aware of our dwindling budgets.

Wild camping is already the budget option when it comes to taking a break but there are always more savings to be made.

Here are our top 5 tips on how to wild camp on a budget :

1 . Plan and prepare – seek permission from landowners

Plan and prepare for Wild Camping on a Budget

The good news is that wild camping means that your camping site is free,  but to take advantage of this rather than pay for an established site, you must check with landowners and gain their permission as it is not a legal activity in most areas of the British Isles.

It is easier to wild camp in Scotland thanks to the Land Reform Laws of

2003 and on Dartmoor, as a result of some old byelaws, but you will still have to do your homework to make sure your site is legal.

There is lots of information and advice available on the internet and some of it can be a little tricky to navigate when it comes to the laws and permissions you need in the different parts of the British Isles, especially when you first start planning, BUT this research is essential to a stress-free wild camp and will save you both time and money in the long run.

2. Save money on equipment

In order to save money and stick to your budget, you MUST plan the equipment you need to take carefully, as this will be your most expensive outlay.

When it comes down to it you really need to answer just three important questions :

  • Will it keep you, your clothes, and other gear dry?
  • Can you carry it? 
  • Will it last?

It is often possible to rent or borrow equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and cooking utensils rather than pay full price. This is an especially good idea if this is your first venture into wild camping and you are testing the waters.

There are lots of reputable websites to look at and don’t be afraid to seek out advice before investing in expensive equipment.

A tent is the obvious significant cost, but take time looking for a lightweight and sturdy option that will last if you are going to invest in one. Don’t be swayed by flashy gimmicks – remember the 3 key questions above.

Where you can, try to invest, rent or borrow equipment that has multiple purposes – this will save on both cost and space.

3. Plan your route and activities carefully

wild camping activities

Planning ahead will always save you money. Shop for supplies and equipment out of season.

Although the price of a wild campsite is free, local activities such as cycling or sailing and trips out (for the odd beverage) will always be cheaper out of peak seasons.

For a truly budget option, go hiking, climbing and cold water swimming; fantastic free activities.

You will really benefit from doing your research on the area/s you have chosen to wild camp as there are often hidden historic or geological gems waiting to be explored for free.

Also think about entertainment, especially at night. Perhaps a pack of cards is worth its place in your backpack if lying down and staring at the stars gets too much!

4. Think about food and drink

Try to take food with you rather than having to pay extra once you are camping. It means you can stick to a budget.

There are lots of campfire/stove recipes online and cooking yourself will always be the cheaper option. Remember, food will add to the weight of your Bergen/backpack so planning meals carefully is key.

There are lots of freeze-dried, expedition meals that are lightweight, but these can be an expensive choice. Instead, you could try porridge, beans, rice, instant noodles and cured meats (such as Spam or corned beef) as cheaper and probably much tastier foods.

Drinking plenty of water is important, especially when hiking and climbing, but water bottles are heavy so plan your route and your choice of wild campsites so there is fresh water available for top-ups when you need them.

5. Stick close to home

Stick close to home when first wild camping

The major expense for all breaks is travel so if you can, stick close to home if you want to save money.

This is also a more environmentally friendly option and there will definitely be some breathtaking wild camping sites not too far from you.

Remember to keep all our wonderful wild camping sites beautiful by leaving the site as you find it.

In the Summer be especially vigilant of fire and use a stove to minimise the risk of wildfires spreading.

It’s recommended that you arrive late and leave early to minimise disturbance to local scenery and people. You’re also asked to not stay for too long in any one place.

Overview: Saving With Wild Camping

Wild camping is already a budget-friendly option but you can maximise your savings and make the most of your budget by following our top 5 tips.

You will be rewarded with a fabulous adventure in the wild where you can recharge your batteries and restore your mental and physical health by exploring the British countryside in its most beautiful and natural form.

You can marvel at the awe-inspiring scenery as you walk through woodlands, along coastal paths and climb hills all for free.

You will feel refreshed and rejuvenated – now how much would that cost you at a Spa?