Camping gear essentials: 8 must-have items for your next adventure
Get ready for a camping trip in the great outdoors with this essential kit for all eventualities
With staycations the simplest way to catch a break right now, camping is on the cards for seasoned campers and newbies alike. But before you begin packing up everything bar the kitchen sink, it’s worth assessing what you really need for a few days sleeping under the stars.
Top of the list should be a tent, but what type comes down to who will be spending time in it. ‘We often get feedback from customers that wish they’d bought bigger,’ says Paul Trepte, Managing Director of independent outdoor retailer Trekitt. ‘I’d recommend getting a tent with a porch as a good halfway house – you get a larger footprint for less weight,’ he adds.
Types of tent
Ridge tent The original-style tent, with a pole at each end and a cross pole. While they’re very stable, these tents don’t offer much head height so are best for one or two people.
Dome tent A popular style with flexible poles that bend into semi-circles for a dome-like shape. Their shape TYPES OF tents provides more space inside, though the poles are less flexible the larger the tent.
Geodesic tent The most stable design thanks to poles that cross over one another. Ideal for windy conditions or temperamental weather, though more complicated to set up.
Tepee Much like a bell tent, this boho style is on-trend though not the most practical unless set up semi-permanently for glamping.
Somewhere comfortable to rest your head should be a high priority too, as you don’t want a poor night’s sleep hindering your trip. ‘Sleeping bags have comfort and season ratings, and while this may seem like jargon it’s actually really important information,’ explains David Scotland, owner of Outdoor World Direct.
‘Each sleeping bag has a comfort rating or suggested usage, which will include two temperatures such as -2°C to 18°C. That means checking that the forecasted temperatures of your trip doesn’t fall outside of that temperature range.’
Other essential buys are comfortable outdoor chairs, something to cook on – such as a gas stove or a compact barbecue – as well as some cooking utensils and picnicware. Portable lighting will also come in handy when the sun goes down!
Read on for our guide the eight items of camping kit you'll want in your baggage:
Eight essential items for comfortable camping
Fold-away table and benches for four
Ideal for family trips away, this foldable camping table is made from a sturdy steel frame and comes complete with two independent benches which can be clipped to the table and folded under for easy transportation. Made of easy to clean, stain-resistant polyethylene plastic in an almond shade, this hardy, lightweight dining set is just the job for a picnic lunch or campfire dinner on any terrain.
- Weighs 14kg
- Measures 106.6 x 73.6 x 60.9cm
- Seats four people
- Stain, UV and rust resistant
- Easy to transport
Kestrel Deluxe High Back Camping Chair
Complete with a high-back rest, padded panels and breathable mesh, this portable camping chair is an incredibly supportive design – ideal for those looking to sit back and relax after a long day. Available in five colours, it comes with a shoulder bag for transportation.
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- Weighs 3.5kg
- 45cm seat height
- Insulated cup holder
- High-back padded rest
- Padded panelling
Campingaz Camp Bistro 2 Portable Gas Stove
There's no more quintessential camping experience than cooking up your own meal in the great outdoors - plus, a hot dinner or even a cup of tea keeps spirits high even when the weather isn't playing ball - so a reliable portable stove is an essential piece of kit.
Simple and safe to use, this compact Campingaz single-burner portable stove is great for camping, hiking or even a day at the beach. Place on a hard surface and flick the ignition switch - no matches required - then use the flame adjustment dial to select the right temperature for the job.
The Campingaz portable stove comes with a hard plastic carry case for easy transportation. Gas cartridges are sold separately.
- 75-minute run time with a Campingaz CP 250 cartridge
- Boil time 5 minutes 30 seconds
- Measures 33 x 28 x 9cm
- Enamelled pan support
- Piezo ignition
LED wireless portable lamp
Designed by Tristan Lohner for Fermob, these stylish and handy Balad outdoor lights can be carried, placed on a surface or hung around your campsite. The touch-activated LED light provides up to 14 hours of glow per charge, with a choice of cool or warm light, and can be recharged via USB (cable supplied). Available in three sizes – 13.5cm, 25cm and 38cm – the smallest size also comes as a set of three for £179.
- Stylish design
- Six handle colours available
- Choice of three sizes
- Two brightness settings
An ideal gift for campers and hikers alike, this 20-piece survival kit from Mountain Warehouse contains essential outdoor gear such as a compass, waterproof matches, whistle, multi-tool and a zip-lock water carrier, as well as handy everyday items like a mirror, pencil and sewing kit.
Plus, when you're adventuring in the great outdoors, it's always important to be able to deal with cuts and scrapes you might pick up along the way, so you'll be pleased to know the kit also contains cotton wool, wound dressings and adhesive bandages.
- Adhesive bandages
- Zip lock water carrier
- Button compass
- Fish hook
- Flint and steel fire lighter
- Cotton wool
- Salt sachet
- Multi tool
- Wire saw
- Polyethylene tape
- Razor blade
- Sewing kit and safety pins
- Waterproof matches
Eurohike Air 600 Tent
Never struggle with poles again with this family-size tent which can be pitched in a moment – simply inflate the air tube frame using the included pump. The spring-loaded air valves also allow you to deflate the tent in minutes. Inside, you'll find a spacious porch/living area backed by a large bedroom with a toggled divider so it can be turned into two smaller bedrooms. Although we think the advertised six-person maximum capacity would be a little snug for an extended trip, it offers plenty of room for a family of four or five.
The bedroom also has darkened fabric for less disturbance from light and heat on bright mornings.
- Mesh front and inner doors
- Fully sewn in groundsheet
- Roll-away doors
- Adjustable pegging points
- Internal pockets
- 465 x 385cm pitching area
VonShef 4-Person Picnic Coolbag
A complete picnic set with a cool bag compartment, which includes everything you need for a sophisticated picnic - not only cutlery, plates and glasses, but also those little extras like salt and pepper shakes, a plastic chopping board, detachable bottle holders and cotton napkins for an elevated outdoor dining experience.
Made from tough 600D polyester with a waterproof outer layer, the bag also features padded shoulder straps for comfortable carrying.
- Four stainless steel knives, forks and spoons, and a butter knife
- Four plates, wine glasses and bottle opener
- Four cotton napkins
- Plastic chopping board
- Salt and pepper shakers
- Mesh water bottle pocket
- Insulated cool bag compartment
- 115 x 135cm green geo pattern fleece polyester blanket with waterproof backing
2-in-1 sleeping bag bed
If you find that a night in a traditional sleeping bag on nothing more than a thin foam mat leaves you sore and achey - not least if you're prone to rolling off the mat! - the Quechua 2-in-1 Sleepin Bed could be the answer. Combining a self-inflating open-cell mattress and attached cosy sleeping bag, it adds an extra level of comfort to your outdoor night's sleep, while still compact enough to be neatly rolled into a single bag for convenient transportation.
- Self-inflating mattress
- Sleeping bag with comfort temperature of 15˚
- Machine washable
- Large size measures 185 x 60cm
- Can be zipped to another Quechua 2-in-1 Sleepin Bed to create a 'double bed'
Yvette Filer is a a freelance writer and editor specialising in homes and interiors