All sorts of people go wild camping, but once you’ve been out on enough camping trips, you start to notice a few trends. Here, we’ve taken our experience from the field and (entirely unfairly) pigeon-holed every single wild camper in existence into one of eight categories - from the minimalist to the comfort-lover to the terrified friend. Perhaps you’ll fit neatly into one category? Or perhaps you’re a little bit of one, and a little bit of another?
The over-packer has brought a forest-scented candle, despite the fact that you are, in fact, camping in the forest...
The wonderful thing about wild camping, is that all of these eight categories can happily co-exist. The most importance thing is to be yourself. Anyway...
1. The Minimalist Expert
The minimalist has done this before. Many times. Looking at their pack, you would never guess they even have a tent in there, but they do. It’s just that it weighs <1g, packs down smaller than an atom and cost one trillion pounds. Still, if the forecast is good, they'll probably sleep outside instead.
The minimalist looks round your camping area in silence and smiles when they find their spot. You blink, and find the minimalist has used that time to set up their tent. Looking at the tent - incredibly narrow and low - it looks a little like a fabric coffin. But as you watch the minimalist climb inside, lie down and stare at a piece of material hanging 1cm above their nose (which they tell you is made from something called STORM-BLASTER, and can handle 999,999 millimetres of rainfall) they look extremely content. The minimalist is at ease here.
The minimalist has a father who has commented on this article on Facebook, saying: "back in my day they just called it camping." The minimalist is able to regale you with tales of his past expeditions in Nepal and Kyrgyzstan. They certainly would've been able to write this section in under four paragraphs.
In the morning, the minimalist wakes early. They are on first-name terms with the local wildlife, and greet you with a bunch of berries plucked from the forest. One day the minimalist will go out camping, and never be seen again.
2. The Young Family
The parent has set up the tent. The child has crashed into the tent and brought it down again. The other parent has put the tent back up. The toddler has taken the tent pegs out to see what would happen. The parent has put the tent back up for a third time. It's a tight squeeze - which eerily, is how their head feels too.
The children are scared of wolves, despite the fact you are in Wales.
The child is running headfirst into the fire. The other child does not like the food. The children are bored. The children are scared of wolves, despite the fact you are in Wales. The children are sprinting into trees. The children are finally asleep. Time to look at stars, drink a beer and chat. Quietly. Don’t wake the kids.
The memories from these trips will be recalled in laughter... in a decade or so.
3. The Cosy Campers
The cosy campers always camp in a group of at least four, and they always, no matter how many of them there are, manage to cram into one two-man tent - as though it’s a clown car. Watching them emerge can be quite the spectacle.
The cosy campers don’t have any specialist hiking equipment, but they somehow complete their day-hike at twice the speed of those who do. The cosy campers make a campfire, play music and drink beer. Responsible cosy campers have one great bin bag that they toss their cans into, and take with them the next morning - the designated-carrier resembling Santa Claus as they haul it out on their back.
4. The Comfort-Lover
The comfort-lover doesn’t mind carrying an extra bit of weight on the way up if it means they’ll be able to lounge when they get there. The comfort-lover has brought a spacious two-person-plus tent with no intention of sharing it with anyone else. The comfort-lover has brought a camping stove - for that rugged, wild feel - but they've also brought some “just add water” dehydrated meals so the cooking stays easy. The comfort-lover has brought a self-inflating air mattress which rolls up small, and which everyone else is jealous of.
The comfort-lover has a £5 fold-up camping seat which they insist is the best purchase they ever made, and which they will later use as a pillow.
The comfort-lover sits around the fire (made by the minimalist), and after one final look at the stars, retires to read a book by headtorch. The comfort-lover adores the outdoors but doesn’t see the need to rough it. It's a good life.
5. The Over-Packer
The over-packer goes a substantial leap further than the comfort-lover. They have brought a 12-person tent with five rooms, a balcony and central heating for your overnight in the hills. The over-packer has brought a forest-scented candle, despite the fact that you are, in fact, camping in the forest. They have brought a full double-bed air mattress and a foot-pump with which to inflate it.
They have brought a 12-person tent, with five rooms, a balcony and central heating
The over-packer has brought an actual pillow from their bed at home. And rather than a camping stove, they've brought a double grill which folds up into a briefcase, which they have been carrying with difficulty during your hike. You don’t have to wonder how they managed to get all this gear up with them. You watched them tape it all to their giant 70+10L rucksack and struggle up the hill with it - their pack clanking away like a cow walking through an alpine valley.
The over-packer is often also a technologist. Signs of this include the appearance of a solar panel charger, and an over-reliance on GPS mapping. Once they've actually set up though? Everyone's quietly glad they brought the goods.
6. The Newbie
The newbie has set up their tent in a manner which is not quite right... but will have to do. The newbie didn’t realise they were meant to bring a camping mat in addition to a sleeping bag, and has ended up sleeping on a slight incline.
The newbie didn’t bring a torch, head, handheld or otherwise, and now that you’ve gone to bed, they're using their mobile phone light to navigate their space. The newbie’s mobile phone is about to die. The newbie did bring a pack of cards, but they weren’t required during the lovely night by the campfire, under the stars. The newbie enjoyed that part of the night. But was it worth it for all of this?
The newbie didn’t check the weather forecast, and is about to learn why a waterproof second-layer for a tent is a pretty good idea. The newbie’s sleeping bag is not warm enough, so for extra warmth, the newbie has covered themselves in the 11,675 Nature Valley bars they brought “just in case” they got into some sort of survival situation. The rain is getting in through the tent, now. The playing cards are getting wet. They ordered them specially.
How the newbie reacts to this challenging night will decide their future. Will they tough it out and embrace nature - or commit to never going camping again?
7. The Terrified Friend
The terrified friend is often a newbie, but the newbie is not always a terrified friend - thus justifying a separate category for each. The terrified friend has been talked into going camping. But they are terrified. Of everything.
The terrified friend is terrified that they have left their tent poles at home and will not be able to set up their tent. They are terrified that they will burn their arm off toasting marshmallows and that their perfectly set-up campfire will burn down the forest three miles away. Mike has gone to urinate, and they are terrified that Mike will never come back, because above all else, the terrified friend is terrified that someone will be murdered in the night by a) the wildlife, b) other humans or c) a mythical beast which local legend has it exists in the hills.
The terrified friend is terrified from start to finish. But in hindsight at least, they loved the trip. And they're the first to suggest that you get the next one planned.
8. The Instagrammer
They were Tweeting on the walk up, and video'd the pitch. They have plans to live stream the sunset on Twitch.
They brought gear they won't need to look good on the 'gram, and now they've gone off the trail to get a selfie with a lamb.
They take a photo of an empty mug that says: 'The Adventure Begins', and they pretend it holds coffee - for all of their sins.
For this camper, capturing memories is a crucial component. But there's an argument that they should live more in the moment.
Their activity is harmless, but one thing they find strange? They're happiest when their phone signal has dropped out of range.
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