Wild Camping Part 5 – Water Filters

Last week we looked at some natural methods of purifying water.  However, sometime we don’t have the resources or time to apply these and sometime the water we are forced to drink is so much akin to the toxic urine from Satan’s own bladder that only technology can make it safe.


As with all things there are compromises with water filters.  Be it cost, weight, bulk, effectiveness or speed.  There are a number of specific manufactures and models so I’ll try and keep this general but will include links to examples of each.




Harmful Stuff:


Particulate – Not necessarily toxic but particulate, like mud, sand, dead beetles and random, suspicious lumps are not what you want to be drinking.


Protazoa – These are single-cell parasites and the group contains Giardia and Cryptosporidium, two of the most feared Gastro-Intestinal (GI) infections.  Some pathogens can only be eliminated by more advanced filters


Bacteria – Much larger than viruses so relatively easy to filter. This group includes E.coli, a common cause of GI problems.


Virus – Smaller than bacteria, and therefore more difficult to filter, this group includes Hepatitis and Rotovirus


Chemicals – Chemical pollutant are wide ranging and are more common in urban, industrial or certain agriculture areas.


Your filter need not deal with all these. Research where you’ll use it, what the local risks are and get what you need.



Wild Camping Part 4 – Water Purification

We went over water carriage last week.  But how can we get it into our drinking vessels in a safe form.  The answer most people instantly give is ‘use a water purification system’.  This isn’t wrong but these can be bulky, heavy, expensive and sometimes unnecessary.  So let’s look at the steps to take before this is required.


Wild Camping Part 3 – Water

So we’ve dealt with where to go and how to make yourself comfortable for the night. But one cannot operate on fresh air and a good night’s kip alone, or at least not for very long.


So you’re first priority is water.  Often overlooked and under-consumed on expeditions.  I have found people are especially prone to dehydration on cold climate projects.  In the desert heat everyone is very aware of the problem and is disciplined about drinking. But when you’re cold it seems less pressing, however, hydration is key to staying healthy on trips, short or long.  For the purposes of this blog we’ll keep it basic and assume you’re wild camping in the UK.


You have 2 choices a) take it all with you – ok on short trips or if you’re traveling by vehicle e.g. kayak or car of b) collect along the way.


Wild Camping Part 2 – Shelter

What you’ll need to wild camp will depend on the weather and how close you want to get to nature.  It also depends on how long you’re out for but let’s assume it’s a single overnighter and you can extrapolate from there.

Your basic needs when you stop for the night is food to recover from all the adventurous activities you’ve hopefully been doing during the day and to fuel up for all the more tomorrow.  You’ll also need some degree of shelter from the elements in order to recover and get a good night’s sleep.  I’ll deal with food and cooking soon but for now let’s look at shelter.

The greater the degree of shelter and comfort the greater the weight I’m afriad.  Less of a problem when you using something like a canoe or kayak (or car) but if you’re trekking into your campsite or parachuting in and weight is an issue then you do not want to be carrying the equivalent of a fruit machine on your back.  Let’s start with the most accommodating but heaviest – a tent. (more…)

Wild Camping Part 1 – Legal Stuff


One of the easiest and most accessible adventures we can have is Wild Camping.

Anyone, regardless of age and ability, can have a go at this and it needn’t require great long hike into the remote wilds of the Scottish Highland. I’ll offer some tips and tricks on kit, techniques and location in the future but first I’ll cover something which is seldom done in the ‘wild camping is great – get out there’ well meaning and encouraging blogs on wild camping – that fact that’s it’s often illegal.

So let’s deal with some legal pointer.  Wild camping is not permitted by law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (but is also classed as a civil not a criminal offence) unless participants have permission from the landowner (there will always be someone as all land in these countries is owned).  However, practically a number of places tolerate wild camping as long as a code of ethics is adhered to.  Good examples of these locations are Snowdonia and the Lake District National Parks. Both locations’ official websites have pages dedicated to dealing with the issue of wild camping and its allowance along with details of the codes of practice one should stick to. (more…)