We love the comfort and convenience of modern-day camping as much as the next camper. Luxury campsites with electric hook-up, swanky shower blocks and fancy restaurants are great. But at the same time, there’s something about going back to basics that really appeals.
In the last couple of years, many more of us have decided to seek solace in nature and embrace our wild side.
Off-grid camping – sometimes called nearly wild camping and usually meaning campsites with no mains electricity and very limited facilities – is becoming increasingly popular among family campers, who want a more ‘authentic’ experience.
It’s not quite wild camping, as you’re still on a proper, official campsite, but it has that feeling of roughing it. There are no neat, hedge-lined pitches with electric hook-up posts; you can put up your tent anywhere – whether it’s in among the trees, on sand dunes or on the banks of a river. Campfires are allowed, in fact are encouraged, and there might even be some traditional activities on offer, such as bushcraft and fishing.
On a more basic campsite, what you lose in facilities like swimming pools, bars and games rooms, you gain in space, tranquillity and natural beauty.
However, as much as the idea of ditching everything but the essentials might appeal, the reality is that you probably don’t want to completely isolate yourself from the rest of the world. And, while there’s a romantic appeal to simply pitching up in an empty field, if you plan to have contact with other humans while you’re away, you need to think about how to meet some basic needs.
Unless you really want to cut all communication, camping on an off-grid campsite doesn’t mean you have to leave mobile devices at home and use no electricity whatsoever. But if you still want electric power when you don’t have mains hook-up, you’ll need to take a different approach. Your basic options are generators/power stations, solar power and mini handheld power banks.