Wild camping Essential Checklist

wild camping equipment list, lake district

Wild Camp Equipment List & Tips

Wild Camping is a great experience for those wishing to really experience the great outdoors and a bit of peace & quite on the fells when most walkers have went home. It also lets you see sunsets and sunrises which reveal landscapes in all their glory. For those new to Wild Camping, below is a basic wild camp checklist.

Wild camping Basics:

• A decent back-pack - to carry all your stuff - usually I get away with an 80litres one.
• Tent - the lightweight the better - you've got to carry this remember. Do your research and get the best you can afford, whether it's to sleep 1 or 2 people.
• Sleeping mat (inflating) - you need something comfortable to sleep on and to separate you from the cold ground. If you don't have a decent matt - you will be a lot colder on the night. Mine is lightweight and folds quite small - useful when space in your bag is limited.
• Sleeping bag - again lightweight - but also a tog rating suitable to the temperature forecast conditions. You get what you pay for with these things, and remember it's better to be too warm than too cold when your on your tod on the fells!
• Inflating pillow - a pillow is essential for me to get a good nights kip!

Other essentials:

• Good  Torch - more than one - and spare batteries - it gets really dark when wild camping and with no working torch - it can be very dangerous - especially when making your way back to tent after seeing a sunset or when mother nature calls :-)
• Insect repellent - where there is water - there are flies. This will make your trip more enjoyable by keeping the flies away. I learned about this essential bit of kit by not taking it on one of my first wild camps - I was in a stunning location by a tarn high up in the fells, the sun was going down in the distance - and a swarm of flies were spoiling this amazing setting! A good insect repellant can be the difference between an amazing experience and an annoying one!
• Camera - well for me anyway! It's essential so I can record my memories and share my trips with others :-)


• Take warm additional clothing - it may be warm and sunny in the day time - but it can get cold at night - better safe than sorry. Check the forecast for the fells.
• Take thermals to sleep in - its better to be able to take clothes off at night if you are too warm - than be freezing your arse off wishing you had took them!
• Take spare walking socks and flip flops - it's not nice putting wet socks on on a morning and I like to have some flip flops for around the tent on an evening and morning (thats if it's a summer wild camp!)

Food & Water:

• Food is a fairly subjective thing in terms of what you like - but take plenty of snacks and meals (the more lightweight the better).
• A decent small stove is useful for making warm food and drinks - warm food and a nice cup of tea in the morning just makes the whole camping experience a lot more enjoyable experience :-)
• Water is a key one as ever - take as much as you can carry, I usually aim for 2 litres per day.

Finally - check the forecast 

When planning any camping trip - it's essential to plan according to the weather, especially for wild camps, and especially more so in places like the Lake District fells where multiple seasons can be experienced in 1 day. I've read stories of people going on wild camps in nice weather - and waking up the next day surrounded by snow. So don't let things like that catch you out!

I hope that brief overview is useful and if you have any questions or tips feel free to share them in the comments section.

Wild camping at Hard Tarn, Lake District, near Helvellyn.
One of my recent wild camps at Hard Tarn in the Lake District, with High Craggs in the background.