In Brief

Camping equipment checklist: essentials you need to pack

With many Brits deciding to take a staycation camping gear is in big demand

Staycation is the buzzword in UK travel this year and camping is the popular activity for many people looking to take a break closer to home. 

Its revival has led to a surge in equipment sales, The Guardian reports, with many major retailers seeing growth in demand for staple items such as tents, chairs and airbeds. 

A report by price comparison service PriceSpy says that between June and July tent sales increased by 126%, sleeping mats 86% and sleeping bags 25%. Meanwhile, John Lewis’s sales of camping equipment from February to July had risen by 58%, compared to last year.

And while autumn may not be everyone’s preferred time to go camping, for the hardier among us, heading into the countryside during the colder months offers even more solitude than usual. So if you fancy having the glories of the great British outdoors almost entirely to yourself, here’s our list of the must-have items you need to pack.

Coleman Tent Octagon - camping equipment checklist

Tents (and pegs!)

The more adventurous types may decide to sleep out under the stars, but for many others, the camping experience needs a tent. The Coleman Tent Octagon (pictured) can sleep between six and eight people and is priced at £219.99 on Amazon

But if you’re looking for something smaller, cheaper and easier to assemble then a two-man pop-up tent from Mountain Warehouse for £29.99 may also do the job. 

If you already have a tent, a word of advice, check you have pegs or even some spares! As this writer once found out, a missing bag of pegs can ruin a camping trip... Also check you have a tent groundsheet, a mallet and in case of emergencies some tape or tent repair kit.

Sleeping bag

Sleeping bags and blankets 

As Go Outdoors says on its website, “a sleeping bag can be the difference between a good and a bad night’s sleep while camping”. The company has a range of sleeping bags and pods on its website, with prices from £25 to around £250. Pack a pillow, blankets and warm clothes too...

Trespass air bed

Airbeds and air mattresses

You may choose to rough it in a sleeping bag on the tent groundsheet, but for those seeking a bit more comfort, an airbed might be needed. Trespass has a number of blow-up and inflatable air beds and mattresses.

A warm and ultra-strong jacket

Since it was discovered in 2004, graphene has been regarded as a “wonder material” due to its incredible strength and lightness, but it has long been out of reach for most consumers due to its high cost. Gradually though, it is becoming more affordable, and can now be found in hardy outdoor clothes such as this ultra-strong jacket from fashion start-up Graphene-X.

The Alpha Series jacket (£266) is constructed from enough graphene to cover five football fields, offering abrasion resistance and self-regulating heat retention meaning you will be kept warm when the weather is cold, and cool when temperatures begin to rise. It’s waterproof, breathable and “scienced” to be strong and resilient. Plus it comes fitted with RECCO technology, a rescue tracking system, which responds to a signal sent by rescuers to find you just about anywhere in the world. In short: the perfect camping companion.

Milestone camping chairs

Camping chairs

Tesco says camping chairs have been the most popular camping item sold by the retailer this summer. Perfect for sitting around the fire, for reading a book or just general relaxing, a decent camping chair is essential.

These Milestone Camping steel foldable chairs are lightweight and cost £8.99 each from Outdoor Camping Direct. If you’re seeking something softer than a folding item, then Trespass has an inflatable camping chair (£20 from Argos) or even an inflatable double sofa (£30 from Argos).

ADDTOP Solar Charger

Tech and gadgets

So you say that you really want the proper experience of sleeping in the wilderness. But what about checking the latest tweets or listening to some tunes?

One such smartphone which could be ideal for camping is the new Google Pixel 4a which has a robust all-day adaptive and fast-charging battery. Key features of the Pixel 4a include Night Sight mode which helps capture all the fun around the campfire even in low light. You can also use it to see into space and shoot the stars with one simple tap. The Pixel 4a costs £349 and is available now

A portable phone charger should also be on your packing list. If your gadgets do require charging then use the power of the sun. This waterproof ADDTOP Solar Charger is perfect for the outdoors (Amazon, £38.99).

Portable speaker

Every camping trip needs entertainment, especially for the nights spent sitting around the campfire. If you have your music on a smartphone then you’ll need a portable speaker to play it on.

Rugged, dustproof and water resistant, the Tribit StormBox Micro (£39.99) is perfect for camping trips. Its long battery life means you can get up to eight hours play time on one full charge and its Bluetooth connection has a range of up to 100ft.

Even though the StormBox Micro may be small, and won’t take up any space in your camping bag, the sound quality is excellent. The built-in XBass gives it a strong booming sound, which is ideal for a fire-side party in the wilderness. 

Coleman cool box

Cool boxes for food and drinks 

Unless you’re hunting for your dinner then it’s probably expected you’ll be taking some grub with you to cook on site. A decent cool box is essential for any camping trip. Winfields Outdoors stocks cool box brands such as Coleman, Igloo, Outwell and Kampa Dometic on its website.

SUCHDECO outdoor camping fire pit

Portable fire pits and gas stoves

If building a fire isn’t your thing then maybe you could bring your own fire pit. This SUCHDECO outdoor camping fire pit is for sale on Amazon for £30.99.

Go Outdoors, Argos and Amazon also stock many gas stoves for you to cook up a storm. Don’t forget to pack cooking utensils, cutlery and plates.

Tesco first aid and survival kit

First aid kit and bin bags 

Definitely pack a first aid box (Tesco, £6) but also bring some extra essentials such as antibacterial wipes, insect repellent and sunscreen.

It’s not just yourselves you need to look after though, but also the environment. Remember to take some bin bags to keep your site clean and tidy before you leave. Ethical Superstore sells compostable small bin bags (£5.49) or compostable tall bin bags (£5.35).

Thule roof box

Roof boxes 

You have all your camping equipment but where are you going to put it all in the car? If you need some extra space then a roof box may be a valuable addition. Thule roof boxes start from £280 and Go Outdoors stocks roof bags and roofbars.


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