Camping is your golden getaway. It’s a blissful break to snooze the news; to ditch those screens and change your scenes. The ancient way to live with less and decompress from modern stress. It’s primal poetry, when your life starts to rhyme with the wild.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a survivalist. You can start camping in your own back yard.
Backyard camping lets you train from scratch, with everything you need just a doorstep away. This way you can build up your camping gear (and experience) quickly, from the absolute basics – rather than overspending on lots of new equipment you may not need in the great outdoors. If you have a tarp or a tent handy, you can even start right now.
The basics of camping are the basics of survival: food, clothing and shelter. Commit these three principles to memory, and the rest of all things bushcraft really just build on top.
Gardens aren’t just for decoration. Devote a patch of soil to plants like dandelion, borage, nettles and wild garlic, and you’ll have hands-on practice when it comes to foraging and preparing these common species in the wild, to flavour up salads and stews. Foraging berries and mushrooms is a little more advanced since you’ll need to know what isn’t poisonous – so until you’ve armed yourself with some good reading on outdoor cooking, it’s best just to start out by familiarising yourself with camping cookware, essential tools and knives, and the mighty Dutch oven to cook your dinner al fresco.
Backyard camping is the perfect training ground to see how many layers you’ll need in any given season, to stay warm and dry through the night (and in all weathers). Even in summer, you’ll probably find that you need more warm clothing than you think – but you won’t want to weigh down your rucksack with unnecessary items either. It’s about striking a balance, and really just road-testing your outdoor wardrobe, which makes camping in your garden the ideal way to start.
Let your clothes take a downpour while you’re camp-cooking in the garden, and you’ll quickly learn which apparel you can rely on, and which may need to be upgraded before you hit the great outdoors – especially your socks! This is also your perfect opportunity to practise the fine art of changing into dry clothes inside your tent – and learning how best to dry wet clothes without the help of dryers, radiators and washing lines!
Now we come to the best part of any camping adventure: snugging up for a post-supper sleep in your tarp, hammock or tent of choice. Even if you don’t spend the full night sleeping in the garden, setting up your tent and sleeping bag a couple of times is your perfect training session to get your camp going quickly and easily in the wild. This will also give you an idea of how much light you’ll need to navigate your camp in the dark – and whether it would be easier to upgrade to a headlight or lantern to find your way around.
With a couple of garden camping sessions, you’ll arm yourself with practical experience in the basics of cooking outdoors, choosing the right apparel, and easily setting up warm, dry sleeping arrangements. From there you can start to add the little extras that make a really big difference in the great outdoors – whether that’s a good, reliable insect repellent, an essential first aid kit, or even just knowing how much water you’ll need for twenty-four hours of cooking, cleaning and staying hydrated.
While there is lots to learn about wild camping and outdoor survival, the good news is that most of it is simply repetition and common sense. If you’d love to try camping, but wouldn’t know where to start, just remember that you don’t need to throw yourself right into the wilderness from the get-go.
Camping in your garden is quick, easy and could even save you from buying costly items you may not need as a beginner. We’d love to help you on your way to becoming an expert happy camper – so if there’s anything you’d like to know before you buy, just get in touch!