Here at bestoutdoors.co.uk we love camping, so it is only natural that we compile a best camping gear guide UK edition. In this camping guide, we will look at almost everything that you will need for a week or weekend camping trip here in the UK. The products in this guide are more geared towards family camping.
A camping trip is an adventure. It’s a chance for you to explore the great outdoors and enjoy all its wonders, whether it’s on foot, by bike, boat, car, swim or camper van.
So let’s get into it.
A plan and or camping checklist.
Yip in our house hold every camping trip starts with a plan and a comprehensive camping kit checklist. There is nothing worse than driving ten hours to discover you have left the camping gas, camping kettle, or dare I say, the tent. Creating a camping gear checklist is a sensible decision that lets you close the door behind you with confidence and you can use this article as your checklist.
We have some fantastic camping spots here in the UK (Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland). From the northwest of Scotland to the south coast of England. Beaches, forests, mountains, rolling hills and more. There are many key things to consider when choosing the location. Each will influence your decision.
Is it a family holiday, is there things to do with the kids?
Is it a wild camping trip?
Is it a camping trip specific for outdoor adventures? Is it nearby the outdoor activities?
Is it accessible? Is there accessibility for the elderly, babies, disabled, motorcycles etc?
Can you get there by public transport?
Level of onsite facilities etc?
There are many factors that will determine if the camping location is suitable.
Campsite or Wild camping?
This depends on a number of factors: campsites have more neighbours, activities, facilities etc and wild camping is the opposite. Wild camping allows you to truly enter the wilderness, to venture off the beaten track, no neighbours, no facilities, no noise. Just remember if you go wild, leave it as you found it and know the rules when it comes to pooing in the wild, map reading, using a compass, first aid and basic survival.
Wind, rain or shine camping trips are a go. As the saying goes, there is no bad weather, there is only bad clothing or bad equipment choices. Looking at the Met Office for a forecast of the weather at your chosen location will allow you to adapt your camping gear choices.
We would always recommended taking some extra layers. Especially for those new to camping, leaving your super insulated, central heated home and moving into a tent for a week can be a shock to the system. A few extra layers for the evening or bedtime can be such a moral boost.
Travel and driving
Plan your travel, especially if you’re going in to the many remote areas of the UK. Read our guide on single track driving. Make sure you know where the petrol stations are etc.
Make all the basic car checks, tyres, water, break fluid, oil, etc. Make sure your car is road worthy, especially if you going on a ten hour driving adventures.
There are so many tents available in today’s camping market. Key questions: how many does the tent need to sleep? Do you need to stand up in it? Do you need a section for entertainment, eating etc if the weather turns? Is weight important?
Tents come in many shapes and have many options, including dome tents, tents with central chambers, inflatable tents, tents with openings for log burning stoves.
Temperature and looking at the weather. If you’re going camping i the winter you don’t want to be taking a thing sleeping bag rated for summer. Look at the weather, look at the night temperatures, not the day temperatures, and choose appropriately. Alternatively, take a duvet and some extra blankets, well always take extra blankets, especially if you have kids with you.
The classic double air bed for a couple and single air beds for kids. There is many options, from the classic to beds that have built-in electric air pumps, to single self inflating air mattresses. Some even come with built in pillows. The key thing is to remember your pump.
Mallet, Extras -Pegs, Guide ropes.
We always buy one of these all in one kits and have them ready. Pegs and guide ropes are like tea spoons and socks they just vanish. Mallets for camp grounds with hard or compacted ground, is a must. Also, buying a pack of extra thick pegs for times when you need to drive a large peg into the hard ground with a mallet, most small pegs will just disintegrate in those salutations. Mallets with a built in peg extractor are also super handy.
The camp kitchen is a key. It’s where you’re going to cook your breakfast, prepare lunches and evening meals. Having a system and the right kit, especially if you’re thinking of a family camping trip, is crucial to success.
- Read our Full Camping UK Kitchen Guide
I weigh around 19 stone, all muscle;) On my last camping trip, I went through three standard camping chairs. Each broke in a different manner. Why am I telling you this? Simple, buy a decent camping chair. If your camping trips are anything like mine, you’re going to be in it a few hours each night, so invest in something substantial.
A small foldable camping table. Perfect for setting out plates, a space for eating, a space for preparing, a space for cooking, for colouring in, for playing cards, board games and more. There are many options available. Even options with built in seating!
The camping stove, like everything camping, come in many sizes and capacities, it really depends on your mission. If you are a solo backpacker looking to carry minimum kit, you will be looking for a compact stove and if you’re looking for a stove for a family camping trip, where you will be juggling multiple pots then a larger stove will be more appropriate.
Make sure you have the right gas and you have tested how to connect it. Make sure you read all of the instructions as a gas leak from a gas stove in a confined space like a tent is not a good situation.
Dishes and stuff.
A few pots, some pates, some cups, knifes, forks, spoons, wooden spoon, big knife, bottle opener, tin opener. We always take this from the home kitchen as we load the car full of kit. But if you were camping light, you can buy camping pot sets, multi tools with combination forks, knifes and spoons, etc. To completely reduce the amount of kit taken.
Most campsites will have a water tap for drinking water. So taking a collapsible water container is always a good idea. There come in a variety of sizes and allow you to make the trip down only a few times a day.
Matches or a lighter, to light the stove, most gas stoves do not come with a built in auto sparker, so having a cigarette lighter at hand is crucial, especially on windy days if you’re cooking outside.
What camping trip is complete without some alcohol? Be it whisky, Gin or a bottle of vino. For me, it’s a wee cheeky dram to relax in the evenings whilst star gazing that truly makes the camping experience magical.
Drybags are just that, dry bags or waterproof bags. These are handy for taking and keeping stuff dry as you go out exploring in the rain. They are also handy for taking wet kit back from the beach. I usually take a few smaller dry bags for separating key items and key electronics.
- Check out our dedicated Dry Bag Guide
- Check out our dedicated Motorcycle Dry Bag Guide
- Check out our dedicated Kayak Dry Bag Guide
Large expedition style holdalls are great for packing all your camping gear into. These are the kind of bags professional adventurers use when venturing off to climb Everest and the like. 40, 60, 100, 150 Litres and more. There is some seriously large dry bag holdalls available and you can get a hell of a lot of camping kit in them. Perfect.
Lomo Blaze 60L Expedition Holdall
60L Capacity with large internal mesh pocket in the top.
Waterproof material and welded seams to keep water out.
If travelling there is a top insert for a luggage tag and side handles for loading.
Carry as a holdall or rucksack. Rucksack straps will detach.
Strong D shaped dual zip closure and bungee loops for strapping the bag down.
Fuzpig, Large roll top Holdall
What you get: A waterproof holdall with a unique roll top design, carry handles and a load of straps to allow different tie down options for multiple waterproof duffle bags / holdall to be secured together. Strap to carry the waterproof holdall / duffle bag over the shoulder.
If your camping for a week or so, having some sort of process for keeping on top of everything is essential, especially if it’s an active family holiday. There are many tent organisers available, these can be hung up or they can be freestanding. However, you go about it. Having a plan to stay organised is always a good idea.
Dirty clothes bag
A prime example, after a few days of camping, a few days of activities, of mud, of rain, of showers, of wearing everything you have, a mountain of dirty clothes will appear. Having a plan, be it a secondary bag etc is always welcome.
Batteries, electricity and charging bricks
Unless you book a pitch with electricity, you’re going to need someway of keeping your lights, phones, laptops etc running. Luckily, there are a number of charging options now available, from portable charging stations to full on solar recharging stations and everything in between. Choose one that fits your purpose and your budget. You can also pay for a pitch with an electricity supply, but you will need an EHU cable.
Cables for electronics
If you taking electronics with you, be it your phone, drone, camera or laptop, remember to take the cables!
Be it for wet kit, dirty laundry, food, electronics, etc, having various forms of storage on a camping trip is always a good idea. Storage space always disappears fast on a family camping holiday!
Some places get really dark at night. We once camped in the Galloway Forrest, a registered dark night sky location, and with full okta cloud cover that night it got dark. Having a head torch, or torch, even the light on your phone, is welcome. If you’re taking a torch, remember the batteries and or the charging cable.
Yes, a pee bottle, for both the guys and girls. Sometimes, it’s cold, it’s dark and the campsite toilets are just too far, having pee bottle handy can be a game changer. We recommend a Lennor bottle.
Midge spray and midge net
The famous Scottish midge, never underestimate how something so small can impact your fun and enjoyment. Research the area you plan to go camping, see what the internet has to say and go prepared. I always were a peaked baseball style hat underneath my midge net to keep it off my face. Pro tip.
Yes, you will be wanting to take clothes on your camping adventure. Just make sure you pack enough and the right ones. If it’s going to be wet, take your waterproofs. If it is going to be hot, take your shorts. And always pack some base layers and warm clothes, because when the sun goes down it gets cold fast here in the UK.
Camping is a great way to get you out and about and into an area that is perfect for outdoor activities, be it close to the hills and mountains, or rivers, beaches or caves. Popular camping activities are SUP or paddle boarding, swimming, running, flying kites, road cycling, mountain biking, star gazing, fire building and hill walking.
Larger family campsites will have an indoor games room or arcade for the kids, popular in tent entertainment, board games like scrabble, chess, cluedo, cards, iPad, Netflix, amazon, disney +.
These come in a variety of options, from a simple bucket and black bag to full on tent units with chemical toilets. Also, a great piece of kit for the wild campers is a trowel or short spade, and remember to bury your poo deep and away from streams, if your pooing in the wild, better still, if possible, take it with you.
I once camped on a beach, it was amazing apart from the wind! The next day I purchased a windbreaker, which made cooking a lot easier and relaxing in the evening better. Worth the investment.
Camping essentials box
Tape, extra pegs, brush and shovel, sewing kit, ant histamines, pain killers, cable ties
Every camping trip is not complete until the first-aid kit has been packed. Even better is some training on how to use it. Don’t go unprepared.
Camping UK FAQ
What is ‘three seasons’ and ‘four seasons’ camping gear?
Three season camping gear is designed to be used in spring, summer, and autumn. Four season camping gear is designed to be used in all seasons.
Should you go camping in cold weather?
Yes, you can go camping in cold weather! Just make sure you have the proper gear to stay warm. A good tent and sleeping bag are essential, as is a nylon tarp to put under your tent and sleeping pad.
What is the best camping gear for beginners?
There is a lot of good camping gear out there for beginners. The best camping gear will depend on what kind of camping you want to do and what kind of camper you are. If you are car camping, you will need a different set up than if you are backpacking. Some basic things you will need no matter what kind of camping you are doing include a tent, sleeping bag, stove, and campsite. If you are car camping, you might also want a Bluetooth speaker and a comfortable camping chair. For backpacking, you will want to make sure your sleeping bag is double-walled and your stove is ultralight. In 2022, the best camping gear will probably include everything you need in one pan and a bottle opener that also charges your smartphone.
Important camping essentials to remember:
There are a few important essentials to remember when packing for a camping trip. First, be sure to sign up for the newsletter at your campsite so you can receive updates on events and activities. Second, make sure to pack all the camping essentials, including a tent, sleeping bag, and camp stove. Third, be sure to familiarize yourself with the layout of the campsite so you can find your way around. Last, don’t forget to pack some fun activities for the kids so they can enjoy the trip as well!
Your camping essentials checklist
When packing for a camping trip, there are a few essential items that you will need to bring along. First, you will need a tent–this is essential for any type of camping, whether you are going solo or with family or friends. Secondly, you will need a water bottle to stay hydrated whilst out and about exploring the campsite and surrounding area. Thirdly, you will need some form of lighting – either a lantern or a flashlight–to help you see in the dark. Finally, you may want to bring along a stove and some basic cookware so that you can prepare meals while on your trip.
What is the most important gear to bring on a camping trip?
The most important gear to bring on a camping trip is a tent.
What camping essentials are best to bring?
A tent, a sleeping bag, a camp stove, and a first-aid kit are some of the best camping essentials to bring.
What do I need for camping UK?
In order to camp in the UK, you will need a tent, sleeping bag, and camping mat. You may also want to bring a stove and cooking equipment, as well as a first aid kit.
How can I make my camping more comfortable UK?
There are a few things you can do to make your camping more comfortable in the UK: -Choose a campsite that is close to amenities like toilets and showers. -Pack a camping mat or an air mattress to sleep on. -Bring plenty of blankets and warm clothing for cold nights. -Pack some insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay.
What should you not bring camping?
You should not bring anything that would be considered harmful to the environment.
What am I forgetting to pack for camping?
Some people might forget to pack a tent or sleeping bag.
What is the most popular camping purchase?
The most popular camping purchase is a tent.
What do you need for glamping?
There are a few things you might need for glamping, depending on where you are staying and what type of accommodations you have. You might need a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, camp stove, lantern, and cooler.
How do you plan a camping trip for a large group?
When planning a camping trip for a large group, it is important to consider the size of the campsite, the number of people in the group, and the amenities that are available. It is also important to make sure that everyone in the group is aware of the plan and knows what to bring.
What camping skills does one need to have?
Some basic camping skills include knowing how to build a fire, pitch a tent, and cook food over a campfire.
How do you pack camping gear?
Camping gear can be packed in a variety of ways, depending on the type and amount of gear you have. For example, you may want to pack your tent in a separate bag from your sleeping bag and other gear. You may also want to pack heavier items, such as a camp stove, in a separate bag from lighter items.
How do I make my camping luxurious?
There are a few ways to make your camping luxurious. You can bring along comfortable camping gear, such as an air mattress or cot, to make sleeping more comfortable. You can also bring along some creature comforts from home, such as a portable DVD player or your favorite pillow. Finally, you can upgrade your food and drink choices to include gourmet items or fine wine.
How do you camp like a pro?
There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some people may say that you need to have the latest and greatest gear, while others may say that all you need is a tent and a sleeping bag. Ultimately, it depends on what works best for you and your camping style.
How do you look good when camping?
There is no one answer to this question, as different people have different ideas of what looks good. However, some tips on how to look good when camping include choosing clothing that is comfortable and practical, avoiding too much makeup, and keeping your hair clean and styled.
Other Great Camping Guides resources.
- outdoorsmagic.com – A List offering Great Value Budget Outdoor Kit | Buyer’s Guide – Great general list.
- beckythetraveller.com –Camping For BEGINNERS In The UK (+ Basic Camping Kit Checklist) from Becky the Traveller. Another comprehensive list.
- campingintheforest.co.uk – Essentials Camping gear for Forest camping. Great if forest camping is your thing.
- madornomad.com The Best Motorcycle Camping Gear Checklist – Mad or Nomad – This is from seasoned motorcycle travelers Mad or nomad.
- gooutdoors.co.uk – Beginners Guide to Camping – From the big boys.