Things that no one tells you about wild camping
Wild camping means different things to different people. Some might think of it as going out into the deepest, darkest woods with nothing but a tent and a few essential supplies to essentially live “in the wild”.
But for others, it’s about going to a secluded location that offers access to bathroom facilities, perhaps with camping pods or lodges.
In any case, wild camping means getting away from the usual popular campgrounds and caravan parks to enjoy some peace, quiet, and no-frills relaxation for a day or two.
But is it permitted? And what should you take with you? Let’s find out …
Am I Allowed to Try Wild Camping?
Yes! You can try wild camping — but only in certain places.
It’s not permitted in England, Northern Ireland, or Wales, which rules out the vast majority of the United Kingdom. While you can pitch your tent for a spot of wild camping in certain areas of Dartmoor, you must follow the relevant byelaws.
That means being careful what vehicles you drive, lighting a fire, and adhering to many of the other reasonable rules.
However, you can go wild camping on land in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland if you get permission from the landowner.
So, Scotland is the only part of the UK that permits members of the public to camp “wildly”. This is due to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003, which grants people the right to camp on almost any piece of unenclosed land — including a number of the country’s national parks.
Still, you must leave no trace of your stay, never light fires, and be careful where you choose to go to the “toilet”. And that includes burying any personal waste you pass, to avoid obvious hygiene and aesthetic problems.
If you intend to request permission from a landowner to go wild camping, make sure you do so in writing and get their explicit approval. Keep a hard copy with you during your camping trip to prove you aren’t trespassing if confronted by members of the public — or even police.
Make sure you research local walks and activities carefully. Check that you can camp at any locations along any trails you plan to walk (such as in the Lake District) legally.
Being exhausted at the end of a tiring day is no excuse to pitch your tent anywhere. Remember: get permission and keep the evidence with you at all times.
What to Take with You When Wild Camping
Take these essentials with you on any wild camping trip:
- Small trowel/shovel for burying your own personal waste when nature calls
- Toilet paper (for obvious reasons!)
- Multiple pairs of durable, comfortable socks
- A tent that’s easy to carry and pack away fast
- Cooking equipment you can use safely and without creating a mess
- Waterproof jackets and waterproof trousers (if necessary)
- Comfortable, worn-in boots
- Water, hot drinks, snacks, and ingredients for camping-friendly meals
That covers the essential details you need to know if you’re curious about wild camping.
Ready to start shopping? Outdoor Camping Direct has all the equipment you need for a fun, safe, unforgettable camping trip anywhere in the UK!