Have a wild Valentine’s: 14 dos and don’ts of wild camping

Posted by Peter Burnside on 13/02/2018
Go wild this Valentine's! Photo: Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

We’d like to wish everyone a wild Valentine’s Day! One way to make it even wilder is to enter our competition to win a lightweight tent and cooking set, perfect for spending a romantic evening with your loved one stargazing in a wild camp. We’re here to tell you a few dos and don’ts of wild camping.

14 Dos and Don’ts of a Valentine’s Wild Camping

Do: Know your wild camping rights

Under CROW wild camping in England and Wales is prohibited but this has yet to be tested in law. When land is common land it does not mean there is a right to camp on it. Some National Parks do welcome wild camping, as long as you act responsibly and leave no trace of your visit behind you. For instance, Dartmoor National Park has a map of areas where you can camp on common land. If in doubt, find an official campsite and do some preliminary research.

Wild camping is permitted in Scotland on the proviso that you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and provided that you do so responsibly.

Don’t: ‘Forget’ your thermals

While you might think it’s a great idea to ‘forget’ your thermals so you’ll have to spoon to share body heat, camping in February definitely falls on the more wintery side of the seasons; often with sub-zero nights! There’s nothing worse than not being able to sleep on a cold night and if it drops below freezing things could get serious, medically that is. You need to have the right equipment to make the most of February outdoors, but the rewards are epic and beautiful.

Do: Choose your location wisely

Location can be everything to an enjoyable wild camping holiday. Firstly, try and check that you’re allowed to wild camp – look for signs, ask if you can, and stay away from houses or settlements. Try to find a spot that is sheltered and avoid areas prone to flooding. Rigging up a tent on a beach might sound romantic, but don’t forget to check those tide tables to avoid any wet dreams.

Don’t: Pack too much

Bring the essentials like wine and chocolates, oh and other food and drink too! Make sure to have everything you need, but don’t over-pack and bring your heaviest sleeping bag, 20 pairs of socks, a double air bed, and a duvet! Remember you’re out to enjoy yourself, admire the views, and definitely not get in an argument about whose turn it is to carry the kitchen sink.

Do: Be flexible

We’re not talking about the karma sutra here! Just make sure you have options for when things start veering away from the plan; if you’re about to get caught out in the dark, pick the first level place you can find and get up early to decamp. Anyways, everyone knows the best wild camps are impromptu!

Don’t: Hang around

Getting ready for an epic late-morning snuggle session? That sounds good until you factor in the awkwardness from people walking by or the farmer coming to investigate who’s on his land? Arrive late and leave early, that way you leave the least trace and avoid disturbing other passers-by. Try and be packed away before encountering others.

Do: Check the forecast

Love is in the air … but wait, so is thunder, lightning, and celestial fireballs? It’s all well and good planning the perfect romantic trip, but nobody is going to having a good time in torrential rain with the chance of electrocution. Check the weather report for the area you’re going to be in and refer to the previous ‘Do’.

Don’t: Light a fire

We hope the romance burns bright, but make sure you don’t light an open fire when camping in the wild. Only use specialist stoves to cook your food; many suitable wild camping locations have a high risk of fire, and you don’t want to be responsible for destroying it!

Do: Wake up for sunrise

The summer sunrise is often earlier than most people want to wake up for, but in winter you can enjoy it at a far more reasonable and civilised hour. Enjoy it best with a brew, and if you’re organised enough, make sure you pick a spot you can see the horizon from, and orient your tent so the opening faces east!

Don’t: Harass the wildlife

Love bites and harassing your loved one is all good, but keep clear of wildlife and don’t leave food around for animals. Remember, some wild animals carry ticks and that’s one kind of bite you won’t want to get! If you have been bitten by a tick, follow our guide for removing them safely and keep an eye out for signs of Lymes disease.

Do: Leave no trace

Found a pristine campsite? Don’t forget to leave it as good as you found it, if not better! Pick up all your litter and pack it away before the wind or wildlife takes it. Try to pick a spot where the ground is fairly durable and you’ll avoid leaving signs that someone’s camped there.

Don’t: Leave your waste

You know what I’m talking about. Choose your toilet carefully – find a sheltered spot at least 50m away from water and downstream of other campers. Dig a hole at least six inches deep and replace the earth once you’ve finished. Ideally, pack your toilet paper in with other rubbish.

Do: Plan a romantic meal

You can still be romantic while wild camping, just leave room in your pack for a slightly more sumptuous meal than powdered mash potatoes and maybe bring a measure of your favourite evening tipple. A picnic while the sun sets followed by a night under the stars – now who wouldn’t love the sound of that?

Don’t: Be conspicuous

On rare occasions you’ll find that amazing spot where the nearest person is miles away, but sometimes you’ll have to keep your presence on the down-low. One of the best ways to do this is with colour: red might mean romance, but it also stands out like a sore hammer-bashed thumb. Take a green tent and ground sheets in other muted colours to cover gear, use minimal lighting and take a quiet stove. Best case scenario is no-one will even know you’ve stayed!

Valentine’s Day Competition

Get away from the crowds of couples this Valentine’s Day and spend a night outdoors with your partner. Not got the gear? No worries! Enter our special Valentine’s Day competition and one lucky winner will receive the prize of a Wild Country Zephyros two-person tent and a Vango two-person cook kit, all courtesy of our Recommended Retail Partners Cotswold Outdoor and Snow+Rock.

How to enter

To enter, just send your name and address in an email with the subject Valentine's Competition to the email address: winfreestuff@thebmc.co.uk.

 


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