The 12 rules of wild camping
Wild camping is sleeping outdoors in a tent or bivy away from busy campsites and as far as possible from roads or buildings.
It’s all about getting away from the stresses of the daily grind for a night or two and exploring the vast, beautiful wilderness that exists.
But it's important to follow the rules. Here are our 12 commandments of wild camping to ensure you camp safely and responsibly:
1 Do your homework. Wild camping is allowed in most of Scotland (some restrictions apply near Loch Lomond) and on Dartmoor in Devon, but currently is technically illegal elsewhere in England and Wales without the landowner’s consent. However, in some areas like the Lake District, responsible wild camping in certain places on higher ground is tolerated.
2 Follow the Outdoor Access Code. Leave no trace and don’t disturb people or animals. Don’t dig ditches, trample on plants or move rocks.
3 Pitch your tent as late as possible and break camp early next morning. Stay on the same pitch for no more than a night or two.
4 Set up camp well away from roads and footpaths, and out of sight of any houses. Pay attention to No Camping signs, do not camp in large groups and move on if asked by the landowner to do so.
5 Look for a site that is flat and sheltered from the wind. Avoid pitching on the mark left by another tent.
6 Camping in fields with crops or grazing livestock is never acceptable.
7 Pack light. The essentials you’ll need are a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cooking gear, food, water bottle, torch, smartphone and rucksack. Anything else is just a luxury.
8 Use a tent with a colour that blends in with the scenery.
9 Don’t light a fire, even if it is obvious that others have done so. You’ll have a stove for cooking and if it’s cold, wrap up warm.
10 Leave the site as you found it. As well as packing up your own litter, take away any you come across rather than burying or burning.
11 For going to the toilet, dig a 15cm-deep hole and bury waste at least 30m from any water or 50m from roads or tracks. Whenever you get the chance, use a proper loo when you find it. Take any sanitary items away with you.
12 Always let someone know roughly where you will be and when you’re expected back.
Want more excellent information and advice about lightweight camping and backpacking?
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