Most of us start our wild camping journey with 15 kilograms of lots of things we don’t need, or gear that is very heavy. This introduction to wild camping kit should get you going in the right direction and lighten your load so you can focus more on having fun and enjoying your trip.
What Kit Do I Need For Wild Camping?
Everything I list below, I use or have used in the past, I’m always trying new things. You may add something, you may take it away, that’s up to you of course but nearly 30 years of wild camping has put this list together. It is, however, an organic thing, it’ll change before the year’s out.
As a teenager, wild camping was sleeping in parks and ‘recreational areas’ when I should have been staying at a friend’s house. The tent had a steel frame which you had to put together every time and for some reason one of the poles was 6 inches too short (never did figure it out) so I carried a chisel with me to ‘prop’ it up. That tent probably weighed 2-3kg alone, I used it right up to Glastonbury in 1995 when I was 21!
These days, materials are lighter and stronger, my OookMid shelter for example is 465 grams!
The Big Three
We call our shelter, sleeping bag and rucksack the big three. They are usually the heaviest bits of kit (this is where you start as you want to reduce weight).
This is usually a tent but I now sleep under a tarp. If it’s not going to rain you can simply pop your sleeping bag into a waterproof bag called a bivvy! This just keeps the dew from soaking into your sleeping bag.
A tent might weigh 2kg like the Vango Banshee 200, a great all-rounder for your money. A bivvy would weigh 500g and a tarp about the same.
You can’t escape having a good sleeping bag in the UK. It can be cold even in Summer. You must stay warm, especially at altitude to avoid suffering from hypothermia.
Your sleeping bag will weigh between 1 and 1.5kg. Read the ‘Best Sleeping Bag For Wild Camping‘ blog before you go spending loads of money on something you don’t understand (manufacturers make things sound complicated so you’ll just buy their gear). My Criterion Quantum 450 weighs 800 grams but can take me down to -10 celcius!
The weight and functionality of your bag can vary greatly. My pack is designed to carry very lightweight contents so has no frame and therefore only weighs 500g.
Most likely you will get a rucksack like an Osprey Kestrel 68L which is very comfortable and will carry plenty of gear (our son went to Asia for 4 months with one!) They have a frame and padding built into them to help balance the weight well and make them comfortable to wear. Normally, a backpack will weigh about 1.5kg.
Listed here plus what I use (in orange)…
- Hat (essential for night time) – Berghaus Spectrum beanie
- Gloves – Berghaus Sprectrum gloves
- Waterproof trousers – Berghaus Deluge
- Dry base layer (pajamas)
- Towel – OookWorks Medium Towel
- Insulation pad – Yellowstone Foam Roll Mat
- Matress – Thermarest Neoair Xtherm Matress
- Thermarest pump – Usually comes with the matress
- Pillow – Sea To Summit Aeros
- Pee tub, yes you read it right
Food & Cooking
- Water purifier – Sawyer Mini (water filter)
- Green ‘food’ dry bag
- Stormin stove
- Fuel bottle
- Clipper lighter
- Compass – Silva Expedition 4 Compass
- Head torch – Petzl Actik CORE, Petzyl case and spare batteries
- Spare head torch – Petzl e+LITE Headlamp (spare and for use inside the tent)
- First Aid Kit – Lifesystems Mountain – plus bits like tooth brush
- Coghlans Trowel
Learn how to use your gear
When I take someone out on an expedition I spend two weeks beforehand going through all this kit with them making sure they have it and they have a good idea how to use it.
The garden is a good place to start wild camping! If you are not confident move from the garden to campsites, there are loads of them, pitch near a stream and draw your own water. Learn how, when and what to cook. Find a secluded spot to practice digging a cat hole to do your business in and use it, burn the paper (NOT on moorland!) or carry it out in a doggy bag.
One thing you can not do without when you set off wild camping is a bit of confidence. It may be dark and lonely but those axe murderers in campfire tales don’t wander around mountain ridges, the noises you hear in the night are usually herdwicks.
If you just can’t get yourself out on your own then partner up with someone. Wild camping is great fun with another person and you’ll build a friendship that’s different to your other friends.
If you have any questions about getting started don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Why Not Read…
If you go out into the hills this summer, chances are a tick will make friends with you. You don’t want to make friends with him though! This blog tells you everything you need to know about ticks, Lyme disease, what to get to avoid it all and treatment that you’ll need if you get Lyme.