Wild sleepout

Pitch-up and get a taste for the night life!

What could be more exciting than a night under the stars?

Sleeping outside can be thrilling. You’ll experience many wonderful new things that you would not have noticed from indoors. There are all kinds of wildlife that wakes up when it gets dark along with a sky twinkling with stars, planets, satellites, planes and if you’re lucky, shooting stars.


You could camp in a tent, under a blanket or even on a trampoline! Stay out for the whole night, or try just a few hours and experience nature after the sun goes down – it’s up to you.


Visit our events pages to find out about Big Wild Sleepout events that might be happening at some of our nature reserves near you.


When you’ve done your sleepout, let us know how you got on.  


Are you doing this activity as part of your Wild Challenge? Find out how you are progressing – are you getting closer to gold?


Did you know: the smallest bat in the UK is the Pipistrelle and they weigh less than a £1 coin!


people have completed this activity

What you will need

  • A tent (a trampoline or clothes horse and sheets can make a great outdoor hideout too). Or if you're feeling really wild, why not make a den or shelter with branches and leaves!
  • Sleeping bag or duvets and blankets.
  • Something waterproof between you and the ground - you don't want soggy sleeping bags!
  • A torch. One with a red filter is best. You can buy these or make your own with some red film. 
  • Optional (and only if you're somewhere safe to have a fire and it’s permitted): Firewood and a big stash of marshmallows.
  • A sense of adventure!

Step by step guide

If you're new to camping, then starting in your garden is a really simple way to begin. However, if you don't have a garden or you want to venture further afield, there are loads of amazing wild campsites around the country which are sure to provide an amazing night under the stars.

  1. Choose a dry, calm night (ideally a warm one) and set up your tent in a handy spot. If you don’t have a tent, you could make a shelter. Even if you don't have a tent or shelter, you can still have a great sleepout!
  2. Get a stock of food to keep you going and if it’s permitted and you have somewhere safe for one, set up a campfire.
  3. Quietly explore your surroundings searching for nightlife (a piece of red film over your torch will mean you disturb wildlife less). You're almost certain to find moths congregating around outside lights, and there could be bats flitting across the sky. If you're really lucky and quiet, you may detect hedgehogs, foxes or badgers.
  4. Finally, tell some wild stories and have a comfy snooze under the stars! Zzzzz.
  5. Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or a piece of writing describing your experience to help earn your award.

Completing the activity

Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of your family sleeping out under the stars. Write a story or a poem about your experience or create some artwork that shows what you got up to.

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