Wild camping tips and essential camping gear guide to make your camping experience easier

To wake up with the mountain view in front of your eyes and the sound of the flowing stream nearby. No need to pay for your stay, which helps with your budget traveling style. What else do you need? Wild camping can be very rewarding when done right. Check my top wild camping tips and the list of essential camping gear to have a great camping experience!

wild camping in tent in Georgia
Wild camping in the “billion star hotel” in Svaneti, Georgia

Let’s be honest. Wild camping and camping in general, requires some effort. You need to get yourself out there with all the equipment and prepare everything yourself. You got to know what to take camping, where to pitch your tent, how to keep yourself warm, what to eat and where to find water. It’s not that easy.

Or is it?

Every week many people set off to go into the wilderness and wild camp. There are travelers who love camping and can swear by it as their favorite accommodation. Do they know any special tricks? How do they like it so much?

Well, I am one of those people. And I know the secret 😉

Let me show you those top wild camping tips for your next camping adventure to be the best one!

You can thank me later when you become one of those wild camping lovers, haha.

This post might contain affiliate links – if you buy something through them I will receive a tiny commission at no additional cost to you, which helps running this blog. Thanks to you in advance ♥ More details here.

#1 Get your camping gear right

80% of your camping experience will depend on the camping equipment that you have. It doesn’t have to be pricey, but it needs to be well chosen. What to bring when you wild camp?

Wild camping on the beach
Wild camping on the beach in Scotland
  • Tent – your home for the night

A tent is your new home. That’s where you are going to sleep and spend the most of the time at night (unless you like lying outside and watching the stars – I do! But, well, not in Scotland). So you want to make sure that is good enough.

What type of tent to choose?

There are few key characteristics that tent needs to have: be waterproof, strong, light, spacious and quick to pitch. Of course, it all depends on what you need to use your tent for. The size will be different when you want to sleep in the tent alone or with a group of friends. If you plan to take it hiking, you would want it to be as light as possible. If you are just going to keep it in the car and pitch on the camping spot, you can focus more on the comfort and space inside. In both cases, it needs to be waterproof and strong enough to hold in place in case of the wind or rain.

Examples of the tents to look for

After searching for a while I got a 2 man Gelert Rocky tent. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available, however, Gelert has some other good value tents still on offer. You can check prices and sizes here. I’ve been using this tent for 3-4 years quite often and it works great. It traveled with me all around Scotland,  Iceland, Georgia, Norway, and Poland.

However, if I was buying a tent again, I would focus more on the lighter one, since I go hiking and backpacking a lot. For a single tent, this one weighing just 1.7kg is a good choice. For 2 man tents (as I usually travel with my boyfriend), I would look at Jack Wolfskin or a cheaper Regatta.

If you value the easiness and how quick the tent can be pitched, you can look at the instant pop up tents. I’ve used this Quechua tent before and it literally can be set up in 2 seconds. No hassle, just ready to use. Those tents are great if you go camping close to your car, but might be a bit awkward if you need to carry it on a trail.

For more tent sizes and prices, you can also check here or here  – I’m sure you will find something good. Don’t hesitate to shoot me a message in the comments below if you need any help with choosing the best one for you.

Wild camping Isle of Bute, Scotland

  • Sleeping bag

The sleeping bag is another essential camping equipment. It adds so much to your comfort while wild camping.

I am totally in love with my AEGISMAX ultralight goose down sleeping bag and after years of dealing with a big, heavy and not really warm old one, I can feel a significant difference. I can sleep in a tent like a baby (my boyfriend is always surprised, as I’m usually a very light sleeper), and it’s mostly because of this sleeping bag. It’s very cozy and warm, being light and compactable at the same time. It can be compressed to the size of a bottle of water!  You can find different sizes and types of the goose down fill of that sleeping bag type here.

  • Sleeping mat

There are several types of sleeping mats. For years I had a classic type of a sleeping mat, as it’s the cheapest, durable and relatively light. Unfortunately, it’s very bulky and not very comfortable to travel with it.

I recently upgraded it to the inflatable sleeping pad from Therm-a-Rest. It’s a ProLite type, which means it’s the lightest self-inflating mattress available – it weighs only 480 grams! It’s also highly packable, which now allows me to put all my stuff in the tiny backpack and fit the hand baggage restrictions of all airlines. It also added +100 to the comfort of my camping experience, as it’s very warm and cozy to sleep on. I can highly recommend checking all the Therm-a-rest self-inflating mats here if you live in the UK, or you can easily get them on Amazon if you live anywhere else. It’s so worth the investment!

Wild camping tips and essential camping gear
Wild camping the Highlands, Scotland
  • Camping stove

Do you like warm tea in the evening or fresh coffee in the morning? I am a total coffee addict, so for me, a camping stove or a fire is a must in order to have my coffee ready (I can get grumpy otherwise ;)). You can also use it to cook your food and even make traditional Scottish breakfast. When you wild camp, you will be out in the nature, far away from the civilization, so if you want a warm meal you need to have a way of preparing it yourself.

Good idea is to buy the camping cooking set, with pans, stove and lightweight utensils, since it includes everything you need.

Another alternative is to make a camping fire. It gives you light and warmth and it’s great to sit around with your friends in the evening. And yes, you can also brew coffee on it (see picture below – that was a challenge though! ;)) and cook food. Unfortunately, starting the fire is not always as easy as it seems (especially in Scotland, when the wood is most of the times wet). As a little help, you can use the solid fuel tablets, that will burn by themselves, and can also be used as an emergency heat source, or those eco-friendly fire starters.

Wild camping
Coffee is a must, even in the wild camp!
  • Other useful camping items

    • head torch – a must have, there is no light in the wilderness. Head torch leaves your hands free, so it’s better than the normal torch. Here is the one that I have, I’ve been using it already for more than 8 years.
    • first aid kit – always have it with you, you can buy the already prepared one or make it yourself
    • insect repellent – very useful in the summer season
    • pocket knife – if you plan to prepare food, better take it
    • matches/lighter (better take both) – for the camping stove or fire
    • face and hand wipes – in case there is no stream nearby
    • hand sanitizer – always good to have, especially if there is no access to water
    • waterproof jacket & socks the in the case of rain and to keep you warm
    • duck tape, a piece of rope, safety pins – good to have in case something happens with the tent (saved my life many times)
    • power bank – to keep your phone charged if you need to
    • inflatable pillow – it weighs almost nothing and is smaller than a can of coke, but it can increase your camping comfort so much! You can also try to stuff your sleeping bag cover with some clothes (my neck doesn’t like it anymore, though)
    • ear plugs – believe me, if you are unlucky and there is strong rain and the wind during the night, you won’t be able to sleep much – we had that issue recently (thanks Scotland for your great summer ;)), so ear plugs can help
    • bottle of wine – hell yeah 😉
      campfire, wild camping tips, wine
      Enjoying wine while wild camping in Isle of Bute, Scotland

# 2 Choose your wild camping location wisely

A common question is “Where can I wild camp?”. And I would also add – what type of place you should look for when wild camping? That’s the important point and it can ruin your whole stay, if not chosen wisely.

First, you need to make sure that it’s legal to wild camp in the country, where you are in. There might be specific rules to the area, as well. For example, wild camping is legal in Scotland, but not in England or Wales, although they all are part of the UK.

Then, find a perfect camping spot. The best would be a flat and dry area. If it’s windy or looks like it’s going to rain, make sure that the spot is sheltered and located on the relatively soft ground, so you can put the pegs deep in the ground. You don’t want to find yourself among hard rocks, where you can’t stick a thing or in boggy surroundings. If you are in the hot country in the summer, don’t put your tent in the sunniest spot. It will quickly get too hot for you to stay in it and the sun will wake you up way too early in the morning.

And, of course, look for the most stunning view that you can find!

#3 Be prepared

Make a list

Before going camping, make a list of things that you need for wild camping and stick to it. Small items make a big difference and you don’t want to find yourself in the situation when you are longing for hot tea, but you realize that you forgot to take the lighter with you (been there, done that). If you bring the wine, check if it has a cork or a cap and take a cork screw with you. Otherwise, you’d need to use your creativity to open the bottle in another way (been there, done that, too).

Test your gear

Try to pitch your tent first time at home or in the garden, check how to inflate the mattress and make sure that the sleeping bag zips correctly. You don’t want to suddenly realize in the middle of your camping trip, that you don’t know how to do it or that some of those things don’t work properly.

Check the rules

Depending on where you are going – always check the rules and abide by them. In Scotland, you can wild camp on most the of unenclosed land, however, the area around Loch Lomond has different laws. This might happen in any place, so make sure that you know what is allowed and recommended. There are also specific wild camping rules, that you need to follow. For Scotland check them here.

Stay safe

Let someone else know where exactly you are going and when you plan to be back.  Check local emergency numbers and have them handy. Keep your phone charged and seek for alternative in case of no phone signal in the area. Better be safe than sorry!

Camping in Georgia
Camping in the mountains in Georgia

#4 Take enough food and water

Chances are that there won’t be any supermarkets or pubs around. Really? just kidding 😉

Make sure you have enough food and water for your camping trip. In some places, it is possible to drink water from the stream, but if you are not experienced in that, better don’t try without the proper water filter. On the longer hikes and if you don’t have access to the shop, the water filter (Sawyer Mini Water Filtration Systems are very good) or the clear water tablets would be the best choice for you.

Best camping food is easy to prepare (remember, you won’t have all of your kitchen utensils at hand), nutritious (so it gives you energy) and of course tasty! We always take some cheese and crackers, hummus with carrots, some dried meat or sausages when we have a fire or a BBQ, plus some snacks such as nuts or energy bars (I love Nakd bars with only natural ingredients and no sugar).

Wild camping tips
Breakfast on our wild camping site

# 5 Check the weather and always be prepared for rain

Check the weather forecast in advance, and pack accordingly. And if you are in Scotland – be prepared for the rain regardless.

# 6 Start early

Always pitch your tent when it’s still bright. You want to make sure that the area is clear and the spot good enough. You will also not have any unpleasant surprises in the morning (like finding yourself in the middle of the sheep farm – don’t ask).

# 7 Properly manage the fire 

If you decide to make a campsite fire (if it’s allowed), only do it when you know how to manage it properly. Protect the fireplace from the surrounding area, so the flames don’t catch the grass. When you’re done, pour water over it and make sure there is nothing left, that can be spread by the wind.

Wild camping fire

#8 Leave as you weren’t there

Take good care about the environment, take all the rubbish with you, clean the space and leave only footprints.

#9 Don’t forget

There are also numerous very nice campsites dotted all around with proper facilities and nice views. Not forgetting the stylish cottages, that are a must try in Scotland – you can check prices and availability here. So if you don’t feel like wild camping this time, you can always start with them and then try wild camping when the right time comes!
The only thing that I can assure you of is – you won’t regret it.

Happy camping!

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Wild camping tips and essential camping gear guide


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12 thoughts on “Wild camping tips and essential camping gear guide to make your camping experience easier

  1. Wildcamping is really the best. We wildcamp as much as we can on our bicycletour around the world. But inflatable pillow was one thing that I trew out of my panniers really quick. One extra item to pack and un pack, carry around and they’re really not that comfy. I just push a sweather into a sleeping bag cover.
    In Western Sahara there is military posts at every few kilometers so we always had a place to wildcamp safe😁

    1. That sounds great! I’ve just camped in Madagascar in Africa, but it’s good to know options in other places. Yeah, I used to make my own pillow by putting clothes into the sleeping bag cover for years, but I suffered from the neck pain, so I looked for alternative. I find the pillow useful especially on short hiking/weekend trips when I don’t have too many clothes with me or they are not comfortable enough to sleep on with having too many zips etc. It’s not heavy and very small, so I find it handy but it depends on the experience. I probably wouldn’t take it for a trip around the world, as then I agree, it is one more thing to care about 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  2. This is great! I would love to one day camp in those places. Interesting that it isn’t legal in England and Wales.

    I will defiantly be checking into that sleeping bag you mentioned. We can’t wait to take our little guy with us! Any tips on camping with a 2 year old?

    1. That sounds exciting! I’m sure he’s gonna like it 🙂 I haven’t really done much camping with kids (I don’t have my own), but some of my friends do it regularly and kids love it! Maybe at the beginning just make sure that you’re close to the car or on the campsite with some more facilities so he has access to what he needs 🙂 I remember camping trips with my parents when I was a kid and I loved those adventures!

  3. Beautiful post – makes me want to go this weekend! I am glad you mentioned cleaning up after yourself. There is nothing worse than finding garbage in what you thought was a pristine wild environment.

  4. Wild camping is one of my favorite thing to do! Its getting less wild now ever since we got our daughter but we still go camping. What we used to do beforw our daughter is to sleep under the sky without a tent only with each a sleeping bag when Switzerland get a heat wave each year. I can guarante you that is even better!❤️

    http://www.familyearthtrek.com

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