What is wild camping?
Wild camping is essentially, self-sufficient camping in a usually remote location. It involves carrying all your own gear to a secluded spot, setting up camp, and sitting out under the stars.
Where can you go wild camping & is it legal?
First and foremost wild camping for the most part is illegal without the landowners permission. There are however a few exceptions to the rule.
Dartmoor is currently the only place in England you are legally allowed to wild camp. You need to follow the etiquette (at the bottom of this post) to keep this right protected for all future wild campers. Some areas are still restricted you can find further information on the Dartmoor National Park Website.
Scotland benefits from the right to roam and wild camping is legal almost everywhere. Some camping has been restricted due to unsocial behaviour and litter problems on popular spots. Make sure you abide by the etiquette for wild camping so we can keep doing it.
Lastly, wild camping in the Lake District is technically illegal without the landowners permission. However, it is generally tolerated as long as you camp above the highest fell wall and follow the rules for wild camping, if you don’t be prepared for the possibility of breaking camp and being asked to move on.
If you can find the landowners you can always ask for permission to use their land for the night, the same rules and etiquette will apply.
You can find a lot out on Google but most wild campers are a bit secretive about their favourite spots. Some are worried they may get found out if they are camping illegally, others simply don’t want to share their beautiful isolation in nature with others. So, ideally you need to be able to read a map and source some cool places yourself.
When to go wild camping?
People wild camp year-round in rain, sunshine and snow. The choice and preference is yours. Each season will bring different challenges and different perspectives. You need to assess the experience of your group and make decisions accordingly. If you are camping with kids its harder to keep them warm at night so you’ll probably want to stick with late spring, summer and early autumn. Winter camping brings more opportunities for stargazing as well as some amazing sunsets and don’t forget those morning sunrises. Summer Camping brings wild swimming opportunities which enhances the whole experience especially on a balmy summer evening, just watch out for those midges! In any season you’ll see some amazing wildlife as you become one with nature.
Why go wild camping?
There is something so special and adventurous about the whole process. From packing your kit and choosing what to take, to setting up your own cosy little home in heaven, it’s beautiful.
- Away from crowds.
- Connecting with nature.
- Resetting your brain from the stresses of modern life!
Going with kids is amazing. Give them jobs and a sense of responsibility. Get them to help pick a location. Give them a role such as navigator or camp cook. They will develop the most awesome sense of adventure.
How to go wild camping?
- Pick your location – If you are just starting out its best not to plan a 3 day hike over the moors with multiple camps. You may want to find somewhere with a short walk from the car park. You won’t be used to carrying all your own gear and it may be heavier than you think over a long distance.
- Sort your kit – The lighter the better but never compromise safety. Make sure you have a spare set of dry clothes to sleep in as you won’t stay warm overnight if you get wet in a rain shower.
- Choose how you want to sleep – the traditional way is obviously in a lightweight / small tent. But if you are feeling brave you can try just taking a bivvy bag and sleep under the stars. The next step up would be a tarp. Alternatively if you are camping in the woods you can buy some awesome hammocks, have a ready of Potty Adventures hammock trip with his 3 year old!. Pair these with a tarp and you’ve got a pretty cool camp! You can find out more about tents and tarps here.
- Plan ahead – Check the weather and if its your first wild camp pick a night where you have a pretty good window of good weather. And importantly, pack for the weather.
- Choose your food – There are tons of hints, tips and tricks online, just google wild camping food and go with your preference. Tins are heavy and should be avoided. Some people cook meals at home and heat them up at camp, especially if they aren’t walking too far. Others like the technical freeze dried space food! It’s personal preference and worst case scenario you’ll live on a few pot noodles for 1 night.
Wild Camping Etiquette?
- Set up camp at least 100m from any roads / towns, you shouldn’t be easily visible to others.
- Check the Dartmoor wild camping map as you are still not allowed to camp in certain areas, you can find those details here on the Dartmoor National Park website along with lots of additional information.
- Pitch up as late as possible and leave early
- Walk out with EVERYTHING you walk in with, this includes any and all rubbish including toilet paper.
- Be sensible with fires. Most places fires are not tolerated under any circumstances. The photos in this post are on permissive land on Dartmoor where they are tolerated as the woodland is very damp, its hard to actually light a fire and, in all honesty, it’s more hassle than its worth!
- Do not poo or wee next to any watercourse
- Stay no more than 1 night in the same place and keep to small groups
- In the Lake District camp above the highest fell wall
- Take every opportunity to look after your environment and LEAVE NO TRACE.
Spend some time online and with your maps, find a spot and go out for the night. don’t forget to tell us about your adventures on social media with the hashtag #Amamaya
These photos show my daughter testing one of our original Lukla base layer samples. They make for cosy kids when camping. All of our merino gear is a great accompaniment to a UK wild camp, just click below to buy.