Solo wild camping

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Swan

Member
Mar 8, 2006
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Hampshire
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Hello! Just curious to know if many people have done solo wild camping?

I adore wild camping and not many of my friends are as into it as I am. Especially not in cooler times of the year and being a tad more challenging.

I've thought about going on my own, but a few things I'm weary of are:

Is it scary? Do bumps in the night scare the sh** out of You?
Is it boring? Do you wish you had people to talk to and share the experience with?
Where have you done this and what kinds of places, e.g. woodland, mountain etc.?

Appreciate any insight.

Thanks
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Yes, when I was young most of the time I was solo.

I preferred that, could get ‘levelled’ if that is the correct expression.

Scared? Only for the few first seconds. Every time.
Ever heard a fox screaming? The heart stops.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Both camping and climbing, companions are good for safety and the social aspect of adventure.
Of course you have total cell coverage so no place is commonly too remote for a call.
You haven't got bears, cougars or wolves to spoil you supper. Just don't burn it.
 

Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
I was solo camping on the moors in my early teens when the scariest thing on the moors were Brady and Hindley - probably shouldn't have been there but I didn't know. Bears and wolves would have been less danger.

It can be scary; just don't watch Dog Soldiers before you go :) But, ultimately it is the best experience ever to wake up on you own on a sunny morning next to a mountain lake.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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And to think that bears and wolves have decided to forego killing people and pets? For shame.
Not like that on my planet.
The bears climb the stairs onto your back deck at 3 AM and tear down all your bird feeders for a snack.
Last Thursday and Friday nights.

There is a really nice and usually deserted campground on the shore of LaSalle Lake, 40km west of my place.
You tent. I'll stretch out in the back of the Suburban. Makes me feel more like a sardine.
 

bopdude

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Feb 19, 2013
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Of course you have total cell coverage so no place is commonly too remote for a call.
What makes you think that, I would say 75% of my camps see me without a signal and I'm not 'that' remote on some of them.

To the OP, if you think you may not enjoy it solo take a friend, last thing you want is to be laid awake imagining what makes the sounds at night, and there a plenty, make camp away from your buddy but close enough in case of emergency, see how that goes then build up your comfort level until you feel ready for solo wild camping, there really is nothing like it as @Broch says.
 

BJJJ

Native
Sep 3, 2010
1,561
124
North Shropshire
I always go solo, very few of my friends and aqaintances feel the need to give up a comfortable bed to trek miles in cold and wet weather. Then fight with a tent or tarp in the wind and dark, to sleep for a few hours in a forest or on a mountain. At least, that's how they see it. I see an amazing walk in the wilds, followed by a cosy, peaceful night under the stars. I guess it a matter of perspective. . :campfire::poke:
 

Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
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UK
And to think that bears and wolves have decided to forego killing people and pets? For shame.
Not like that on my planet.
The bears climb the stairs onto your back deck at 3 AM and tear down all your bird feeders for a snack.
Last Thursday and Friday nights.

There is a really nice and usually deserted campground on the shore of LaSalle Lake, 40km west of my place.
You tent. I'll stretch out in the back of the Suburban. Makes me feel more like a sardine.
On the assumption that the OP is interested in solo wildcamping in the UK, posts about the hazards posed by bears and wolves are not particularly helpful as they are almost as rare in the wild on these shores as GMC Suburbans! ;)

Even in North America, the number of human fatalities caused by bears and wolves is surprisingly small - 2018 seems to have been particularly bad year with (according to Wikipedia so probably worth checking) four fatalities (one a backpacker) caused by all species of bears across the whole of North America with two per year being about the average.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

The same source suggests that there have been four fatalities caused by wolves since WW2.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wolf_attacks_in_North_America

For the sake of completeness, according to Wiki 2018 has been a bad year for mountain lion attacks with two fatalities but they were the first since 2010.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_cougar_attacks_in_North_America

To put that into context, you are about as likely to die under the hooves of a grumpy cow while out walking in the UK countryside as you are meeting a Revenant style sticky end doing the same in the US of A or Canada.

https://www.independent.co.uk/envir...d-dangerous-britains-killer-cows-1776775.html

It is great to hear from people with different perspectives but IMHO far too many threads on the forum where people are genuinely seeking advice or assistance get derailed and are rendered pointless because some of the more enthusiastic overseas contributors feel the need to chip in and make the thread all about them and their interests.

If you have bears, wolves and cougars in your back yard or nearby, I for one would love to see some photos added to the various wildlife threads on here but just chipping in with “our wildlife (or indeed 4x4 etc), is bigger and badder than yours” posts on threads looking for practical guidance for the sake of it, doesn’t help the OP and puts other people off contributing useful stuff.

:soapbox:

Right, rant over and back to the OP’s query - wild camping is a tricky issue (and a bit of an oxymoron) for this forum since in most of the UK, you should get the owners permission before camping on their land.

That said, wild camping is permitted on Dartmoor;

https://getoutside.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/guides/wild-camping-on-dartmoor/

and is accepted on HM Govts own website as being OK above the fence line in the Lake District.

http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/where-to-stay/wild-camping

IME, I would be far more worried by two legged creatures than anything else. If you are camping somewhere without the landowners permission then if strange lights on the hillside or in woods are spotted, you may find someone coming to investigate equipped to deal with poachers, livestock rustlers or thieves. In less remote areas, the little bit of paradise you have selected for the night may also be the local dogging site or party zone for the local chav element.

Well away from the road on Dartmoor or above the fence line in the Lakes and you will be fine but limited tree cover in either or check out the Nearly Wild Camping group on Facebook which provides links to landowners happy to have “wild(ish)” campers on their land and may permit fires and might be the best way to dip a toe in the water.

https://www.facebook.com/NearlyWildCamping/

If you know that humans are not going to be a problem and understand that any wildlife will be more scared of you than the other way around, you should be able to relax and enjoy yourself trying to identify the various nocturnal noises - the sound of loved up foxes is pretty bloodcurdling and angry hedgehogs can be very scary until you know what they are.

Good luck and have fun and make sure to post a trip report of your first solo night out! :)
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Despite having spent many nights outdoors with dad, who explained all sounds, I was never fully relaxed and comfortable, it took me until I myself had a son I could take out into the wild to not jump at every sound. Now I am fine.

Psychological.

It should be mentioned that I never, ever watch a scary movie. Hate them.
Last one I saw was The Fog.

You ask if it is boring. For me personally the actual camping is not why I am or have spent nights outside.
I either trek, or fish, gather mushrooms or observe animals. So no, not boring.
The only time it is boring is if I am stuck due to nasty weather.

Nomad, I have always lived with the motto ‘learn as much as I can’.
Many guys here have learn and practice bushcraft skills workable and correct in Britain, but unworkable and against the rules outside UK.

There is a reason bear and wolf attacks and fatilities are rare. Wonder if you know why?
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,708
637
Berlin
I recommend to use a light weight equipment, to change the place of the camp every day and have a look what's behind the hill over there. Take your equipment with you! Don't stay at one spot!

But I do not recommend fast hiking from here to there! I recommend to have a light pack and walk around and stay and look, if there is something interesting.

One day I walk 50 kilometres, one day only 5 or 10 kilometres! It doesn't matter!

Hiking is no sport, it is a way of life, a lifestyle!

And if there is a slug next to the way, and if I have no idea about slugs, I sit down and watch it. Or an insekt, or a bird or what ever!

I am hiking with a very light Rucksack and look around, what I can see and learn in the nature.

At home, if I havent the time to hike, I have some books to study biology. Yes. It doesn't end! Nature is every thing else than boring, and there isn't one grandpa in the world who really knows all about it!

Others try out "primitive" skills. Every thing else than primitive, to produce tools from stone, bone and wood.
I never did it, but last week I visited the small exibition about stone age in Dijon.
I definitely will start to try to make me a stone age equipment, beginning with a stone knife.

I think, that should be incredibly interesting and will bring me to a totally different level of bushcraft.

And do not forget the villages on your hikes! Do you know them?
No! You know perhaps the supermarket in the next village. But did you ever look in the church???

If I would bee a millionaire, I would just keep on hiking! One step more and one more, and one kilometre more and one more, and one more!
There is so much to see and to learn!

It is absolutely interesting, and any thing else than boring!
 
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oldtimer

Full Member
It has always been my favourite mode. The most frightening place when alone is the inside of my head. Shakespeare had it right about the woods at night: "how oft a bush becomes a bear!" If stories are true he spent the odd night in the Warwickshire woods as a young man poaching deer.
I've seen plenty of bears at night in England that became bushes in the morning. I have also seen bushes that turned out to be bears but that was in the USA.

I equate wild camping with stealth camping. Don't draw attention to yourself. Pitch late and leave early. Leave no trace.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,708
637
Berlin
I recommend to use sleeping bag, bivvy bag and military poncho, because that is a light equipment that you can hide very well in a hedge.

The small poncho tarp is as good as invisible!

I use Snugpack Special Forces 1 sleeping bag in olive green, Snugpack Special forces bivvy bag in olive green, and recommend to buy the Defcon5 poncho in Italian camouflage.
That ist very light and nearly invisible. And good quality. That all has a Nato Stock Number.
 
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salad

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Sep 24, 2008
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In the Mountains
My best advice is to bring a good book , once dinner is cooked there is not to much to do without others to chat to . If you don't like reading then have something in mind to pass the time once your camp cores are finished
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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You've neglected the safety issues. I noticed that.
The landscape can kill you, forget the wild life.

Lodge a plan with someone and follow it for duration and location.
That kind of self-discipline is hard to endure some trips.
We do not go out, even for a day trip, without leaving a flight plan.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
You've neglected the safety issues. I noticed that.
The landscape can kill you, forget the wild life.

Lodge a plan with someone and follow it for duration and location.
That kind of self-discipline is hard to endure some trips.
We do not go out, even for a day trip, without leaving a flight plan.
Good point.
Specially important when going solo.

You can not trust the electronics most people seem to be attached to these days.
 

Robson Valley

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A map & a realy good compass are essentials for unfamiliar territory, even in a canoe.
One slip, a fall, a broken leg/head. . . .. even some really bad food.
Who's going to notice you missing? When?
 
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Swan

Member
Mar 8, 2006
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Hampshire
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Thanks everybody. It's taken a while to read everyone's replies. I camp in the UK and have been wild camping in the UK for about 12 years. Tried a few different environments, but the favourite has to be in the forest. I do love Dartmoor too. And yes I'm aware it's only legal in Dartmoor and Scotland without land owner permission.

And yes, I've been woken by foxes and very noisy, territorial roe deer barks from 3am until 6am... those were long nights! Haha.

I have a few mates who like to come when weather is dry and warm, whereas the weather doesn't stop me and I've been considering a wild winter camp and I can't find anyone with the minerals to come with me!

It's been interesting to read people's insight. Thanks a lot.

I wanted to know that other people do do this and enjoy it. There's a huge part of me that loves the idea of it. It is a tad daunting where I've never done it before though.
 
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