Wild camping dilemma – is this adventurous or trampy?

When it comes to wild camping, there can sometimes be a fine line between adventurous and squalid. Is this spot rustic or rundown? Is living like this back-to-basics or simply backward? Do I smell like an outdoors hero or an outcast hobo? Am I being an intrepid nomad or a tight-ass traveller sleeping rough just to save £30 on a B&B?

There is nothing glamorous, after all, about taking a shit in the woods, or not having a shower for a week, or wearing the same pair of boxers for four days, or eating instant noodles for dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I was hit with all of these thoughts when I bivvied the entire Cotswold Way (8 days, 7 nights) this August. On most nights I wild camped in beautiful, atmospheric forests – the moonlight dancing through gaps in the trees, the dying flames of my fire flickering on the foliage, the sounds of scurrying mammals and buzzing insects filling the air. It was magical. It felt right.

Sleeping in a forest along the Cotswold Way

Sleeping in a forest along the Cotswold Way

But, on one night, I couldn’t find a suitably out-of-the-way camping spot and ended up sleeping next to a park bench. Joggers ran past, giving me dodgy glances. Cars were parked up around the corner. Dog walkers would definitely be around in the morning. It wasn’t really that bad or dirty or anything. But my mind wandered. What have I become? Is this sensible and safe? Would it all not be a lot easier (and more comfortable) if I checked into a Premier Inn?

In the end it was all good (despite being bitten to death by midgies or some other insect). I slept well and didn’t have any problems. It boosted my confidence that I can wild camp almost anywhere. But maybe I’m on a slippery slope to becoming an oddball rough sleeper. That’s why I’m interested to find out other people’s opinions, especially those who aren’t wild camping enthusiasts.

So, here it goes – sleeping at the spot in the main photo of this blog post – adventurous or trampy?