Get out there and try it again Billy - somewhere known might help.....
Organised sites are sooo last year
I start logging potential sites at least an hour before I intend to stop. Most are wasted but it's always a good idea to have a plan B and know how far away it is.
The ideal spot is, however, always less than 500 yards further on from where you decide to pitch
Billy - for your own sake -don't give up - wildcamping is good for the soul. Wise advice above.
Ps - a tent doesn't have to be pitched perfectly to offer some sort of shelter
As usual it's not one or the other, but whichever is right at the time; horses for courses. We had the (recently adopted) family on their first camping trip away from home this last weekend, and we'd have been mad to try and make it a wild camp. Before we had the kids move in our last camp was very wild, and we'd have been mad to make it an organised site.
I've had great times on both organised and wild sites. Had absolute shockers on both as well!
Like the man said....horses for courses...
There are times I have set out to wild camp...and used a site...or set out to use a site...and wild camped...
Big key to me is the weather. If the forcast is for persistant rain...then I start to think site...with loos and washing facilities and, maybe even, a pub or chippy within reach....if the forecast is fair...then maybe I'll change plan and go wild....
But...to be honest...I think you just bit off more than you could chew....and you werent prepared. Why wait in the miserable dark...didnt you have a head torch...map, compass....? First few wild camps I did were no more than 20 meteres from a footpath...pitched up in a hollow, so out of view in one case, next time....just wandered a few metres further off so couldnt be seen even in a torch beam.....next time.....100 metres from a main road...and had one of the best nights sleep ever...
Arrgghh, don't do this to me!
Yes, Mike, I'm a cluless eedjit, which is why I'm giving up the wild camping. I'm very envious that all your experiences have obvioulsy gone without a single hitch
Padstowe, to say I take my wild camps for granted in somewhat of an understatement. I find putting in the groundwork and research incredibly dull, I'm afraid. I really have got no one to blame but myself for my failures and I'm not looking for sympathy. I just wanted to share my experiences.
To everyone else who's offered possible solutions and encouragement to keep trying, a big thank you.
Billy Casper wrote (see)
Quite the opposite Billy. I've had a few 'moments' myself, and expect to have more in the future. All part of the learning process. Don't give up just yet, as you learn from every camp. Even crap weather is nice when you're snug and warm.
Watching a sunset from a summit pitch will have you hooked.
Indeed it can be such fun......
....but -15 in a single skin shelter is not big or clever.....
...my how I enjoyed it
My first ever wildcamp was about 2500 asl and it too was a disaster!!
Me wifey and huge packs headed up into the hills and we were not prepared for the night ahead,only in the sense that we did not know what strong winds were or how they can swirl around like they do.
We ended up ababndoning camp at 2am back down to the car and waited for sunlight and then had to trapse back up for all the gear tent/bags/mats/rucksacks etc etc that we chose to leave.
And it was all intacked in the morning!!!
But it was maybe one of the best nights i have had with the wifey,navigating down a claggy mountain top with the gps tracking us back the same way we went up with very strong winds.
Knackered aint innit but its one i will remember for ever.
It lead to me posting about my disaster on OM and out of that came wildcamp meets and then the very first windy meet later!!
Where we all learnt something about other things like how much beer Ray!! can really drink and how Ed can survive on cold sarnies for two whole days and how i can make a fool of myself Puking up on the last morning must have been something i ate .Rays chorizo maybe .
They were my very first wildcamps and yes i have had disasters since,like trashing over a £1000 of tentage but its all a learning thing and its not gonna get better over night.It takes time.
Dont give up mate get better organised and go do it again,not too far from a campsite by all means but give it another few tries
See Eds post above
The man has travelled the world for years walking/camping high but on Great End on a cold ok very cold winters night he too learnt something,single skin in very very cold weather is not a good idea,he did it to save a bit of weight no doubt and suffered in the sense that he maybe was not warm enough.
I'm genuinley touched by this encouragment. It was camping with my family (on sites) as a very young boy, and later a bit of wild stuff with my older brother that gave me this bug (I don't think there's a better sound than a tent zip being pulled, especially when you've just jumped inside to escape the rain). Then I hit my teens and wanted to do other stuff. Mentally, I'm only just leaving my teens behind, but thanks to programmes like Ray Mears I've picked up the bug again in later life. I don't want my initial post to make it sound like I've fallen out of love with Wild Camping - just looking at those pics posted by Ayrshire and Ed brought the desire flooding back (although I'm glad I wasn't in Ed's that night), and that's less than 72 hours after my latest disaster - so I know I still want it.
I'm sure I'll give it another go, but as my dad always use to say as he set the skirting boards with his block of sandpaper prior to repainting, "Preperation is everything."
In wild and unfamiliar country one can,t say I,ll walk to 5 o,clock and pitch,good pitches don,t come that easy, start looking at least an hour before and if a good pitch appears go for it ,don,t be tempted to walk on. On challenge walks or long distance events that,s different, the criteria being to cover the ground, comfort and a good pitch comes second.Cheers.
A frank and honest post,Billy. I don't mind betting that every one of the wildcampers on this site has had similar experiences.
I suspect that I've been luckier than most and I put that down to preparation - it really does make all the difference.
Route planning is essential. I read maps with as much pleasure as books (for the sake of clarification, I like reading books) and they are invaluable for working out rough timings (I don't bother with the rigour of route cards), likely water sources and pitches. You can also find an escape route if it all goes breasts-skywards.
You should be able to pitch your tent by torchlight - I had to do this on my first time out on the Talybont hills because I ran out of daylight (serves me right for using a route from Trail magazine). Practise this, together with the rest of your camping routines before heading out to the boonies. You will be amazed how much you will learn. I discovered that my tunnel tent was unsuitable in wet weather because I was too fat / old to perform the necessary contortions to get in and out of it without gettting everything wet.
Unless you know there will be suitable water near the site, pick up the night's water early rather then late. I had a waterless camp on the Talybont hills so could not cook. The half-bottle of red wine helped but it's not as good as food, despite what the tramps tell you.
I have a new motto - "Bailing isn't failing". If it's just not fun, get out and either go to a campsite or go home. I was in the Preseli hills recently. I camped on Foel Trygarn and it was a pretty windy night. I got about 2 hours' sleep, even with earplugs. At 6:30am the wind strengthened (I estimate gusting to over 40mph) and the rain was snapping against the flysheet like pistol shots. I struck camp and got off the summit. The rain was now constant, driven by gusts of over 50mph on the ridge. The fog had closed in and visibility was down to 100m. I walked on for several hours but the weather was clearly set in for the day. No views, constant wind and rain, walking was boring and uncomfortable - sod it - found a route down off the ridge and followed it. Boring road walk back to Newport but that first pint tasted great.
Stick with it, Billy. I think you've got the mindset of a wildcamper - you're just missing part of the learning experience. Remember the the 5 Ps - Proper Planning Prevents Piss-poor Performance.
Campsite experience won't hurt for now. It sounds a bit to me that it was a bit too much of everything for this first one. The posts about practising in local hills are good - most of us started low and have now developed to back of beyond stuff. My key suggestion would be to go with someone else at the start. Now I still have not met anyone from here (one weekend I got within a couple of hundred metres of MattW and Diddy) but I would expect that a weekend meet up with someone here would assist you. You can learn from their experience. So advertise you availability on here and someone might invite you on their trip or ask about joining one of meets that are on the forum.
Fried eggs in raki?
My kind of breakfast!
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