We love camping! It’s a great way of engaging more with the outdoors and (usually) a way of holidaying that bit cheaper. But isn’t there a lot of ‘stuff’? One of the best things about camping is that you can make it as basic or as luxurious as you wish. We all have our own personal preferences, and these may change from camping trip to camping trip too. Are you a ‘glamper’ or more of a bare-essentials type of camper?
What camping equipment do I need?
Camping isn’t necessarily a cheap endeavour. Yes it’s good fun and you’ll save money on hotels in the future, but camping equipment can get very expensive. Buying second-hand or end-of-line stock is a good idea for saving money; you can pick up some real bargains such as tents that have only been used once by new campers who decided camping wasn’t for them after all. Look out on local social media selling pages, Gumtree, and local small ads.
While we would advocate starting small and building up your supplies, it’s a nicer experience all round if you have the essentials to hand on a trip. Scrimping on camping gear can be a false economy if it means your holiday is more fraught than fun.
So what exactly do you need for a camping holiday with your family?
Here we have a camping equipment list. Some of it is essential, and some of it not so essential. Pick and choose what you feel you need and once you’re happy with your selection, keep the list somewhere safe for next time. While a camping equipment list is not compulsory, we have found that we have forgotten to take something every time and have ended up in a shop or on the scrounge with fellow campers not long after arrival. A list comes in very handy to stop us forgetting the same things over and over.
Camping equipment list
Please feel free to print out this list, scribble on it, add your own kit, keep it for next time. Hope you find it useful.
To download a PDF version of the checklist, please click here.
- Enough clothing for how ever many days you are staying
- warm clothing
- waterproof coat
- swimming costume
- daily outfits
- spare socks
- more spare socks
- Spare pair of shoes for the tent and around the campsite, such as flip flops or sandals
- Bedding and a pillow
- A mat, air-bed (and pump), SIM (self-inflating mattress), or camp bed.
- A tent (unless you intend to ‘sleep under the stars’)
- A groundsheet / footprint
- A mallet and tent pegs
- A torch – with spare batteries if you need them
Unless you’re going to be eating at the local pub every breakfast, lunch, and dinner time (we’re not judging, we’ve done that too!) then you will need to take some basic kitchen equipment.
- Cool box and cool packs
- Something to cook on – hob, gas stove, teppanyaki grill for example
- Lighter – or box of matches
- 2 x saucepans
- 1 x frying pan
- cooking/serving spoons
- vegetable peeler
- potato masher
- chopping board and knives
- kitchen roll and disinfectant spray
- cups / mugs
- tin opener
- bottle opener / corkscrew
- plastic washing up bowl and drainer
- washing up liquid
- dishcloth and tea-towels
Health and hygiene:-
- A wash bag with soap, flannel, toothbrush and toothpaste
- A first aid kit with antiseptic cream and sticking plasters as a minimum, a pair of scissors, tweezers, and nail clippers
- baby wipes
- A hairbrush
- A dustpan and brush for sweeping out the tent
- Loo roll
- Hand towels
- Large towels for swimming / showering
- Shower gel
- Wash powder / laundry detergent
- bin bags / plastic bags for dirty washing
- clothes pegs
- clothes line / hanger
Around the tent:-
- Porch / awning with pegs
- Floor mats / tent carpet
- Dining table and chairs
- Storage cupboards
- Bin bags for litter
- Water carrier
- Toys and games, books, pens and pencils
Some people prefer to go off-grid while others are up to the eyeballs in electrical equipment. There are no right and wrongs here!
- EHU cable
- Fairy lights
- Device charging leads
- Power pack
- Electric fridge/cool box
- DVD player
- Radiator / heater
And how do you carry all of this camping gear in your car?
Check out the inflatable HandiRack and HandiHoldall soft roof box.
What camping food to take?
If you’re planning on cooking your own meals on your camping trip then you are definitely going to need some food. Some campsites have very good supermarkets on site where you can get hold of everything you need at a reasonable price. Others not so much. Our car is usually so full of camping gear that getting a week’s worth of food in there too just isn’t possible, nor is it a good idea to keep a week’s worth of food at a time, especially if you’ve only got a camping fridge to store it all. We usually go to a nearby supermarket once the tent is pitched and get enough food to get us through the first couple of days.
Planning meals is best. You really only should buy the exact ingredients you will cook and eat. There’s not much point in buying food out of habit, finding you’ve no way of keeping it viable, and then it going to waste. Planning is key!
The sort of meals that we cook while camping are…..
- Chicken wraps
- Hot dogs and salad
- Mince and pasta
- Burgers and salad
- All-day breakfast
We cook meals which need a small number of pans, or can be cooked on the grill. Roast chicken and all the trimmings would be lovely, but roasting a chicken when camping is a big ask! We do know people who take a slow cooker and leave things cooking in the tent while out for the day. We’ve not done this yet – it’s too much of a risk with the electrics which aren’t always 100% reliable.
What sort of meals do you make when camping?