If you’re hiking and camping wherever you choose, you have the ultimate freedom. You’re not restricted by roads or campsites or kit, you’re free to wander as you choose and explore the incredible scenery around you.
There is of course, some need to have the right kit with you in order to be self sustainable. Unless you’re Bear Grylls you’re not going to be able to live in the wilderness for a camping trip without essential gear.
Below, you’ll be able to find out exactly which kit you need to go solo into the exciting wild and wonderful surroundings you are itching to explore:
You will need a backpack to put all your important stuff in, which makes the backpack one of the most important pieces of kit you will choose.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ backpack for any hiker because there are so many different considerations for each person. Where you are going, what you are doing and how long you’re going for will all affect your pack needs. The pack will also need to fit well to your body and handle the weight you put in and on it.
With the volume you’ll need to think about how much kit you’re taking and how long you’re travelling for. You can get anything from extremely light daypacks all the way to full packs designed for year long trekking.
If you’re unsure, visit an outdoor department store where you can discuss your kit, your trip and your needs and an expert there can help advise you. You’ll also want a waterproof cover for your backpack for extra protection.
In all cases, make sure you don’t opt for a backpack because of how it looks unless it is the right practical choice for you.
Sleep is so important when you’re working hard walking around, exploring, setting a campfire, foraging and cooking. Surviving is actually exhausting right?! So your sleeping gear makes a huge difference because it enables you to sleep comfortably and soundly, helping you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the next big adventure in the morning.
One of your most important pieces of kit is your tent. Because you’re carrying it around with you, you’ll want a lightweight tent which is easy to put up and put away. Inside that tent you’ll be putting a sleeping bag, a mat and a pillow. You could buy an all-in-one sleeping suit but they are quite bulky as one unit, so they might not be as practical choice as you think. Duck down sleeping bags tend to be the warmest but they can be difficult to care for, and expensive. If you do opt for duck down, checkout this useful video on caring for the bag whilst camping and at home when it is being stored.
You might also want to consider opting for hammocking with a sleeping bag instead of using a tent. This handy video tells you more about camping this way.
It will be a bit heavy carrying around metal tins with you in a backpack, so you’ll need some sort of cooking kit, even if it is just to heat up some water for a brew in the morning. A portable camping stove and fuel is a good start. Then you’ll want perhaps one mess tin you can cook with and a camping mug.
A set of cutlery or a multi-tool is also a good idea, as well as a water bladder, some smaller water bottles, food and a washcloth. How little you take it up to you. Some people hunt, prepare, cook and eat off the same penknife so, your level of Bear Grylls style survival is your decision!
Survival kit is all dependent on your experience, your preferences and your skills. Ideally, you’ll have a combination of ‘analogue’ items and more modern items so you’re not depending on either type for information or help. For example: you might have a GPS device you power using camping solar panels. If for any reason your GPS device fails, or you don’t get the weather you were expecting, you will instead want a map and a compass.
Here are some survival kit choices you will want to consider:
- Waterproof bags
- A light towel
- Matches/ fire lighting kit
- Swiss Army Knife
- Anti-bacterial gel
- Toilet roll
- A tarp
You can read more tips about the right kind of ‘survival’ gear to take camping with you in this handy article.
What you wear when you hike and camp has a huge impact on your comfort levels and ultimately your happiness. It only takes one day of rubbing hiking boots to make a mega-blister that will have you miserable for days. Ill fitting trousers or shorts can cause chaffing. Clothes that aren’t weatherproof can leave you cold and possibly contribute towards you getting sick. Think carefully about every single piece of clothing you will be wearing and never take something you have never worn before because it could be a big regret if it turns out to be ill-fitting or uncomfortable.
“The outside is the only place we can truly be inside the world.”
― Daniel J. Rice
Take Your Time
Whatever you do, take your time. Your safety, comfort and enjoyment on this trip really will depend a lot on your preparation. The right combination of kit will ensure your solo hiking and camping trip is memorable in all the right ways.