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What to take on a camping trip

What to take on a camping trip

Whether you are planning your first camping trip, or are an old hand at camping, it is always a good idea to be prepared. There are some things that you must take on your camping trip – the essentials, and some that you might like to take but not have the room for. Of course, what you do take will largely depend on how you are travelling, if you are backpacking, then every single item you pack will need to be considered carefully both in terms of the space it takes up and the weight. If, however, you are packing your camping gear into a car, then you will have more leeway.

Some people like to make a checklist for their packing, and it can come in handy to ensure you don’t forget anything vital. Here’s a suggested list of items and accessories you might want to work from.


Okay, now this one may seem a little obvious, but bear with us. If the last time you went camping you returned with a wet tent that needed drying, then you may not have put everything away in the tent bag. Give it a quick check to ensure that you have the following:

  • Tent pegs, and a few spares
  • Guy lines, if detachable
  • Footprint
  • Tent fabrics
  • Sleeping pods, if your tent is a larger one

There really is nothing worse than arriving at your destination than discovering that you have in fact left the tent pegs at home.

2.Hammer / mallet

If you are camping on nice soft ground that isn’t too dry then you might be able to get away without this one, BUT, you can never be certain what you will encounter, so it is always a good idea to pack a hammer. If you are concerned about space, you can get smaller hammers that are ideal for camping.

3.Sleeping gear

Getting a good night’s sleep while camping is essential, and that means packing the right equipment. A good sleeping bag that is suited to the season you are camping in is a must, and you will probably want to pack some form of sleeping pad as this can not only help to make the ground more comfortable to sleep on but will also help to insulate it as well. This should stop you getting cold in the night. Modern sleeping bags can be surprisingly small when rolled up, so they shouldn’t cause too much of an issue to your packing. You may also want to consider packing a camping pillow. There are plenty of inflatable ones out there that are tiny when deflated but significantly more comfortable that resting your head on a pile of clothes overnight.


A good camping lamp, or at the very least a torch is another essential that you want to remember to pack. Not only will this provide you with light in your tent at night once it gets dark, but it can be very handy for those late-night toilet trips to make sure you avoid the hazard of guy ropes or muddy puddles.

5.Camp stove

There are plenty of good camp stoves out there that pack nice and small for backpacking. Of course, if you are in the car you may prefer something a little bigger. Remember to pack something to light your stove with. If you are backpacking and prefer matches, you may want to put them in a watertight container. For smaller stoves that take the smaller gas canisters, you may want to pack a spare.


Camp stove cooking is usually quick, filling, and simple, and not done inside your tent. A pan and frying pan set should be enough, especially if you are backpacking. Do not forget to pack some crockery and utensils as well. There are some good lightweight pan and crockery options on the market that can even be hung from the outside of your rucksack, allowing you a little more room inside. Don’t forget a tin opener!


Another obvious one, but it can be a good idea to pack layers for a camping trip, especially in the UK where the weather is very changeable. If you are short on space you may want to invest in some clothes specifically designed for outdoor wear as they often dry faster when washed, which could mean packing less.

8.Table and chairs

If you are backpacking then these may be items you simply don’t have the room for, but if you are in a car then a good camping table and chairs can prove very handy whilst you are away. A table is more than just somewhere to sit, it can also be used as a food preparation surface and also an area off the ground to store things away from the insects.

Now you have a basic list to work with, you can start to look at how much room is left in your rucksack for any non-essentials you might want to take!


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