Big Wild Sleepout, children toasting marshmallows on camp fire in back garden, England

Get ready to sleep out

Big Wild Sleepout is a great way to get close to nature. Here's what you might need for the night...

What to bring

Before setting out on any journey, whether it's to the North Pole or your local swimming pool, you need to pack the right stuff. If you turned up in the Arctic with your swimming cossie and money for the vending machine, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle.

So! Here's what we'll be bringing on our Big Wild Sleepout adventure (you might have other essentials you'd like to add to your list):

  • Tent, pegs and groundsheet
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • PJs
  • Socks
  • Wellies
  • Torch
  • Camera
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Pencil
  • Notepad
  • Teddy

Why sleep out?

Have fun, save nature

Sleeping outside is fun. Who doesn’t love an excuse to stay up late and have marshmallows for dinner? (As part of a balanced diet of course!)

Big Wild Sleepout is a chance to do something different, as a family, and get closer to nature at the same time. Better still, you don’t have to go anywhere, and it’s free.

But there’s a serious message too. Nature is in trouble: In the last 25 years, for example, almost half of our hedgehogs have disappeared. We believe that, if the next generation feel connected to nature, they’ll be more inspired to help fight for its future.

Garden snail
Garden snail

Bill and Sam: Our Big Wild Sleepout

One father talks about how Big Wild Sleepout prompted him to encourage his son to do the things he loved as a child.

I'm Bill Simmons, I live in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. Summer holidays, for me, were about exploring the outdoors, about getting mucky, and Big Wild Sleepout prompted me to make sure that Sam does get to do the things I enjoyed as a child. When night came, we grabbed some stuff from the garage, a groundsheet, an inflatable mattress and bedding that we normally use indoors. We made a bed outside - no tent - and just slept under the stars. Sam had a great time. He was really excited. We heard a tawny owl. There was a bit of road noise to begin with but that died down, and soon we were hearing signs that nature was around us. And the sky cleared and we saw stars. It was really good fun for me and Sam - something we should have done a long time ago, something we should do more of. We had some great conversations - stuff we wouldn't normally talk about. If you're thinking about doing Big Wild Sleepout, I'd encourage you not to worry about equipment. You don't need much at all. And don't worry about your kids not sleeping - they'll probably sleep better than you do!

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Bill and Sam: Our Big Wild Sleepout