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Wild Camping - Common Sense Rules

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    Wild Camping - Common Sense Rules

    First and foremost - choose your spot carefully and do not upset, offend or inconvenience local residents or businesses. It goes without saying that you must not park immediately outside someone's house!

    Choose 2-3 possible locations (Google Streetview is an excellent resource), reccie them on arrival then return later. I normally return after dark then leave by daylight. If one location isn't suitable, then try the next.

    If you are ever asked to move on then do so without any argument. Be polite and friendly at all times. If asked to move and you respond in a friendly manner, you may be offered an alternative location. Local knowledge is generally good and reliable.

    If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about any location - trust your instincts and move on.

    Some public car parks allow overnight parking and sleeping in motorhomes - it's always worth checking.

    Safety and Security
    Always keep your keys handy incase of emergency.

    Never use external silver screens. You have to get out of your van to remove them - internal screens are much more suitable. If you have curtains behind your cab, just use these instead as they draw even less attention to your van.

    If any local thugs bang on your van door - don't get out. Ignore them until they grow bored or switch on lights to show your van is occupied. If they continue - give in and move away (ensuring you're not followed).

    Note down your exact location - just incase of an emergency so you can let others know exactly where you are.

    Take two mobile phones - each using a different network if you are in an especially remote area.

    Always ensure you can drive away easily if required (and are fit to drive - so no alcohol).

    Ideally choose a location with 2 exits - ie avoid picnic sites at the foot of a single-track lane so you can't become blocked in.

    Some wilders place a large dog's water bowl outside their door as a deterrent. (When tent-camping, I used to carry a pair of size 12 builder's boots left outside my tent!)

    Courtesy and Good Manners
    Do not overstay - ideally 1 night only; 2 at most.

    Be quiet, discreet and respectful: Make no noise, never leave an engine running, dogs barking or play loud music.

    Do not set up chairs, tables, awnings, washing lines - this becomes 'camping' not 'parking'.

    Always ensure the area is cleaner and tidier than when you arrived. Pick up any litter if there is any (so you can never be accused of leaving any) and take your own rubbish away with you.

    If you're in a small village, patronise their small businesses - bakeries, tea shops etc to plough a little cash into the local economy.

    Finally - enjoy the freedom, peace and quiet without the regimentation, expense, noise and bustle of busy campsites.
    Last edited by karenw; 30-07-2012, 15:32.

    Well done, Karen, very well written.


      Great common sense rules for newbie and established wilders to follow. Thanks Karen.
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        I copied these "tips" from go4awalk.I'm sure Karen knows them all.

        Me being an experienced wild campist, I just thought I'd pass on some tips for all of those readers who might be considering experiencing this . . . er . . . experience this summer.

        But first, a definition. For camping to be wild, you really should be a long way from wherever it was you started and not next to your car. You have to walk there for quite a while. It has to be, well, wild, if you know what I mean. Far away. On a hill or something.

        On with the tips anyway . . .

        Tip 1. Location.

        Locations can be defined by four interchangeable parameters. These are:

        a/ Sheltered
        b/ Windy,
        c/ Dry and
        d/ Damp

        There is a further sub-category of Damp which is "Wet" and another division of "Wet", which is "Underwater".

        Try to avoid "Wet" if at all possible but the choice between "Sheltered" and "Windy" is less clear-cut.

        If your site is sheltered, you might get a lot of condensation. On cold nights, this will be white and will form a small but short blizzard when you nip out for a pee.

        If your site is windy, there will be little condensation, but your tent will collapse at 3;00 am. It will not blow away because you are in it and holding it down. As soon as you get out, though, it will blow away.

        A dry site may well become wet during the night. See the various categories of wet above. A wet site never becomes dry, however.

        Tip 2. Putting up the tent.

        1- Remove tent from tent bag bag. Assemble pole(s). Remove pegs from little peg bag.
        2- Lay out tent.
        3- Chase tent bag across the moor, catch it, put it in your pocket and return to site.
        4- Chase tent across the moor and catch it. Have a bit of a fight with it, sustaining a slight eye injury caused by a flailing guy rope with one of those metal things on the end. Return to site.
        5- Stand on tent (lie on it if very windy) whilst inserting a couple of pegs to stop it blowing away.
        6- Insert pole.
        7- Pull out all guy ropes and peg them down.
        8- Take tent down and start again because the door is facing into the wind and the tent is filling up like a balloon and you're in some danger of unplanned flight Go to (2) above

        Tip 3. Settling in

        1- Once your tent is up, locate your sleeping mat and, if it is an inflatable one, inflate it. Listen to sound of escaping air but fail to find the source. Watch mat slowly deflate.
        2- Locate your sleeping bag and lay it out. Fluff it up a bit.
        3- Find your stove and pot, stuff for a brew (e.g. tea), spoon or spork and water bottle.
        4- Exit the tent and find the nearest stream of purest cold mountain spring water (a.k.a. raging torrent of brown stuff). Fill the water bottle without falling in, or letting go of the bottle. Examine the bottle for life swimming about in it, bits of vegetable material, lumps, scum, insects or detergent foam. Shrug if any of these are found since emptying and refilling the bottle will only increase the quantities of whatever it is you've found.
        5- Start to boil up "water" for a brew
        6- Doze off whilst waiting for pot to boil.
        7- Wake up suddenly covered in scalding water.
        8- Extinguish fire in tent porch.
        Go to (4) above.

        Tip 4. In-tent entertainment.

        1- Snuggle cosily into your sleeping bag and plug your Ipod into your ears
        2- Listen to Abba's Greatest Hits whilst imagining you hear strange noises outside. Notice inner tent is dancing around unusually.
        3-Listen to the wind thundering towards your tent and watch the pole(s) bend violently at each vicious gust. Imagine strange noises outside/wonder if the tent will stand up to the oncoming onslaught. Decide it will. Then not be so sure. Repeat cycle whilst pretending to be unconcerned.
        4- Doze off.
        5- Wake up suddenly thinking that you've heard strange noises outside and/or wondering whether not you left the grill on this morning and/or that your bladder is full and one side of the tent has collapsed in the wind and water is pooling by your head.
        6-Exit tent dressed only in thermal undies. Replace all the pegs, and arrange a small cairn of rocks on each guyline to hold them down.
        7-Chase sleeping bag across moor.
        8- Plan escape to nearest Bed & Breakfast, using GPS to plot the route.
        9-Phone nearest B&B and go there immediately or go to (3) above. (You lost the ipod chasing the tent across the moor)

        Hope this helps. Happy camping. from Mike Knipe

        Last edited by Ian.C.S; 30-07-2012, 23:48.
        Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.


          Carpe diem! :)


            I see Ian like myself has done some real wild camping under canvas - that I think is the best way to start and Karen has offered some excellent ground rules. If only everyone were as sensible


              Wild Camping

              Following on from tips from Ian my own experience when travelling for several years in a horse-drawn gypsy caravan and therefore 'wild camping' were:

              1. Travel until horse getting tired - about 20 miles.
              2. Locate suitable spot to stop
              3. Unharness and tether horse
              4. Walk to nearest house for water
              5. Be refused water
              6. Walk to next house
              7. Repeat above steps 4 to 6 until have water
              8. Give water to horse
              9. Repeat water cycle 4 to 8 until have enough water left by horse for tea
              10. Remove patch of turf, light fire and brew Up
              11. Make tea for self and policemen who have usually arrived by now
              12. If on verge jump to 14
              13. If on a common deny knowledge of:
              * by-laws prohibiting grazing of unlicenced animals
              * by-laws prohibiting camping on common
              * by-laws prohibiting lighting of fires
              14. Apologize that unable to move on due to horse not having lights
              15. Next morning move on, replacing fire turf and leaving not even a splodge of horse droppings
              16. Repeat next day

              I travelled in this manner for several years on a circuit of farms doing strawberry, potato and hop picking along with lambing, wool wrapping etc. I often used same stopping places each year and by my second and subsequent visit most people were more friendly and instead of ringing the police came over for a chat - often bringing cake, eggs and dog biscuits (for my dog).

              I was often initially refused water, even when I said could I at least have some for the horse. To be fair I only camped on a Common once (Tenby), the police were always fine I guess because I was no trouble. I too was once given supper by some fishermen - unfortunately it was an eel though!

              ~ Jane
              When I say I have itchy feet I don't mean I have Athletes Foot.


                You will be very welcome at any of our meets/rallies Jane. I have done many farm jobs as a boy,the one I hated was pulling onions,the one I loved was hay timing.
                I wouldn`t want to do any of them now.
                Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.


                  Excellent guidelines, Karen. Thank you.

                  Sadly, the people who ruin it for the rest of us - by camping in daft places, leaving litter, being noisy etc, are the ones who are least likely to read this

                  I've used the large dog bowl idea often but the size 12's is even better!



                    I've advised people to put stickers on the van windows, one for karate (or any other martial art) and one of a German Shepherd (or other large dog).

                    That was in addition to the big dog bowl outside.

                    Love the big boots idea, not heard of that one.


                      My experiences

                      Hate the expression wild camping but my use of camp sites has been very limited.If I shared my worst experience with you I'd put everyone off but I just think challenges happen to make us strong and you have to rise above them. I'll tell you my story if asked and I have time! You won't even begin to imagine....


                        Yes, please share your story!


                          You've got to tell us now!
                          derek b and Babs


                            Please do tell all, I'm intrigued.
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