Wild Camping 101 - Top tips for Camping

Wild camping, camping al fresco, or simply escaping the rat race to enjoy our rivers and blue spaces for a few nights camping, is one of life’s simplest pleasures. Ash and Rich of Canoe Trail have covered over 12,000 miles of expedition trails between them around the UK, and further afield with many nights out camping. Here’s their beginner's guide to making the most of your camping staycation…

Enjoy Fresh Air Miles

Journeying is in our DNA, traveling and exploring make us feel alive with so much to see. Canoeing, kayaking, or SUP’ing to our woodland campsite for a couple of nights out will boost your well-being.

 

Tune in to your campfire TV

Campfires are the caveman/cavewoman TV of our ancestors. It is the perfect way to get back to basics, sharing stories, a wee dram or great food whilst watching gentle flames or embers glow in the darkness. Our woodland has 7 clearings where you can enjoy controlled open fires.

Practice Bushcraft Skills

Bushcraft covers a wide range of traditional skills, campcraft, and general outdoor activities; including navigation, fire lighting, carving, foraging, tracking, wildlife, and more besides. Ray Mears has led the way in making this a household term. Try some nettle tea or making cordage or even friction fire lighting to lock in your bushcraft ninja skills.

Pack a few creature comforts

A couple of creature comforts will really bring a smile to your face, Despite some huge human-powered expeditions Ash and Rich definitely pack a few ‘luxury items’ for their wilderness trips such as green and black cocoa, a good book, and chocolate, and of course a single malt. Remember to still pack light to avoid reducing that smile effect!

Family Fun

Our holidays always involved camping in Wales, England or Scotland, paddling or walking as a family including our 4 legged animals. Making it a family activity with activities, a connection to wildlife will help escape the digital overload and connect you to our natural world. Wading in the stream, wild swimming or spotting wildlife together provides unforgettable memories.

Play Games

Playing games is a key part of our instructor toolkit in sharing our love of the outdoors, from silly warms up before paddling to balance-games on craft it makes our job so much fun. Games could include campfire charades, pass the parcel with forfeits and tasks, taskmaster in the woodland, Jenga, cards, or even a treasure hunt.

Rewild Yourselves

Rewilding really is a thing. The pace and style of modern lifestyle can be relentless with constant demands by phone, messages, internet, and more besides.  Plugging into your senses and slowing down (aka life in the slow lane) feels restorative and good for your mental health. Consider looking for 5 bits of wildlife, listen for 4 different sounds, smell 3 different flora and fauna, touch 2 things and taste 1 thing such as cleaver(sticky plant) or nettle tea – Make sure you know what you are tasting! Try ‘sit spots’ sitting quietly for 10 or 15 minutes allowing nature and the wilderness to come to you.

Do Digital Detox

Embrace the opportunity to switch off devices, leave iPads and smartwatches behind and leave your phone in a bag. Slowing our brains down and being present at the moment is a fantastic way to enjoy our river, wildlife and stunning woodland campsite.

Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off has become an institution testing culinary skills. Transporting this to the great outdoors is great fun and just rewards for journeys and activities.  Some of our favourites include campfire rock cakes, reflector oven nachos, Dutch oven chorizo and bean stew with cous cous. Some more innovative recipes include cooking an egg in a hollowed-out baked potato or baking a muffin in an orange. Rich’s favourite wilderness fodder is cooking hash browns and poached eggs on the open fire.

 

Mindfulness

We all have worries and issues that trouble us. Allowing the calming and healing properties of the great outdoors into your psyche can truly be restorative. We run a Paddle Fit mind and body course which tunes participants into their well-being and good mental health. It includes spiritual elements including breathing exercises, herbal teas, oils, and other elements.

Go Bigger or Go Home

If you are loving getting on the trail, exploring and paddling then why not join us on one of our award winning expeditions. They have featured in the Times, Telegraph, Wanderlust Magazine, Lonely Planet to name but a few.