How do we leave no trace when wild camping?
As avid campers and hikers, we are turning our attention to Wild camping. This is the process of picking a destination to hike in and taking our tent, sleeping bags and easy to cook food. We find a pitch stable enough for the tent and set up camp for one night only, to sleep under the stars and switch off from everyday life.
Wild camping is a common practice but is frowned upon in certain areas of the UK. Technically, wild camping is only legal in Dartmoor and Scotland. It is tolerated on the Lake District but generally not allowed in most other parts of England and Wales.
We have found though, through research, and our own experience that if we follow certain rules it can be a very enjoyable experience without causing any bother to anybody.
Leave No Trace
This is known as Leave No Trace and it has it’s own set of principles. These are:
- Arrive late. Research the area you would like to visit, beforehand, and arrive late to the destination. This gives you a bit more privacy to set up and also means you don’t get in the way of other hikers.
- Leave early. Again, as to not inconvenience other people, pack up once you are awake, which is usually with the dawn chorus!
- No fires. Camp style fires are not allowed. There can not be any damage to the grass or land you are on. If you need to cook, have a stove that sits above the ground to minimise any damage.
- Take all rubbish with you. This should be common sense with all trips and outings, but more so with wild camping. If you can bring it with you, you can take it away.
- Act responsibly. Keep noise to a minimum and lights down low. Wild camping is about being discreet and enjoying the serenity of the landscape around you. Don’t ruin it by having an all night party.
- Respect wildlife. The birds and the bees need their habitat so please don’t disturb them. They were there first and will be there last!
- Camp 20 meters away from streams and water sources. This is to protect the biodiversity of the rivers and streams. Please don’t empty your waste in them. If you know what I mean!
- And if you need a number 2? Go at least 40 meters from the water source, and far enough away from your camp. Dig a hole 20cm down. Do your business, then cover it up. Simples.
Wild Camping can be a very enjoyable experience. We have learned to reduce what we carry and enjoy the hike. You can read more about what we take here.
Have you wild camped as a family? How did you find it? I would love to hear your comments!