A Guide to Wild Camping

A question I often see is what is the difference between camping and wild camping, after all camping is all about camping in countryside and exploring the area and the wild life.
 
Before I go any further, the advice I am about to give relates to Britain and wild camping in Britain, if you are wanting to wild camp in other countries please check before travelling.

What does Wild Camping mean?

Simply put its camping away from unofficial and organised camp sites. 

While they are are over 9,000 campsites in the UK – some people prefer to just find a spot and pitch their tent.

Some sites are “back to basic” type campsites, but these still aren’t wild camping but a middle ground between the two.

wild camping

Wild Camping in the UK

UK Map

Excluding Scotland, wild camping is pretty much illegal everywhere else in Britain, that’s not to say it doesn’t happen but be mindful that your are technically breaking the law, but if you stick to the rules below you should be ok.

These rules also apply in Scotland where Wild Camping is allowed in most places. Legally you need permission from the land owner to camp, for campsites that is easy.

The Rule of Wild Camping

There are no official rules to wild camping, but I have tried to create a set of guidelines to stand by which should mean you’re ok.
 
  1. Camp above the highest fell wall and not near towns and villages 
  2. Don’t light fires 
  3. Leave No Trace (see below for a more detail explanation on this)
  4. Pitch after dark
  5. Leave just after sunrise 
  6. Don’t camp near paths
  7. Camp only in small groups
  8. take away everything you brought
  9. Toilets – at least 100 feet (30 metres) away from water and bury the results (always carry a trowel)
  10. When pitching tents try to make sure they can’t be seen from a distance away

Leave No Trace (LNT)

Leave no trace basically means when you leave a place its exactly as you found it. No litter, no damage to the ground (hence no fires). So don’t damage trees, move rocks etc.
 
Basically if you took a photo of when you arrive and when you leave it should look exactly the same.

Is Wild Camping Safe?

is wild camping safe
Like everything else, there is a risk associated with wild camping, more than normal camping but many people go off wild camping every weekend and are perfectly fine.
 
Just make sure you let people know your route, rough area for camping and have an emergency phone on you just incase.

How do you pick wild camping spots?

So long as you follow the rules above and camp above the highest fall line, then its all about finding the perfect spot. I try and find somewhere which is obviously flat, and ideally protected from the winds – I actually want to sleep and not have my tent battered by winds all night, remember you are higher up the mountains so its not like your camping on ground level. 
 
My next thoughts are where do I want to be the next day, if I am climbing a mountain, I try and get as close to the summit as possible so that I am the first one up the next morning, depending on the time of year I might even get up before sunrise so that I can sit on top of a mountain and see the sunrise.
choosing the right spots

Whats is your tips for wild camping, share away in the comments below.

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