Don’t make these wild-camping mistakes… because I did

First things first: I am not a camping expert. However, that’s a good thing. Because now you, a beginning camper like me, can learn from my early mistakes. Isn’t that great? Let’s go!

Look for a spot before the sun sets

This one caused us to fail our first night on a camping trip in Sweden. Yes, you can camp everywhere… in theory. Looking for a good spot, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are limitations on where you can pitch your tent. For example, it has to be far away from houses. And sometimes when you do think you found a spot, there is a sign saying you can’t camp there.

So make sure to have your spot before the light is gone. This will help you determine if a spot is good and available.

Check for animals living in the area

Although this isn’t a must, it can soothe your mind a bit. It’s just nice to know a wolf, bear or a lion won’t jump in your neck when you go at night for a quick wee. I know, those things never actually happen. It’s still comforting to know none of these are looking at you in the dark.

Bring a small enough tent


If you’re a bigger group, it might be more cozy to lay together in a tent. All four or five of you cuddled up, nice and warm. Pitching a bigger tent however also asks for more space. Space you never seem to find between all the rocks, tree roots and bushes. Taking two smaller tents will make it easier for you to fit them in a proper place.

Know your tent


Although it was my first time camping in the wild, I did sleep a lot in tents before. Camping in Normandy was the most recent one, and sleeping at festivals almost yearly gives me some experience. This time it was my buddy who brought along his new tent. A great tent, without a doubt. It just took us a bit longer to set it up. So just make sure to set it up in your backyard at least once before departing.

Don’t stress the fuck out

Is that an animal sniffing at your tent? What’s that walking past us? I think I heard something! Things I kept asking myself on my first night in Sweden. I did research the wildlife, so I knew it wasn’t a bear or a wolf. Even then my mind kept racing. You just have to take some time and identify sounds. That sniffing might be your friend snoring. The walking you hear, probably just the rain. Animals are actually shy, so they won’t just walk up to you for giggles.

The animal you’re hearing is not even an animal

I already stated it, but I am saying it again. It’s probably just you or your friends. Something like a foot slipping, someone turning in their sleeping bag or just a loud breather can stress you out… even when it’s completely unnecessary.

Be picky, but don’t be too picky

If you have plenty of time, know what animals can visit you and how your tent works, you can start picking a decent spot. Try to find several spots and then choose the one you like most. Sometimes the ones that are less accessible have a better view. So that might be worth it. Just make sure you don’t put your standards too high. You just can’t get a lakeside view with a sunset behind the trees every night. You will have spots that are just meh, and that perfectly fine.

Have you ever gone camping in the wild? Let me know your experiences in the comments!

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  • tjw

    Portugal is also great for wild camping, but with a family of four we needed some utilities. This site helped us a lot, found some very cheap and incredibly cool located campinggrounds. http://campinmygarden.com/