Camping without a car, possible?

Hi folks,

As my title says, do people think it is possible to go camping with two people without a car?  Are there places I could get to that have good facilities that are near train stations or bus routes in England or Wales?  Or am I being unrealistic thinking I could lug camping gear across public transport?

If anyone has tried such an endeavour before I would be very grateful to hear about your thoughts and experiences.  If you think it is insane I would also appreciate your feedback, cheers! :  )
Think first of your goal, then make it happen!
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  • MSE_James
    MSE_James Posts: 1,181 Community Admin
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    edited 8 September 2022 at 4:05PM
    Challenging but certainly not impossible I'd say - for example, there's a campsite not far from Ashurst station in the New Forest which would be well placed for this kind of thing.

    Great idea for a thread and I hope others have lots of good suggestions.
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  • comeandgo
    comeandgo Posts: 5,744 Forumite
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    edited 8 September 2022 at 4:11PM
    Off course it’s possible.  You can buy extremely light tents, sleeping bags, matting and pans but they are expensive.  Look at some of the outdoor shops like Tiso or Go Outdoors.
      What we find is many of the campsite s now refuse tents, only take the caravans but you may find some quiet spots where you could put up a small tent and away early next day.
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 10,000 Forumite
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    Different country but where I grew up we used to go camping with a canoe as transport.  You very quickly learned to pack exceedingly light.  Especially as there were portages when you had to carry the canoe as well as your packs.

    Not quite the same thing but we did Hadrian's Wall a number of years back using this company below who arranged our accommodation and moved our luggage which meant we just needed to have day packs.  I don't know if they would transport things for you if you were using camp sites but might be worth a chat.  

    Celtic Trails: 20 Years Creating Remarkable Walking Holiday Experiences (celtictrailswalkingholidays.co.uk)

    The alternative is to decide first how far you think you can walk each day, then find a trail that has camp sites spaced out appropriately.  It may well be that the Penine Way or other major route will have something suitable.  I don't think the South West Coast path would work as there's too many big gaps between even B&Bs/hotels.  Another alternative would be to chance wild camping - acceptable in Scotland I'm told but not so south of there so much. 

    But if your intention is to go to one spot and stay there for a week or whatever I'd say it's completely possible - just a bit of planning and taking into account the difference with seasonal bus/train schedules.  As a walker without a car in the past I got caught out numerous times when I discovered the X5 or whatever was only a weekly service on Tuesdays once summer was over.

    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,106 Forumite
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    Plenty of walkers/campers  around the North of Scotland  using shank's pony.
  • biscan25
    biscan25 Posts: 452 Forumite
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    I did this once last summer. Took the train from London to St Ives, as my OH doesn't drive and I dislike driving for more than 3 hours at a time.
    Required a great deal of lugging things about and organisation,
    Think a round decathlon popup tent, sleeping bags, and roll mats. A large rucksack each. Some cooking bits and pieces, and a lightweight windbreak.
    We just about managed, but got some funny looks on the Underground!

    We now have a dog, so a larger tent and car are unavoidable. OH has a driving license now though, but still won't drive :(
    Pensions actuary, Runner, Dog parent, Homeowner
  • Yes, people are travelling the world with tents and without using cars.
    Think about things like Glastonbury Festival, where tens of thousands travel by public transport or people walking Camino de Santiago.
    As someone who travels a lot and visits many campsites, it's something I see routinely. Folk travelling on foot, bike, kayak, motorcycle, every combination you can think of. There must be youtubers sharing their camping adventures?
  • Thank you for the replies so far.

    We are looking for places near to bus routes or train stations, preferably with a small town / village nearby and with facilities, toilets and showers etc.  So, the one at Ashurst looks very promising, thank you!

    If people know of other places that would fit the bill, we would be very appreciative, thank you!

    Also, any tips on gear / general camping pro tips etc.
    Think first of your goal, then make it happen!
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,884 Forumite
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    This is most definitely possible - just look at the numbers of young people doing their Duke of Edinburgh etc type award camping / hike activities.

    I have also done the "no car" camping before - it does mean sacrificing some of the additional comforts that you can have if taking the car, but you can still have a very enjoyable time of it.  In fact, many years ago, I did "no car" camp at a site near Ashurst - I wonder whether that is the same site you are now considering?  If so, we enjoyed our stay when we were there.  It is so long ago, I am not sure that I'd recognise the same site today.
  • What part of the country are you thinking of, as you're casting a very large net!
    It might help more people come up with suggestions?

    I motorhome these days and still occasionally do overnight hikes, having camped for many years, so I'm a little bit out of touch!

    I'd suggest a good 60-70lt rucksack, walking boots plus trainers/comfy shoes, good waterproof jacket (my own preference is Gortex or similar, needs to be over 20,000 hydrostatic head ideally), thermal layer and quick drying clothes, lightweight tent, sleeping bag and mat as a minimum. Small gas stove, flask and dried food along with other bits n pieces. If you only plan to eat out, you can streamline somewhat.
    Two people sharing the load is bearable, going solo requires determination and some strength.

    Have you considered B&Bs or hostels, price difference between campsite can be surprisingly small on occasion.

  • in_my_wellies
    in_my_wellies Posts: 1,647 Forumite
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    edited 8 September 2022 at 6:20PM
    You could look at:
    https://www.yha.org.uk/
    Many allow camping
    Love living in a village in the country side
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