Should you wild camp with your campervan?

What is wild camping?

Wild camping involves parking your campervan somewhere legal and camping for free. There are many hazy laws, by-laws and local authority regulations about where you can and can’t park for the night, but generally, you have to keep all ‘camping items’ inside the vehicle.

How do you know if it is legal to camp?

The only way to find out if camping overnight is legal is to ask the landowner. If the car park is owned by the local authority, then they will have signs up stating the rules and regulations. In Wales, we have plenty of privately owned beachside camp spots. You should be able to ask the attendant if it is possible. Finding the landowner can be hard, so you should also refer to campervanning blogs and websites that list good spots.

The pros of wild camping

Wild camping is a wonderful experience. You can find your perfect spot, settle down for a night and wake up exactly where you want to be for the day ahead, all without it costing you a single penny. You can often get well off the beaten track and have a spot to yourself.

The cons of wild camping

When you wild camp, you won’t have any facilities, such as toilets, showers or fresh drinking water, unless you luck out in a car park with facilities. This means you have to go prepared with enough water and be prepared to be a bit smelly for a day or two.

If you have misjudged the spot you’ve chosen, you may be woken up by an angry landowner, or the police, asking you to move on, so having one person sober to drive is always a good idea.

Staying safe while wild camping

There is a chance of becoming a victim of crime while wild camping, especially in urban areas, so ensure you keep your van secure and your phone on you.

Let people know of your whereabouts in case anything does happen and don’t go too far off the beaten track without plenty of supplies of food, drink and first aid kit.

Wild camping etiquette

If you are going to wild camp, when you leave you should leave no trace that you have ever been there. Take all rubbish away and keep any barbecues off the ground to avoid scorch marks.

If you are in a popular wild camping spot, keep noise to a minimum. You won’t get angry campsite wardens coming and telling you off, but your fellow campers may not be in the party spirit that night.

Ruining a spot, or being a nuisance will result in complaints for the locals which could result in authorities cracking down in the area.