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Top tips for wild woman campers

Tuesday 18th August 2020, 2:20pm


Hazel Strachan is well known for her adventures involving wild camping and bivying and is a self-confessed solo walker, bivvy bag lover and wild camper. In fact, she loves sleeping under the stars so much that during lockdown she spent 21 nights bivying outside in various locations in her garden to raise money for SARDA Scotland, and normally spends an enviable amount of time out boat-packing and hiking to get into some fantastically remote locations.

We asked Hazel to pass on some of her tips for other women who would like to do some solo camping, but havenít yet taken the step or havenít quite worked up the confidence to try it. And if you need any more inspiration check out her Twitter feed,  @StrachanHazel.

Wild camping

Know your tent! Iíve just bought a new tent and Iím still formulating quick ways to put it up in case I have to pitch it in windy and wet conditions.

Itís more fun than car camping! My first solo wild camps used a base for a couple of days before walking on to another place to use as another base. Iíd try to stop by a well-drained meadow by a stream before tiredness set in. Having running water meant that I didnít have to carry as much weight. The potential pitfall of staying in one spot for several days is that the vegetation can become damaged at the tent entry, especially in wet weather. Leave your camping spot as if youíve never been there.

Go to an area you already know for your first solo wild camp. It may not sound particularly adventurous but youíll feel more relaxed as there are so many new sounds and experiences which go along with wild camping. Any Ďmistakesí or being picky about how it went is all good learning. 

Iím not a fan of campfires. If I require extra heat in an emergency I carry an instant heat pouch in my emergency kit. Itís worth carrying extra stove fuel as well.

Opsak make odour proof bags which can be used to store soiled sanitary items in. The bags can be washed and reused. You can use them to pack out your poo if you canít bury it. Itís worth taking more toilet paper than you think you will need - and donít forget the anti-bac for your hands!

 

Roadside camping

Trust your intuition. If you donít like the area or your neighbours move on. Iíve only done this once. It felt like a big inconvenience as I had settled down for the night but I didnít like my new neighbours who had arrived and were setting up camp. I found a better spot for the night!

Donít drink alcohol just in case you have to drive away from a situation.

I camp in a two person tent when camping near to a road. Itís always assumed that there will be two people camping in a two person tent and not a solo woman. Iíll face the opening of my tent facing away from the road to give me privacy.

What does your car say about you? Tidy away all your belongings, especially if they have Ďfemaleí colours. Because Iím petite I slide the driving seat back so it looks like a male or normal sized person drives the vehicle.

Itís worth keeping your belongings organised - bags for litter and wet clothes as itíll make unpacking at the end of the trip easier and faster. Take extra water in bottles in case you find a great spot which doesnít have any water.

Look for potential spaces when you are out driving which you can go back to if you are new to an area. Most people will settle into lay-bys around 4pm so have a few options.

For more information on camping, camp hygiene and how to be a considerate camper, visit our camping section.

Camping by Loch Maree. Transport on this occasion was by the packraft drying in front of the tent.

This is by the River Etive. Hazel noted: "It was a terrific hidden away place and so close to the road."

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Camping one spring high on Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan looking over to Kintail.

"I seem to bivvy more these days than camp." This is looking towards Liathach from Beinn Eighe.