Wild camping means just that. Just you, your raw skills and the wilderness. No comfy camper vans, no fancy gadgets, at times not even a plain old lighter. When disaster strikes only your skill set and ability will ensure you and your loved ones survive.
As humans, many of us have become accustomed to comfort and ease. But when our small comforts get destroyed, stolen or washed away, it is important to be able to adapt to the primal basics.
That’s where wild camping comes in. Wild camping is a crucial and effective form of training. (It can also be a whole lot of fun!) It teaches you how to rely on yourself completely, with minimal supplies, so you know what you’re doing when SHTF.
When you need to make do with the bare minimum, it can be daunting to know what to pack and what to leave behind. Check out our list of six wild camping essentials, that will help you in a tight spot.
You won’t last long if you’re braving the winter cold or summer’s biting bugs. A tent is the obvious choice, but they can be heavy, bulky and depending on the situation, not always on hand.
A bivvy bag is a handy alternative, which are waterproof, super light and portable, allowing you to sleep just about anywhere. For an even more versatile option, choose the humble tarp. It shelters a wider area (making it great for sheltering a family) and can be set up in a wide range of ways.
Not to mention, a tarp can be used in a pinch as a bandage, for repairs, or as an extra waterproof layer of clothing.
2. Warm Layers
Next, you need layers, so you can stay warm both when sleeping and moving about. Make sure you’re wearing plenty of thermal clothing and have some spare items with you in case you get wet. (There will be no tumble dryers about).
A hat is especially important since most body heat is lost from the head and can be also used to deflect the sun during the day.
At night, a good quality sleeping bag is your best friend. If that’s too bulky for your kit, invest in some single-use emergency survival blankets with silver Mylar on one side. They’re ultra-light and thin, but they’ll still keep you warm when you need it most.
3. Food & Basic Utensils
When SHTF, water will be essential. A few bottles here and there will keep you going for a little while, but they’ll soon run dry.
You need a source to survive. Look out for a fresh source of water, such as a river if possible. Boil collected water for cleanliness or bring a water filter bottle or take a water purification device with you.
Even if you’re a trained hunter, prey might be thin on the ground, especially in a disaster scenario. Remember, it’s human instinct to survive and competition for food will become downright dangerous. Learning to make traps is an effective way of hunting animals, whilst keeping away from other hunters. Fishing is another means of accessing food and can be done with very limited tools.
Foraging is essential skill you could pick up. If you are in the wilderness there will be sources of food all around, you. You just need to know where to look. Even in an urban environment, there will still be bark, berries and roots you can rely on. Make a study of foods that are safe to eat and NEVER eat anything you are uncertain of. Some berries especially can be poisonous, so its vital that you know what you’re doing.
Protein bars are a long-time favourite of even casual campers. Specially-made camping meals are another good option since all you need to prepare them is boiling water. Anything freeze-dried or dehydrated will be lightweight but still packs a nutritional punch. You’ll also need something to eat with! A spork should do the trick, while a single camping cup can act as a pot for boiling water, as well as a bowl to eat out of.
4. A First Aid Kit
A first aid kit can’t cure all ailments, but it can still make all the difference between life and death. Even a simple cut can be life-threatening if you don’t have a way to keep it clean and it becomes infected.
First aid supplies can also keep a broken bone in place until you’re able to get to a hospital. Make sure your first aid kit includes supplies for treating common wilderness injuries like bug bites, splinters, burns, cuts and breaks.
Remember, hospitals will be packed and very likely to spread infection. If you know a few medical basics, it could save you a lot of trouble if medical care goes down.
5. A Bug Out Bag
A Bug Out Bag is not only for wild camping but for any survival scenario. It contains everything you need should you be required to ‘bug out’, i.e. escape from a disaster situation with only what you can carry.
A good Bug Out Bag should keep you alive for 72 hours at least, so what goes into it is vital. A great deal of prepper time and energy has been spent on perfecting a Bug Out Bag’s contents.
Some of the most important items to carry include a map, a compass, fire-starting material (e.g. flint and steel), a torch, a portable water filter, a whistle for attracting attention and some cold, hard cash. Cash might become redundant, but in the early stages it will be useful.
6. A Great Multi-Tool
A knife, of course, is a wilderness essential for many obvious reasons. But why settle for a knife when you could have a multi-tool? It takes up the same amount of space but gives you so many more options.
A good multi-tool will also include pliers and a screwdriver, a bottle opener, maybe a saw, a wrench, some scissors, a pen… the list goes on. Don’t settle for the cheapest multi-tool out there and don’t choose the smallest one, either. Packing light is important, it’s true, but you’re already keeping it light by getting so many tools in one. Make sure each feature of your multi-tool is durable and works as well as it should.
Wild camping can seem like a lot if you’ve never tried it, but if you give it a go you might find yourself addicted.
Not only is it a great way to introduce family members into a prepping state of mind, but it is also a fun activity that allows you to go back to a simpler time and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Preparation is everything, and by regularly going wild camping you will be learning and more importantly, enacting the basics of survival. It all well reading and learning skills but putting it all to the test is when you’ll really know your capability.