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If you’ve been camping for a long time and want to test yourself, then survival camping is the challenge you’ve been looking for.
Survival camping is the next step up from normal camping; therefore, we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not already an experienced camper.
If you’re experienced enough, then sit back, relax, and enjoy this article where we discuss everything you need to know about survival camping.
What Is Survival Camping?
To sum it in as few words as possible, survival camping is the art of camping in the wilderness with the minimum amount of equipment possible.
Furthermore, it involves camping in places other than your standard campsites, making it a more challenging experience.
It’s typically done solo, but can be done as part of a group.
If it’s your first time survival camping, we recommend bringing someone with you. The last thing you need is to end up getting trapped in the wilderness all by yourself — talk about stressful!
On the flip side, if you insist on going solo, it comes with a range of surprising benefits.
To start with, putting yourself in a difficult situation such as survival camping will build your confidence and self-esteem.
There’s something about being out there all alone that teaches you how to believe in yourself and do what needs to be done when things get tough.
There’s a famous quote that goes like this…
“I don’t need therapy, I just need to go camping”
Which brings us onto the next benefit of survival camping…
Clearing your mind.
When you’re surrounded by nature without any distractions, it won’t take long for your mind to become still; similar to meditation, but on a deeper level.
Although survival camping by yourself can seem like a crazy idea at first, when you look at the benefits it brings, you can see why it’s loved by so many people!
How To Enjoy a Camping Challenge
Survival camping is one of those things you either love or hate; however, there are some steps you can take to make it as pleasurable as possible.
Let’s talk about them below…
Alexander Graham Bell once said…
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
And he wasn’t wrong, especially when it comes to survival camping!
Survival camping without preparation is only going to ruin the experience, especially if you’re going by yourself.
There are some important steps you must take to ensure you don’t end up in a situation that means you have to go home early.
This means checking beforehand to see where you’re legally allowed to camp in your country.
If you’re in the US, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can camp in most national forests, Grasslands, and Canadian Crown land.
On the flip side, if you reside in Europe, rules vary from country to country; however, they tend to be a lot more strict than the US, and in most cases, survival camping is prohibited.
While this can be frustrating, if you’re set on survival camping in Europe, then the best places to go are either Sweden or Norway.
Both of these countries have looser rules and allow you to enjoy survival camping camping with some great views.
Don’t Forget The Essentials
When you go survival camping, there’s some essential equipment you’ll need to bring with you.
Forget these and you could be in for a bad experience…
That’s right, if it wasn’t obvious enough, you’re going to need a tent.
We weren’t sure if we wanted to include this as it’s such an obvious piece of equiptment, but we thought it needed to be mentioned.
If you do forget your tent…
Then maybe survival camping is for you, and you plan to build a shelter (or use a tarp or hammock).
One of the most important things to consider when buying a tent for survival camping is that it’s lightweight enough to carry around with you because if you want to visit the most stunning areas, you’re going to have to do it on foot most of the time.
Fire Supplies or Backpacking Stoves
You will need a way to make a fire or cook your food if there are fire restrictions.
Backpacking stoves are a great alternative if you want to pack light, there are fire restrictions, or you are only eating quick pre-packaged camping meals.
Most portable camp stoves will fit into your cooking pot and take up very little room. We use ours on day trips and overnight trips. One of us always has a way to heat water or cook food in our pack.
While we typically like to go for a nice comfy air mattress when camping, survival camping is a little different.
Considering you need to travel as lightweight as possible, we recommend purchasing a sleeping bag as an alternative.
It won’t be as comfortable as an air mattress, but it still gets the job done and is a lot easier to carry.
Fork And Spoon
Unless you want to go full caveman mode…
You’re going to need to bring some cutlery with you.
This is something that can be easily forgotten due to their small size and often overlooked nature.
Furthermore, you can get cutlery specifically designed for camping that’s lightweight and comes in a bag for easy transportation. The foldable titanium spoons will even fit in your Toaks pot.
Unless you’ve got some crazy skills, balancing a tent and other equipment on your head isn’t going to work for you.
That’s why you need a backpack.
Not just any old backpack though…
Similar to a tent, you’re going to want a backpack that is lightweight, but still gives you enough room to store your equipment.
Without cooking equipment, you’re going to have a difficult time making food. Unless you plan to make tin foil meals.
Cooking food on an open fire is a possibility; however, having the right cooking equipment or utensils makes the meals better.
Check fire regulations in your area, it’s illegal to have campfires or open flames during high fire danger times. It is also illegal to have open fire in some areas anytime of year.
Therefore, we recommend bringing a single burner stove, gas canister, and lighter; a pot to cook in, and plastic plates if you plan to camp where you know there are fire restrictions.
Swiss Army Knife (or Bushcraft Knives)
Regardless of whether you’re at a campsite or alone in the wilderness by yourself, you’re going to need a knife.
A knife can help overcome many problems you may encounter when survival camping…
Are just a few of the many things a knife can be used for in the wilderness.
We’ve all been there…
You are trying to sleep and then all of a sudden you hear it.
You slowly raise your hand, ready to attack.
Upon impact, you realize you’ve completely missed the insect and slapped yourself in the ear multiple times.
You repeat this process throughout the night until your ear is swollen from all the damage it’s taken.
Only to wake up feeling like you haven’t slept all night.
It doesn’t have to be like this though. If you’ve had enough of those annoying insects hassling you when camping, it’s time to invest in some insect repellent.
Light Or Headlamp
In most cases, you won’t be able to light an open fire when survival camping in case it spreads throughout the area you’re camping in.
There is an alternative though…
Not a great alternative, but nonetheless, it’s an alternative.
And that’s bringing some type of light source with you.
Furthermore, if you want to make your camping experience as stress-free as possible, then your best bet is a headlamp.
Where Can I Use The Toilet When Bush Camping?
As you may have guessed, you won’t find luxury toilets out there in the wilderness. In fact, you probably won’t find any at all.
That’s why you’ve got to improvise.
As we all know, spending time in the great outdoors does come with some downsides, and this is one of them.
So here are your options…
You can either dig a hole in the ground, do your business, and cover it up.
You can purchase a bucket toilet.
A bucket toilet is a bucket with a lid attached to the top. They allow you to use the toilet as you would at home.
The waste is stored in a bag which can be safely disposed of once it’s full.
Things To Take Into Consideration When Camping
There are some things that are important to take into consideration if you’re looking to hit the road and spend a few days camping in the wild.
Let’s take a look at them below…
1. Pick Up Your Litter
Considering you’re not going to be on a campsite, you’re free to do as you wish; however, that doesn’t mean you should leave your waste on the floor for other people to pick up.
Not only is it disrespectful, it can also be harmful to animals.
2. Don’t Light An Open Fire
If you’ve been camping before, then you probably know how important a campfire is, especially if you want to share great stories with fellow campers; however, it’s not always a good idea to light a fire when survival camping.
Know the regulations and fire danger level before you light a fire. Unlike a campsite, the area you’re going to be camping in isn’t going to be regularly monitored.
Therefore, if the fire spreads uncontrollably, you could have a big problem on your hands.
We couldn’t think of a worse way for your camping trip to end that setting a national forest on fire.
Not only could you receive a big fine, you could also harm others in the surrounding areas.
3. The Weather
The weather is one of the more important factors to consider when survival camping; it changes the whole dynamic of your camping experience.
If it’s cold, you’re going to benefit from bringing warmer clothes.
On the flip side, if it’s going to be hot, ensure you stock up on food and water.
Even though you won’t feel like eating, all those extra calories burned from the heat need to be restored somehow.
It’s easy to say most animals you encounter won’t cause you any harm, but that’s not the problem.
The problem is that they could if they wanted to, which is why it’s important to know the area you’re camping in, and what wildlife it contains.
The most dangerous animal you’ll encounter when survival camping is probably a bear. (Actually, it is a person…but if we are talking about the ones that walk around on 4 legs, then a bear).
Most of the time they will leave you alone; however, if they become aggressive, you’re going to need something to protect yourself.
The best thing you can do is get some bear spray that will temporarily blind bears and limit their sense of smell if you find yourself in danger.
5. Communication With Friends And Family
Chances are you’ve seen the people on TV who decide to go to the wilderness by themselves and end up trapped or injured.
The cause of this, in most cases, is not contacting their friends and family and letting them know where they’re going.
Don’t be one of these people…
Furthermore, we also recommend bringing your mobile phone with you so you can contact people in an emergency.
Survival Camping VS Standard Camping
As discussed previously, survival camping takes place away from campsites, but there are more things that separate it from standard camping.
First of all, with standard camping, you’re limited to the different areas you can camp in.
For example, most people spend their time camping in campsites full with other campers.
There’s nothing wrong with this; however it can be a little repetitive after a while, especially if you’ve visited the same campsite multiple times.
On the flip side, survival camping allows you to call anywhere home (depending on the local law).
This means you can experience places that you would never have seen if you had gone down the normal camping route.
Furthermore, an important part of camping is building friendships with other campers, which is easy to achieve when staying at a campsite.
Survival camping won’t provide you with such a luxury. Considering you’ll be out there in the middle of nowhere, your chances of encountering other people are rather slim.
This is great if you want to clear your head for a few days, but can become lonely after a while.
Survival camping is a great alternative for when you’ve had enough of campsites and want to explore the wilderness by yourself.
That doesn’t mean you should go survival camping if you don’t have any experience with normal camping first.
That’s how people end up getting lost in the wilderness.
In addition, preparation is everything when it comes to survival camping.
We hope this article has helped you prepare for what might be some of the best experiences of your life!
Survival camping is so liberating, and it will be hard to go back to the normality of a campsite once you’ve experienced it.