8 Essential Camping Items To Take on Your Trip

It is not that easy to reduce the list to just 8 essential camping items. But raising children is expensive enough and the idea with camping is to make it a cheaper alternative than holidays in hotels and/or abroad.

So, if you are just starting out, then before you panic buy loads of equipment, do check your campsite. Campsites have come a long way in the last few years and many have lots of facilities that help drastically reduce your packing requirements. For example, there may be a picnic table right beside your pitch, showering AND bath facilities, hair dryers, cooking facilities, fire pits, washing up facilities, a food van, to mention just a few.

Another good tip is to go with another family or two. Check what they have and discuss whether you could share some equipment.

Then, tempting as it may be to buy EVERYTHING that you think you might need, rein yourself in and get only what you NEED to start with with the essential camping items. You can then build up with each trip as your experience increases.

1. Tent

Well that’s pretty obvious!

But where to start?

Finding the right family tent can feel like an overwhelming task as there is so much choice out there and it will be your biggest outlay. Just remember that the children will be just as happy in a small tent as a marquee. It’s us adults that tend to need more space, higher spec, etc. so if you start small, do not fear.

If you are new to camping, you don’t necessarily need to go out and buy one straight away. There are many campsites that provide tents for hire (often already erected) so you can assess whether you actually like camping before rushing out to buy the world. It will also help to “test-camp” a tent to find what works for you size-wise and do ask the campsite owner about taking it down/putting it up – some are much easier than others! Take advice from friends, look in shops, camping exhibitions, etc. and perhaps see if you can borrow one from friends (or go camping with them!)

For those that prefer to pump up their tent, then you can’t go far wrong with an award winning design such as those by Zempire – winner of “tent of the year” and “best luxury tent” with Camping Magazine this year.

If you would rather stick with poles, then have a look at the huge range on offer with World of Camping. This independent retailer stocks all sizes and types of tents from reputable brands such as Outdoor Revolution, Vango, Outwell, Robens and Easy Camp.

2. Bedding

A camping holiday runs a little smoother if everyone is sleeping well and comfortably! The fresh air during the day is guaranteed to help zonk everyone out at night anyway but you don’t want to wake up feeling cold and uncomfortable on a bed that deflated in the night.

So, think about whether you prefer an air mattress, campbed, sleeping mat and bring some sort of repair kit for anything that involves air. Then get a high tog sleeping bag, because even when it is hot during the day, the temperature can really drop at night when you’re in a tent. If you can fit them in, bring duvets as well – it can be nice to have some home comforts!

A great alternative that is comfortable and very easy to pack/carry is a Bundle Bed. As a revolutionary take on the old roll-out bed, a Bundle Bed is a self-inflating mattress, snuggly Jersey cotton sheets, moisture-wicking pillow and warm 15-tog duvet, all rolled together in a waterproof outer layer (perfect to save bedding from little sandy toes running around the tent!).

A Bundle Bed can be slung in the boot of a car, on a plane, or at the back of a cupboard ready for when you need it. Just unclip, unroll, unzip, and sleep! A British-designed brand, Bundle Beds set-out to bring a little simple luxury to camping, and to make visiting friends, organising kids’ sleepovers, or throwing some things in the car for an adventure, just that bit easier!

Bundle beds are offering £40 off a bed exclusively to Gone Camping Co subscribers until the end of April 2019. Sign up for our newsletter to get your discount code: http://gonecampingco.com/newsletter/

3. Somewhere to Sit

When camping, you are permitted to do that most magical of things…sit down. You can even stay sitting for a while just taking in views, reading a book or gazing into a campfire. Because you are on “camping time,” there is no need to rush around and keep to a succession of appointments. So make sure you have somewhere comfortable to park your rear.

World of Camping has a vast range of different chairs for all needs – little people, big people, upright, laid back, etc. or you could go for a touch of luxury with the moon base at Zempire.

4. Camp Kitchen

Before you buy a fully equipped camp kitchen, do check with your campsite what they will allow (i.e. re. firepits) or what they have available for you to use. Some campsites provide catering so you might not need to take anything at all!

There are many options from portable gas stoves (don’t forget the actual gas though – we’ve managed that!), disposable BBQs, portable BBQs or a fully converted trailer kitchen for those that want to go all out!

Remember the basic safety rule of NEVER taking your stove/BBQ into your tent, even after the flames have died down, because of the very real risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, invest in an awning  or simply secure a tarp over the cooking area if you want to protect it from the weather.

5. Lighting

One of the things that is very easy to forget despite being an essential camping item, is a decent light.

You may want a couple in your tent that work as ceiling lights, particularly if you have young children that are wary of the dark, a portable lantern to park on your table outside at night and then to bring inside the tent later and of course, a torch for those night time loo visits.

6. Suitable Clothing and Footwear

You will inevitably pack more than you need clothes-wise so try to think about the activities you will be doing and pack accordingly.  Are you planning to go to the beach? Go on bike rides? Walking/hiking? Or just staying around your campsite? You are, generally, unlikely to get out of jeans/shorts so leave the posh clothes at home.  Even if it is blazing hot sunshine when you set off, always pack a decent coat as the temperature drops at night and who knows what could happen with our temperamental weather!

With that in mind, pack extra nightclothes – onesies, woolly PJs, thick socks just to make extra sure of being warm enough at night.  Being too warm is easy to sort out, being too cold less so!

You end up wearing less than you think footwear-wise as well, and shoes can take up a lot of room so it’s worth giving this some thought. You definitely need some sort of outdoor trainer or boot to protect against wet grass outside of your tent. It’s worth having some sort of indoor shoe/slippers as well to keep the inside of your tent clean and dry.

Crocs are beloved by kids, especially, and they often don’t wear anything else throughout the holiday! They are wipe-clean, practical for the beach, pool, inside and out and particularly light weight when it comes to packing. FootArt is one of the largest specialist croc retailers in the UK and are well worth a look.

7. Transport

Now, packing for camping is a bit of an art form.

We started off with one child and managed to pack it all into a bog-standard car. After child no.2, we progressed to a Landrover. Now our tent has “grown” as have our accessories and its time to look at further options. A degree in engineering seems a little excessive so we’re looking at roof boxes and trailers instead.

Venter trailers are great for camping as they are lightweight, not so big that they’re difficult to manoeuvre and you won’t need a trailer licence to tow them.

8. Wine

Most essential camping item. Some might argue that this should have been number 1.

 

The list could go on. 

Sign up for our newsletter to get a comprehensive camping checklist to help get you organised: Sign up

Packing your tent away for winter

So, here it is…camping season officially over! Sob!

Most of you (apart from you die-hard mighty campers) will turn your attention to packing your tent away for the winter.  There are a few jobs that need doing to prolong the life of your tent and ensure everything is ready and raring to go for the next season:

  1. Make sure your tent is dry.

Before packing your tent away for winter, it must be thoroughly dry to ensure the nasties like mould and mildew don’t get a hold of it as these affect the weather-proofing and life span of the fabric.

The ideal ‘taking down’ situation would be a lovely sunny day with a slight breeze – when this happens, we like to empty the tent of all contents, (including sweeping out the crumbs) zip up the insect doors (if you have them), unzip all the rest and let the breeze air the inside of the tent thoroughly for an hour or so.  Then, when rolling it up, partially zip up all the doors to allow extra air to escape and use towels to wipe away any mud, wet grass and damp.  This means your tent is ready to pack away with no further intervention needed.

If you have the unfortunate situation of rain when packing away, then you will have some work to do at home! You need to get it dry as soon as possible so either re-erect it in your garden as soon as you get a dry spell for it to dry and air or, if you have the continued adverse weather conditions that we had this year (see Six Things We Have Learnt Whilst Camping This Year), get the tent laid out/hung up in a large shed/garage within 2-3 days. Again, use towels to help rub down any wet patches – particularly round windows – to help it dry as quickly as possible. Make sure it dries naturally, however, and not near another heat source as this can affect the fabric.

  1. Check your tent

Whilst packing your tent away, do check for any rips, damaged seams or zips, broken poles, etc. Make it your priority to get these sorted when you get home, or the likelihood is you’ll forget about them until you erect your tent for your next holiday and you’ll be in big trouble with your family!

Most tents come with a basic repair kit and its as simple as gluing and sewing patches on. There is loads of help available online these days so if you are in any doubt, check out videos/tutorials available for repairing your make of tent.

If you have had your tent for a while, you might also want to consider waterproofing it. Again, check out any recommendations from the manufacturer of your tent in terms of products and method.

Do replace any broken poles, wonky pegs, worn guylines, etc. at this end of the season, again to avoid panic at the next camping trip!

  1. Where to put it?

The size of your tent has a direct bearing on where to store it! Most can be stored safely away in a garage, shed or loft/attic where it is dry and out of sunlight. Take care about preventing rodent damage by storing up high, or in another bag/box – also by ensuring you thoroughly swept out any remnants of crumbs when packing away to prevent the little varmints being attracted to your precious tent!

  1. Ready for your next trip?

It’s not just your tent that needs checking.

Sometimes, you get back from a camping trip and need another holiday after you’ve sorted everything out!

For me…it’s the washing mountain pile.

Living the dream

Some people just air their sleeping bags, but I like to wash them to minimise the stink of our family. All bedding, air beds, etc will need thoroughly drying and airing before packing away to again, prolong their life and keep everything smelling sweetly.

All of your kitchen equipment, food containers, etc. will need checking, cleaning and drying before packing away to make sure a proper job is done – sometimes, you can’t quite get that at a campsite. Then think carefully about storage – ideally, keeping everything together makes for an easy task when going on your next trip. If this isn’t possible, then make a note of where things are to prevent grumpiness next year.

After you have replaced anything that needs replacing, thoughts might move on to your next purchase. What did you feel that you needed at your last camping trip? What did you see of another’s set up and think ‘that’s what I need’? Do you need to upgrade your tent?

A fun thing to do is pop along to a camping show and check out the gigantic range of tents and accessories available. Here you can check things out thoroughly before committing to buying, compare prices, spec and just exactly what is out there. For a list of these check out Camping and Caravan Shows Spring 2019.

Chin up – only six months to go until camping season 2019!

Camping and Caravan Shows – Spring 2019

The main camping season may be over (except for you crazy extreme campers!) and thoughts have turned to log fires and cosying up next to them. But in a few weeks’ time, when you start to get that ‘itch’, that need to reconnect to your tent, caravan or motorhome, fear not! There are many opportunities in early 2019 for a darn good nosey into new products and innovations available at camping and caravan shows up and down the country. These are great opportunities to have a good look at products you have heard about, to test things out, find a good deal, stock up on items or just ogle at what’s out there. Whatever your motivation, camping and caravan shows certainly get you thinking about the summer ahead and help to shorten the loooooong winter season!

January 2019

17th-20th: Manchester Caravan & Motorhome Show, Event City, Manchester

18th-20th: Belfast Caravan & Motorhome Show, Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast

20th-21st: Adventure Travel Show, Olympia, London

25th-27th: Holiday World Show, RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin

25th-29th: The Motorhome Show, Westpoint, Exeter

31st Jan-3rd Feb: Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, Olympia, London

 

February 2019

7th-10th: Scottish Caravan and Outdoor Show, Glasgow SECC

16th-17th: DubFreeze, Bingley Hall, Stafford

19th-24th: Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, NEC Birmingham

 

March 2019

17th-18th: UK Spring Motorhome & Caravan Show, Newark Show Ground

22nd-24th: The Yorkshire Motorhome and Accessory Show, Great Yorkshire Showground

 

April 2019

18th-22nd: Camperfest, Chester

26th-28th: The National Motorhome and Campervan Show, East of England Showground, Peterborough

Outdoor Revolution – Premium Air Framed Tents

Outdoor Revolution’s range of premium air framed tents make family camping as enjoyable and stress-free as possible thanks to their high-quality manufacturing, luxury fabrics and their exclusive Oxygen Air Frame.

Outdoor Revolution’s Oxygen Air Frame is not only the easiest and most efficient system to use, but the most dependable, as it eradicates any issues of over inflation. It incorporates the Dynamic Speed Valve and the patented Intelligent Frame Relief Valve. Inflation is an incredibly fast process with the dual action pump provided, and deflation is simply just a push of the self-retaining button. They are the only awning manufacturer to use the Relief Valve; which prevents damage to the tube by expelling any excess air, which can be caused by either over inflation, or increases in the ambient temperature. The valves are discretely concealed by a Velcro cover, making the Oxygen Air Frame incredibly neat.

Speed is of the essence when erecting an Outdoor Revolution air framed tent. Their largest tent – the Airedale 12 – inflates in around 5 minutes. Once inflated, campers simply need to peg out and tension the guylines (all of which are included with the tent) and then the holiday can begin!

The extremely spacious Airedale 12

Outdoor Revolution’s 2018 range of air framed tents cover an assortment of styles, budgets and sizes – making sure that there’s a tent out there for everyone, whatever their needs.

The Airedale 6 is Outdoor Revolution’s best-selling family tent, with flexible bedroom compartments, large living space and a versatile porch area, its easy to see why! New for 2018, the integrated windowed front door improves the versatility of the entire living area; instantly giving the ability to create additional internal space, with a superb view of the outside world, or an excellent porch area on warmer days. It’s 150 High Density Fabric and is lightweight, yet robust products; allowing a smaller pack size, when folded.

Airedale 6

For those venturing into hotter climates, the Airedale 6 Pro Climate is preferred tent of choice. It’s exclusive, breathable Pro Climate fabric; has the look, feel and breathability of natural fibres and the strength and durability of man-made material. These qualities make the Airedale 6 Pro Climate ideally suited for summer breaks in warmer climes, where breathability and optimum comfort is a prerequisite, as the fabric reduces interior humidity and condensation.

Airedale 6 Pro Climate

As well as this fantastic range of good quality air framed tents, Outdoor Revolution also provide a range of camping furniture and equipment to help make your camping trip just that bit more comfortable and organised. Check out their range here: Outdoor Revolution