Wild camping

Travel: 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District

Mark thumbnail sml.jpg
 

The roasting sun had been shining in London for months, our flat was dry, creaky and sun bleached.  Parks were bursting at the seams and my tan was reaching it’s Mediterranean limit.

So, we jested, why not ditch the the hottest heatwave since the 70s for some of England’s tallest mountains, largest lakes and most glorious countryside during its wettest month of the year! Welcome to the Lake District, a place whose precipitous weather predictions were correct. Despite the wet weather we had a fantastic time exploring lakes by foot, which was made all the more adventurous by wild camping.

 

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

We were drawn to the lakes after a short trip in May offered by Ali’s family. The Lake District provides many activities and it does so across a relatively small area of land. We saw potential for a walking adventure, so we arranged a trip back a few months later, oblivious to how wet it might be. Our plan was to take our camping equipment and wild camp our way between as many of the northern lakes (the quieter ones) as possible. We didn’t plan the route and did most of our mapping via Maps.me, deciding as we went where we’d go next. We also opted to keep this trip budget, aiming to spend £25 a day, we’ll let you know how we got on.

 

Travel

We travelled to Penrith from London via National Express on a night bus, acquiring £10 tickets pp per way.  We slept on the bus and set alarms for 5am when we arrived at Penrith. Luckily there’s a 24hr McDonald’s next to the bus stop were we could wait until 7am when the first bus (X5) to Keswick arrives. The bus takes about 45 minutes and costs £7.40 pp. For the rest of our visit we would be walking, so pack your boots!

Lake Buttermere

Lake Buttermere

Planning

There aren’t many places to restock your food provisions once you leave Keswick. So if you’re planning on walking the route, make sure you’ve thought about your supplies for the amount of days you'll be camping for. The following supplies lasted us for 4 days. We carried cheese, which could pose a few health risks if it gets hot, luckily for us the environment was cool and the cheese lasted well in the depths of our bags. Our food cost £22 for 4 days.

 

Breakfast

  • Instant Coffee

  • Milk powder

  • Porridge

  • Cinnamon

Snacks

  • Biscuits

  • Nuts

  • Bananas

  • Apples

Lunch

Sandwich made from:

  • Cheese

  • Bread

  • Spicy Chipotle Paste

  • Tomato

Or

  • Noodles

  • Spicy paste

Dinner

  • Salt & Pepper (brought from home)

  • Olive oil (brought from home)

  • Garlic

  • Pasta

  • Courgette

  • Tomato purée and water

  • Cheese

Those homemade sandwiches....

Those homemade sandwiches....

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Water

This was the trickiest part because people we chatted too were iffy on if we chould drink from the streams as there’s so much livestock. We didn't take any risks and filled up at pubs, cafes, campsites and even knocked on someone’s door. Everyone was happy to help us. We left London with 2 x 1 litre bottles and scavenged 2 x 500ml plastic water bottles, which we cleaned and reused. This was enough for half a day, with water for drinking and water for cooking with. We brought water purification tabs with us too but didn’t use them.

 

Equipment

We didn’t buy anything new for this trip, opting to use our beaten old equipment that wasn’t very expensive in the first place. Point being, you don’t need fancy equipment to get your camp on...you will find a link to our living in a tent post at the bottom of this article.

 

  • 2 person lightweight Berghaus tent - 2kg

  • sleeping bag (1 per person)

  • hob

  • gas

  • pots, pans and lids

  • small wooden spoon

  • 1 litre water bottle (1 per person)

  • penknife

  • cup (1 per person)

  • spork (1 per person)

  • waterproof jacket

  • decent hiking boots

  • gaffa tape

  • first aid kit

  • quick dry towel

  • torch

  • waterproof trousers

  • warm clothes, hat, gloves

  • phone charger / battery charger for emergencies

  • entertainment - ebook, cards, music etc

  • suncream and hat

Optional luxuries

  • roll mat

  • blow up pillow

  • dry bag

 

Map

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

Here is the route we took on our wild camp adventure...

 

Walking Route

The walk up to Castle Crag

The walk up to Castle Crag

Day 1 /  10 hours walking 

This was longest walk of the loop as we wanted to wake up somewhere new for day 2. Arriving in Keswick at 8am we started by stocking up on food at the Co-op and set off clockwise around lake Derwent aiming for the Chinese bridge. You’ll pass the Lodore Falls Hotel where you can restock your water. From the Chinese bridge we skirted south around the fell towards Manesty and then Castle Crag, these are clearly signposted. If you’re feeling tired you could camp at Rosthwaite or Borrowdale, which lie at the bottom of the Honister pass. If you’ve still got the beans head up to the Honister pass along the roadside path where you’ll soon see a YHA hostel and slate mine with cafe. We were tired so it would have been rude not enjoy a cake, or two (£4.50) and a free hot water!

With our sugars replenished we set off down the western side of the pass towards Gatesgarth aiming for Buttermere lake. Unfortunately, the only route available, short of tackling the Great Gable, is along the road or an easily missed mountain pass (which we did miss). The surroundings are stunning and this particular road is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the country, so walking it ain’t so bad. After 2 hours the lake becomes visible and we trace around the right of lake to find a secluded spot under large trees just below the huge rough ramblers house. Camp setup, we continue along Buttermere for another 30 mins into the village to restock our water and enjoy a swift half at the The Fish Inn. The sun shines at 5pm and we smile contently in the beer garden before heading back to the tent for supper with aching legs.

 

Sunset at Lake Derwent

Sunset at Lake Derwent

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Day 2 / 7 hours walking

It’s very wet the next morning so rather than tackle the Hay Stacks, a high fell overlooking Buttermere, we decide to walk the opposite way around the lake into Buttermere villlage. A whole circuit of Buttermere will take 2hrs. We arrive completely soaked and hit up the Skye Farm Tea Room for cream tea, which costs £4.50 per person and fills us up like Popeye and spinach. A rest bite from the elements is welcomed as we plan the remainder of the day. Rather ignorantly, we failed to notice the huge lake nestled above Buttermere! So spend the rest of the day enjoying a circuit around lake Crummock, which is a far quieter and larger excursion than Buttermere. The walk is lovely and changes across the circuit, and the sun even comes out towards the end.  Ali returns to camp to find she has a burnt nose, that sneaky afternoon sun can catch you off guard so pack your suncream!

On the way to a rosey nose!

On the way to a rosey nose!

A circuit around Crummock takes 4 hours at a leisurely pace. Wild camping makes washing difficult so we decide to dunk ourselves in the ice cold lake in our underwear.  The French tourists laughed furiously as we flapped about in the water, it was worth it to hit the sleeping bag so fresh and so clean (yeah, think Outkast!).

Alternatively, if the weather is dry and mountains clear you could enjoy a day walk up Hay Stacks /Scarth Gap/ High Crag peaks.

 

On the way up Hay Stacks

On the way up Hay Stacks

Day 3 / 10 hours walking

The day started sunny with clear mountain peaks so we set off early and restocked our water with some kind rough ramblers staying in the house above our camp spot. Destination.... Hay Stacks. On a sunny day this is a relatively accessible climb to 600 meters. But on our trek the rain clouds returned, the wind picks up and we get drenched. The peak includes a scramble and the high winds put us off, so we found another route to the top around the back of the peak. This secondary route gave us a pretty sweet view of lake Ennerdale further east. The rain clouds were so misty that we couldn’t see any of the lakes to the north, so we go for a quick dash down. From the top of Hay Stacks it’s a clearly routed, if rather slippery, path that returns you to the farmhouse near Buttermere. We heard this walk should take 3 hours but it took us nearer 4.

 

Praying for some sun, we packed down camp and trekked to Buttermere village again and enjoyed another round of cream tea, at £4.50 each.  We just can't get enough of those warm scones!  Plus we need the calories with this much walking.  We had heard there was a shop at Lorton so we set off north along the road running parallel to lake Crummock. What Google suggested was a two hour walk was, in reality, a 4 hour one. Especially as we took a scenic path on a national cycle route via Thackthwaite. Although preferable to the road, it took far longer. If you’re tired then just stay on the main road. We checked out a few of the campsites nearby but they were pretty grotty and overpriced. So we headed to the hills behind the Wheatsheaf Inn for a wild camp spot, finding a secluded pitch about 10-15 mins from the pub. We enjoyed a rather lavish supper at the Wheatsheaf and slept like stones (or maybe scones) after the 10 hours of walking!

 

Walking to Lorton

Walking to Lorton

Day 4 / 5 hours walking 

We awoke early to a spritely farmer rounding his sheep in the next field, so we decided to do a runner before he told us off for camping there! At 8am we stomped into High Lorton and onto a country lane that would later join onto the B5292 via Whinlatter forest, heading east to Keswick. Finally the sun that the rest of country and had been enjoying all week hit the Lake District and we wonder through pine forests for 3 hours in beautiful sunshine. Although a lightly busy road, the fine views more than make up for the cars. We stop for some more cream scones (£5 for 2) in Braithwaite and arrive back in Keswick for lunch, cheap homemade Mali sandwiches of course! 

 

We doze in the Lower Fitz park all afternoon and set off around the Derwent for our final camping spot in the sun overlooking the lake. We find an absolute beauty about 40 mins in and watch an incredible sundown in surely the most stunning camping spot we’ve ever christened! A weather app makes us very aware that the forecast is awful for the whole next day. Enjoy it while it lasts, as they say.

 

Day 5

For our final day we had planned a hike up Skiddaw, north east of Keswick, but the weather was awful again. Think torrential rain until 12pm. Plans dashed, we moved to Weatherspoons to enjoy unlimited refills on hot drinks that fuelled the writing of this post. Later we jump on a bus (£7.40pp) back to Penrith before our night bus back to London (£10pp), with a few pints to inebriate the evening, ready for solid if awkward sleep on the bus. Last stop, the big smoke.

 

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

£4.50 Cream tea, get in!

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Cost

Well our target for this trip was £25 a day, borrowed from the type of spending normally associated with Asia! We just about did it, averaging £22 (for two people) including travel and food. By wild camping we saved £75 and also gained the satisfaction of sleeping in some really interesting places, away from the often noisy hubbub of a campsite. We have omitted some of the luxuries like pints and cream teas because they’re not essential for the trip. If you were to add them in it will take our total up to £38 a day (for two people) which still ain’t bad for a trip in pricey old Blighty.

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

If you get a chance to trek up Cat Bells by Derwent Water on a clear day then you won't be disappointed by the views!

Video

 

With a bit of planning, the right equipment and the will to go against the grain a little, you can have a wild low cost adventure in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. We hope you feel Inspired to get out there and start your own exploration! It’s so much easier than you think...

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Travel - 5 Day Wild Camping Loop In The Lake District, By Studio Mali
 

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Camping: Living In A Tent

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In our convenient world of Booking.com, Hostelworld and Airbnb, travelling has been made ever so accessible via the relative ease of finding, booking and getting to your accommodation. We decided to buck this modern trend and spend most of our summer sleeping in a tent!  This piece will give you tips on how you plan your own long term camping trip.  We will also take you through some of our highs and lows from camping across Europe and Asia with our home strapped to our backs.

 

Camping's Technicalities

Firstly, we must discuss size. Ali is 5"3 and Mark a long 6"2, which means we have to distribute the weight between two bags carrying a collective weight of 35kg. Mark carries 18kg and Ali 17kg. Remember, travelling with a tent, tarp and cooking equipment is much heavier than a general backpacking experience where you’ll just carry basic equipment between hostels. When you’re living in a tent in nature there are some barriers you’ll need to consider: ranging temperatures, wind, rain, snow, slopes, dips in the ground, insects, finding water, keeping food fresh and struggling with carrying a heavy bag every day.

Equipment list

Our general advice would be to buy medium to high specification equipment because it will almost always be lighter than the cheaper stuff, it should last longer too. That said most of our equipment is medium end and has performed well across a range of places including Siberia in Autumn. We generally buy our equipment from actual shops so you can check performance and ask questions. Sometimes we go home and buy online when you know which product you want so you can get a better price. 

Turtle travellers

Backpack

Your bag is so important because you’ll use it everyday and it’s the only way to transport your gear around comfortably.  Firstly, you’ll need to be realistic about how much you can carry. Nature can throw many challenges at you so having all the equipment you will need makes for a much heavier bag.  See if you can test the bag in a shop with 20kg of weight to make sure your back is conformable, remember weight should be distributed around your waist rather shoulders. 

Ali has a 60L bag and Mark a 65L, which are both mage by Berghaus. Mark's bag is 8 years old and part from from a few clip snapping the bag has performed well, Bergahuse replace any utility clips free of charge too. Make sure you buy a strong bag with a lifetime guarantee, companies like Berghaus and Osprey will replace parts that break or malfunction. We paid no more than £80 for each backpack and we’ve had very few problems with our bags in this price range. More important than the bag is how you pack it, we have tried so many combinations of setup with the tent on the outside, sleeping bags in bin bags strapped to the top, and neither of those worked. We have come to the following conclusions on packing your bag to avoid backache…

Packing Your Bag

  1. Most modern backpacks have a compartment at the bottom where you should place your sleeping bag, as tightly wrapped as possible, in a plastic bag to protect it from water. Squeeze that in first.
  2. Put your tent in next into the largest bag making sure the length on the tent sits against the bags spine as it will support your back and the structure of the bag.
  3. Squeeze in the smaller items like pots and pans, inflatable mattresses and inflatable pillow around the tent at the bottom of the bag because these are the last things you’ll need later when you set up camp.
  4. Lastly put in the items you will need most at the top of the bag normally clothes, hat and gloves.
  5. Use the side pockets for water and day to day items.

Additional Backpack Items

Always pop into the pound shop and buy the follow items:

Bungee cords - These allow you to attach almost anything to the outside of bag and they are also useful for setting up a mosquito net in a large room.

Utility straps - If you need a stronger, more permanent, connection then utility straps are great.

Gaffa tape - Incredibly useful.  Use it to attach a mosquito net to the wall, fix ripped bags or keep food packaging sealed and fresh. You can fix most things with gaffa tape!

Bin bags - Can be used with gaffa tape to waterproof pretty much anything.

With these items almost anything can be attached to the bag with the weight ideally going upwards rather than outwards, otherwise your bag bounces with every step (Ali put up with this for weeks before using the technique above).

Our Berghaus tent

Our Berghaus tent

Tent 

We have a small lightweight two person tent made by Berghaus which is wind and rain-proof. It fits in the 65L bag, which is a must!  It may be worth taking some extra pegs and a repair kit and always check the season of the tent. We have a 3 season tent which has been suitable to -2 temperatures but this would not give enough protection for cold winter weather. Our tent is small with a tiny porch so we had to find a way of storing all of our equipment in the tent and keep it dry. The solution is to cocoon our backpacks in black plastic bin bags, using the gaffa tape, and leave them outside the main tent in the porch. This gives us more space inside the tent. Our tent is also very quick to put up and take down because of simply designed it is, which is an advantage when there is only a small weather window to escape in.

If you need some detailed help and advice on picking the right tent you won't find a better guide than this one https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/camping-hiking.html

Tarp

After a few weeks of camping we soon realised that when the rain came, and in Norway it definitely did, we didn't have anywhere to sit and relax in the evenings or cook dinner. So we visited Globetrotter in Berlin to pick up a big tarp for extra space. Having a tarp was such a useful item because we could create a large space using our walking poles as stems or by attaching the tarp to trees. With the extra shelter we could prepare all three meals a day without having to worry about any incoming precipitation!  

Gortex Jackets

Gortex Jackets

Jacket

This item should be on any backpackers list because keeping yourself dry when facing the elements should be your top priority. We have Gortex (waterproof and breathable) jackets which, as well as being lightweight, have peaked hoods that keep the structure of the hood in heavy wind and rain. We also opted for windproof jackets, which does exactly what it says. We spent around £80 pp for our jackets with these features but prices can be much higher for insulating linings, thicker materials etc. In our experience it is better to have a light rain jacket that is supplemented by 1+ thinner layers underneath as it's much easier to control your temperature this way. 

 

Day Bag

It can be quite useful to have a smaller day bag that you can wear on your front where you can keep the items you’ll need across the day like your rain jacket, gloves, hat, sprays, sun cream and water. The downside of a day bag is that you’ll probably get a sweaty chest where the bag rests against it. If we are doing a long trek with heavy bags then we’ll attach the day bag to our larger backpack. 

 
It's useful to have a day bag for excursions out of camp

It's useful to have a day bag for excursions out of camp

 

Boots

It’s an imperative that you buy some decent boots because you’ll use them everyday and they will help soak up some of the forces from a heavy bag. They’ll also help you grip on difficult surfaces and most importantly keep your feet dry. Boots come in different season ratings, the higher the rating the less flexible the sole of the shoe is. For example, a 4 season boot is for technical activities like climbing and cold weather so the shoe will not flex at all. We have 2 season Gortex boots that are grippy, waterproof and have some flex in them, which is perfect for trekking. Do some research before you purchase because there are many companies making boots and many different price ranges. We bought our North Face boots in a half-price sale for £60 and they have last for 7 years. Although the waterproofing started to fail us on this trip so we bought a waterproofing spray that brought them back to life, who knew Gortex boots can lose their waterproofing?

Socks and Gloves

If you can afford it buy Merino wool, which can be manufactured into socks, shirts and jumpers but at a high price point. We would certainly recommend Merino wool socks because they have been the only ones to last the whole trip. Literally all the synthetic and cotton socks had holes in after extended use, whereas the Merino wool ones just keep on going. Over time we will buy all of our clothes in Merino wool because they are warm, dry quickly and pick up less smell than synthetics, smelly Mark can attest to this! We also have 3 season gloves that are waterproof and insulating. The waterproofing is really useful but we found them too cold on their own, so we purchased some cheap wool gloves that fit inside the waterproof ones. With two pairs of gloves our hands are toasty, warm, dry and we can still just about operate a camera with them on.

Wild camping on Olkhon Island, Siberia

Wild camping on Olkhon Island, Siberia

Sleeping Bags - The 'comfort zone' will depend on the season you are travelling in, we have 16 to -4 degree bags that compact well. In winter months, you'll need even warmer sacks.

Roll Mats - These insulate you from the cold ground as well making the ground softer. We have self inflating mats that have performed ok, after a few months Mark's started to deflate in the night and his was a £40 mat!   

Inflating Pillows - These have been really useful on the trip because they make sleeping far more comfortable, easy to deflate and store inside the sleeping bag.

Torch / Headlight - When you're camping you'll need light every night. Purchase a decent LED torch / headlight and you won't regret it!

Gas Hob - If you want to make food in the wild then you'll need a hob and gas. We opted for a little fold out hob that can hold a full pan of water.

Camping Gas - A standard 330 gram gas canister can last up to three weeks of 3 meals a day and hot drink at breakfast. 

Pots And Pans - We purchased some Vango pots and pans that slot inside one another to save on space. Both saucepans have lids, and the lid of the larger pan doubles up as a frying pan.  We also use the pans as bowls for eating out of.

Plates, Cups, Sporks - All made of plastic for lightweight storage, we use these daily for our food prep, plating up and hot drinks.

Multi-tool - This is an all singing all dancing penknife with a selection of knives, tin opener, scissors etc.  Multi-tools are relatively heavy so it's worth checking the weight first.

First-Aid Kit - It is important to get this bit right whilst travelling.  Make sure you have a good selection of plasters, antiseptic wipes, syringes, bandages, tablets, gloves, steri-strips, wound pads, mosquito repellent, high factor SPF suncream.

Our camping equipment

Our camping equipment

Sewing Kit - For those quick repairs needed to clothes, shoes and kit. We even used it to fix our tent.

Black Bin Bags - These are very useful in downpours to keep your stuff dry.

Waterproof Liner Bag - essential to go inside your day bag to keep the important bits dry. 

Water Storing Sacks - not essential but we found these helpful for camping and trekking.

Snood - Snoods are useful for extra head warmth, dust, hair bands and come in different togs.

Walking Poles - These are useful for supporting your knees on long treks, without them Mark's knees would buckled from the weight of the bag.

Luxury Item - We always have some Kendal mint cake for a big trip, its pure sugar and the British used it as a sugar boosting snack to get to the top of Everest!

We called this one Pasta and Vegetables 

We called this one Pasta and Vegetables 

Food and Drink

This is perhaps the biggest hurdle; how to keep well stocked when you're in the middle of nowhere? Sometimes we've been lucky and provisions can found a few km away, other times we've had to prepare for days in the wilderness. First you’ll need cooking equipment. Here is what we brought with us: 

Gas stove - with a heat poof stand for a pot, this means you don’t have hold the handle whilst you cook

Gas canister - a 330gram canister normally lasts about 3 weeks for 3 meals a day.

Pots and pans -  That fit neatly inside each other for space saving.

3 Plates (one for prep and two for dining) 

2 Plastic Cups

2 Sporks

1 heat proof cooking utensil

Washing-up liquid and a few sponges 

Pen knife - Useful for preparing vegetables, open bottles etc

Ali preparing vegetables with multitool and prep plate in Bavaria 

Ali preparing vegetables with multitool and prep plate in Bavaria 

Water

Water, the elixir of life. We have two 2 litre pouches that are made from flexible plastic, which makes them easy to fit into bags for storage. 2 litres normally does a days trekking whereas we need both full for prepping dinner, so 4 litres for a whole day of trekking and cooking. These can be filled from fresh streams when you’re near mountains or waterfalls or using taps at a campsite. Always check with a local person to see if the water is safe, if in any doubt purify it. We have met other campers who use water purifying canisters, which we want to get ourselves some day. They can clean any water in a just a few minutes which means you can clean the water as you need it so you needn’t carry heavy excess water. You can also use water purifying tablets to do the same thing, always have these as an emergency backup.

Breakfast

We are big fans of porridge for breakfast because its lightweight before cooking but expands after cooking and fills you up all morning. It can be prepared with water or milk (bit of a luxury) and you can add sugar for flavour, or salt if you're a crazy Scot! This can be washed down with a tea, always the Empirical brits, although we use milk powder rather than real milk. Washing up quickly is key or else the porridge turns to concrete! On luxury days we apply cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit for that extra energy/ protein punch.

Bring tea bags / coffee / milk powder

Rolled oats

Cinnamon

Dried fruit / nuts

Water

Lunch

Out in the countryside we stock up on cereal bars, nuts for protein, chocolate and dried fruit for sugars (fruit can also be put into your morning porridge.) Sometimes we are able to get some real fruit whilst most of our carbohydrate comes in the form of bread for simple carbs, for complex carbs we have to wait for dinner. All these items are light, relatively cheap and packed with energy. There are times when you’ll stumble on a mini mart and we’ll always try and make a sandwich, well we are British after all.

Cereal bars

Nut bars

Crisps

Dried fruit  / nuts

Water

Dinner

This is where we get most creative. Pretty much every meal contains onion and garlic, roughly cut on one of the prep plates using the pen knife. From here we develop sauces using purée (light and flavoursome) and some kind of bean in a can using water and oil to bulk the sauce out. Flavour is added by stealing portions of salt and pepper from McDonald's and we always add some chilli and an exotic spice mix Ali brought from home. If our spirits and bellies are at a low point we’ll try and make something homely like a spaghetti bolognese or curry, but most of the time a simple pasta or rice dish; an army marches on its' stomach they say. If you google camping recipes there are some really neat ideas for one pot dishes. 

Pasta / rice

Puree

Garlic / onion / chile

Olive / vegetable oil

Peppers  / courgette (vegetables that can survive a few dents)

Meat (optional)

Water

We have been able to carry around 5 days of the above out into the wilderness and survive.

BBQ in the wild is a satisfying way to cook, you could always make your own fire in the wild

BBQ in the wild is a satisfying way to cook, you could always make your own fire in the wild

Tips For Living In A Tent

Over three months, we used our tent and camping gear to sleep in campsites and wild camp in Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Siberia and China. More than just the equipment, we would make these recommendations about what we've learnt from long term camping: 

  • Always bring a few light synthetic layers of clothing rather than big, heavy, thicker layers as it gives so much more control of over the temperature of your body.
  • Make sure you have good waterproof layers for when the rain falls, it can be very difficult to get dry. If you're in the wild then you'll need to start a fire to dry your clothes.
  • Bring two pairs of gloves so one fits inside the other, keep your hands warm at all costs.
  • Same for your feet, buy high quality socks because they will smell less, wear slower and keep your feet warmer. We opted for Merino wool.
  • Always keep your head, feet and hands warm to stay safe in harsh environments.
  • Always have emergency snacks and always plan your foods well when you venture into the wild.
  • Use water purifying tablets or boil water for 8 minutes to get safe drinking water in the wild, otherwise buy a water purifying flask, this is on our wish list!
  • Head torches are very useful; midnight toilet trips, evening card games or navigating home after a sunset trek.
  • Buy foods which are dried or dehydrated you will be grateful for a lighter bag!
  • A tarp is incredibly handy for those nights spent in the rain. Otherwise you will have to get inside your tent straight after dinner to keep dry and wait for cabin fever to set in.
  • Always hook you fresh food high up on a tree branch to stop rodents coming near your tent or, worst still, eating your food. 
  • Learn to read the weather, after a few weeks outside with nature you’ll soon be able to spot a rain cloud coming and have your jacket on and ready.
  • Although it's nice to have expensive camping equipment it's only real benefit is size and weight. Most of our equipment is low to medium cost and served us perfectly well in both hot, cold and challenging places. you don’t need to spend a fortune to go camping!
  • Many people across the world survive in very harsh conditions with very little money or technical equipment. Travelling and camping teaches you that human spirit is as key to survival as your equipment is.

When Disaster Strikes...

Camping throws quite a few surprises at you and occasionally a few disasters. Dealing with these are part of the parcel so let us disclose a few camping nightmares. The first occurred whilst wild camping at the base of the Besseggen ridge in Norway’s Jotunheimen national park. We were on the downward path back to camp when intense rain hit and soaked us to the bone. Shoes squelching, socks swimming. We managed to cook some dinner in our porch and got warm by going to bed at 8pm. It rained all night and was still raining in the morning. Everything was soaked so there seemed little point in changing our clothes. We packed down and dragged our sorry souls to a nearby guesthouse. Being slightly cheeky and resourceful we moved into the hotel lounge where they had a roaring fire and many bewildered guests. We dried out everything over the next few hours and learnt a definitive lesson; sacrifice all to stay dry and your camping experience will be far more pleasant.

Sorry to all the paying guest at this hostel

Sorry to all the paying guest at this hostel

Next there was the flooding in Copenhagen, the picture says it all. Just look around at your environment before pitching the tent, just don't put it in the dip in the field like we did. Our tent was actually floating in the pool of water! We had to stay up until 1am drying our clothes, shoes and bag using the campsites hairdryers.  We felt like muppets but learned a valuable lesson about where, or where not, to pitch our tent in the future.

Check out the flooding around our tent

Check out the flooding around our tent

But When It’s Good…

Camping is one the best things you can do to de-stress, connect with the outdoors and experience amazing sights, sounds and live with nature in the moment. There really isn’t a better way to disconnect from your normal life than by getting outdoors. They say just an hour in nature will provide 7 hours of relaxed mental attitude for the rest of day, nature literally heals you! We camped next to the Great Wall of China, which meant we could get up on the wall for sunrise. This would only have been possible by camping so close to the wall. It also meant we had the whole wall to ourselves. These are just some benefits of camping. We hope our advice will inspire you to have your own camping fun. After travelling for a long time it’s safe to say our most memorable nights have been spent in the comfort, or some freezing our asses of in, a tent! 

Sunset on our wild camp in Arshan, Siberia

Sunset on our wild camp in Arshan, Siberia

Have you had some positive wild camping experiences you'd like to share? Got some must have equipment we should all go out and purchase? Where is the best place in the world to camp?

We’d love to hear about your camping experiences so please leave any comments or tips in the box at the bottom of the post.

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Camping - Living In A Tent, By Studio Mali
 

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