I went wild camping in Ennerdale this week with my adventure pal Joe. We climbed up Pillar, set up our tents below Scoat Tarn and then returned via Haycock. It was fantastic.

There were a few calamities along the way, notably me forgetting the inner of my tent and my head torch not working (kind of annoying when it’s pitch black at 6.30pm)! But more than anything it got me thinking about the rigmarole (and misadventures) I go through on every wild camping trip. So I came up with this:

The 17 stages of a (calamitous) wild camping adventure:

  1. Arrive at your destination, full of energy and zest for life. “We’re off on an epic adventure!”
  2. Spread out all of the outdoorsy gear you own around the car before stuffing it randomly into your selection of 13 differently coloured dry bags. 

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    Wild camping chaos on the South Downs Way in 2015 – read more here

  3. Test the weight of your backpack. “Omg. There is no way I’m carrying that up a mountain.”
  4. Recklessly ditch gear that you later end up desperately needing. “Can I get away with no poles for my tent?”
  5. Set off with initial enthusiasm. “This is actually not too bad.”
  6. Five minutes later chronic back pain is kicking in.
  7. Get absolutely destroyed by the driving rain, howling winds and sub-zero temperatures.
  8. Spend hours searching for the perfect camping spot, only to run out of sunlight and settle for somewhere totally average. “Right, it’s a choice between that swamp, this sheep toilet or that boulder field.”
  9. Set up tent (usually in the rain). Everything you own is wet.

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    Totally soaked on the Cotswold Way in August this year (read more here)

  10. Boil up a “dinner” you probably wouldn’t feed to your dog. 
  11. Sit and stare at a fire for 4 hours, absolutely mesmerised by the flames. Everything you own smells of smoke.
  12. Have a horrendous night’s sleep, during which you continually slide down your sleeping mat. 

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    What a comfortable night of bivvying!

  13. Wake up, drink 4 Nescafé 3-in-1 coffees, eat porridge (any other type of breakfast is strictly banned on wild camping trips) and then de-camp.
  14. Daydream continually about a hot shower, warm bed and hearty meal.
  15. Eventually arrive back at your car, looking dishevelled, weather-beaten, a shadow of your former self. “I look, and feel, like a hobo.” 

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    Knackered: my little bro Adam struggling after a wild camping adventure

  16. Head off feeling more than ready to return to civilisation.
  17. Spend 2 minutes at home. All memory of the hardships disappears instantly and already you’re romanticising the wild camping life – the wilderness, the fresh air, the freedom. “When can I get out again.”

Or maybe that’s just me.

N.B. This was obviously all meant in a humorous spirit. I actually do genuinely love wild camping and I don’t always make so many schoolboy errors.