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  • Writer's pictureKate

The Ultimate Wild Camping Essentials: Top 10 Must-Have Items for an Unforgettable Outdoor Adventure

Updated: Jun 22

wild camping in the lake district

What is Wild Camping?

Wild camping, also known as free camping or wilderness camping, is an exhilarating outdoor pursuit that allows adventurers to immerse themselves in the raw beauty of nature. Unlike traditional camping at designated campsites, wild camping involves pitching a tent or setting up a shelter in remote, secluded areas far from the beaten path. It's a liberating experience that offers a sense of freedom, solitude, and a deeper connection with the great outdoors. When we embark on a wild camping adventure, we leave the comforts of modern civilization behind and embrace the simplicity of living in harmony with nature. The thrill of finding a serene spot, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, and falling asleep under a canopy of stars is truly unmatched. Wild camping is not just a physical journey; it's a journey of self-discovery, where we challenge our limits, test our survival skills, and reconnect with our primal instincts. Whether you're an experienced outdoorsman or a novice seeking an unforgettable adventure, wild camping offers a unique opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the great outdoors. It's a chance to unplug from the digital world, reconnect with nature, and create lasting memories that will stay with you forever.

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The Benefits of Wild Camping

Wild camping offers a plethora of benefits that extend far beyond the physical act of pitching a tent in the wilderness. Here are some of the most compelling advantages of embracing this adventurous lifestyle:

  1. Reconnecting with nature: By immersing ourselves in the great outdoors, we gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the natural world. We become more attuned to the rhythms of nature, the sounds of wildlife, and the ever-changing landscapes that surround us.

  2. Mental and physical rejuvenation: Spending time in nature has been proven to have a positive impact on our mental and physical well-being. The fresh air, physical activity, and serene surroundings can help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall relaxation.

  3. Developing self-reliance: Wild camping requires us to rely on our own skills and resources, fostering a sense of self-reliance and confidence. From navigating through unfamiliar terrain to setting up camp and preparing meals, we learn to trust our abilities and problem-solving skills.

  4. Exploring new horizons: Each wild camping adventure presents an opportunity to explore new and exciting destinations, from remote mountains to woodland paradises. This sense of exploration feeds our curiosity and ignites a desire for further adventures.

  5. Creating lasting memories: The experiences and challenges encountered during a wild camping trip create lasting memories that will be cherished for years to come. These memories serve as a source of inspiration and a reminder of the incredible journeys we've undertaken.

My Top 10 Items Wild Camping Essentials

Proper planning and packing the right wild camping experience are essential for a successful and enjoyable experience. While minimalism is key, there are certain essential items that should never be left behind. Here are the top 10 must-have items for your wild camping adventure. Bear in mind that some of these items could be considered luxury items and not necessarily for an ultralight wild camping adventure. Furthermore, this is not an exhaustive list.

wild camping in the lake district

I absolutely love this MSR tent; it is so easy to put up, and it's freestanding, so you can move it once it is up if you like. You can sleep without the rainfly, so you can go to sleep watching the stars. My only issue is that it is pretty small, so it fits me, and my backpack is tight. However, this means that the weight of the tent is low (1.3 kg), so it is incredible for those multi-day adventures. 

This is my go-to summer Therm-A-Rest sleeping bag; it is incredibly light at 400g and made of 900-fill Nikwax Hydrophonic Down, so it stays drier and maintains the loft 60 times longer than an untreated one. It packs down relatively small and comes with a stuff sack for storing when not being used. It also comes in 3 different sizes.  

This Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Mat is super light, at only 0.36kg and with an R-value of 5.4. It's very comfy. My only issue with it is that it's a bit small, so if I upgraded, I would get a larger one of the same model. 

I consider this Thermarest Pillow a luxury item because of its weight of 340g, due to the fact that you can get blow-up pillows that come in at under 100g. However, if you have been hiking for a while or been out for a few days, this pillow gives you a better night's sleep. So, more often than not, this is my go-to pillow, and I love the mushroom design, and it folds up with itself to help save space.

Again, most would consider this Trekker Chair a luxury; however, sitting to the extent of watching the sun go down without a backrest, particularly after a full day of hiking, is not comfortable, so this chair provides me exceptional comfort. The chair comes in dual widths, and the stretchy sleeves accommodate the NeoAir and most self-inflating sleeping mats. Weight: 290 grams (10 ounces). It is compatible with most mattresses up to 20 inches wide (Mattress not included).

At only 250 grams, this little Electric Air Pump is a must for any wild camp. It pumps my mat up in no time at all, ensuring I don't ruin it by blowing it up, which can lead to mould, ultimately ruin the mat, and leave me with all my breath! It's a win-win!

This long-handled titanium spork is the ideal length to fit into the bottom of all your wild camping food packs, so you won't get dirty hands when tucking into your food. It also only weighs 16 grams.

I have tried many of the wild camping food packets, and the Real Turmat range is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best by a country mile. My favourite is the Chicken Curry, followed by the Pasta Bolognaise.

Real Turmat Food

This Enamel Mug is perfect for a drop of something while you watch the sun go down or for that well-needed coffee in the morning.

sunshine and mountains enamel mug

I never go anywhere without my Garmin Mini. I always take it on Wild Camps, as most of the time when I'm out in the countryside, I'm often without a signal. I can use this to call for help if needed and message my family back home. My family can even locate me if I haven't been in contact. Whilst the device costs a lot of money, it is invaluable when you have no phone signal and are out on your own! There is no price for safety!

Garmin Mini

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Conclusion: Wild Camping Essentials

Wild camping is a truly transformative experience that allows us to reconnect with nature, challenge ourselves, and create lasting memories. By embracing the adventure and equipping ourselves with the right knowledge, skills, and gear, we can embark on unforgettable journeys that will stay with us for a lifetime.

As you plan your next wild camping adventure, remember to respect the natural environment, prioritise safety, and cherish the opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Immerse yourself in the serenity of the great outdoors, and let the beauty of nature rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.

Happy trails, fellow adventurers!

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See The Beginners Guide to Wild Camping Here!

Women's only Hiking and Wild Camping Facebook Group - Click here!

If you have any questions or comments on anything you have read, please get in touch with me here.

If you don't already use the Ordnance Survey App, you can download it here, enabling you to download GPX routes. I use this App to plan all my hikes, and as its OS, it mirrors the paper map you should always use in conjunction.

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