This is just a quick round up of my wild camping year. I’m using quite a tight definition of the phrase ‘wild camping’ here, there are a number of different definitions floating around, I’ll write a post about this one day.
But for now, this is the definition that works for me:
Wild camping entails sleeping out of doors in an unauthorised location.
Wild camping takes place under the stars (or clouds), i.e. not in a tent.
There, that’s my definition done.
So, I went on three wild camps this year.
1) In a Hertfordshire wood (April, hammock)
2) By the River Wissey in Norfolk (May, bivvy bag)
3) In a Leicestershire wood (July, bivvy bag)
Do I have a favourite out of these three? No, not really, they were all special in their own way.
The Hertfordshire wood was the prettiest location, the Wissey was the best for wildlife (Otters!), the Leicestershire wood was fun because of the wood burning IKEA hobo-stove I used for tea.
The Leicestershire camp was certainly the most uncomfortable, a yoga mat on hard earth wasn’t really a good idea. This wasn’t a problem on the River Wissey camp as I had lots of dry grass to sleep on, quite comfortable. The hammock camp was by far the most cosy, it felt wonderful!
The only ‘problem’ I had on my camps was having enough sleep. At most I managed three or so hours of decent sleep on each camp (same as last year). I’m not completely sure why this is happening and will be working on it during 2014 (see below). The sleep thing is essential as a 15 mile hike after only 3 hours of sleep is not fun at all.
- Leave myself plenty of time to a) find a pitch b) pitch-up. Both can take a lot more time than anticipated, especially with a hammock.
- The map is not the territory. What looks great on a map and/or in Google Maps might be completely unsuitable in reality. Always have a Plan B.
- Take more water than you think necessary. And then take a bit more.
- Knowledge of some basic knots will help with everything.
- Don’t forget the whisky!
Plans for 2014
More wild camps!
I want to double the number of camps next year, one a month from March to October sounds reasonable to me. Also, I’ve enjoyed solo-camping but it would be great to do it with company.
I’ve seen a few spots I want to try out next year, this one on the River Great Ouse is one of my favourites:
My main goal for 2014 is to learn to sleep well under the stars. I want to lie down, take a sip of scotch, look at the night sky, sigh a deep sigh of contentment and drift off to sleep for 7-8 hours. This can’t be that hard can it?
I know it’s not purely a matter of sleeping outside since I always get a decent 7-8 hours in a tent. It’s not a matter of comfort as the hammock camp proves. That leaves brain activity. I can spend time convincing myself I’m safe and there is no danger whatsoever but a part of my brain isn’t believing it. This I think is the problem.
So, the solution is to coax the unhappy part of my brain to chill out a bit. To this end I am going to start camping out in my back garden, acclimatisation is the key here.
Between now (December) and the start of the ‘wild camping season’ (my concept) in April I can get at least four garden camps done, this, hopefully will appease the doubters in my unconscious, we’ll see.