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….?


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of affordable luxury travel experiences.Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!

SHOWHIDE Comments (16)
  1. 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? 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

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