A recent investigation by AXA Insurance has revealed that getting back to nature can be surprisingly expensive, and raised the question: ‘Is wild camping the answer to saving money whilst still experiencing an authentic camping holiday?
In recent years, ‘glamping’ has become increasingly popular with those who want to get back to nature but are not ready to give up their home comforts. However, there is another group of people who are embracing the exact opposite – wild campers looking to enjoy Britain’s wildlife whilst saving money on their holidays.
In England, it’s difficult to turn up to a remote location and camp there legally without previously contacting the landowner and gaining permission, which probably contributes to the fact that the nation spent £2.5 billion on self-catered domestic camping and caravanning trips in 2015.
According to the 2015 Great British Tourism Survey, commissioned by VisitEngland, VisitScotland and VisitWales, Britain spends millions of pounds every year just to get back to nature during their trips. Last year, holidaymakers spent a whopping £982 million on trips that included bird and wildlife watching activities; however this pales in comparison to the £8.42 billion we spent on trips that included sightseeing on foot.
Spend on trips including activity (millions):
Just relaxing – £8,638
Sightseeing on foot – £8,414
Short walk\stroll – up to 2 miles\1 hour – £6,226
Visiting a beach – £3,839
Long walk, hike or ramble (minimum of 2 miles\1 hour) – £4,239
Visiting a country park – £2,000
Had a picnic or BBQ – £1,691
Visiting a wildlife attraction\nature reserve – £1,090
Watching wildlife, bird watching – £982
Fishing – coarse fishing (still water\pike & perch) – £148
Fishing – game fishing (river\salmon) – £39
Why go Wild?
One of the biggest appeals of wild camping is that it provides a complete juxtaposition to everyday life. Those that spend the majority of their days in busy towns or cities, using computers and other electronic equipment, often look forward to something simpler and the ability to completely relax.
Wild camping is not like regular camping – there is no access to food or water (except for what you bring with you) or facilities such as bathrooms or showers. Whilst some may feel that this is their idea of a nightmare, for those who enjoy hiking, bird watching and traditional camping, the situation is ideal.
Kathryn Cook, UK Director of National Parks UK, said: “Camping in one of our breathtaking UK National Parks is a brilliant way to experience the great outdoors and on a clear night offers the chance to enjoy a stargazing experience that only really dark skies can provide. Wild camping is welcome in a few UK National Parks, but generally speaking anyone wishing to take part will require the landowner’s permission first.
“Whichever UK National Park you wish to visit there are some great campsites to choose from, where you will be supporting local communities by staying at an official site. The National Parks website – www.nationalparks.gov.uk – includes a list of all available locations where you may wish to stay along with a number of hints and tips.”
Wild Camping Equipment
As wild camping requires staying in remote locations, it’s important that you not only pack light but also sensibly in order to stay safe.
AXA Insurance’s Guide to Wild Camping – www.axa.co.uk/insurance/personal/liveboldly/camping/guide-to-wild-camping/ – provides a handy list of specialist equipment to consider purchasing, including:
A small, light and sturdy tent
A sleeping bag and mat
A camping stove and gas cartridges
Provisions including dried food and water purification tablets
A torch, first aid kit, Swiss Army Knife, duct tape, matches and cable ties
Bug repellent and sunscreen
As you will be depending on this equipment not only to enjoy but also to stay safe on your wild camping holiday, it’s important that you make sure it remains in optimal condition and that if anything does happen you have adequate personal possessions cover in place.
Jyoti Bird from AXA Insurance said: “When it comes to camping equipment there is a wide range to choose from, some of which is more specialist (and therefore more expensive) than others. If you are new to wild camping and have a limited budget you may want to purchase less expensive equipment, however at the same time you must always ensure that it is protected under your home insurance policy.”
“Our Live Boldly campaign is all about encouraging people to take up new hobbies safe in the knowledge that AXA can protect what matters most. Wild camping is such a great fit as it encourages the nation to appreciate Britain’s wildlife but at the same time helps holidaymakers save money on their trips.”
AXA is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.
For more information visit www.axa.co.uk