Wild Camping in the UK: Solo vs group adventures

If you have not been wild camping before, it can be scary as you are unsure of how you will manage. Wild camping is an amazing experience allowing you to get back to nature and explore the natural countryside.

We delve into the advantages, disadvantages, safety, and planning of solo and group wild camping. Helping to make the choice easier and less stressful by considering both benefits.

Advantages of solo wild camping

Solo wild camping can be an exhilarating experience, whether you are new to camping. Here are a few advantages of solo wild camping.

  • Freedom and independence – Solo wild camping is ideal if you enjoy being your own boss and making all the decisions. You can explore to your heart’s content at your own pace.
  • Self-reflection and solitude – Wild camping solo allows you to discover and connect with nature. It provides you with the opportunity to be on your own and the time to think.
  • Enhanced skills and confidence – A ideal opportunity to hone survival skills. Such as finding a suitable safe location, problem-solving and dealing with situations which aid in building your confidence.
  • Flexibility and spontaneity – You can change plans on a whim, adapt to unforeseen circumstances, and embrace the freedom of solo travel.

Disadvantages of solo wild Camping

Although solo wild camping is a memorable experience, there are some disadvantages. Especially if you are used to the safety of campsites and with others.

  • Safety concerns – Being alone in remote areas poses certain risks, including potential emergencies and encounters with wildlife or unsavoury individuals. Always make others aware of where you will be and when you are expected home. Check in with others whilst you are away so they know you are safe.
  • Loneliness and Isolation – It can be lonely if you are wild camping solo for more than a few days. If you love being alone, it may not be such a concern for you. However, wild camp with others may be more beneficial if you love company. I like to wil camp with others, but only one person. I prefer to avoid wild camps in larger groups. 
  • Responsibility – Being fully responsible for all wild camp tasks alone can be physically demanding and time-consuming. You will solely be responsible for camp, cooking, and maintaining equipment. It does feel ten times worse if the weather turns as you are cold, tired and hungry.
  • Limited support and shared experiences – When you are solo wild camping, showing somebody a photo differs from sharing the experience with them. You cannot just turn around and point to a fantastic view.

If you are unsure if wild camping is for you or want more camping experience on a campsite first, we can help you. Read our article on wild camping vs campsite camping. We walk you through the pros and cons of each and how your campsite can be affected if you are on a commercial campsite compared to more

Solo wild camping: Planning and preparation

Preparing is one of the most critical aspects of solo wild camping in the UK. This will ensure that you will have an enjoyable solo camping experience. However, you can only sometimes be prepared for the unexpected.

  • Selecting your destination – The most crucial part is selecting your designation. When you first start solo wild camping, ensuring that it suits your experience and comfort levels is essential. Research the area thoroughly and seek advice from other wild campers.
  • Weather conditions – Check weather patterns and familiarize yourself with seasonal variations of the area you want to wild camp. Always be prepared for temperature changes, rain, and wind. I prefer to be over-cautious and not get caught out. It is extra to carry, but I will be dry and warm.
  • Navigation and maps – Don’t rely on your phone for map reading. Use local hard-copy maps and study the area. Understand the terrain and plan your route. Mark essential landmarks and potential hazards or challenging areas. Avoid and search for a more leisurely route if you need clarification on your skill sets. OS (ordinance survey) maps are great to use; you can buy the hard maps directly from the online store, which often are cheaper. This will give you a free version on your phone.

Solo wild camping: Safety and self-sufficiency while camping alone

Safety is the number one rule of wild camping solo. If you feel unsafe or out of your depth, leave and go home or find a safer place to pitch your tent.

  • Prepare for emergencies – Always carry essential safety equipment such as a first aid kit, navigation tools, extra food, water and a reliable communication device. Always inform somebody of your location and expected return.
  • Self-sufficiency – Be aware of your limitations, as you are solely responsible for your wilderness exploration. Ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle wild camping tasks. Such as pitching your tent, cooking, fire lighting, and you have sufficient supplies for the timespan of your trip. 
  • Personal safety – Always protect yourself when you are solo wild camping. Being aware of the areas and trusting your instincts is the main priority. Understand wild animals and take the appropriate measure to store your food correctly.
  • Leave no trace: The number one rule of wild camping is to leave no trace. Respect your environment by practising these principles. Take home all your trash, minimize campfire impact, and leave the natural surroundings as you found them.

Solo wild camping: Overcoming challenges

For new solo wild campers, feeling lonely or anxious in remote areas is common. Wild camping solo can push many people beyond their comfort zones and be scary. However, this feeling will gradually disappear once you try your first solo wild camper. Taking the first trip is always challenging; we often allow our imagination to take over.

  • Embrace the silence – Being on your own is a great way to enjoy the peacefulness of nature. It allows you to recharge your batteries, especially if you have a stressful working or home life.
  • Stay engaged – Keeping yourself busy during the downtime, usually in the evening, is an ideal solution to remove the feeling of loneliness. I love to take my Kindle and sit quietly as the sun goes down reading. I can curl up in my sleeping bag in a nice dry tent if it is cold. But, for others, you may enjoy drawing and photography.
  • Connect with nature – The main reason to solo camp is to connect with nature. Enjoy your surroundings by taking leisurely walks along the scenic routes and sitting and observing your surroundings and wildlife. You will be surprised by how clear the skies are at night. We often try to find different constellations.

Tips for building confidence and embracing the solitude

For your first solo wild camp, only push yourself a little. Give yourself time to get used to the experience and increase your adventures.

  • Start with familiar destinations – For new solo wild campers, starting with locations you are familiar with is essential. Or if you have visited with others in the past. When we are camping as a family, I constantly research the areas and try to visit locations suitable for wild camping during the day. It makes it easier if you are solo wild camping in unknown areas and reduces your nerves about visiting on your own later.
  • Practice outdoor skills –  If you need more clarification on your skills, attend a survival course or watch YouTube videos. They are a great way to learn skills for wild camping. Test your skills with semi-wild camping. Although you are given a pitch, it is often in secluded areas. Giving you ample privacy but with the additional security of being on a campsite. These will help build your confidence for a solo wild camping experience.
  • Realistic expectations – Learn from your experience, and don’t expect your first trip to be a bed of roses. Be aware that there will be challenges and change in your plans. Considering it is part of the learning curve, embracing the setback and problem-solving.
  • Trust your intuition – As a solo wild camper, feel free to walk away if you feel unsafe or out of your depth. I have been in situations where I have not felt safe or the weather does not look very good, so I have decided to cut my camp short.

Group wild camping: Enjoying shared adventures

Wild camping as a group removes the loneliness, and you can share the experience of bonding with friends and family.

  • Safety in numbers – Wild camping in a group will automatically make you feel safer in numbers. You can share the unexpected situation as you will all support each other. It also provides additional help with camp and cooking. You can all have your own tasks. However, you will still need to carry your supplies and pitch your tent, but there will be help if needed. 
  • Social connections – Sharing an experience of wild camping will bond you to others who enjoy the outdoors. You will all work together and enjoy memorable experiences together. My son and I have a close relationship as we are a single family. However, experiencing wild camping together brought us closer. Removed my son from the PC and my time to chill out away from work stress.
  • Share and learn new skills – You are always young enough to learn. Wild camping with experienced campers, you will learn a great deal. You can deal with any situation and handle yourself correctly until it arises. People love to tell you about their mistakes, how they started camping and can advise you on the best camping gear they have purchased. This will help to stop you from overspending and keeping with a camping budget.
  • Enhanced adventures – Wild camping with experienced people and groups will allow you to explore more advanced locations and expansive areas. You can motivate each other, especially if it’s wet and you are tired.

Group wild camping: Planning and organizing

When it comes to organizing a group camping trip, effective planning and coordination are essential. The primary key to a successful group wild camping adventure is communication. This avoids any misunderstanding and spreads the responsibilities among everybody.

  • Factors to consider – Consider the number of people in the group, including age, experience and preference. They may not enjoy hiking and wild camping on a mountaintop if they prefer forest camping.
  • Schedules and distance: It may be difficult to arrange for everybody to be simultaneously available. There may be location issues, available time and personal commitments.
  • Share wild camping gear: Discuss the gear you all need, ensuring that everybody has all they need and that ordinance survey maps and a first aid kit are available. I often share my gear with the person I wild camp with, especially cooking equipment, as it is not worth taking several mini stoves if we don’t need them. However, we always have our own tents. If somebody has something missing, you can loan them the gear.
  • Communication is key – It can be difficult as there will be text messages and email flying about. Set up a WhatsApp group so everybody is involved in the same thread. This way, everybody knows the details, including dates, where to meet and updates if any plans change.
  • Research all wild camping locations: Decide as a group the best location and research all suggestions. Consider all of the group requirements, such as stamina and experience.
  • Allocate responsibilities: Split tasks between the group so it is not just one person responsible. This will make everybody feel they are contributing to the wild camping adventure. By allocating tasks, it also ensures that everything gets completed in time. Create lists to keep track of who is responsible and keep communications open.

Group wild camping: Teamwork and bonding experience

Wild camping in a group is an experience of bonding and connection. Being supportive of each other is essential and will improve the camping experience.

  • Connections – It is a great way to bond if you are new to the group or have new people join you. Working together as a group not only breaks the ice but helps everybody to get to know each other. Help to form long-term relationships for more wild camping adventures in the future.
  •  Group meals – Planning and cooking meals encourage everybody to work together. Sitting around in the evenings eating or waiting for meals to be cooked helps to form a community. Due to restrictions, it is not possible to have campfires. It is unlike campsites, as you must know about wildfire hazards. However, sitting around talking and telling stories while eating your meal is still nice.
  • Group activities – Ether when you are trekking or have pitched for the evening, organize group games, swimming or scavenger hunts. However, ensure you do not draw attention to yourself or cause any damage. We often take cards with us, as having downtime before bed is excellent. Plus, they are lightweight to carry. 
  • Laughter – Apart from being one with nature and getting back to basics, wild camping as a group should be fun.

Group wild camping: Safety and security

Wild camping in a group, whether two people or more, is fun. However, to make the wild camping adventure enjoyable, it is essential to prioritise safety and security.

  • Group safety before your trip – Wild camping as a group provides extra eyes, not just during your trip but before you start your adventure. Before starting, discuss safety guidelines and ensure everybody knows of potential hazards or uneven terrain.
  • Buddy up – Pair people so they have a buddy. Everybody can keep an eye on their partners. Not only does this help to develop companionship within the group, but it also ensures that nobody gets left behind during any activities. Each buddy group keeps a check on each other for safety reasons. Help each other if one person is struggling. If new group members have yet to wild camp, buddy them with an experienced person.
  • Check-ins – Along your route, set meet-up locations and wait for each other until everybody arrives. Meal times are ideal for checking in with each other in your group. 
  • Emergency situations – Ensure everybody has local contact information for emergency services and medical facilities. Set out a plan of action so everybody knows how to respond. 
  • First aid and safety equipment – If somebody has first aid training, have them designated first aiders. Ensure they have the correct first aid equipment, flashlights and whistle.
  • Campsite boundaries – Set campsite boundaries as soon as you reach the location. Not only for safety, but it will help to increase privacy for everybody. Highlight hazards in the area and add security measures, and be prepared for emergencies.

Choosing what’s suitable for you: Group or solo wild camping

Whether you should wild camp solo or in a group is a personal preference, experience and comfort level. It can be a nerve-racking choice to make. Part of you wants the comfort of being with others, especially if it is your first time. Then another part wants the solitude of being with nature on your own.

  • Comfort levels – Decide what suits you best, as you have four choices, solo camping, wild group camping, semi-wild camping and campsite camping. Consider each and think about the convenience of campsites vs wild camping. Campsite camping would be more suitable if you enjoy convenience camping with a shower block and toilets within a short distance.
  • Consider your outdoor skills –If you have been camping for a while, it can be easy to adapt to wild camping. However, you must ensure you have the skills. You will be wild camping in remote locations without facilities and must know your surroundings and potential hazards. If you have yet to wild camp, join a group, learn the skills, and build confidence.
  • Independence – If you enjoy self-sufficiency, independence and are not concerned about campsites or social connection with others. Wild camping is the ideal solution. 
  • Group or family campsites – Wild camping is not for everybody, so it is essential to consider others. Wild camping may not suit them if they prefer campsites, especially if you have younger children. You may need group holidays on a campsite with your friend or family and sol wild camping yourself at different times. If you are going to wild camp as a family, you need to consider who will carry the heavier items and consider how to involve younger children. Consider how you will cope if you have two younger children and one adult. Read our article on resolving this and making wild camping as a family easier.

I enjoy wild camping with my son, which creates incredible memories for us both. We can both relax in the evenings and enjoy our surroundings. However, for longer holidays, I prefer campsite camping. For longer breaks, I enjoy the convenience of having a shower block and toilet facilities and, on occasion, camping in the colder season with EHU.

Related questions

Wild camping: Planning easy, simple meals

Whether you are wild camping solo or as a group, when it comes to meals, you want something straightforward, quick, easy to make and lightweight.

Reduce waste and avoid having bulky rubbish to carry back home. Remove from packaging and place in zip bags or reusable containers. I also do this when camping on campsites to reduce rubbish and remove bulky food containers.

  • Lightweight and compact foods – For lightweight and compact foods, freeze-dried and dehydrated meals require minimal space. They are easy to cook; add water and boil. Foods such as rice, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese.
  • High energy – These will not spoil quickly and are ideal snacks to keep your energy up. Snack foods such as nuts, energy bars, and dried foods. They can be tucked inside pockets and are lightweight.
  • Instant foods – Include noodles, powered soup for colder nights, tea and coffee. Items that can be made quickly and easily.
  • Fresh foods – Consider how you can keep them fresh and cool without taking a cool bag. Fresh foods include fruit, salad, peppers, precooked meats, and grated cheese. Wraps or tortillas are a great alternative to bread.
  • Essentials – Basic cooking ingredients like salt, pepper, and cooking oils. Planning, you can premix all your spices, so you only have to combine them in your foods. Remember milk for your tea or coffee.
  • Keep hydrated – Pack plenty of water to keep hydrated; remember to add extra for cooking if needed. 


I'm a single parent who loves pitching a tent and exploring the countryside at any opportunity. I am working with a glamping pod company and helping them to set up a family campsite in East Riding Yorkshire.

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