She may be editor of Wanderlust, the UK’s best global travel magazine, but Phoebe Smith knows that some of the best fun can be had in your own backyard which, if you play it right, will cost nothing at all’¦ Phoebe is the author of Extreme Sleeps: Adventures of a Wild Camper.
Phoebe: Waking up after my first solo wild camp in the mountainous hinterland of Wales, the grass for my mattress, the peaks as my headboard and a glowing sense of achievement that I had survived an adventure without relying on anyone but myself. Later it was visiting and sleeping in the cave of my great outdoor hero – Millican Dalton – in the Lake District.
Phoebe: Learn to love OS maps. In the UK we are blessed with some of the best mapping in the world and OS maps hold the key to showing you wild areas to explore. Once you’ve planned your first wild sleep, pack your bag ready and keep it either by your front door or in the boot of your car ‘“ I call this my ‘œgo bag’. That way when you get the weather window you have no excuse, you’re ready to go.
Alastair: What do you know now that you wish you’d known before your first trip?
Phoebe: That treats are important. Extreme sleeping is all about enjoying not enduring the experience. You want to remember it for the right reasons, so take a camping stove to make hot drinks (and purify water) which will also make you a hot water bottle for a cosy night, and take lots of chocolate/snacks that you love. You can skimp on many things to save weight but food should never be one of them!
Alastair: Any tips on saving for the trip or living cheap during the trip?
Phoebe: Wild camping is legal in Scotland and Dartmoor. In the rest of the UK you are supposed to ask the landowner’s permission first, however this can often be impractical. As the name would suggest, you should be doing this in wild, off-the-beaten-track place, where wild camping is tolerated anyway ‘“ as long as you do it responsibly. So there’s no need to stress. Follow the wild camping code ‘“ arrive late, leave early, leave no trace of your visit, take all your waste out with you. The worst thing that can happen wild camping? It’s not being eaten by a bear or attacked by a mugger (like many people told me when I first started out!), the worst that can happen is someone will ask you to move on so really there’s only one question left – why not try it? Have fun and above all, enjoy yourself! Then Tweet me your experience using #ExtremeSleeps to @PhoebeRSmith and I will share them.
Alastair: Great idea! If people tag them with #microadventure too then I’mll see them and share them as well.
My new book, Grand Adventures, is out now.
It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore.
The book contains interviews and expertise from around 100 adventurers, plus masses of great photos to get you excited.
I would be extremely grateful if you bought a copy here today!
Thank you so much!