Wild Camping Issues

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SootyFingers

New Member
Jun 8, 2020
2
6
29
United Kingdom
Hello, I'm not entirely sure how these forums work or how a forum works to be quite honest, I've never used one before so hopefully I'm doing the right thing! I have a question and I want to know if anybody else can relate to the issues I'm having. Wild Camping has become a frequent activity of mine, all was fine and well for over the week I was doing it until one evening, I couldn't sleep and have failed to sleep well ever since. My mind goes in to overdrive and I start thinking about the most ridiculous things, suffering from the most irrational fears. Has anybody experienced this and if so, what is your remedy?

Many thanks,
Sooty Fingers
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,394
3,600
Mid Wales
Welcome to the Forum SF - I hope you get a lot out of it.

I have been wild camping solo since I was a teenager (at the time when the moors murders were taking place over the other side of the country) and I would be lying if I said there were not times when I've felt unnerved. From my experience there a few things you can do and a few things you should not do if you're nervous:

1) don't camp near a stream or river - the noise of the water that masks any other noise is disturbing; i.e. the realisation you can't hear anybody/thing approaching is worrying.
2) don't drink too much alcohol; it tends to increase your imagination rather than dull it (to a point)
3) go out with a buddy - camping apart but within shouting distance until you settle to doing it again
4) cut yourself a stout stick about a metre or so long (a Shillelagh) and have it with you - you'll never need it but it will help
5) make sure you get plenty of physical activity in the day - a long walk, a canoe journey, a cycle ride will help sleep (obviously)
6) pitch with your back to something - a big tree, a rock, a wall …. I don't know why but it helps to think that nothing can approach from behind
7) do not, on any account, watch scary camping videos (such as Dog Soldier)
 

oldtimer

Full Member
Sep 27, 2005
2,462
1,019
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Oxfordshire and Pyrenees-Orientales, France
My younger son has a theory that this is linked to pollen. If so, the effect would be greater in the countryside than the town and there may be a cumulative effect. I certainly find that my own sleep patterns vary according to where I am. For example, both my wife and I have stranger dreams when we are in our French place and here in England, where we live in the countryside, we dream more strangely in the spring and when we have the windows wide open. As I said, it's just a theory and it will be interesting to see what other replies say.

As to the irrational fears; as Shakespeare said in Midsummer Night's Dream, "How oft a bush becomes a bear!" This one I know from experience. It is always worse when sleeping without a tent when any movement can cause alarm. There was a time in the US when my wife awoke to find the moving bush really was a bear- but that's another story.
 

Oliver G

Forager
Sep 15, 2012
246
133
Melbourne, Derbyshire
I found this a while ago, it started while on exercise and I was shattered and expecting a stand to which kept me up (also caused weird dreams when I did fall asleep), for a good couple of years after I struggled to sleep outside at any point, I found doing a mental check list of security/comfort which helps a lot, simple things like:
Have I had a drink?
Have I been to the loo?
Have I got water / food?
Is my sleeping kit / shelter correct?

Failing that carry out an activity you do before bed at home and repeat that outside to set your mind to sleep (Reading a book, having a brew, etc.)
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
11,918
166
Stourton,UK
Don’t go reading the ‘Fear of the Dark’ thread on here :eek:

Has to be said though, that even when there is the very rare encounter with weirdos out there, it’s true to say that it’s still your fear itself that is the biggest threat. The stealthiest of animals make noises like humans at night, humans make noises like mammoths.
 

Ed the Ted

Forager
Dec 13, 2013
144
41
Scotland
I have definitely had this and funnily enough i find it better when im in a more open shelter, like just under a tarp. from inside a tent everything outside seems somehow more amplified and sounds that are far appear near, i think its related to not being able to see and feeing somehow trapped insider a tent, like you have to crawl out and in that moment feel very vulnerable. though i have to say after living in the highlands and having loads of run ins (literally) with deer whilst mountain biking at night and hearing them roaring and realising they are basically the biggest wild animal we have, and a badger is our biggest wild predator, im a lot less concerned. and all that mountain biking and walking in forests in the dark made me love the peace of night time rather than fear something thats not actually there.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,394
3,600
Mid Wales
Don’t go reading the ‘Fear of the Dark’ thread on here :eek:

Has to be said though, that even when there is the very rare encounter with weirdos out there, it’s true to say that it’s still your fear itself that is the biggest threat. The stealthiest of animals make noises like humans at night, humans make noises like mammoths.

Oh yes, I'd forgotten about that - whatever you do SF do not read that thread - no don't! ;)
 

Robbi

Full Member
Mar 1, 2009
9,371
454
northern ireland
Don’t go reading the ‘Fear of the Dark’ thread on here :eek:

Has to be said though, that even when there is the very rare encounter with weirdos out there, it’s true to say that it’s still your fear itself that is the biggest threat. The stealthiest of animals make noises like humans at night, humans make noises like mammoths.


LOL !! now that was cruel !
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,253
1,252
Bedfordshire
There might be something else. I have heard that a lot of people are not sleeping as well as normal as a result of the lockdown and quarantining measures. People have more worries and fewer group interactions, which could be disturbing for even normally cheerful soloists. I myself have found that I have been sleeping badly more often, and waking at about 4:45 in the morning, as it gets light and the birds start singing, even when I am at home, with the windows and curtains closed!
 

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