Camping in a wood

A picture of the wood shortly after dawn. The end of my sleeping bivvy bag is in frame.

Last weekend I went camping for the first time in well over a decade, and the first time ever on my own. It was mild, it was dry, there’s quite a lot of woods and other inconspicuous places to sleep outdoors in easy public transport distance. So off I went, with about 30 minutes of notice.

Well, okay, not quite. I have had a bag mostly packed with the essentials for a while—actually it’s just where I keep my camping things.

I timed it so that I arrived just as it was getting dark. This was partly because I was mostly there for the “sleeping outdoors” bit, and partly because it felt faintly ridiculous wandering down a track to sleep under some trees. Not unlike eating in a restaurant alone, I expect this goes away with experience.

It also meant I was unlikely to bump into anyone—which might’ve messed with the solitude aspect of things. And it worked: I didn’t see a single person from when I stepped off the bus until I stepped back on the next morning to return home for work.

It was dry, as I said before, so I took a chance and didn’t put my tarp up. I’m pretty tent-averse unless it’s out of necessity—I’m of the “a tent is a crap version of indoors” school of thought. A hammock is definitely on the table for next time, however.

I slept…okay. Mostly my issue was the spot I’d chosen to sleep on wasn’t quite as flat as I had thought. It was fairly flat, but cue lots of adjusting in the night.

It’s summer here, obviously, and the moon was about 70% illuminated, so it didn’t get especially dark. I’ll aim for a new moon next time I think, as I’d like to see some more stars than we tend to get in the city.

In summary, it’s magic sleeping outside (when it’s warm and dry and you’ve a bed and a shower to go home to).

My only mistake was not bringing something breakfast-shaped. I was planning (and did) head directly to a greasy spoon upon returning to the city, but it would’ve been nice to have something less snacky for the journey.

Basically, it was your typical microadventure (certainly on the micro end of things). I’m looking forward to the next one, somewhat less daunted than before.

I think the trick, somewhat unhelpfully, is just to get out there and do it.

A curved track between two fields. The landscape is almost completely obscured by fog.