Here we are again! Last week here at Apache Pine we started to talk about tips and trick to have the best free camping experience. Today we are here to finish what we started and deliver some more suggestions.
Just as a reminder: it’s important that everything you do and any advice you put into practice you use sustainable gear and equipment, constantly respecting nature and wildlife and trying to leave no trace.
So, back to where we left each other:
Do you really need it?
This question is valid for all sorts of gear, tools, equipment, and robe, including your tent. Economizing and optimizing when free camping is the ultimate art. So always question what you are taking with you: you might not really need it and you might be just piling up weight and wasting precious space. Sometimes, you probably won’t need your tent either: when you free camp in very comfortable, hot conditions, when you’re particularly sheltered and safe, or when conditions are so extreme you won’t have the strength nor the chance to take a tent with you. This doesn’t mean you can’t free camp anyways, actually it allows you to do it in places you wouldn’t be able to reach or stay at otherwise.
This already is one of life's Golden Rule, and it becomes even more precious when it comes to wild camping. If you don’t know something for sure, don’t assume it. Talking to people is key, as well as getting your research done properly, double checking when you're not sure. Exactly for this same reason, don’t give information to others if you’re not 100% sure about what you are saying.
This goes for traditions as well: always remember "place you go traditions you find" and it’s always good to check what may offend or harm those around you in new places, what their costumes are and adjust to that. Don’t assume they’ll be okay with what you’re doing just because for you and your culture is okay.
Know the law
As we said, not everywhere wild camping is allowed and this comes with a series of additional laws, restrictions or, on the contrary, permissions, and allowances. By simply filling up a form, informing some authority, or restricting your staying to a certain amount of time you can turn something illegal into something safe and absolutely okay. You can never know. So always check the bureaucracy and rules of the countries and/states you are visiting.
Of course, don’t camp in areas marked by a private property or a no trespassing sign.
If you are free camping and no one knows where you are, it means you are the only one who can help you if something happens. You can extend that to the other people who are with you, however, always remember that rescue might not be able to arrive quickly or easily. Always have a first aid kit with you, so you can make sure to provide first assistance in case of need. Also include some medicines for fever, infections, dysentery and insects bites. Be ready for an emergency and always know your way out and how to call or signal for help.
Don’t start fights and be willing to pack and go away
Let’s be realistic and not fool each other: sometimes wild campers do get caught. What to do if this happens? Play a bit dumb of course and be absolutely peaceful and willing to leave. There’s no need for fights or arguments in general, especially when it comes to wild camping. Just pack your staff and move. Find somewhere else to stay and, of course, even if just for one night, look for a normal campsite: those who caught you will probably be keeping an eye on you or might have warned local authorities.
Keep it positive
This is probably the most important rule in all sorts of occasions. Indeed, a positive attitude means positive thinking, many solutions and a good eye for opportunity. If you stress and if you constantly feel unsafe, then you should either follow your sixth sense, or just don’t go. Free camping is a magical experience, but only if you embrace it and you let it lead you around. Have fun!