Coast to Coast camping

Coast to Coast Walk – Camping across England FAQ

Coast to Coast, UK Long Distance Hikes
The top questions answered about Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk. Camping tips and tricks explained for the 192-mile hike across England.

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, Camping Q&As

1) How fit do I need to be to camp on the C2C?

Can you walk between 10 to 20 miles a day with a whopping pack on your back, typically weighing between 12-16 kilos for 14 days straight?
Yes? Read on.
No? Go to questions 12 or 17.

2) How good do my navigational skills need to be?

Strong, unless you can pair up with someone else whose map reading is better. The Lake District is the trickiest part, it’s mountainous, it’s unmarked after Ennerdale Bridge and it’s prone to having mist coming in on you with no warning. Yey! It’s much easier once you’re out of the Lakes as there are no looming hills to encounter, but mist can roll in any time on the moors (however, the tracks are much easier to follow).

You might also want to use the OS Maps app, check out my review here.

Camping Coast to Coast

Not up to the Coast to Coast walk, camping along the route yet?
Go to question 13.

3) What are the camping facilities like on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk?

They vary from muddy fields with no facilities other than a loo and drinking water to being upgraded from a pitch for your tent to a super-duper caravan for £1.50 extra per person at Orchard Caravan and Camping Park in Reeth. Midges aren’t an additional extra, they come as standard in Keld and anywhere they can find water. Three cheers for midge head nets and deet!

Cape Wrath Trail tips - Kendal Mint Cake
Not British? You might want to read my humorous guide to hiking just like a local.




4) Can I stock up on camping supplies on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk?

You won’t be able to buy camping supplies (gas, head torches etc) until you reach Grasmere, on day three in the Cotswold Outdoor Outlet shop. So it’s best to bring everything you need. You can stock up later in Kirkby Stephen and Richmond, Yorkshire, on the Coast to Coast walk. Camping shops are in each of these three towns.

5) Is there a shop on the Coast to Coast walk in every overnight destination?

No, not everywhere. There is no shop in:

  • Ennerdale Bridge (you can buy things in the very basic store in Cleator during the day);
  • Keld (but there’s a pub where you can eat);
  • Blakely (Red Lion Inn) or anywhere on the route that day – stock up in the service station just before Ingleby Arncliffe the day before and eat at the Red Lion Inn – it serves fabulous roast dinners!

6) How long does it take to complete the Coast to Coast walk, camping?

I met guys who completed this in 10 and 11 days. That would be a test for the absolute fittest! I did it in 14 days, could have condensed it into 13 but there was no real need to, I had the time.

Coast to Coast camping on the Yorkshire Moors
Coast to Coast camping on the Yorkshire Moors

7) Can I wild camp on the Coast to Coast walk?

It’s not legal in England, but the whole point of lugging a tent with you is so you can pitch anywhere, and of course, low accommodation costs. Just make sure if you choose to wild camp to leave the place as you found it and pitch away from prying eyes.

*Wild camping tips: Walk on the Wild Side.*

8) Is camping on the Coast to Coast walk safe for solo women?

If you can read a map / use a compass and are built like an ox to carry your gear, then yes, this route is perfectly safe for single women. All the locals I met were extremely friendly and polite and other walkers will look out for you if they see you by yourself. Just be careful of injury. Best thing to do is to be on the trail by 8am to 8.30am each day, that way you’re bound to meet other walkers if you feel that you need the company.

9) When’s best to go on the Coast to Coast walk, camping the whole way?

May through to September. Even the first week of October would work if you get an Indian summer.

10) What are the best guide books / maps to take?

The hands down winner is the Coast to Coast Walk A-Z Adventurer. It is a water resistant booklet of Ordnance Survey maps, 1:25,000 scale, of the entire route. Wainwright’s A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition is also a good companion but don’t rely on the latter alone – use maps!

Coast to Coast Walk - Camping
Coast to Coast Walk – Camping along the route. Looking out over Buttermere.

11) Is it safe to do the high routes with an enormous backpack?

Yes and no. The high route I’d avoid would be Helvellyn; with a big pack on, you’re simply asking to fall off Striding Edge. The rest of the high routes are down to your fitness levels. Day two has amazing views in clear weather (photo above) but it was a long day doing the route via High Stile. Would I do it again? Yes, I’d just try and coax someone else to carry my bag!

12) What other options are there other than camping on the C2C?

You can be super organised and pre-book all your accommodation in advance (most people seem to do this months in advance). You then have two options:

  1. Carry all your gear yourself each day.
  2. Get a company like Sherpa Van or Packhorse to move your luggage for you between accommodation points, but you’ll still be doing the walk unguided.

13) What camping food should I pack on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast?

I recommend having 2-3 days’ worth of food as you won’t come to shops every day. I never buy those stupidly overpriced camping meals at £5 a packet. Instead go for porridge or maltloaf for brekkie, cereal bars and nuts to snack on, wraps with salami and brie for lunch and super noodles or couscous at night. Carry two litres of water and top up as you go. And when you reach a pub, devour the food there!

14) What kit would you recommend?

Check out my three-season kit review here. Or if you’re hardy enough, my 4-season kit review here.

C2C walk camping - kit

15) Can you recommend a tent for camping on the Coast to Coast?

I finished a solo 3,500-mile hike through Britain in May 2018 and have a review of my three-season tent (MSR Hubba NX) here. Check the comments below for cheaper options.

16) And boots?

I used the Scarpa Delta GTX (review here) for my mammoth hike through Britain, although I did the C2C in Mammuts.

17) I’ve changed my mind. Can I do the Coast to Coast walk from the comfort of an armchair?

You most certainly can! Check out Julia Bradbury’s Coast to Coast DVD.

Osprey - Kyte 66

Photo taken in Shetland on my mammoth hike through Britain.


    • Hiya, if you go on the Coast to Coast camping in March there might be snow on the high parts in the Lakes. It probably won’t be anything major but could make it trickier and colder. The weather here in the UK is very unpredictable so good navigation is essential (the mist can jump out at you from nowhere in a matter of seconds).

      You can buy all your food and equipment here (not sure why you’d want to send it?). It’s actually illegal to send gas in Britain, but stock up when you land. All outdoor stores sell it.

      Have a good one!

  • hi 61 years old think im having a midlife crisis just decided to retire unexpectantly and adopt a more id like to do that attitude instead of a lifetime of must do that crap would like to do the c-c alone on a budget wild camping mainly take about 3 weeks done a bit of hiking (a lot of the lake district fells in the past a long time since ) any help /advise most welcome apart from negative ( dont do it stuff ) equipment clothing food health etc, a day or two off near a good pub etc size/ type backpack tent sleeping bag ? were/ how to brush up on map/ compass reading etc . humour an old nutter and help me out, please

    • Hi, great to hear you’re thinking of doing the C2C camping. If you’re on a budget, I’d look at Decathlon stores for kit (cheap but not awful quality). You might also want to check out Alpkit’s stock, but they’re not as cheap as they used to be.

      As for base layers, try and get merino wool (I use Icebreaker, they last forever but are not cheap). Decathlon does a 70/30 mix, I think, merino/polyester. Take one long-sleeved top and one T-shirt, a pair of thermal pants to sleep in and a pair of hiking trousers to walk in, a windproof layer (synthetic), waterproofs and a hat for summer months.

      My bag was an Osprey Kestrel 58 litres and that was plenty big enough. I wouldn’t go any smaller though.

      Tentwise, that’s the million-dollar question! For the C2C camping, I bought mine on ebay for about £30 as I was on a tight budget then, too, but it weighed a tonne.

      Sleeping bags – down bags cost a lot but are lighter (but over time their performance fades), whereas synthetic is heavier and bulkier but it works way better if you have condensation from your tent and they last longer.

      Food for the Coast to Coast walk, you don’t need more than 2 days’ worth, but maybe have an emergency ration, too. I used couscous or the Batchelor’s pasta in packets for dinner, now I eat Soreen malt loaf for breakfast but you could have porridge (it doesn’t fill me up), bread and salami for lunch and muesli bars.

      Best way to brush up on map/compass skills is to practise. You could go out with someone prior to the hike who is more adept and get tips from them, perhaps. You can also use the OS maps online resource which is amazing. You can plot and save the route beforehand when you have internet access and it’ll be there for you to check on your phone or tablet when you don’t have internet signal. I love it.

      Hope that helps, enjoy the Coast to Coast walk camping, and have fun!

  • Hi Jane,

    I am planning to walk the Coast to Coast with my dog next month. I did a test camping this week to test out my gear. I could use the sleeping bag and self-inflatable mat from a friend. However, I was too cold and the mattress was to thin, so I didn’t sleep well. Do you have recommendations to improve my gear?

    Thanks Lisa

    • Hi Lisa, it all depends on your budget. Great kit unfortunately costs a lot. Decent kit is less expensive and rubbish kit is cheap and needs replacing regularly if it doesn’t fall apart on the first use.

      I’d check Ebay to see if there’s anything on there. Down sleeping bags are lighter than their synthetic counterparts but are far more expensive (sometimes 4-5 times more if bought brand new). I got the Rab Ascent 500 for the C2C, bought on Ebay. Just be aware of the temperatures they claim to go down to. There is a comfort limit and an extreme limit. Look at the comfort limit and even then take it with a pinch of salt. I add about 4 degrees for the real temperature it’ll go to.

      You can also add a silk sleeping bag liner which will add around 2 degrees (mine is a Rab one but they’re expensive, you can order ones from Ebay that come from China but take ages to arrive).

      Stores to check out are Decathlon, Go Outdoors, Alpkit for kit that isn’t mega expensive. I use Cotswold Outdoor which does discounts for lots of organisations (National Trust etc.) which can reduce the prices. They used to have inflatable roll mats for about £26 (Vango, I think) but I can’t see them on the website now.

      Using merino wool baselayers adds to the warmth, too. I’m an avid fan of Icebreaker, love their kit to bits as it lasts forever.

      Being cold sucks. I know, I’ve just camped right the way through winter and sometimes I wasn’t too warm due to adverse effects.

      Hope that’s given you some help! Enjoy the C2C.

  • Hi Jane, excellent advice and very inspiring, I’m looking into wild camping the C2C, I’m 42, Male and used to cold wet horrible weather and physical exercise through my job as a site carpenter, basically 12 hours a day, everyday for 20+ years humphing materials up and down stairs etc. What I want to ask you is about pack weights, I’ve managed to get my pack down to 9KG without water and food, I can carry up to an extra 5kg of water in a hydration bladder that fits in the back of my 44ltr pack. So would I actualy need to carry 4/5 litres of water between stops and shops and are there any opportunities to filter water from streams etc on the trail. I’d rather carry as little water as possible but not at the expense of becoming dehydrated. Thanks in advance David. Ps what does your pack weigh?

    • Hi David,

      I’ve never hiked anywhere carrying more than three litres of water as it’s just too much weight for me. I think on the C2C, depending on the temperature, two litres per day will prob suffice if you’re staying on campsites as you can get water for your dinner there. If you pass pubs it’s a legal requirement that they have to give water if you ask for it without buying anything. That said, with 55,000 tourists walking the route per year, I’m not sure they’d all be too impressed with this tactic! I can’t remember exactly where I filled up as I did this about 4 years ago now but I never remember being thirsty. Just take water purification tablets with you and you should be fine. I had to drink from ditch water, major (dirty) rivers and puddles on my mammoth hike through Britain (not the C2C). I just filtered the water with material over the top of my bottle and put a purification tablet in it and I’m still here to tell the tale!

      My bag on the C2C felt like a person had crawled inside it. So your 9kg is fab.

      Have a great time!

    • Hang on, I’m being a dimwit! You said you’re wild camping the whole way so no campsite refills. In that case, max three litres, or less and refill along the way. Just check the map for streams etc before you set off and try and camp near water so you don’t have to lug it to your camping spot. If you do that, two litres should be fine, otherwise, three.

      • Hi Jane
        I am walking coast to coast for 1st time. Is there a bag transfer for campers.? Thankyou

      • Hi Chrissy,

        Not sure Sherpavan etc would drop things off at a campsite as they’d have to leave them in a field if the office was closed! Best thing is to call the transfer firms and see.

  • Hi Lovely article. I am looking at C2C in late August early September over 2 weeks. appy using camp sites but also b&bs etc. Do not really want to plan ahead too far i.e I could be in Robin Hoods Bay within a period of 2 to 3 days. I take it camp sites are never full once schools are back but would b&bs?

    • Hi David, I’m with you on not planning ahead! However, the C2C is super popular, especially with older folks who use baggage carrying services and BnBs. That means that in the summer, accommodation will likely be booked up in advance. As the summer holidays will still be on for a chunk of the time you go, you’re best booking early. Alternatively, if there’s no room at the inn, just wild camp. I spent a year hiking through Britain and stealth camped through England and Wales (it’s not actually legal beyond Scotland but why carry a tent if you can’t use it?!). Just keep away from prying eyes, leave the place as you found it and make sure you top up en route with enough water to cook/drink at night.

      You might also want to take a look at this page about route updates:

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