Solo wild camping

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,672
1,629
McBride, BC
The earthworm zoo in Australia was an insulated tunnel above ground.
Designed to be like the body of a worm, itself (major blood vessel models, etc)

Chilly and dark/gloomy inside, as you would expect the underground to be.

The worms live in huge overhead glass-bottomed trays filled with earth, maybe a foot(?) deep or more.
Many of them lie motionless against the glass = really easy to see up close.

My kids lived and played in the sunshine.
Even on extended day long grouse-hunting trips.
 

Ogden

Forager
Dec 8, 2004
172
8
Forest of Odes
It is so relaxing to sleep in the woods if you are alone. The best sleep there is.
When I started 'solo wild camping' the sounds in the night scared me. Nowadays the sounds are so interesting! And they form an accoustic picture. Which becomes clearer and clearer the more I open my ears. And listen to the darkness.
 

SCOMAN

Full Member
Dec 31, 2005
2,182
243
50
Perthshire
99% of the time I camp alone. I enjoy the isolation from company even if I'm on a popular pitch, such as Arran. That need to 'be alone' probably comes from being on naval ships with 30 other blokes in a space the size of a average sized house's ground floor. I have heard, deer, foxes, horses, sheep, had a Dartmoor pony nearly step on my head. I read in the evenings or on long winter nights have even watched a tv show, I'm not a purist. If it's what you want to do go for it. Leave a plan, make a plan of what to do if things go wrong, tent ripped blown down etc. The worst feeling is having to get up in the rain and pack all your kit. The best feeling is getting up in the rain, packing your kit and walking off in full waterproofs knowing you can hack it.
 
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Terry.m.

Forager
Dec 2, 2014
181
14
Kent
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! :)
good reply.
 

Terry.m.

Forager
Dec 2, 2014
181
14
Kent
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
if you go on youtube and type that in, you will see a couple of vids by the main bushcrafters and a couple give an over view it might help.
I have my own woods and have occasionally spent a night on my own , but its more fun with mates.imho
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If you are used to two or more person bush visiting, it is a very small step to go 'solo'.

Youtube is full of cxxx advice. Created to get as much dosh as possible from ads and sponsorships.
Listen and learn from your friends.
 
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Terry.m.

Forager
Dec 2, 2014
181
14
Kent
If you are used to two or more person bush visiting, it is a very small step to go 'solo'.

Youtube is full of cxxx advice. Created to get as much dosh as possible from ads and sponsorships.
Listen and learn from your friends.
Wished I had not said anything now.!!!



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
All views are important!

I find many, if not most, Youtube 'channels' ' ideas contrived and less than workable, speciually in adverse weather or other less than perfect situations.

Even my favourite, Survival Lilly, sometimes does things I feel are less than ideal.
If she comes to Cayman, I can teach her to open a coconut. I was taught by one of the guys that tends our garden.
Jamaican. He also taught me to sharpen and use a machete properly, from the grip to the angles for different trees and plants.

We all need to find our own way and comfort zone, and I just feel learning from friends or a group is the better and safer option than watching Youtube ( except - see below)

Or an instructor. Several members here have bushcraft schools. If you do not have a parent or a friend ( friends) you can learn from, those schools are the best way. IMO. Some also have Youtube channels.

My advice for a total beginner would be to same some money and do courses with one these guys. Do not buy to much equipment before, these guys can give very important advice that can also save you quite a bit of money!
 

Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
2,823
1,922
62
Exmoor
Just go out there and do it. If you don't like it don't do it solo again and wait till afriend wants to come. The only way you will find out is to try it out. No about of money spent on courses or you tube video can give you that solo experience. Personally I feel comfortable in some location but not others, when solo.. I only found this out by doing it. I have a friend who only likes to solo in the exact opposite locations. Each to their own I guess.
 
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Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
2,823
1,922
62
Exmoor
Where I live there are a couple of things to be wary of. This time of year stags can be dangerous. We also have wild boar again don't mess with. The last reported sighting of a wild puma the beast of exmoor in June this year only 20 miles from my house. I still go for midnight rambles on my own. In fact last night the moon was so bright I could not sleep. So got bundled up and went out about 1am. Could hear the stags clearly and a vixen screaming. Sounded like murder was being done! Would have given a townie the screaming heebie jeebies! I love it tho. I never feel alone out there with all that going on. Not to say I have never had them myself in the past. I've defiantly had my blood run cold with fear several times. Most of the time it's just nature going about its business. Hedgehogs can make an eerie din too... much to my chagrin one night. I'd rather subject myself to the fears of a wild night out than a scary movie safe in my own home.
 
Many years ago when I hunted/travelled alone my greatest joy was to sit next to the fire at night and look at the stars and pick out the planets as they moved around the big sky. We had many stories about stars and the night sky was like a book.

Un like the UK where I don't think there's any dangerous animals. A little further north we have one or two only which could cause you problems like tundra grizzlies, but they'll mostly not bother if you don't temp them into camp with food and not stay to long in their range.

I've had white wolves creep in to my camp and stare into my eyes a good few times in the dark. We see ourselves when we look into the eyes of a wolf for they share the same world - but they never cause us harm. I learned to recognise what animals were making what noises in the night and I learned that it is just as easy to recognise animals in the dark when they are mostly unseen as to recognise the same animal by track or sight. Musk oxen will also come to look and see. Once sleeping in the open next to my canoe I awoke to find a Musk Oxen just a foot or so away and could feel & smell his breath on my face.. And a few times have I been woken by the clicking sound of thousands of migrating caribou as the passed my sleeping place.

The biggest problem if you are not careful is the small critters like mice, who love to hitch a lift and spoil you food and sometimes your clothing when you are not watching and paying attention.

Just learn to enjoy the night and the dark and solitude - treat it like a friend and learn about your surroundings in the dark. Become familiar with being alone with your own company. You have plenty of time to think. We fear the unknown so embrace it and learn from it. You'll discover far more about wildlife when you are on your own than you will by making camp with friends or travelling companions who make noises and talk.

Joe
 

Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
580
UK
Many years ago when I hunted/travelled alone my greatest joy was to sit next to the fire at night and look at the stars and pick out the planets as they moved around the big sky. We had many stories about stars and the night sky was like a book.

Un like the UK where I don't think there's any dangerous animals. A little further north we have one or two only which could cause you problems like tundra grizzlies, but they'll mostly not bother if you don't temp them into camp with food and not stay to long in their range.

I've had white wolves creep in to my camp and stare into my eyes a good few times in the dark. We see ourselves when we look into the eyes of a wolf for they share the same world - but they never cause us harm. I learned to recognise what animals were making what noises in the night and I learned that it is just as easy to recognise animals in the dark when they are mostly unseen as to recognise the same animal by track or sight. Musk oxen will also come to look and see. Once sleeping in the open next to my canoe I awoke to find a Musk Oxen just a foot or so away and could feel & smell his breath on my face.. And a few times have I been woken by the clicking sound of thousands of migrating caribou as the passed my sleeping place.

The biggest problem if you are not careful is the small critters like mice, who love to hitch a lift and spoil you food and sometimes your clothing when you are not watching and paying attention.

Just learn to enjoy the night and the dark and solitude - treat it like a friend and learn about your surroundings in the dark. Become familiar with being alone with your own company. You have plenty of time to think. We fear the unknown so embrace it and learn from it. You'll discover far more about wildlife when you are on your own than you will by making camp with friends or travelling companions who make noises and talk.

Joe
Thank you! :)
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,360
552
Canada
the more enthusiastic overseas contributors
I just wanted to say that the internet is a kind of international thing, and you will get people from abroad coming onto the site unless one sets up methods of blocking that.

Also, Brits leave Britain and travel to other countries to enjoy the outdoors. In fact we are renown for it and encourage it in each other. More, the reason that people don't get eaten by a bear every time they go out in places you might visit that have bears, is because people talk to each other and explain that if you want to go solo camping, watch out for the bears. At the same time, people who get into trouble in the backcountry are predominantly new to any given area, and perhaps haven't taken note of or heard about the bears.:lol::)

But that isn't it really. I like this site as much you do. I like coming here and spending time reading and listening and enjoying the vibe, and I like the disagreements. But if you want to disagree with someone, disagree with them on the issue. If you dislike someone, find the strength to tell them why (or not). But please stop complaining about the bloody foreigners instead of doing that
 
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Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
580
UK
I just wanted to say that the internet is a kind of international thing, and you will get people from abroad coming onto the site unless one sets up methods of blocking that.

Also, Brits leave Britain and travel to other countries to enjoy the outdoors. In fact we are renown for it and encourage it in each other. More, the reason that people don't get eaten by a bear every time they go out in places you might visit that have bears, is because people talk to each other and explain that if you want to go solo camping, watch out for the bears. At the same time, people who get into trouble in the backcountry are predominantly new to any given area, and perhaps haven't taken note of or heard about the bears.:lol::)

But that isn't it really. I like this site as much you do. I like coming here and spending time reading and listening and enjoying the vibe, and I like the disagreements. But if you want to disagree with someone, disagree with them on the issue. If you dislike someone, find the strength to tell them why (or not). But please stop complaining about the bloody foreigners instead of doing that
AFAIK, the OP was planning to go solo camping in the UK and as bears became extinct in the wild here about a thousand years ago, the risk of being eaten by one is similar to the risk of him being hit by an asteroid or abducted by aliens. ;)

However, rather than give the thread a little time to “breathe” and see whether anyone with relevant experience of wildcamping solo in the UK had anything useful to say, we very quickly got a “greatest hits” post from one of our Canadian contributors (killer bears, wolves and of course a GMC Suburban) and that was pretty much the end of that thread as a useful source of info on wildcamping in the UK.

I have no plans anytime soon to go wildcamping (solo or otherwise) in Canada but if I did, I would certainly seek out Joe T. for advice and although off topic, if all posts by the forum’s overseas contributors were as beautifully crafted and evocative (while at the same time providing a realistic assessment of the risks) as his recent post then you would get few complaints from me.

Many years ago when I hunted/travelled alone my greatest joy was to sit next to the fire at night and look at the stars and pick out the planets as they moved around the big sky. We had many stories about stars and the night sky was like a book.

Un like the UK where I don't think there's any dangerous animals. A little further north we have one or two only which could cause you problems like tundra grizzlies, but they'll mostly not bother if you don't temp them into camp with food and not stay to long in their range.

I've had white wolves creep in to my camp and stare into my eyes a good few times in the dark. We see ourselves when we look into the eyes of a wolf for they share the same world - but they never cause us harm. I learned to recognise what animals were making what noises in the night and I learned that it is just as easy to recognise animals in the dark when they are mostly unseen as to recognise the same animal by track or sight. Musk oxen will also come to look and see. Once sleeping in the open next to my canoe I awoke to find a Musk Oxen just a foot or so away and could feel & smell his breath on my face.. And a few times have I been woken by the clicking sound of thousands of migrating caribou as the passed my sleeping place.

The biggest problem if you are not careful is the small critters like mice, who love to hitch a lift and spoil you food and sometimes your clothing when you are not watching and paying attention.

Just learn to enjoy the night and the dark and solitude - treat it like a friend and learn about your surroundings in the dark. Become familiar with being alone with your own company. You have plenty of time to think. We fear the unknown so embrace it and learn from it. You'll discover far more about wildlife when you are on your own than you will by making camp with friends or travelling companions who make noises and talk.

Joe
My grumble is not with “bloody foreigners” as you put it but with people who seem to feel the need (obsessive compulsive behaviour?) to post on as many threads as possible each day, whether or not they have anything useful, interesting or funny to add and/or are desperate to crowbar their experiences and opinions into an existing thread rather than having the confidence to start a new one. This seems to be less of an issue with UK based members.

Personally, I’d be as interested in reading blogs or detailed trip or project reports by overseas members (preferably with pictures - see below), as those from the UK, but what I (and I suspect other members) find frustrating is when UK specific threads get ruined because people prefer to hijack existing ones.

Finally, there are members on here who are not exactly rolling in cash and who only post occasionally but nevertheless chip in and pay the modest annual subscription to become full members and support the forum. Full membership also allows people to easily post pictures but some reason there seems to be a reluctance among some of the forum’s more prolific overseas based contributors to do likewise. A bit like the guy who likes being the centre of attention in the pub but sneaks off for a leak everytime it’s his round - not a good look! ;)

Hope that clears things up. :)
 
Sep 16, 2013
451
138
Rochester, Kent
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
Good question and something that I think goes through many peoples minds when they contemplate solo camping.

I like camping with a group of friends or like minded folk. But, solo camping can also be a real treat. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and de-stress. I've done it a few times in woodland and marshland environments that are local to me in the southeast.

It can be a little scary at first, you become much more aware of the noises that go on around you. And, because you're so much quieter on your own, you'll find that the wildlife will soon get used to you and feel confident to come in closer (especially in woodlands). I quite enjoy this element as I always enjoy watching the birds and squirrels run around.

In the woods, you're attention will often be grabbed by the sound of a snapping twig or the rustling of a branch. It's almost always a squirrel! Occasionally though you'll get lucky and see a deer which will undoubtedly run off just before you can get to your camera!

Things get more interesting when the night shift clock on. The tawny owls are an absolute treat to listen to (especially at this time of year), and you'll quickly recognise the intimidating shriek of a fox. But in reality there isn't much to be afraid of when solo camping, even better if you can tuck yourself out the way of any paths.

Is it boring? No not really. I usually busy myself first of all with camp chores such as wood prep for my bushbox. I may also do a bit of carving project, but will generally put the sharp tools away when it gets dark. I'll sometimes take a book or download a few shows on my iplayer radio app.

Give it a go once and you'll know whether it's for you or not. Maybe do your first solo within a short distance from your car/house so that you can always abort if you're not comfortable.
 
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Feb 24, 2009
47
23
Virginia
I say go for it!

And I'll second what Joe said.

The biggest threat (other than mosquitoes, ticks, etc. depending on the weather)? Tiny creatures that might gnaw their way into your tent or pack to get at food. I'm not sure what realistic precautions you can take to save your gear--but Joe might have some real-world advice on that front!

Joe?

I say go for it, prep by studying animal sounds, and turn it into a game of "identify that noise". Whether that's the quiet steps of deer on fallen leaves, a squirrel rustling for nuts, an owl hooting to the stars, or even just a stray coming into camp to say hi, you can keep track of what you hear, take notes, and compare trips against one another. That will also go a long way toward making the sounds of the night less mysterious, and studying them might provide a potential point of connection between you and nature that you might otherwise miss.

In the morning, you can try to find the tracks of what you heard--after estimating direction and distance in the dark, of course!
 

gonzo_the_great

Forager
Nov 17, 2014
199
44
Poole, Dorset. UK
...... The best feeling is getting up in the rain, packing your kit and walking off in full waterproofs knowing you can hack it.
My personal best feeling is when you are under your shelter, listening to the pouring rain. With your warm/dry kit on and a cup of tea in hand.
With that feeling of having won a point against nature. But in relaity, just keeping quiet about it, as nature had probably just not noticed you.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I am quite sure 99.9% of us got scared the first couple of solo nights out. Then you get used to the sounds.

I always thought it was scarier when sleeping outside a tent.

For me personally, I like to use an open tent summertime. I hate waking up when the sun heats up the tent, and can sleep maybe 30 minutes longer if the tent is open.