Wild camping offers the freedom to escape organized campsites and enjoy sleeping in some remote and beautiful places. But with choosing to camp off the beaten track comes a challenge of having to deal with the elements in an entirely different way.
The Cold Earth
No matter how warm the night most of the cold that is going to get into your body while you are sleeping will come from the ground and anything you can do to insulate yourself will make things that much more comfortable. Stay away from cheap thin bed rolls and invest in a chunky quality one that is going to separate your from the cold earth as much as possible. From personal experience budget bed rolls don’t survive more than a handful of wild camping trips as they easily rip as you move around in your sleep.
Inflatable bed rolls will give you a level of insulation from the ground like nothing else and even with a small pump can be folded down to take up very little space in your backpack. Before settling down for the night check the ground underneath the inflatable bed roll for any rigid plants or sharp objects that will puncture it.
You might be nice and warm when you first climb into your sleeping bag but your body will soon cool down after you fall asleep. Wearing a few layers of clothing at night will go a long way to keeping you warm as the air between each layer acts as a very efficient insulator.
When you sleep a vast amount of body heat will escape through your head if it is left uncovered and open face sleeping bags are not recommended for any type of outdoor use, take the time to get hold of at least a 2 season mummy bag that will completely cover the head and face while you sleep. Mummy bags create a nice little cocoon with heat building up from your body and the hot air that you breathe out when you sleep. In very cold conditions consider packing some sort of cap to add another layer of protection for your head.
There is nothing worse than waking up with a freezing head and having to deal with the flu like symptoms it gives you for the next 24hrs.
Camping Without a Tent
Wild camping without a tent (our favorite way) has the benefit of cutting a great deal of weight from your camping kit but creates a few more problems which can easily be overcome with a little bit of planning. Lightweight durable plastic bivvies are the ultimate no tent solution against unexpected rain and have saved us from many a soaking.
Wild Camping Emergency Equipment
Quality is everything when choosing emergency bivvies because they are a crucial part of any survival kit and having it fail when you most need it is going to leave you in all sorts of trouble. An additional thing to group in with the bivvy is a way to completely waterproof your backpack. Some packs come with a built in rain cover but failing this something as simple as a large bin liner will do the job, just remember to take a handful for extra backup.
Being tall has left me with finding good fitting bivvies a problem over the years as most are produce for the average size person, make sure that whatever you buy will allow you to be completely covered with some room left over for movement. Its a good idea to try the bivvy out once you have it if only to understand what you should expect if you ever have to use it.
This is not the most comfortable way to spend a night but much better than 8 hours sleeping in the cold pouring rain.
Even a constant light wind during the night will add an extra element of cooling so taking advantage of any natural shelter will help to keep you that little but warming. Sleeping up against a rock or just finding a dip in the ground will cut down on the angles that the wind can come at you.
Making camp on a sloop or a small rise will ensure that you are not going to get caught in any puddles if it rains while you sleep, if you have to wild camp on flat land try to make a judgement by looking at the surrounding landscape about the possibility of water pooling where you are sleeping.
Try to avoid camping in dense wooded areas especially during hot summers months as the various insects will happily take chunks out of you all night long.
However you enjoy your camping we hope that this post will help you to keep warm, safe and dry.
Further reading…. 5 Things to Take Wild Camping