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What to pack for a camping trip

Camping and glamping are two of my favourite summer activities.

Of course, I love jetting off to exotic beaches (who doesn’t!?) but you can’t beat a weekend camping with all your friends.

I know a lot of people have hideous memories from family camping trips where it rained all week so you’re damp and miserable and trapped inside a leaking tent.

Thankfully, camping equipment has improved and if you’ve got the right gear you’ll have fun no matter the weather.

Here’s the camping gear I always bring along whether I’m going for a week in the countryside, some time near the beach, a festival or a quick weekend away.

Travel Tip: August is a really good time to be buying camping gear because virtually everything is on sale. You can see that some of the kit I have now has 70% off.

What kind of tent should I use?

Choosing the right tent

In my eyes there are two kinds of tents. There’s the practical tent or a cool tent. I’ll take a cool tent to a festival but be all practical and grownup for other camping trips.

If you’re going for a practical tent it needs to be:

  • High enough to stand up in – This just makes it so much easier
  • Bigger than you think. A 2 man tent is tiny so opt for a 3 or 4 man tent if you want a bit of space for 2 people.
  • Waterproof – not just water-resistant
  • Have a porch for muddy boots and wet clothes

If you’re going for a cool tent, take a look at Bang Bang Tents. These tents have really fun designs and they’re also solar powered – yes, solar powered tents! Charge all your devices or fill it with fairy lights for a glamping experience.

Essential Camping Gear

Essential camping gear

    • Sleeping bag – Double sleeping bags are great for couples as long as you’re on flat ground. If you’re on a slight hill however they’re the worst thing ever as you need to co-ordinate your wriggling every time you slip to the bottom of the tent. In the UK I opt for a 4 season sleeping bag even in the middle of summer.
    • Travel Pillow – Much better than trying to use your arm or a hoody.
    • Air Mattress – The difference between sweet dreams and a night of hell.
    • (There’s more about my favourite sleeping bag, pillow and mattress here)
    • Chairs – Make sure you’ve got a cup holder or you’ll be constantly knocking your beer over.
    • Mini Folding Table – So you’re not preparing food on the floor
    • Cooking stove – Camping isn’t the same without bacon and eggs for breaky
    • Cooking pans – Go for small lightweight ones
    • Mini kettle – You can’t start the day without a brew
    • Picnic hamper/cool bag – Try to find a picnic hamper with all your plates and crockery combined with a cool bag to keep your food and drink chilled.
    • Camping Solar Fairy Lights – Make your camping spot look pretty and make sure you can find your tent in the middle of the night.

Clothes to pack for a camping trip

Clothes to pack for a camping trip

Keep clothes warm, comfortable and casual with lots of layers for (hopefully) warm days and chilly nights.

Dry shampoo is an essential along with a light, tinted moisturiser with SPF.

It may be the middle of summer but winter boots will be a lifesaver no matter what time of year it is. I have these cosy Merrell waterproof leather boots and I love them. They’re furry and soft inside and they’re waterproof so great for walking and early mornings when the grass is damp. Team them with a cute outfit for a stylish outdoorsy look. If rain is predicted make sure you’ve got a stylish pair of wellies, such as these gorgeous blue Rockfish Gloss Wellington Boots. Add a wooly hat because you’ll need it in the evenings!

What bag to take?

I know most happy campers would recommend a backpack and I get a few giggles when I turn up with a suitcase but I honestly find a suitcase so much easier. I’ll be camping this weekend at Blogstock and I’ll be taking the Eastpak Tranverse case because it’s light, hard-wearing and so much easier than carrying a heavy backpack.

If you’re not sure if you want a backpack or a suitcase consider a hybrid case such as the Caribee Fast Track wheeled backpack.

And finally

  • A power bank to recharge your phone (if you’re not going for a fancy solar tent)
  • Real thick socks to keep your toes warm at night
  • Marshmallow roasting sticks so you can toast marshmallows on the fire
  • Portable speakers
  • A pack of playing cards

Is there anything else I missed….?

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16 Comments

  1. August 5, 2014 / 5:56 pm

    This is a great list, Monica! 😀 I’ve never camped in the UK (I’m from Spain where we never experience wet or cold camping trips!) And this has given me a great idea of what to take to Blogstock! Will u be coming? 🙂

    • August 6, 2014 / 9:59 am

      Oh I’m so jealous, you’re going to be in for a treat this weekend 😉

      Yes, I’ll be at Blogstock, I’m giving a talk on how to work with travel brands.

  2. August 5, 2014 / 6:04 pm

    My BF and I went through this earlier in the season when we had to completely rebuild our camping stock. We went with a (huge!) practical tent (Coleman’s Evanston – big, tall, complete with fully enclosed front porch and tub floor seems) and I have zero regrets, but I’d be lying if I said those Big Bang tents weren’t the coolest things ever!

    Don’t forget a flashlight or lantern! Finding your way to the thunderbox at night is bad enough but having to do it without light would be the worst!

    • August 6, 2014 / 10:00 am

      Oh yes, how did I forget the lantern! The single worst thing about camping is when you need to pee in the middle of the night!

      • August 6, 2014 / 5:58 pm

        Seriously! And it’s either that or suffer the night with a full bladder. You just can’t win lol. At least the rest of camping is worth it!

  3. August 5, 2014 / 6:41 pm

    Thank you for this list. It was recommended to me as I will be attending Blogstock this weekend I have added a few things to my ever growing list 🙂

    • August 6, 2014 / 10:00 am

      Looking forward to meeting you at Blogstock!

  4. August 5, 2014 / 10:08 pm

    Tarp! As in tarpaulin. It’s a must. Being from the UK I grew up with the frame of mind “if it rains, well, we’re get wet” (chalk it up to being extremely use to rain) and spent many a miserable time huddled in tent porches as it pissed it down. But in Canada, Canadians are all about the tarp. String it up between a few trees and bam, the fun doesn’t stop rain or shine. After discovering this I felt pretty stupid I’d never thought about it before!

    • August 6, 2014 / 10:03 am

      Argh yes, the handy tarp. I found everyone in Australia uses one too. Such a great and simple idea.

  5. August 7, 2014 / 5:54 am

    Don’t forget the alcohol!! I never camp without a well stocked bar.

  6. August 7, 2014 / 11:28 am

    Great list! My Osprey wheeled backpack was AMAZING at Glasto – no weight on my back was such a relief!

  7. July 15, 2015 / 12:14 am

    Thanks for this! Going camping with the family (including our 8 and 5 year old) in a few weeks and it’s been AGES since I went camping!

  8. Jess
    August 11, 2015 / 9:50 pm

    I take a multicooker with me and then I can cook yummy recipes whilst I’m out walking 🙂

    Never looked back!

    • August 11, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      A multicooker!? And there I was thinking I was doing well with sandwiches 😉

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