Wild Camping on a Budget.

And following on from my last post...

I didn't manage to go camping very much at all last year, let alone write about it but I'm glad to say that I have a wild camp in the pipeline in less than a month.

To cut a long story short, I'm trying to improve my work life balance, which means cutting costs. Big time. To the tune of around £6000 a year.
This has got me thinking about how I can continue this hobby more cost effectively. Contrary to belief, rather than being a 'free holiday', it actually can turn out quite expensive, Wild Camping.

I can't see myself driving hours and hours anymore, to spend a couple of nights on a hill. I've made the decision to mainly stick to more local woodland and stealth camp. Its easier time wise, and doesn't involve a logistical nightmare and £120 in petrol money. I love the sights (and people) of the North, but its going to have to be the occasional treat from now on. Plus the fact that Forest land, especially ancient Forests can be every bit as magical as a Hill, when sleeping in the middle of it.

The other element to this is that a while ago, I found that I was obsessively watching Youtube videos of the ever growing Wild camping/bushcraft/survivalist community and thinking 'sheep-like' about all the stuff I needed to buy, places I needed to visit, skills I needed to learn etc etc.
Don't get me wrong, i love some of those channels and enjoy the videos, but I think for some people the act of Wildcamping becomes more about the Kit, and weight, and minimilism, Making a video, editing the video and blah blah blah. The whole thing to me has become a little consumerist, and is in danger of becoming too much like a clique. By the way, have you seen my Gear Reviews? ;)

For me, Wild Camping is about isolation, nature and sleeping in a space where probably no one in history ever has before. Making do with what you can carry and just enjoying your own company.
It isn't about walking, walking back, putting your camera on a tripod, set the angle, set focus, walk again, walk back again etc etc. It's fine if you enjoy that, but for a while there was a danger of me becoming that guy, and I'm not.

I've never had class A equipment, but I also got to thinking about that side of things. Everything I do in life now, I think about what I'm spending, how much it's costing. I'm basically counting the pennies so that I can work less, and play more. I made a decision at some point, that I would sell me gear, re-buy everything as cheaply as possible, and save the difference.

So at the risk of sounding more than a little contradictory, I'm going to let you know about a few of my new bits of gear. Over the next few blogs I'm going to try and relay the fact that it can be done cheaply, safely and if your goals are at least a little similar to mine, to great satisfaction.

I'm going to list my 2-3 season Wild Camping Kit here (Just the big stuff), and over the coming blogs, hopefully get a chance to review each piece individually to let you know what it's like. (I've already done some of it as it's also my regular kit anyway, such as the Vango stove). The prices are what I paid for them, and not the RRP. Shop smart people!

Rucksack : Regatta Air Stream 45 + 10 £39.99

Tent : The Famous Tiger Paws or Jack Wolfskin Gossamer (both bought used £30 and £56 respectively).
( I realise the Tiger Paws were less than that new once. I pay what things are worth to me, without overpaying).

Sleeping Bag : Mountain Warehouse microlite 700 £34.99

Air Mattress : Multimat Camper Air £12

(Maybe a cheap roll mat depending on temp) £3.00

Vango compact Stove £7.00

Coleman Cookset £15.00

This is your sleeping, carrying and cooking all covered for around £150. This is less than a lot of people would pay for any one of these bits of gear individually.
I can attest that it all works (with it's pros and cons naturally).

You do not need to pay the earth, and as long as you're safe, it's supposed to be an adventure anyway!

Make do and mend, grab stuff from the cupboards you already have, take a fork from home and not a spork, take a Pot Noodle instead of a Wayfarer.

It may be a little heavier and harder to carry than that guy with the Montane trousers on, but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're managing without the aid of your wallet as far as possible, and you can always get that expensive gear if you want to later, when you can afford it.
Personally, I think it's more fun to try and get it done it for as less as possible. I've had it with big companies ripping me off. Plus the fact that there's something at odds to me, when you're getting back to basics, out in nature and spending the earth to do it.

Let me know if you want to know more about the contents of my rucksack. In the meantime, I'll try and get to reviewing the above.


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