First solo camping trip

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Barney Rubble

Settler
Sep 16, 2013
500
198
Rochester, Kent
Hi all,

I’ve been wild camping for a few years now, but it was with some trepidation that I set off on my first solo camping trip. The weather was relatively warm but changeable, the leaves were starting to change colour, things were starting to become rather Autumnal.

I’ve been wanting to do a solo trip for a short while now. I wanted to experience what it was like to be camped out in a quiet area of the woods where you can sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the woodland, be it the trees blowing in the wind, the finches and tits wisping from branch to branch or the squirrels hunting for acorns. For me, this was also a time to relax, forget about work and concentrate on the simple pleasures in life.

There were also some bushcrafty skills to practice. I had all the ingredients to make a nice curry and intended to cook it on my small wood burning stove (the honey stove). All I needed to do was source some tinder and firewood.

I was camped in a fairly diverse woodland which was great as I could gather material from a multitude of resources. There were some pine which offered me plenty of pine cones for kindling (they were open/dry and thus great for getting a fire going). The bracken was starting to die back and makes for great tinder bundles. There’s also plenty of fallen silver birch trees so I harvested some bark. I snapped a couple of dead branches from the bottom of a pine tree knowing that its resinous content would help to get the fire going and then I collected a few dead standing branches (mostly hazel) to keep the fire ticking over. This sounds like a lot but I didn’t need to collect much to feed my stove. Indeed I was very impressed at how efficient the honey stove was and ended up stashing quite a lot of the wood away for my next camp.

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Managed to light the fire using my traditional flint and steel kit and some home made char cloth. It's the third time I've been successful at this technique and it always puts a smile on my face when it works!

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I had originally made plans to go simple and camp under a small tarp and in my bivvy bag. However, the weather forecast threatened rain so I thought I’d play safe and take my hammock and bigger 3x3m tarp. The lure of my comfy hammock is often too great to resist! This also presented an opportunity to test out my Snugpak Jungle blanket. I purchased this having been seduced by John Fenna’s recent review of said item. It was something of a bargain and I have to say that I was quite pleased with my purchase. It kept me warm when the temperatures dropped overnight (overnight forecast was 8 degrees) and I had no need to call upon the services of my down jacket. I think this blanket will stand me in good stead for the winter when I use it in conjunction with my 3 season bag, kind of like a wool blanket but without the weight and bulk!

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So with camp set-up and fire wood prepped I was left with some time to relax and put my feet up in the hammock chair. It was also good to do a bit of whittling and I practised making feather sticks, something that I’m finding is harder than it seems! I also took some time to make a windbreak around my honey stove as the wind was picking up a bit.

The gold finches and great tits flew happily about the trees by my tarp and reasonably close by I could hear squirrels rustling leaves and snapping twigs as they pranced around the canopy. There were times when I also heard a green woodpecker taking flight in the trees above my head but I’d be damned if I could see it (such illusive birds). As night time arrived, I started to hear the owls hoot, such a pleasure to hear them in the wild. One or two were definitely tawny owls but I could not make out the others (little owl perhaps). They’re so often heard but seldom seen, in time I’d like to learn of where they nest so that I can set-up my wildlife camera and capture some images.

And that was basically it, I was tucked up in my hammock by 9pm and just laid there for a while taking in all of the noises and looking forward to a decent nights sleep. The next morning, I woke up to a bit of rain (just as I was hoping to pack the tarp away dry!) and departed the campsite, leaving no trace.

One thing I noticed while solo camping was that time seemed to move slowly. This of course is no bad thing but was a stark contrast to my typical experience of camping with a group where an overnighter often seems to whizz by in a heartbeat. What a great way to spend time though, I can’t wait now until my next camp!
 

ocean1975

Full Member
Jan 10, 2009
676
67
rochester, kent
Good write up Barney and glad you enjoyed you first solo.The wildlife coming closer in is what I enjoy about going solo,after reading that I'm looking forward getting out again i believe we are going to church farm Ardeley at the end of October ��
 

Dingo

Nomad
Jan 7, 2005
424
0
leicestershire
Thanks for sharing, a good camp tale, I love to go solo, it clears my mind just for a while....

I also think it helps you to hone your skills, group camps are great for the banter and camaraderie, and the new skills opportunity's, but the solo's are the ones for me.

great trip, glad you enjoyed it.

Adam
 
Apr 12, 2014
476
0
middle earth
Thanks for sharing, a good camp tale, I love to go solo, it clears my mind just for a while....

I also think it helps you to hone your skills, group camps are great for the banter and camaraderie, and the new skills opportunity's, but the solo's are the ones for me.

great trip, glad you enjoyed it.

Adam
My sentiments exactly.

I prefer to go solo, more time to wander about, stop when I want, do what I want. Generally just be inside my own head without any distractions. I've always been happy in my own skin. I don't even take my dog on over nighters because I don't want the distraction. I guess we are all a little like that? Maybe not, but going solo is the ultimate way for me to unwind......

Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk
 

Barney Rubble

Settler
Sep 16, 2013
500
198
Rochester, Kent
My sentiments exactly.

I prefer to go solo, more time to wander about, stop when I want, do what I want. Generally just be inside my own head without any distractions. I've always been happy in my own skin. I don't even take my dog on over nighters because I don't want the distraction. I guess we are all a little like that? Maybe not, but going solo is the ultimate way for me to unwind......

Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk

Agreed, it's the escapism isn't it and I think it does us good to get away, relax in your own mind. Sometimes I even do it at home by escaping to my shed for a brew and a whittle! I'll definitely be doing another solo camp, most likely in the winter.
 

northumbriman

Member
Jul 15, 2010
31
0
Prudhoe
I remember the first solo wild camp I did. Tramped off into the woods found a nice little site and set up my tarp and bivvy. All going well, lovely summers evening. Got a nice little fire going and cooked supper. Darkness drew in and I was just settling in for the night when all hell broke loose all round me. A group of motox bikers had arrived in the same woods I was in and were having a little race round and round my campsite. All the lovely peaceful sounds of the woodlands were shattered the motorbike headlights were strobing through the branches like a rave venue and I was pretty concerned that their illegal prescence would bring the police at any moment. I ended up packing up speedily and making a hasty gettaway back home. Luckily I have since found other quieter venues and enjoyed both solo and group camps
 

backpacker

Forager
Sep 3, 2010
157
1
65
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Hi Northumbriman,

I know how you feel when that happens, a similar thing happened to me a couple of years ago I was walking along the Cotswold Way and thought I would wild camp for the night so I found myself a nice quiet woodland so I set up my tarp and bivvy made myself a small fire enough to cook a meal, at around 9:30pm I crawled into my sleeping bag and laid there just listening to the sounds around me which was nice to hear the wild life coming alive as the night, after a while I fell asleep. at around 2:30am I was woken by the sound of people talking and torches flashing through the darkness needless to say I was a bit scared as I was on my own and wasn't quite sure how many people were around I could hear that they were close and heard them talking to each other about setting traps, as soon as I heard the word setting traps the first thing that came into my mind was poachers! and the thought of them stumbling upon me could turn ugly! fortunately my fire had gone out and as it was only large enough to cook an small meal it wasn't even smouldering so I just laid there not moving a muscle they sounded a rough bunch after about an hour I could hear them moving away from where I was but could not sleep as now my mind was working overtime and was thinking what I would do if they came back and was compromised? fortunately they didn't come back and around 5am it was starting to get light and there was a heavy mist so I got up and as quiet as possible packed away all my kit and cleared all traces of my fire and slowly walked out of the woodland but about 20 feet away from where I was laying I found a trap that was set and as I was coming to the edge of the woodland I found another 3 more traps set!

I think I was lucky on this occasion and not something I would like to go through again.

Backpacker.
 

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