“Going to the woods is going home; for I suppose we came from the woods originally. But in some of nature’s forests the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature;-. Even the heaviest portions of the main forest belt, where the trees are tallest and stand closest, are not in the least gloomy. The sunshine falls in glory through the colossal spires and crowns, each a symbol of health and strength, the noble shafts faithfully upright like the pillars of temples, upholding a roof of infinite leafy interlacing arches and fretted skylights.” John Muir
It’s an interesting thing to consider the wild, the wilderness, the forest, a temple. However, in its essence it is, a temple for worship of another sort; to praise and appreciate nature in its most rugged and unwavering manner. That is what wild camping is, the pure love of nature, off the beaten track and into the unknown to explore, eat, relax and sleep in nature. . . .
With a love of the outdoors in mind, we have put together some advice, ponderings and things to note when planning a trip.
Exploration is in our nature, we can’t help but be curious. Despite how accustomed we have become to our sheltered lifestyle in the city or if you are a true outdoorsman, it’s tough not to feel some level of desire to be out in nature, exploring. We recommend letting your inner nomad lead you and try your hand at foraging. With some guidance on how to search and select your food, safely and sustainably you can head to the Woodlands Trust Website and before you know it, you will have the skills you need to spot those chanterelles, blackberries, blueberries and nettles, all four of which can turn into a delicious dinner; with these ingredients and some foods that you have brought with you, think chanterelle and nettle Bruschetta and stewed forest berries for dessert. In Sweden, everyone has “The right to roam” which means people can camp, eat and be free on public lands, this beautiful sentiment which speaks of a deep connection with the earth, is something you should tap into. Roam, roam without an endpoint, roam without a cause, simply be in nature and take it in. You can walk around and discover every rock, tree or curve in the path, just for the sake of seeing something new.
Cooking and eating outside is an art form. Food is life no matter where you are and cooking an indulgent, luxurious and nourishing act, pair that with a natural back drop, a roaring fire and blissful solitude and, well, you have a little slice of heaven. To ensure you have all the basics that one might need for cooking and eating, pre-prep, by asking questions like; can we forage for ingredients or shall be pack before? So let’s say you have foraged, or brought food with you, when camping in the wild, one wants to make as little disturbance to the nature as possible. For seasoning and flavour, bring salt, pepper, garlic, butter, sugar and tea in small easy to pack Tupperware boxes, they bring life to a meal but only bring what you need and take the empty boxed home with you.
If you have gained permission to make a small camp fire or whether you are cooking on a stove, think one pot, toast bread on sticks-the old fashioned way above the flames, and think eating from the pot, huddled under blankets, watching the flickering embers of the fire illuminate the darkness.
You have gained the eternal gift of time, a chance to disconnect from the world, away from phones and technology, no Netflix, only the sounds of the woods, it’s time to genuinely relax. You want to be comfortable of course, that’s why, depending on how you plan to access your wild camping spot, you want to travel light but ensure you have warm socks and a few of your favourite cosy layers. Those woolly jumpers or light mid layer that you can snuggle in front of the fire in, that will give you that concept the Danish call “Hugge”- the comfort and cosiness, that happiness one gets when they are warm and contented. Wild camping is best enjoyed in small groups or couples, to be surrounded by the people you have genuine and heartfelt talks with. Imagine, opening your heart and mind to the opinions of others, without a care in the world, a hot cup of tea in hand, this is a great way to relax, talk, argue, covert, dream and lay yourself bare. Relaxing could also be enjoying undisturbed silence, whatever will make you happy in that moment, do it- Nothing is stopping you.
Sleeping in the wild is immensely good for you, fresh and less polluted air is extremely good for inducing a deep sleep. There is also something comforting about going from cold to the warm of a sleeping bag which is so wonderful. To make wild camping so much more comfortable, we have 3 tops tips that are simple and foolproof. A yoga mat, it doubles as a sleeping mat and helps keep your back straight and limits aches and pains. Secondly, invest in a really good sleeping bag, they are so handy if you are a frequent camper, plus they are so very comfy and cosy. Finally a travel pillow, something light that you can attach to the side of your backpack, also a bespoke pillow that will keep your back in alignment and maximise your comfort, they also great for travelling on long car journeys and air travel! A secret tip is to pack a little bottle of pure lavender, the smell is proven to induce a tranquil night’s sleep, its wonder for your bed at home but even more special when wild camping as it fills your tent with the freshest and clean aroma. Waking up is also a special experience, a chance to hear the birds and the wildlife rise with the sun, if you can, get up with the light and see the daybreak.
These are just a few tips and wonderings for an unforgettable wild camping trip but you can find so much vital information online. It’s worth noting that wild camping is technically illegal in England and Wales but permitted in Scotland, however, without causing a nuisance or a disturbance, you can respectfully sleep in the wild, but if you can, get permission. For more info on the UK based rules, head to The Woodland Trust website here. We recommend you plan your next trip before winter hits, enjoy the autumnal nights and pick it up again in the spring to enjoy nature at its best.