To go wild camping is to be free from your travels, and completely independent in terms of accommodation. Sleeping in your tent is also about being closer to nature and a bit more adventurous than in everyday life (unless you're a full-time adventurer like Mike Horn or Bear Grylls). However, there are some important things to know before unfolding your tent, I present them in this article 🙂
Choose your tent
There are many choices of tents, two places or three places? Light or rather compact?
Most of the time, a two-seater tent is preferred for its size and weight. You never think you need a place for a third traveler. Only in practice, a two-seater tent limits space and comfort. We often forget the size of our bags and the importance of placing them indoors, away from moisture.
During my last trip from Glasgow to Isle of Skye, I decided to open my new wild camping tent with my buddy of the moment (which was a good idea, any hot body is good to take) .
In order to choose your tent, you need to know what the weather conditions are going to be. For example, knowing that I was moving to Scotland, I chose a tent that was strong and resistant to winds of 70km / h and more than 5000mm of rain.
Trekking tents are light and compact, while camping tents may be easier to unfold but heavier. Indeed, it is important to check the weight of your tent and how compact it is, especially if you are traveling on foot or if you are going to have to carry it on long journeys (second advantage of having a second body with you) .
Find the campsite
Wild camping in France is quite complicated, but not impossible! To avoid any problem, we must ensure the legality of the place, making sure to respect the following rules:
- Being more than 200 meters from the sea
- Not to be on a classified natural or historic site
- Do not be near a clean drinking water point
- Do not be on a road or road
- Do not be on private property (unless you have the agreement of the owner, of course).
For more information, I advise you to go on the government website about camping off developed land and rules to follow.
Some national parks have their own rules and allow for bivouac camping (overnight camping between 7pm and 9am). It's worth knowing, especially when you know how beautiful some parks are. What you can also do is simply go ring with individuals who own a large lot, with a little luck you will have a place to camp quietly and you can make beautiful meetings.
Some countries also have legislation allowing the use of natural places, and therefore all kinds of camping (mainly Nordic countries). This law from Sweden and Finland states that “full use of natural areas” is permitted.
You can find more specific information about countries allowing wild camping, right here.
In order to choose the location of your tent, we must focus on dry places and if possible sheltered from the wind. Do not make the same mistake as us: do not put your tent on top of the highest mountain, where wind and rain can easily reach you.
Avoid flood areas in case of rain, hollow soils where water may accumulate, and do not sit under a tree where branches may fall on you. Although it is attractive to sit in front of a river to wake up with a great view, it could be dangerous in some cases (not to mention the noise that could disturb your sleep).
Do not wait until night falls to find your camp site, otherwise you will have a hard time evaluating all the risks, but also to pitch your tent in the dark … believe the experience.
Live in the heart of nature
Survive the cold
Depending on the country you are in, and the time of year, nights in a tent can be particularly difficult to live. As I mentioned before, so you may need a second warm body to warm yourself up at night.
To choose your sleeping bag, always use the comfort temperature as the reference temperature, not the extreme temperature. This one indicates the extreme temperature of hypothermia, the one where your life would be in danger. The insulation of your bag must be well adapted to your climatic conditions, likewise for the size which must not be larger than necessary. Being in a bag that's too wide may cool you down, it can keep your body warm, but it can not warm the cold air around you. It is at this moment that we understand the usefulness of the cord which is used to close the hood of the bag, in order not to let air pass.
Even if a sleeping bag is particularly effective in terms of insulation, so as not to see his body to cool completely, a mattress is a significant ally (if you forget, you can always place dead leaves under your tent, or even a plastic survival blanket under your bag for insulation). Indeed, the best solution to not lose heat is to avoid contact with the ground.
If you are chilly, do not forget that our main body heat runs off the extremities. So we must provide hood, hat, and even socks to sleep (although it is not the most comfortable, I admit it).
If you need to warm up outside your tent, you can read the article: protect yourself from the cold.
If you go wild camping for a long stay, you will need food supplies. In case you have not seen the cult movie Into the Wild, do not try to feed on wild plants that you do not know, it could end badly.
There are many facilities that are easy to carry in a backpack if you decide to cook yourself with your own (camping dishes, gas or electric stoves …). If you can not predict how your diet will work, promote the transport of simple, light foods such as protein grain bars and raw edible vegetables.
In choosing your stove (gas or gas), it is necessary to take into account the transport. If you have planned an air trip, your gas stove is mandatory, as for gas, it can be useful in your local trekking.
When traveling with your tent, it is not always easy to carry a lot of water, or even to find drinking water points, so you have to adapt. There are some tips to avoid getting sick by drinking natural water: a mechanical filter (like water bottles and bottles with integrated filter), chemical filter like charcoal or silver particles, disinfectant tablets, and the boiling.
For more security, some even advocate to associate several ways of purification.
As all these solutions have advantages and disadvantages, if you want to know more, I invite you to learn about the means of purification water through complementary sites.
The rules to respect
Depending on the environment in which you are, you should also pay attention to the animals around you.
In order not to see your tent torn by bears, foxes or other wild animals, try to cook and keep your food as far as possible from your camp, checking that the wind does not smell.
In case of country with bears, a tree is the most appropriate hiding place (minimum 4 m above the ground).
Make a fire
Making a campfire can be useful for warming up, preparing a meal but also to keep wild animals away or simply to light up.
However, be aware of legislation prohibiting fires in certain places, (such as those protected). It is dangerous to do in a forest, especially if the branches are low, as well as near homes. For more details, you can consult the site: prevention-incendie-foret.com
You must first look for a place sheltered from the wind, a bare ground of rocks, leaves or twigs, all not being too close to your equipment (the tents being particularly flammable, and the smoke not so nice) .
To make a success of your fire, surround the chosen area with stones or do it directly in a hollower area than the ground level. It is important to define the limit and the dimension of your fire, in order to foresee the necessary resources to extinguish it with ease.
To start your fire, you will need: what to light your fire (lighters, matches or firesteel), a fuel (newsprint, fallen leaves, cardboard, dry twigs ..) and wood, which you must prepare in advance .
How to extinguish your fire?
Mainly with water. As we are never too careful, do not hesitate to go back several times. It is recommended to add soil to reduce its oxygen supply, and thus extinguish it entirely. Also scatter the remaining wood to leave as little traces as possible.
And above all, always be attentive, a fire can quickly become uncontrollable.
Remember that a true camper leaves nature as he found it, no traces apart from those that experience gives him.