A sustainable camping trip in the great outdoors is just the ticket for bringing some much needed zen and tranquility into our busy lives.
Whether you’re braving the adventures of wild camping or enjoying the little luxuries of glamping, there’s nothing quite like watching the sunset with a cup of hot chocolate, sharing stories under a starry sky or waking up to fresh air and the sound of bird song.
In Scotland, you can pitch up in a campsite or get off the beaten track - the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows camping on most unenclosed land. The exception to that rule is in some areas of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park where camping byelaws are in effect from 1 March to 30 September every year.
Wherever you decide to camp, be sure to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Every summer brings with it an influx of cheap tents and camping equipment. No wonder so many get abandoned when it’s unlikely they’ll last your weekend camping trip. In any case, no matter how little it cost you or how tricky it is to disassemble and pack away, leaving your tent behind is not okay. If you brought it with you, you can take it home again.
If you can’t bear to be away from your phone for the weekend then opt for a portable charger. Rechargeable torches and lanterns are great for cutting down on single-use batteries. Just make sure they’re fully charged before you head off. No one wants to get caught short without a torch.
Tents to rent
If you’re not a seasoned camper then consider borrowing tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment from friends and family before buying new.
Hiring tents is another option. Most companies offer delivery across Scotland.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Based in south-west Scotland, Adventure Carrick offers 2 or 3 person tents for day, three day and weekly hire.
- Camping Gear Hire has a nationwide delivery service and is great for larger groups as they even have tents to fit 10 people.
- Pun-loving Contented Camping have a variety of tents and camping equipment on offer.
- Rent-a-tent Scotland have tents available for collection from Edinburgh.
- Outdoor Hire is another delivery service offering all sorts of camping equipment to rent.
- If you’re heading to Aviemore and the Cairngorms then Active Outdoor Pursuits have a range of tents, roll mats, stoves and more available to hire. They also stock second-hand outdoor gear for sale.
- For something a little different you can hire a Tipi from Turtle Tents, they’ll even build it up for you on location and dismantle it at the end of your trip.
Not a seasoned camper? Consider borrowing tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment from friends and family before buying new. #HowToWasteLess
If you’re only going for a short trip then try being a tourist in your local area - it’ll save you travel time, fuel and you’ll discover hidden gems on your doorstep.
Look out for eco-friendly campsites too. They will often have solar or wind-powered shower facilities and composting toilets to reduce their environmental impact.
Pack the snacks
Plan what you’ll be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner before you go to make sure nothing goes to waste. Decant any shop-bought food into reusable containers and recycle packaging at home to save you having to find a bin near your campsite or holding on to it until you get home.
Reusable ice packs and a cool box will help to keep things fresh for when you’re ready to tuck in. After all, there’s nothing less appetising than a warm egg mayo sandwich.
Better still make your own. These fruity porridge bars are a great on-the-go snack or try a hearty lentil soup for your first night under the stars. Filling your flask with hot water for five minutes before pouring in your heated soup can help it stay warmer for longer.
Tea towels are the multi-tool of the kitchen. Great for wrapping up sandwiches or snacks, cleaning plates and drying you off after the inevitable Scottish summer showers. Remember to pack your reusable cutlery, cups and plates rather than taking single-use ones.
Decant any shop-bought food into reusable containers and recycle packaging at home to save you having to find a bin near your campsite or holding on to it until you get home.
Leave no trace
Scotland is stunning, let’s keep it that way. Bring reusable bags to sort your recycling and rubbish and don’t forget about those sneaky fruit peelings either as banana skins can take up to two years to decompose.
Keep to established paths or roads and use pre-existing firepits. If you’re wild camping it’s best to avoid campfires. Rogue embers can cause wildfires that damage the local environment and put wildlife at risk. Best to stick to camping stoves if you’re in need of a hot cuppa or a spot of ‘gourmet’ cooking.
If you need to answer the call of nature and you’re a long way from a loo then the advice from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is dig it or bag it and bin it. You can find more toileting tips from them here but remember to bag up any toilet paper, wet wipes or period products as these will need to go into a bin when you find one.
Take away everything that you brought with you, like camping gear or BBQ's, even if it's damaged or you don't want it anymore and always bin your litter or take it home.
What can you do?
Borrow or hire your tent and camping equipment
Try being a tourist in your local area - it’ll save you travel time, fuel and you’ll discover hidden gems on your doorstep
Remember to pack your reusable cutlery, cups and plates rather than taking single-use ones
If you’re a long way from a loo, dig a hole or bag in and bin it