I almost don’t believe it.
For someone that is so driven by adventurous freedom, how is it that I have only just experienced my very first wild camping trip?
That’s something thats true for BOTH of us!
Well, better late than never as they say 😉
We rode 115 miles from London to the New Forest near Lyndhurst, Hampshire.
Our journey to the forest was an brilliant experience and truly liberating.
We enjoyed it far more than we expected.
As humans we are life-long learners, so naturally, there is a lesson to be learned from everything.
Without a doubt, we returned home from that trip having learned some very useful lessons that will help us wild camp with more wisdom in future.
As always at Lions Detour, we want to share our findings with you in the hope of helping you all travel smarter and having more fun on your journeys.
So here are the top things we learned from our first wild camping experience.
Not all forest creatures are friendly
While we do seek out nature to feel a closer connection with the great outdoors, this does mean that you share your space with a whole host of wonderful creatures (mostly)
We saw wild ponies, cows, deer which were all nice and of course very docile.
On the other hand we also saw hornets, ticks and various flying bitey critters that are definitely the more ‘aggressive’ wildlife.
They won’t think twice about bringing discomfort to your camping experience if you don’t keep an eye out for them.
Whether you choose to use bug sprays, candles or even longsleeve clothing, be aware of the potentially harmful creatures around you and think about where you camp and cook.
Don’t park too far from your camp
While you want to remain as inconspicuous as possible, you don’t want your motorcycle to be noticeable while you are in your tent, unaware.
It’s a good idea to try and park reasonably close to where you want to camp. If you can ride your bike offroad to where you want to pitch the tent perfect, if it’s not possible to do so, and you are closer to a village or town, park your motorcycle in a safe spot that is not too hidden.
Walking 10 or 15 minutes with all of your gear is acceptable, unfortunately we weren’t so lucky.
Where we parked the motorcycles, and where we ended up in the forest were a good half hour’s walk from each other.
In the warm spring heat, it adds an extra layer of difficulty at the start and end of the trip.
Pitch your tent as late as possible
Once you have scoped out the area and decided on a place you want to set up camp, it might be wise to wait until sundown to think about setting up.
This is only an issue really if you are camping in a place that you shouldn’t be.
If there is potential that someone might see you with your tent set up in the afternoon, you might be asked to vacate that spot and have to find a new one.
We found an area that we would like to pitch the tent, then went to another beautiful spot a minutes’ walk away to spend most of our time.
Once the sun had set and the sky was almost dark, we moved to the target spot and set up the tent.
By the time we had set up the tent and moved our things inside, it was dark enough that we couldn’t possibly be seen by anyone without a flashlight.
Test your equipment before you leave
Imagine the horror and sadness on our faces when we realised the type of attachment for the gas burner to the canister were not the same ):
Of course, it was nobody’s fault but our own. We had only picked up the gas canister that morning and at that point were not aware there were two different types.
It happens I guess, at least we know now and thankfully we learned that lesson in a memorable fashion.
So, even if it is equipment you are familiar with using, conduct a test run before you leave home to check that everything is working as it should and nothing needs replacing.
If you are testing out new equipment, make sure you don’t leave the instructions behind!