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So what do I need to go camping??

Camping -

So what do I need to go camping??

First time campers, and many who just haven't been for a while, often ask what are the basics? So here is our list of what you need most if you've never been camping before or its been a while...or last time was horrible and you want to be prepared!

There is an ongoing myth that camping isn't 'real' if you aren't cold, damp and roughing it. I beg to disagree... Fact is it doesn't need to be complicated or expensive, one of the joys of camping is its easy, cheap and fun. You can usually borrow most stuff for your first few adventures, and you can get some stuff second hand. If you only buy one thing I'd make it a sleeping bag, and the best you can afford, and next would be a sleeping mat. If you are going by car don't stint on blankets and duvets and your own pillow... If you are going superlight, take something that can be a pillow case!

Anyway camping is a LOT less fun if you forget waterproofs, sun tan lotion or your woolly hat as the temperature drops. So here is a basic list for comfy camping, cobbled together after several years of trial and error. It's not exhaustive and I'd love to hear your essentials that aren't on here! Hope it helps and Happy camping!

Down load the list here: Outdoor People Comfy Camping List

Shelter Think about: for how many, how long, how cold/hot and how comfy. Also think how far you have to carry it all, and bring a trolley if needed. The priority (IMHO) is warmth – it can get down to 5 degrees or even lower at 4am in mid summer – and keeping dry if it rains. Basics:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping mat (self inflating is generally best)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Lights (fairy lights and/or a lantern and/or a headtorch)
  • Pillow
  • Thick blanket or rubber mat (or yoga mat!) to put under the sleeping mat – cold comes up
  • For extra lux consider futons
  • Extra blanket or duvet for over you
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Extra tarp to put over your tent entrance can be handy if it rains or is blazing sun
  • Rug for tent doorway
  • And nice, warm pyjamas plus woolly socks and a hat!
You can always change to just a T-shirt and sleep outside if it’s the prayed for heat wave, but if it’s cold you’ll not regret those extra layers! Cooking Whether you are at a festival where you can get food or are cooking for yourself, here are the basics. I could do a whole list just on the outdoor kitchen…
  • Water bottle and large water bottle
  • Thermos/flask to keep your coffee or tea hot
  • Tiffin or tin plate to fetch your food at a festival (save on recycling)
  • Mug (or wide mouth flask) for hot drinks, cup for wine, juice or beer
Clothes Packing for British weather means thinking layers… and water/sun proof! You’ll have your comfy favourites, but here’s a basic list I use…
  • Wellies – even if it doesn’t rain, grass is wet in the morning [
  • Flip-flops (ditto, and useful in showers)
  • Leggings and yoga clothes
  • Jumpers/fleece
  • Base layers – thermal vests and long johns look gorgeous and v sexy suddenly!
  • Socks/extra socks
  • Underwear
  • Sleep clothes (extra jumper/socks/hat)
  • Warm hat
  • Sun hat
  • Waterproof jacket and fleece
  • Waterproof trousers if doing hills
  • And of course shorts and T-shirts!

And if at a festival… some eco-friendly glitter, feathers and the like can be fun, and face paints for kids and young at heart!


  • Towels/washcloth (hamam towel I think is best, or microfiber ones)
  • Soap/shampoo
  • Insect repellent and afterbite
  • Tooth brush/tooth paste
  • Deodorant
  • Comb/brush
  • Razor
  • Feminine products (and those tampons can be AMAZINGLY useful… seriously god firelighters!)
  • Tissues
  • Personal medications, contact lenses – take extra
  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses
  • Camera/extra battery
  • Books/magazines (get off the iPad/iPhone!)
  • Musical instruments
  • Camp chairs
  • Hammock (!)
  • Mobile phone/charger – solar powered if you can get it
  • Money/ID/credit card
  • Hand wipes

You also might want to have your own tea, coffee and snacks, and maybe a cooler for drinks and beer.

And most of all take your sense of fun and adventure!

Make it easy to get outdoors…

Credit: Richard Outram


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