In the first of the mini-series of Begin wildcamping! I talked about how to suss out a location to pitch your tent for the night. In this post I want to talk about what to bring with you to that special location you’ve found (and lets say you are camping in early summer because some things will change according to season).
You could argue that what you bring is the most important aspect of every wild camp. Your choices at home before you depart will make up your self-sufficient home-away-from home for the next 20ish hours; from the time you park up the car to when you return to it, safety, comfort, responsibility and life is in the bag you are carrying. There may be places you camp which don’t even have a phone signal! (Though I suggest as a beginner this isn’t a good idea.) On a typical wildcamp everything you bring falls into four main categories: Shelter, sleeping, cooking, and safety.
There is a saying that goes, “Buy cheap, buy twice”. This is a bit of an Old Wives Tale and I don’t like it because starting out in wildcamping, like and hobby, means you have much to enjoy ahead of you buying and trying, selling and swapping gear until you discover the ones you love and the ones you hate. Every item you buy is a personal decision as to whether it will suit your needs and preferences. This is a journey in itself, and the more items you try, the more you whittle down what that perfect piece of kit is. Besides, nothing lasts forever!
Shelter comprises of things that protect you from the elements: waterproof/windproof shell jacket, tent, shoes and backpack. It’s a total cost of approximately €360 for the four items but you may be able to suffice with something you already own.
|PORTWEST Womens Ballycroy Jacket|
Even if the rain stays off, a shell jacket can provide you with wind protection. Suitable jackets which should also be breathable, can be picked up on sale from brands such as Regatta, Craghoppers, Dare to Be.
|VANGO Banshee 200 |
Vango makes a huge range of reliably performing tents to suit the solo backpacker through to glamping families. The Banshee 200 is a popular choice because of its liveable space to weight ratio. The colour blends in with natural surroundings and it’s built like a tank so if things get dodgy, it’ll protect you.
|COLUMBIA Women’s Newton Ridge Plus|
Feet need protection too! From water, rocks and fatigue. A solid boot is a safe go-to for most hikers and a non- full leather boot requires less break in time. Other recommended brands include Merrell, Keen, Salomon or Hi-tec.
|FORCLAZ Travel backpack 50l Women’s|
50 litres is a sensible overnight sized backpack and won’t get too heavy with everything and will all fit inside. This backpack is also available in black or hot pink.
Sleeping includes the basics for a good night’s sleep: Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and pillow. A sleeping bag liner is optional, too. For €120 you will be set up with gear that will help you begin to decide what might and mightn’t work for you.
|Forclaz Trekking sleeping bag MT500|
This sleeping bag from Decathlon is designed to keep you warm down to 5 Celsius, and brings together a good balance between warmth, weight, pack size and price. This bag will see you right all Summer and in to Autumn.
|Highlander Trek Lite Self Inflating mat|
Self inflating mats are reputed to be more comfortable, warmer and cheaper than air-inflatable mats, although are heavier and bulkier when packed. A cheap option to increase warmth is a foam mat underneath this mat.
|Trekology Aluft 2|
Only available online, Trekology sells a very popular inflatable pillow which ticks all the boxes of comfort, usability, packability and comes in a great choice of seven colour options. It’s Amazon’s #1 in its category.
This set up is around €55. Most items can be easily swapped for something out of your kitchen but try to make sure it isn’t too heavy or bulky. The basics of a cook system are a stove and gas (including a lighter, which is built into some stoves), a pot that can withstand gas flame, usually aluminium, stainless steel or titanium; cutlery – usually involving a sharp knife for food preparation and a spoon (or spork) for eating and stirring to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot (I’ve never had a use for a separate fork), and a cup for drinking. Some cups are also metal so they can be conveniently used to heat water directly on the stove.
|CAMPINGAZ Twister Plus Stove|
Gas stoves are the easiest and most portable stove to use and this one from Campingaz also comes with a cannister of gas. Remember to bring a lighter along with this one.
|EASY CAMP Ultra Light Adventure Cook Set|
A very lightweight and useable set which you can chop and change depending on your menu. All in, the aluminium set weighs under 200 grams. You could even use the smallest bowl bowl as a drinking cup if you wanted to try minimal camping.
|SEA TO SUMMIT Delta Cutlery Set|
As much fun as a spork sounds, I’m not going to recommend one to you. You can bring a set from the draw at home or here is a cute set that clips together with no worries of losing a component.
|EASY CAMP Adventure Mug|
A purpose bought cup is not totally necessary but is a nice thing at the same time. It completes the setup and as I mentioned, how are you going to know if you like one until you try? 🙂
Safety is a small category but should not be taken lightly. Most of the time it will only consist of items such as your mobile phone with enough battery life to last the journey, which can be used in an emergency by dialling 112 and requesting Mountain Rescue. A small first aid kit with a few plasters, sterilising pads and some Panadol or other medications you require is also important. In my first aid kit I also add a section for my tent and air mat in case any tear or hole comes into one. Duct tape or adhesive patches are enough for this, and possibly a short length of twine, fishing wire or dental floss. Tents and mats usually come with their own repair kits anyway, but sometimes they are bulky. A map and compass are useful items if you plan to travel further afield, check out some videos on YouTube about how to give position co-ordinates to your rescuer. Other than these items, the rest of your personal safety comes from being sensible and not taking risks alone in nature. Nature is a powerful force but it welcomes you every time you make the time.
Next: Whatever the weather #3/3 [coming soon]