Walking or climbing until you have had enough and just sleeping where you end up makes wild camping one of the most interesting ways to enjoy the outdoors but setting up camp anywhere does have some drawbacks. Here are a few tips to help you pick a safe and hassle free wild camping site.

Where to Wild Camp

Wild camping grounds

Wild Camping Grounds

Avoid woods and tall grass or shrubs whenever possible especially in the summer months or you will be fighting off the many insects that call these places their home and no matter how well wrapped up you are some always seem to find a way in for a little biting session.

A nice gentle wind will really cut down on the insect problem with my personal favorite being a raise bit of flat ground open on at least 3 sides to allow the wind to pass over it.

Look around for cover before bedding down for the night in case of very bad weather and you will have somewhere to shelter if things get a little rough while you are sleeping.

Try to get a good distance from any roads or heavily used walking tracks to minimize the chances of being disturbed as you sleep. Most people will just be curious if they see you sleeping right next to a road but there are always going to be those with much more sinister motives and anything you can do to not be noticed while you sleep is only going to increase your overnight safety.

Before sleeping always pack your gear away so you know exactly where it is in case you have to move quickly during the night and keep a flashlight close so you can put your hand on it straight away. There is noting worse than scrambling around for your kit if things go wrong.

I like to use my backpack as a pillow after fixing it to my sleeping bag, this makes it impossible for anybody to walk off with it without waking me first.

Dealing with Humans

Every piece of land on the planet belongs to somebody be it an individual, trust or organization and they like to keep it clean and in working order. If you can ask permission to use someones land I believe its always best to do so with a polite request sometimes yielding some friendly conversation and on very rare occasions even a bit of hot food!.

Make sure to clean up where you slept and double check you have not left any rubbish behind, leaving a place clean and tidy may make the owners more likely to let other wild campers use their land and could give you a valuable friendly regular camping spot (with hot food).

If someone asks you to move off their land its best just to pack up and go as private land owners have the right and if they want you gone and your not likely to get any sleep anyway.

Dealing with Animals

A majority of animals will leave you alone throughout the night but some will show different levels of interest in you with varying degrees of potential danger. Research information on the general area you intend to camp in paying attention to warnings of dangerous animals which can be more of a problem for campers depending on the time of year.

Leaving any food out in the open is a sure fire way of attracting every animal in a mile radius so clean up and bag any uneaten food before you go to sleep. If hoping over a fence into a field at night have a quick look around for any herds of animals using the field that could come over for a visit as soon as you have got yourself comfortable or during the night.

Don’t Run!

Many herd animals may look like slow and awkward creatures but once they get up a full head of steam you will not outrun them, calmly gather up your gear and slowly walk away only breaking into a run if absolutely necessary. Large animals may beat you in a race but their sheer size makes it hard for them to turn sharply when running so a quick change of direction may just give you the edge you need.

Any animal with young is going to be a lot less tolerant of strangers so avoid interacting with them as much as possible when hiking or wild camping.

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In all my many years of wild camping I have had very few problems manly by picking camp spots where I am unlikely to get noticed during the night.

I hope you find this information useful.

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