Wild camping, can also be known as boondocking, freedom camping or free camping, means spending the night away from public campsites or caravan parks. The main focus is on nature, how far you take this is up to you. So what do you bring? I have you covered with my comprehensive list of Wild Camping Equipment.
This list covers what I consider to be the essential items for an enjoyable overnight or multi-day Wild Camping advenure. I would love to have your input so make sure you add that to the comments below. I hope to have added some items that maybe a little less obvious and which weigh next to nothing and may well save your bacon (mmmmm bacon! ). Just remember if something unexpected happens the more stuff you take the heavier your rucksack will be, so be mindful of weight!
Toothbrush & Toothpaste – I personally do not want to go to head to bed with dinner stuck between my teeth! If your weight conscious you can cut down the handle of your toothbrush.. Travel toothpaste is preferable.
Gaffa Tape – approx 1 metre of quality gaffa tape. Wrap it around your water bottle or stick it to itself, unravel and cut to use. This can help with emergency repairs to kit and equipment – think a tear in your tent, a broken zip on your waterproofs, a snapped tent pole etc
Beanie & Gloves – in the winter months these can keep you warm.
Cord – approx 2-3 metres. This can be used for emergency repairs to kit and equipment – think snapped shoe laces or tent guy ropes. More practical uses include a makeshift washing line to dry wet clothes in your tent vestibule, or to tie equipment to your rucksack.
Rucksack/Backpack – as a rough guide a capacity of between 40 – 60 litres, however ultimately the rucksack you require will depend upon how much equipment you intend to carry, the season, length of trip etc. Really try out this item and and make sure you buy for comfort first and not for price. Waterproof or atleast resistant is a must and if going for extended trips a removable day pack is a fantastic idea.
Rucksack liner/Backpack – if there is rain in the forecast or even if you are going into high rainfall areas such as a rainforest, I advise using a rucksack liner to ensure your wild camping equipment remains dry. You can use a large dry bag or I personally use a rubble bag – available from all good DIY stores!
Tent/Bivvy – a tent or a bivvy bag, both have there merits. I personally prefer the comfort and space that a tent provides. I normally remove the tent from its bag, fold and stuff into my rucksack – i find this makes packing much more practical.
Sleeping Bag – a synthetic or down sleeping bag with a temperature rating to suit the conditions you are venturing in. I would personally take extras layers with me and go for a lower rating and therefore less bulky bag.
Sleeping Mat – a self inflating sleeping mat is the most comfortable option. Alternatively a more traditional (and cheaper) foam camping mat can be used, or indeed on a winter camp I use both to provide an additional layer between me and the cold or frozen ground!
First Aid Kit – atleast one person within your group (if you are not solo) should always havea first aid kit suitable for the type of activity and length of trip you are embarking on. Check with places like the St Johns to get suitable quality kits
Power Bank – I also now carry a Power Bank to ensure my devices remain charged – when I use my smartphone for GPS and photos the battery only lasts approx 1 day. A 5,000 or 10,000 mAh provides a good balance between weight and capacity.
Waterproof Phone Pouch – with all the weather quickly turning crappy, a waterproof phone pouch is one of the first items I pack for any trip.
Water/Water Bottles– water is super heavy but must, whilst its tempting to take more I personally carry only 1.5 – 2 litres, assuming there are water sources on the intended walking route (make sure you do your research). A bottle allows you to easily collect water from a stream or lake, and having 2 covers you incase you drop one and also allows for clean water in one and ‘dirty’ water in the other. Dont forget to purify your water either by boiling (preferable) or using purification tablets.
Water purification– my preference is to boil water, however as a backup ill always carry a couple of water purification tablets just in case.
Food Supplies – enough food to support your trip, salted nuts, pitta bread, avocados, pasta, tortelloni, tuna, beans, chocolate (mars!), energy bars, oats and dried milk (powder) are just some examples.
Cooking Stove/Fuel – a stove for cooking and to boil water for hot drinks/water purification, do your research on the best one that suits your needs.
Cookware – I suggest to generally carry a Pan, Mug, Plate, Spork and Folding Knife – the latter being sharp enough for all round usage, plan your meals and what you will need before you go.
Cleaning Sponge – A sponge (cut in half to save space if it is only a quick trip) for cleaning cookware and other items during your trip. Be minful to avoid introducing any cleaning products into the water system.
Mini Shovel/Toilet Roll – I bet you don’t want to step in my poo and i don’t want to see yours! Please don’t ruin a beautiful spot through laziness. A small amount of toilet roll folded up also makes it into my rucksack.
Map & Compass – a paper map and quality compass together with the knowledge to use it! Don’t rely solely on your smartphone.
Head Torch – a head torch for night navigation, reading or using around the tent when dark, make sure the batteries are charged or new before heading out.
Waterproof Jacket – I carry a waterproof jacket even in favourable conditions, it acts as an extra layer and of course given how changeable weather can be id rather be warm and dry, than wet and cold.
Waterproof Pants – if the weather forecast is for persistent rain you need to pack waterproof pants. I often substitute in place of mountain pants (especially if its wet but warm) and use thermals underneath If I need to. Whilst cheap waterproof pants will do the job they tend not to be breathable and are generally super baggy. I prefer fitted pants with air vents for all day comfort.
Do you have any wild camping equipment essentials not included above? What is your most essential or unusual item? Have you forgotten an essential item in the past? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear about your wild camping adventures.