Cliff Camping: The Wildest Kind of Camping There Is
Author: Grace Plant for Expeditions Connect – She is a UK-based freelance writer with a passion for travel and adventure
Are you an adrenaline junkie who also happens to love camping? If so, cliff camping could be the perfect adventure for you.
Cliff camping involves sleeping out under the stars on a portaledge suspended from the side of a cliff. With nothing else below you but the ocean waves.
This type of overnight stay is certainly not for the faint hearted. Do you have what it takes to give it a try?
Spending a night dangling from a cliff is unlike any other form of camping you can imagine. If you can overcome your fears, there’s no better way to take in the power of the ocean, the dramatic winding coastline, and the pure sounds of nature.
Cliff camping is an essential bucket list activity for anyone with an adventurous spirit and a love of the outdoors. In this blog post, I’ll cover everything you need to know about cliff camping. So you can decide if you have what it takes to spend a night above the waves.
What is a portaledge?
A portaledge is a hanging platform which can be suspended from a rockface, designed for sleeping on. Portaledges are popular with rock climbers who need a place to sleep on multi day climbs. When there’s no ledge big enough to lay down on, climbers can quickly set up their portaledge. And get some well needed rest before continuing their ascent the following day.
But you don’t have to be a climber to use a portaledge; now anyone with enough nerve can experience the thrill of spending the night suspended over a cliff. Around the world, there’s an increasing number of professional guides curating cliff camping experience packages for their adventurous clients, and one such guide is Kevin Roet.
Kevin is a professional mountain guide and the owner of Rise and Summit, a leading mountain skills training and guiding company in the UK. He offers once-in-a-lifetime cliff camping experiences along the rocky coastlines of Pembrokeshire, Swanage, Devon, and Dorset.
Who can try cliff camping?
You don’t need any previous climbing skills to give it a try. Your instructor will teach you everything you need to know to descend to your camping spot. All you need is a sense of adventure, a love of the outdoors, and a head for heights.
What gear do I need for cliff camping?
If you book through a professional guide like Kevin Roet, your package will include everything you need for a night above the open ocean, minus clothing and a few personal items.
The clothing you’ll bring will depend on the location of your cliff camping experience and the time of year. If you’re in the UK, remember that even in the warmest summer months, the temperatures can dip pretty low at night, and the coastal breeze can be chilly even after a hot day. Always bring plenty of warm, comfortable clothing, and focus on layering.
Other than that, all you’ll need is a head torch and a backpack with personal items like a toothbrush, water bottle, and of course, your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
Is cliff camping safe?
The answer is a resounding YES! When it’s done correctly under the supervision of professional guides, it is actually an incredibly safe activity.
As you’d expect, portaledges are designed to be super strong and durable. Every component is rigorously tested to the highest international standards and regularly maintained and inspected after each and every use. You’ll be connected to a security rope at all times during your cliff camping experience. And your instructor will be nearby throughout the experience, so you can rest assured you’re in safe hands.
The top 3 reasons to try cliff camping
Cliff camping can test the nerves of even the most adventurous explorers, but pushing past your fears to spend a night suspended under the stars is well worth it. Here’s why:
- The views
Sleeping sans canvas under the night sky is pretty magical wherever you are, but nothing can beat the views you’ll find perched high up against a rock face sandwiched between the waves and the stars. You’ll see a sunset and a sunrise unlike any other, and you’ll have the glittering constellations all to yourself.
- The connection with nature
Cliff camping provides a unique perspective of the natural world that you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll have front row seats to a spectacular show of coastal mammals, birds, and marine life, and you’ll fall asleep to the gentle hum of the waves.
It’s the perfect way to unplug yourself from the hectic modern world and get back to nature.
- The challenge
As I mentioned earlier, almost anyone can give it a try, but if heights aren’t your thing, then it might feel pretty scary at first.
This kind of activity requires more mental strength than physical strength, but push through, and you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience and an incredible sense of achievement. Remember, when you’re in the company of experts, cliff camping is completely safe.
Where can I try cliff camping?
Now that you know what cliff camping is all about, are you ready to rise to the challenge and give this unique activity a try? If the answer is yes, check out Kevin Roet’s upcoming trips. Kevin and his team offer world class cliff camping experiences across the UK, from the fossil flecked cliffs of the Jurassic Coast with sweeping vistas across the English Channel to the soaring sandstone cliffs of Devon above the wild Atlantic.