Getting ready for a wild camp in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons ridge snaking away in the distance

When I went to the Brecon Beacons in January, I was so intrigued by the shape of the main ridge I wrote a whole post about where it’s come from. More importantly though, it made me want to walk all along it, which is what I am planning to do in mid July.

I’m planning to wild camp somewhere along the ridge. Having read some hairy stories about camping on Corn Du, I realised I should probably prep at least a little for the trip. I’m mainly wondering about three things:

  1. How much of a banned thing is wild camping in Brecon Beacons,
  2. What do we need to think about if we have to pitch our tent in bad weather, and
  3. What supplies should we take with us.

Is wild camping allowed in Brecon Beacons?

As for point one, the National Parks authority doesn’t exactly encourage wild camping, but they don’t actually ban it either. It seems to be fine with the permission of the landowner. Not that I think we’ll be able to ask for it, but I guess if we stick to the usual pitch late, leave early, we should be fine.

How to pitch our tent in bad weather?

To start with, we should try to find a good spot for a camp, avoiding high ground to reduce exposure to wind, but also making sure we’re not in the lowest ground around to avoid water collecting in our pitch spot if it rains. If it looks like the weather will be bad, we should look for a pitch with natural anchors, meaning we can tie our tent down to some heavy objects lying around like stones, logs or trees.

When we pitch, we should build the tent so that:

  • the short edge faces the wind
  • the entrance stays out of wind
  • and the tent is fully rigged

A number of sites also recommend pre-rigging the tent, which as far as I can tell means extending the guy lines with additional string to allow more flexibility in anchoring the tent to other objects than tent pegs and potentially also setting up guy lines in a way that allows to stake out multiple lines to one stake. I think I’ll refrain from going as far. I hope I won’t regret it.

Here are a couple of useful links about pitching tents in bad weather and difficult conditions in general:

Provisions

The main thing we’ll have to think about will be the amount of water we’ll need to carry. To cover both days and the evening’s dinner, we should carry at least 3 liters per person. 1 liter per day of walking, 0.5l for cooking and washing, and let’s not forget 0.5l for teas in the evening and morning :-).

Otherwise, it will be the usual camping and walking menu: bread, cheese and salami for lunches, chilly con carne from the tin with rice for dinner, and oats with peaches for breakfast. Yom, yom.

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6 comments

  1. Beautiful photo of the Brecon Beacons. Hope you managed to go on your camping trip!

    1. Hi, thanks! I did manage to go, I’m just not managing to write it up 🙂 I’m working on it though.

  2. Martin Chaplin · · Reply

    Hi Marketa, below are a couple of links you might try. Freeze dried is around 150g/meal and the hydrated food +/-300g. Better than taking tins but I would advise trying them out before you go to see what you like. I have never used these products before so I cannot comment on the quality/quantity. Undoubtedly there are many more

    http://www.outdoorkit.co.uk/productlist.php?category_id=408
    http://www.mountainhouse.eu/

    Enjoy and please let me know how you get on. I may be doing the same research for a trip to Norway next year.

    Martin

  3. Martin Chaplin · · Reply

    Hi Marketa, a few tips. Pitching the back of the tent into the wind great, however, if it’s warm then the wind during the day will be up slope. As the sun sets then this wind can turn 180 and run down slope straight into the door. I learnt this the hard way (Snowdon +/-30 years ago) and got soaked in the night because I was too lazy to repitch the tent and the weather changed. If possible pitch near a water source and take a water filter. This will save a lot of weight. Also look into dried food for the same reason (google). There are a number of companies that supply complete dried dinners for back packing (order on line). Take some powdered milk and reconsitute this with water, add Alpen and breakfast has suddenly gotten a little easier to swallow (oats can be dry, tinned peaches are heavy). I have just returned from the AV2 (Dollies) and for during the day I lived on various smoked sausages, cerial bars and cookies etc. Add to this peanuts and raisons, baby bel cheese etc and that makes for varied munchies during the day. I hope this helps. Enjoy your trip and I look forward to reading about your experiences here.

    Martin.

    PS If you ever go back to the Dolomites I can thorougly reccomend the AV2. A fantastic week (1st 5 days) and we will return to complete the route. If you would like to know more drop me a line.

    1. Hi Martin,

      Thanks for both your comments.

      Good call with the wind direction changes – will think of that when we’re out there.

      The dry food looks interesting too. I’ll give it a go at some point – at least to try it out. I’m just not entirely convinced of my water source finding skills. I’d be happy to drink spring water in the Alps, but not in Wales (even if filtered).

      I’m glad you liked your Alta Via 2 trip! Funny you should ask whether I’d like to know more. I was thinking of asking you to write a guest post for this blog about it. How about that?

      Best,

      marketa

      1. Martin Chaplin · ·

        Hi Marketa, with regard to filtering water, the katadyne filters filter out all particles down to 0.2um. This means all the nasty stuff is filtered leaving only the viruses as these are too small to filter. Katadyne do offer a waterbottle that also catches viruses using an electrostatic technique (no batteries required) but it is quite expensive. Water for cooking is boiled anyway so that’s OK.
        I’d be glad to write a guest blog for you and your readers, I just need a bit of time to get the photo’s onto the computer etc.
        Kind regards, Martin

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