What Do I Need For Camping?
When camping with the car in tow you can be tempted to take everything and the kitchen sink. That doesn’t really help with a ‘back to basics’ vibe that camping brings and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming trying to pick and choose exactly what you need to pack so as to not overload the car. We’ve created this list to help you remember exactly what the basics are and why.
When choosing the right tent for your camping trip there are several things to consider. The number of people who will likely be sleeping in the tent is a great place to start, if there is only 2 of you, you wouldn’t need the space offered by an 8 berth tent, likewise if there are 8 of you, you won’t all fit in a 2 berth tent.
Another factor to consider is living space; will you be spending much time at your tent or are you just using it as a base to sleep? If you will be spending most days around the tent, then you may opt for a slightly bigger tent with ample living space to ensure everyone can enjoy themselves. If it’s just a base for sleeping then you might be happy with minimal living space.
Also consider how you will be transporting the tent, larger family-sized tents can often be quite bulky and heavy, will it fit in the car with everything else? Our tent buying guide goes into further detail to help you find what is right for you.
Your sleeping bag is arguably one of your most important pieces of kit. Good sleep is vital to enjoying your trip and knowing you have a cosy bed to relax in at the end of a long day outdoors is really something to behold. There are so many different bags to choose from but it’s worth investing in the right bag and our sleeping bag buying guide will help you choose.
Again, like your sleeping bag, your sleeping mat or airbed is not to be underestimated. The right sleeping set-up will have you sleeping soundly and waking up well-rested with no aches, pains or niggles.
Airbeds are great for people who enjoy a softer sleeping surface while those who prefer something a little harder might prefer a foam or self-inflating sleeping mat.
You’ll find more information on how to choose the right one in our camping mat buying guide.
When thinking about the stove you’ll need to consider what type of food you might want to be cooking on your trip? You can opt for a simple one burner stove for quick and simple meals or you might prefer something more advanced such as a double hob with a grill underneath which is ideal for evergrowing families and larger groups of friends eating together.
Having a larger stove will not only allow you to use bigger pans but will also, generally speaking, be sturdier for larger pots. An alternative option is to take a BBQ/Fire Grill, while this can often have more limited options regarding food, it can double up as a fire pit to keep you warm on a cooler evening.
Do be sure to consider the rules of the campsite you are visiting, some have specific areas for cooking while others may prohibit the use of BBQs and fire grills. Whatever option you chose make sure you have the appropriate fuel and utensils for safe cooking. If you are at all unsure, our camping stove buying guide will offer more information to help you chose the right one.
While a comfortable chair might not be a must-have for camping, it’s certainly something that you’ll appreciate, especially if you’ve been out exploring. How fancy you choose to go is up to you, some of our chairs are very minimalist and pack down into super small and lightweight packages while others offer more comfort and convenience such as headrests, armrests and bottle holders.
Like a chair, a table might not be something you want to take but having a stable surface can be very handy. Whether you are preparing food, eating or spending quality time with your camping companions playing card games, having a table will come in super handy. Our collection of camping tables come in a range of sizes so you can choose which is best for you.
A torch or portable lantern is a must when camping, it will allow you to see in and around your tent after sundown and can set an ambience for a pleasant evening relaxing under the stars. Many campsites don’t have lighting in the camping area so as not to affect sleep, so getting to and from the site facilities when light is low can be tricky without a torch to light up the way.
While it’s something you hope not to need, having a first aid kit with you will allow you to address any little scrapes and cuts that are often inevitable with spending so much time outside, especially when you have kids with you.
Whether you opt for a pre-packed first aid kit or choose to build your own you should familiarise yourself with the contents and how to use them. Equally, make sure it is stocked appropriately before each trip, contents required may change as the family grows and products may pass their use-by dates.
A multi tool with a range of different tools such as pliers, a tin opener and a screwdriver will come in handy for mealtimes, unexpected field repairs and anything else that might require a little attention. Some come with bottle openers and corkscrews which might come in handy when winding down in the evenings.
Instead of taking the finest fluffy cotton towels that you use every day at home, a pack towel will save a considerable amount of space in your luggage but will also dry much quicker. Also condensing your toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel into travel size bottles will significantly reduce the size of your wash kit.