Today I’m feeling nostalgic and thinking back to our first family wildcamping trip. Before we had our son, Keith and I only really went wildcamping, never stayed on an official campsite or next to the car, preferring the tranquillity and peace that came with being in the middle on nowhere…. How different would it be with an 18 month in tow…
Well, surprisingly enough, it was a fantastic experience and something that we’ve done time and time again since. It’s something that our son absolutely loves and he relishes spending that much time being in the outdoors.
And why not? There’s so much to do, so much to see and explore! So much to discover and learn about, whether it’s jumping frogs that fascinate them for a while or weird looking plants they might find. One thing’s for certain, after spending a few days together without any distraction, without anything to do but talk and play, (and oh my, if your kid can talk like ours, maybe it won’t be quite as peaceful as you were hoping for…) you’ll all come away feeling more connected with a head full of memories.
Fancy giving it a quick go before the end of summer? Squeeze in a quick trip full of adventure with a few of our tips:
Start local: Or somewhere you already know. This will make it feel easier if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, but as it’s already known to you, that’s one less thing to worry about. For your first wildcamp, possibly try to pick somewhere a short walk from the car, maybe 20 minutes or so. If you do decide to walk further, remember you have to carry everything.
Pick a good day: Yes, we get it’s hard to do in British summertime, but when those good days do come up, go for it! Remember to pack extra layers, maybe a hat in case it gets cold during the night.
Gear: You might think you need expensive top of the range gear to do this. That’s not true. We started with a very cheap supermarket ‘festival’ tent. The equivalent sleeping bags and mats would also work just fine in the right conditions. Don’t invest in expensive gear unless you know it is something you will enjoy time and time again as a family.
Food and water: Choose food that is easy to prepare that you’ll all eat. Take a look at the maps and see where you can collect water from. If there’s no where, make sure you start off by carrying enough to see you through to the following day (maybe leave some drink in the car for then you return). If you do collect water from rivers, make sure you boil it or treat it before use to avoid any tummy bugs.
Other stuff: Don’t forget to pack headtorches and a couple of glow sticks to dot about the tent so little ones don’t get too scared if they wake up in the middle of the night (they’re also great for looping around the tent zips as a way of keeping them ‘locked’.) And remember your camera to capture all the great memories you’ll be making! Maybe find some space for their favourite toy to share their adventure with. And remember your toothbrushes!!
Be Responsible: When wildcamping, it is so important to follow the Leave No Trace principles. Leave the area as you found it. Don’t cut down trees or leave huge firescars. If you can’t guarantee that, think twice about having a fire. Carry all rubbish out with you and remember your poop kit (shovel and dig a hole first away from water and paths!).
Family wildcamping can be an absolutely great way to spend time together and with some simple steps can open up a new world of possibilities for your family adventures. Let us know how you get on!