Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Has the long time spent social distancing left you longing for time away from the built-up world?
Are you an adventurous tourist looking for a cost effective and exciting break?
Do you know that soon the ancient hunger must be sated lest it seize upon you in full fury and be unleashed upon those around you, those who could not possibly comprehend its anger and its cruelty?
Wild camping may be the answer for you! A pastime that is surging in popularity among the young, the fit, and the diabolically cursed. The freedom of pitching your tent wherever your dark, dark heart desires can be immensely liberating. It can also be intimidating. Fear not though, follow our tips and you will soon be making a mockery of light and life in the ancient woodlands, far from the eyes of the ignorant populous.
1) Check the regulations in your area.
Whilst the laws of nature and morality may no longer apply to you, it is still important to check the regulations. Local and national governments, as well as individual land owning bodies all have different rules on the provision for wild camping.
In the United Kingdom, wild camping is mostly prohibited, aside from much of Scotland and parts of Dartmoor National Park.
Large areas of Sweden, Norway and Denmark enjoy common access, allowing an adventurer to camp in any open country, as long as it is away from inhabited buildings, which you will want to avoid at all costs lest something terrible happen again.
States and other local authorities are largely responsible for upholding their own rules on the activity in the US, so be sure to research the specific area in question.
Being sure you’re aware of your rights and responsibilities before setting out to indulge your instincts can avoid a lot of problems later on.
2) Choose the right tent.
Your tent is going to be the only thing between you and the pitiless gaze of the indifferent universe, so make sure to pick the right one. Don’t sacrifice utility for economy!
Ideally when making a purchase you will be looking for a tent that is light and easily pitched, but has at least a 2000mm hydrostatic head. This should protect you from most rainstorms, winds, and the eyes of the spheres judging your shameful path.
3) Know your tree spirits.
Make sure you are up to date on identifying and characterising your tree ghosts. Knowing the difference can be key to the success of your expedition.
As a rule, oak spirits are generally friendly and helpful, ash and elm are agreeable, if a little inclined toward misleading passers-by. Directions should be accepted with caution.
Hawthorne will kill you given the chance.
The holly will see right through your disguise. They know what you are, and see the truth of your vile nature spread out before them like viscera on a slab. Run from the holly. Do not let it see you. Do not let it know the truth.
Also make sure to bring a handbook of local plants. Those berries you think are edible might make you very unwell!
4) Clean up after yourself.
Remember to leave everything as you found it! The woods are not your bin, and most wild camping legislation hinges upon you leaving your campsite exactly as you found it. Both the experienced wild camper and the terrible abomination of nature that you are, share common wisdom: Ideally no-one should know that you have been here, or what has passed between you and nature during your time there.
This not only means collecting your litter and not starting fires on the ground, but also means more distasteful practices.
Ensure you have a folding spade or trowel for burying unspeakable things. A strong tarp can be of use here. Also remember to collect your toilet paper! It does not degrade quickly, and may be dug up by passing wildlife. Like many things you have to do, it's unpleasant but necessary.
5) Consider your food supply.
Now, you may assume that the still-warm heart of a stag will suffice completely for calories during your trip, and that you have no need to plan ahead.
This is highly irresponsible and can result in a miserable break.
Always stock up on light, high-calorie foods as a reserve. Granola bars and nuts will at least provide you with some calories when prey is scarce, though you may wish to invest in a small camping stove or a hexamine cooker as a means to heat water and rations.
This can be invaluable if the forest has turned against you and twisted in on itself, leaving you wandering for days. It’s amazing how good even instant noodles taste after half a week roaming a verdant labyrinth intent on trapping you forever.
6) Have fun!
Remember, terrible terrible hunger notwithstanding, you are out here by choice. Enjoy yourself! Take it easy and make the most of your time away from the world. Read, take nature walks, bite the head off a pied dove in a chalk circle.
Howl in defiance at the black sky.
Utter terrible secrets into the mouths of lonely caves and listen, rapt for the even more terrible secrets that will be whispered back.
Bring a pack of cards and play solitaire.
Maybe try whittling.
-Ylva Akazgor, Lifestyle and Deranged Howling Columnist for FringePress