A UK Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Monday, 7 August 2017

Top 10 Essentials for Wild Camping in the UK

*This is a collaborative post & features affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for details.

We tried semi-wild camping at Birkheads Wild in Gateshead last week (more on that soon) and have to say we loved it! Having a field all to yourself instead of sharing with other campers was a new experience for us and we loved the space and freedom that wild camping offered.

Most of the land in the UK is privately owned and you do need a land owners permission before you pitch up. There are parts of Dartmoor where you can wild camp without permission and The Scottish Highlands, parts of The Lake District and Snowdonia are also worth looking into.

Here in the North East, there are a few semi-wild camping sites to choose from (let me know if you know of any others):

Obviously, you need the basics such as a tent and sleeping bags but I thought I'd put together a list of items that really helped us during our first wild camping experience.

1 - Fire making kit

A huge thanks to Fiona from Birkheads who helped us to build a fire from scratch. You need three pieces of kit to light a fire in the wild - a Fire Steel (to create a spark), cotton wool (for oxygen) and vaseline (for fuel). Fire steels are superb as they will still work even if you drop them in water (unlike matches or a lighter) and can last up to 3000 strikes. To build a fire, you separate your cotton wool, dip it in vaseline and then strike the fire steel nearby and voila! You can watch me demonstrate how it's done in this video from our camping trip below:

2 - Toilet Trowel / Compost toilet

We are lucky and we stayed in a field that had a compost toilet. At first mention, a compost toilet sounds grim but we've used them a few times now and in all honesty, I think they are nicer than regular toilets! There is no chance of boys weeing on the floor or seat as they have to sit down and they don't smell at all. If you aren't lucky enough to have access to a compost toilet on site, a lightweight toilet trowel is recommended.

3 - Mosquito Repellent

In 2011, a survey of UK local authorities found that reports of mosquito bites were 2.5 times higher than the previous 10 years and prevention is certainly something you should think about when camping in the wild in the UK. Jungle Formula is the UK's leading brand when it comes to mosquito protection. We love their kids range and my three wore a 'Slap it' wrist band during our most recent trip. The bands provide up to 2 weeks worth of protection from mosquitos and biting insects if worn for 8 hours per day - they worked for us and the kids enjoyed wearing them too.

4 - Hot Water Bottles

Camping in the UK can get chilly, even in august. I would highly recommend packing a hot water bottle to keep you snug at night.

5 - Entertainment

You need something to entertain you during a wild camping trip. I'd recommend taking a pack of cards or top trumps as they don't take up too much room.

6 - Solar powered Electricals

I must admit I do prefer camping with our electric hook-up but this isn't possible when camping in the wild. Luckily, there are a range of solar powered products on the market now and I'd definitely recommend a solar powered torch, lantern and even power bank for your phone.

7 - Waterproofs

You just can't trust the weather in the UK. During our recent trip it was pouring down when we left the house in the morning, then it was brilliant sunshine in the afternoon which was followed by drizzle in the evening and wind in the morning! If you wake up and it's sunny, don't be lulled into a false sense of security and always pack your waterproofs!

8 - Trolley

Quite often with wild camping you will have a bit of a walk from where you've parked your car to find the perfect spot. Lightweight tents are one answer but if you're camping with the family you'll often need to take a larger tent. I highly recommend investing in a trolley which can easily transport all of your gear. They double up as something for the kids to play with too! This one from Amazon can hold up to 100kg and conveniently folds down when not in use.

9 - Bin Bag

It is SO important when wild camping (or any kind of camping actually) that you leave no trace. The area you camp in should look exactly the same when you leave as it did when you arrive. Don't forget to pop a bin bag in your essentials kit and it's really important that you take the bin bag home with you can don't leave it behind.

10 - Compass & Swiss Army Knife

Wild camping can mean limited phone signal or battery so it might be back to basics with no more google maps! We use this compass from Millets which we like as it can be worn around the neck and has luminous pointers. Steve also wouldn't go anywhere without his pen knife and I do have to admit - we used it a lot! From cutting twigs for the fire to opening beers, a swiss army knife really is invaluable and probably the most versatile piece of kit you can invest in.

Let me know if I've inspired you to try wild/semi-wild camping this summer. 


We are giving away a Jungle Formula Survival Kit to one lucky reader. The kit contains:

  • 2 x Slap-it bands (a hassle free way to protect little ones from bites. For children aged 3+)
  • 1 x kids lotion (which has been dermatologically tested, is alcohol-free and can be used from ages 1 year+)
  • 1 x MAX aerosol (the strongest formula, ideal for long-haul travel)

Simply enter via our rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway ends on 27/8/17 Good luck.



  1. Use an effective insect repellant, such as Jungle Formula.

    Rachel Craig

  2. Use Avon skin so soft as a repellent

  3. Use an effective insect repellent.

  4. Wear the loose fitting clothing with long sleeves and long trousers

  5. Use an effective insect repellent

  6. Use an effective insect repellent and hopefully the little blighters will not bite.

  7. Love the idea of wild camping, especially having a whole camping field to yourself. And that compost toilet looks pretty cute as far as camping toilets go x

  8. 3 - use an effective insect repellent

  9. I couldn't recommend solar panel stuff more! At Park Foot at the weekend so many people had solar panel fairy lights, next time I go camping I'm going to get some of those. I think it made the tent look really cosy. Katie x

  10. Use an effective insect repellent.

  11. I think those repellent wrist bands are a great idea.

  12. Use an effective insect repellent. Nets are more effective if treated with insecticide.

    The nets should be free of tears and should be tucked under the mattress.

  13. Use an effective insect repellent

  14. Wear appropriate clothing.

  15. Wear loose fitting clothing with long sleeves,long trousers, socks and shoes.


I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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