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LEGALITY AND SAFETY OF SLEEPING WILD

Written by Alistair Humphreys of alastairhumphreys.com

Sleeping in a tent is great. I love it. But for a quick, cheap, single night microadventure a bivvy bag is brilliant. Granted, if it pours with rain you won’t have the nicest night of your life. But on a clear, dry night when you can stare at the stars until you fall asleep and then wake with the first rays of sunrise on your face, there’s nothing better.

 

As well as beautiful camping spots such as those above, I have also spent more than my fair share of nights sleeping wild in built-up areas.

 

One of the main concerns that stop people heading off to sleep on hilltops is the legality and safety of wild camping. Here then are a few pointers to try to set your mind at ease.

 

Even after all the nights I have slept wild, I still feel more exposed and vulnerable in a bivvy bag than in a tent. It’s a normal way to feel. It adds to the child-like sense of excitement. The imaginings of ghosts and giant snakes never entirely go away!

The reality though is that you are more inconspicuous without a tent (though perhaps not to ghosts / vampires…). You are also far safer than you feel. Consider the pictures above. Many people would feel uneasy camping next to a motorway on the outskirts of Dubai, or in a drainage pipe beneath a busy road. But nobody knew we were there. There were no pedestrians. Nobody could or would do us any harm. It was safe. It was also amusing, which is always important!

 

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