5 tips for wild camping
When you’re on the road hitchhiking, it can be difficult to plan where you’ll sleep. Often, you’ll be left stranded between here and there with no accommodation options. When I’m on the road, I prefer camping out in my tent. Here are 5 tips for wild camping I always keep in mind.
Tent and sleeping bag
Without a doubt, a great tent and sleeping bag are essential. If you don’t mind small spaces, a one-person tent will suffice with just enough extra room for your backpack. If you prefer more space, go for a two-person tent. I recommend keeping it as small as possible as a smaller tent means more places you can pitch it.
When thinking about sleeping bags, aim for about 200gsm. Colder climates will require more gsm, but 200gsm performs well in a variety of temperatures. Sleeping bags with this thickness will fold up relatively small so you can easily fit it in your backpack, or strap it to the outside, with little added weight.
Picking a spot
An ideal camping spot will have leaves or grass on the ground, meaning you’ll have a soft bed to lay on. Try to find somewhere with cover from trees or bushes. More cover means people won’t be able to see you and therefore less hassle. Also, stay away from private land as much as possible.
Unfortunately, sometimes there are rocks, branches and other sharp objects underneath your tent. You just have to deal with it. In saying that, you’d be surprised how comfortable an uneven, rocky terrain can be.
Bugs will inevitably bother you, especially in humid areas close to slow-moving water. Remember to do regular tick checks to ensure none have bitten you as Lyme’s disease is a threat. One of the tell-tale symptoms is the “bull’s eye” rash around the affected area. Keep an eye on insect bites too in case of infection.
Though combating ticks and other bugs can be difficult, there are a variety of repellents on the market. I recommend using a repellent spray with 40% – 50% DEET.
Clean up your mess
Be kind to Mother Earth; clean up your mess. It’s awful trying to camp when there’s litter around. It doesn’t cost anything to gather your trash and throw it out in the morning.
As well as this, cleaning up your mess prevents animals from approaching you. Investigate the area you’re traveling in; make sure there are no predators such as bears that may interfere with you as you camp.
Baby wipes are the best shower on the road. They are light, inexpensive and do a fantastic job. Any brand will do. Remember to clean yourself as much as possible; it pays to stay clean when you’re traveling.
The next morning, you’ll feel a lot fresher after cleaning yourself with baby wipes and brushing your teeth!
Wild camping is unpredictable but it can be a wonderful experience. It’s liberating knowing you don’t have to worry about accommodation when you’re on the road. Just respect the land and be mindful of wildlife. If you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be and someone asks you to move, politely do as they ask. Otherwise, enjoy sleeping under the stars; you would be surprised how comfortable a forest floor can be.
Thinking of heading out on the road? Check out my 5 tips for traveling alone.