This forum is for general discussion about walking and scrambling... If writing a report or sharing your experiences from a route, please use the other boards.

Tips for first solo camp?

Tips for first solo camp?

Postby chickadee » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:31 pm

Hi all, been a bit quiet on the walking front... I hope to get out in the next few weeks. I started running, so hopefully that'll increase my stamina and let me enjoy walking a bit more. In the meantime, I want to finally do my first solo camp. I intend to camp near my car the first time, just because that's what I'd like to do. My friend has earmarked some good spots for me (he's done it a lot and knows decent car-camping places). I need a sleeping bag, and I can borrow a tent from my friend. However, what else do I need? I reckon I need a stove and cooking/eating things, and obviously clothes... I feel I'm missing something and could do with some suggestions. I know it's not a thrilling question but please bear with me; I've been a bit out of love with getting outdoors in the last few months, just not feeling it emotionally, and really want to try this and give myself a break outside. I do still love the fresh air and want to experience what it's like being out there by myself. Advice would be helpful, even things you wish you'd known when you first went. Thank you :)
User avatar
Posts: 264
Munros:13   Corbetts:4
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Location: Inverkeithing

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Sgurr » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:02 pm

It is going to be cold and hard if you don't have a sleeping mat of some sort. Can you borrow a self-inflating one? If not anything that will insulate you from the cold coming up from below. Personally, I don't bother with a pillow because I usually have a stuff sack for the sleeping bag and all my clothes go in there as a substitute, but it is covered with straps and could annoy someone who wasn't used to it. Torch, if you don't want to use your mobile phone as one, it's going to be dark in the night. Screw top water bottle in case you get thirsty (I assume that was probably in with the food). Toilet paper and trowel. Knife fork and spoon set, or spork. Matches to light stove...long ones are the best, or you may burn your fingers, depending on what sort of stove you are taking.

If the next few weeks extends into the midgy season, you need a midge net.
User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 4738
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:569   Hewitts:138
Wainwrights:160   Islands:58
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Guinessman » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:15 pm

If you are borrowing a tent and are unfamiliar with it, have a go at putting it up in the light and calm conditions and also check it over. Might save you some stress if its blowy or getting dark
User avatar
Posts: 1082
Munros:282   Corbetts:52
Grahams:27   Donalds:89
Wainwrights:214   Islands:15
Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Location: NW Durham

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Silverhill » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:56 pm

Some good suggestions for essentials above.
For chilly nights I find a sleeping bag liner adds a bit more warmth.
When I go wild camping I always take a 'treat', something that makes me happy or feel at home. As you will be camping near your car, the possibilities are endless: bring your own duvet, favourite yammies, favourite food, wine, chocolate, a book, music. Whatever floats your boat, makes you feel comfortable and ensures your first solo camp is an enjoyable experience. Then take it from there.
Have fun and I look forward to reading about your adventure :D .
User avatar
Posts: 1322
Munros:282   Corbetts:10
Grahams:6   Donalds:29
Sub 2000:18   
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Arthurs Eat » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:57 am

Two pieces of advice thing I have learned about camping :

1. You can never take everything you'd like to.

2. Never forget anything! :wink:
User avatar
Arthurs Eat
Munro compleatist
Posts: 540
Munros:216   Corbetts:24
Grahams:10   Donalds:20
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:25
Wainwrights:28   Islands:5
Joined: Aug 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby willsdad » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:14 pm


My top tip is flip flops. Saves you having to put your boots on every time you pop outside.

For future if you decide to get more into it - an old pair of insoles with some netting sewn on work a treat as a lightweight pair of tent sandals 8) although potentially kinda smelly.....
User avatar
Posts: 150
Munros:13   Corbetts:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:6
Joined: Aug 14, 2015
Location: Co.Durham

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Yoke » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:17 pm

Trowel & toilet paper have fun
Posts: 59
Joined: Nov 8, 2013
Location: Cumbria

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby basscadet » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:55 pm

Surely that is why you want your first wild camp to be a car camp, then you don't really need much. As long as you have a shelter, something to keep you warm and sustenance, you will get to find out all the things you need for the next time.
My advice would be Glen Etive, then if the midges all get too much, or if you wish you had brought a trowel, you can just buzz up to the ski centre for a bacon roll and use of the facilities :)
The next time you go, you will be far wiser, and know exactly what you needed or didn't need.
User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2779
Munros:84   Corbetts:52
Grahams:18   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:34   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:17   Islands:21
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby rgf101 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:06 pm

You definitely want a sleeping mat. You get a lot less insulation from the sleeping bag underneath you as your weight compresses the air out.

The only things I'd add are...

I save a few BBC radio documentaries or plays on the iPlayer app. If I can't sleep and it's too cold / wet to sit out, I'll listen to those. Ideally nature-related stuff, so it feels less like cheating.

Ear plugs. Wind and rain can be noisy in a tent. Last weekend's campsite I was congratulating myself on the lovely site next to a babbling brook, until I tried to go to sleep and realised it sounded like I was sleeping by Niagra Falls.

Some wee luxury item - bar of nice chocolate, mini bottle of wine, whatever suits you.
Posts: 393
Joined: Jan 21, 2014

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Tenbob » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:14 pm

A trangia, beer and toothpaste.
User avatar
Posts: 198
Munros:102   Corbetts:2
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Jul 23, 2009
Location: Dunfermline

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby colgregg » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:32 pm

Either don't drink too much or take an empty milk bottle. you wont regret it when you are dying for a pee and it's tossing it down outside.
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2182
Munros:15   Corbetts:5
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:181
Joined: Aug 25, 2009
Location: Richmond North Yorkshire

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Caberfeidh » Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:23 am

A wee pocket radio works wonders keeping your spirits up. A good book to read too. Don't take a big bog roll, take packets of paper tissues instead. A flask is good; fill it with hot water at home, then as you use that you can heat up water on a stove and fill the flask before bedtime, so you don't have to use the stove in the night, just pour a quick cuppa from the flask. Hot chocolate sachets are quick and convenient, and don't make you pee like coffee or tea do. Same with Oxo cubes for a Bovril-style hot drink. And try not to think of horror movies in the dead of night...

User avatar
Posts: 7437
Joined: Feb 5, 2009

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby Grievesy » Thu May 05, 2016 1:04 am

As you are taking a car you have the luxury of taking anything you want with you knowing you don't really need to lug it very far. Most of the basics have been covered with everyone's own personal luxuries but only you will know what is for you. The bare minimum for camping I would say is

Tent (or shelter equivalent)
Roll mat (inflatable or otherwise)
Sleeping bag

Others could include such things as
Warm kit
Wet kit
Wash kit
Food & Stove

but as your next to your car, you may not even need all of the above

Other than that for your luxury item the world is your oyster. If you are unsure. Think to yourself. "If you were to be stranded on an island and only allowed one luxury item what would it be?" Might help and from experience it has bulked my wild camping kit out a bit more to make it more comfortable.

Mines is an inflatable pillow. Just personal preference. Comfy nights sleep and compacts down to nothing and weight wise your talking grams.

When you go Wild camping trip number 2 you'll know exactly what you want/need!
User avatar
Posts: 15
Grahams:2   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Dec 31, 2014
Location: Dumfries

Re: Tips for first solo camp?

Postby chickadee » Fri May 06, 2016 9:25 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies. Sorry, been delayed getting back, what a rubbish low-energy week I have had! Hope I can get outside this weekend and things will improve.

I'm still needing a better sleeping bag, but you have made the idea a bit less scary. I don't know why it makes me a bit apprehensive, although I also really do want to do it. I think being able to just go out and camp somewhere for a break would do me the world of good, even if it's near the car to start with! I will seriously think about giving it a go in the next few weeks. I am off for a week soon, so perhaps on that Friday, if weather is good, I will head out...!
User avatar
Posts: 264
Munros:13   Corbetts:4
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Mar 27, 2011
Location: Inverkeithing

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to General discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Steven001 and 15 guests