The Skills You Need for Wild Camping

Keeping Your Mind Healthy

Camping up in the hills surrounded by nature, or out in the wild and far away from civilization, can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Compared to other outdoor activities, camping seems refreshingly simple: find a spot, pitch a tent, enjoy your stay.

But while you will indeed be picking a site and pitching a tent, your camping know-how will significantly impact the success of your outdoor adventure.  You need skills related to planning, organizing, and safety to create the best camping experience.   It takes years and lots of disasters to acquire excellent camping skills, but even the most seasoned camper started as a novice. 

Here’s our list of fundamental skills you need for wild camping.

Planning Skills

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, preparation is everything.  The very first thing you need to consider is the site, the legalities concerning with staying there, and the activities you intend to do.  Do you plan to go hiking?  Then choose a destination that allows you to hike.  The ideal site is far enough from overcrowded honeypot campsites but conveniently near to your route in case of emergency.  Be sure to do proper research to familiarize yourself with the terrain of the site and the landscape of the surrounding region. You really don’t want to pitch your tent on clumpy tussocks, boggy ground or rocky slopes.

Once you’ve selected a location, list the essentials you need for the trip, keeping in mind the number of days you will spend outdoors.  Always take into account the climate of the area, as this determines the type of clothes you should wear and the kind of gear you will need to bring.  Check the weather forecast: if it says high winds, torrential rain or heavy snow, putting off the trip for a later date is your safest option.

Physical fitness and mental readiness are part of prepping for the activity.  No, you don’t have to be super athletic, but you need to be reasonably fit for long hikes and sufficiently strong to carry a backpack containing camping equipment.

Some things do not always go as expected, so forgive yourself for minor slip-ups. But remember that botched trips result from inadequate preparation. Proper planning ensures that you maximize your time, reduce unnecessary expenditure, and sidestep avoidable mishaps.

Organization Skills

You’ve listed all your necessities - food, clothing, and a few luxuries, such as an inflatable pillow, but at the back of your head, you keep wondering if you missed an item. Packing for camping is more complicated than you think. You could easily over pack. The trick is to strike a balance between traveling light and ensuring you have all the essentials you need. Organizational skills will help you achieve this.

Wild camping is about going back to the basics, so all you need are a tent, a sleeping mat, a sleeping bag, stove, pot, spoon or fork, food, water bottle, torch, dry clothes, and rucksack. However, it is always better to anticipate worse case scenarios in which a first aid kit, water purifier, lighters, insect repellent, and spare batteries will come in handy. If you are packing food for more than one person, be sure that you have more than enough. Bring some extra, too, to last a few more days in case of emergencies. There is no point going hungry on your camping getaway.

Part of organizing your equipment is knowing how to pack correctly for easy access. Compass, maps, guidebooks should be in the outer pocket while heavy items should sit between your shoulder blades, close to your back.

Lastly, ensure that you adhere to the wild camping code of conduct. That is, pitch late and leave early, and leave nothing behind but footprints.

Survival Skills

In a nutshell, survival skills encompass techniques that help a person sustain life in a difficult situation.  Wild camping might not be as dangerous as other outdoor activities, but erratic weather, sudden shifts in temperature, and unknown terrain can sometimes lead to accidents and injuries.

Therefore, it is worth knowing simple survival skills so you will feel confident and safe when you go wild camping, even if you’re wild camping at one of the many wild camping campsites for young families. The five most common techniques necessary while camping include building a fire, making temporary shelter, sourcing and purifying water, identifying edible and medicinal plants, and administering first aid.

It is also vital that you know how to read maps and use a compass, properly tie knots, especially for tents, so they are not swept away by the wind, and interpret the skies for bad weather. Other campers go as far as learning how to forage the wild for something edible, from bilberries to trout to mushrooms.

The thrill of hiding away in a secluded area is exhilarating, but safety should always be one of your priorities. Before you set off, let someone know your plans, your destination, and your estimated schedule of return.  We understand that you want to disconnect from the world, but be sure to have your cell phone ready in case of an emergency.

Interpersonal Skills

Camping is a brilliant opportunity to meet new friends and interact with other campers. Imagine gathering around the campfire to share stories and your adventures for the day. Swapping funny anecdotes about your silly camping mistakes does not only keep spirits up, but it also allows you to learn from other people’s mistakes, which will hopefully improve your camping skills.

Furthermore, using interpersonal skills and intrapersonal skills with other campers offers an opportunity to build a network of like-minded people who share the same enthusiasm for outdoor activities. Who knows, the next time you go wild camping, it would be with the person sitting across from you.

Most importantly, connecting with other people during your camping makes your adventure even more memorable.

Team Working Skills

Whether you’re pitching a tent together, cooking dinner, or debating which trail to hike the following morning, wild camping requires that you work together as a team.  In the wild, away from the rest of the world, campers learn to rely on each other.  Most often, you work together to accomplish tasks that you can only achieve as a team.

Everyone has something to contribute to the group, from navigating to interpreting the weather to finding hiking trails. Through this, the group learns to appreciate each other’s unique strengths, as well as accept each other’s weaknesses. Additionally, knowing that you have done something for the team builds self-confidence.

From looking at these skills, you can see there is more to wild camping than meets the eye. With these skills in your arsenal, you’ll be well equipped for a success and enjoyable wild camping trip.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Life

The Skills You Need Guide to Life

This two-part guide is an easy-to-read summary of the essential skills you need for a healthy mind and body.

The first eBook, Looking After Yourself, covers some of our most popular content and will help you to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.

The second eBook, Living Well, Living Ethically, considers how you can live your best life all the time. It helps you to answer the question: how can I avoid having too many regrets about my life?

About the Author

This article was provided by Cool Camping, experts in all things camping, glamping, and campervanning all over the UK and around Europe.