Whether you’re off on a spontaneous rural adventure or an annual countryside get-away, it’s easy to forget the essentials in all the excitement - so here’s a handy list of all the things to consider before you shut the boot or draw the string closed on your hiking bag:
Of course, the number one essential for camping anywhere is a tent. Check it’s the right size for all of you and perhaps practice pitching it before heading-off. If you’re camping in the UK or Europe, then a hydrostatic head of at least 2000mm is recommended to protect you from those unexpected showers. Make sure you’ve got a mallet and enough pegs to keep it secure while you go off exploring - especially if it’s a windy day or you’re high in the hills. For more information about which tent is right for you, take a look at our handy buying guide.
It’s a good idea to lay out your sleeping area once you’ve pitched up, giving bags time to air and giving you one less thing to do when you’re sleepy. If you’re on hard terrain or prefer a softer surface for kipping, you can make your sleeping area instantly comfy with an airbed, camping bed, or roll mat. Your sleeping bag will be your duvet for the next few nights so be sure to tick it off as you’re packing. Blankets are always a good-shout in case temperatures drop during the night and travel-pillows will help you drift off as you listen to the breeze outside.
If you’re wild camping or you’re way out in the sticks, there might not be a pub around the corner to rely on when you’re feeling peckish. Camping stoves will help you cook up some energy-boosting grub, while lightweight plastic utensils are durable and easy to clean when you don’t have access to a sink. Get the authentic camping experience with a BBQ or campfire, feeling the warmth of its flames as you roast your marshmallows on a skewer.
While some of us are happy to eat off our laps or among the grass, others prefer a more solid surface to enjoy their meal from. Folding tables offer a great solution, easily stowing away in the boot and providing plenty of space for the family when assembled. Make sure everyone is seated around it comfortably with their own camping chair - some even come with added conveniences like cup holders and reclining functions.
As the evening draws in and the chatter continues, you’ll want to be able to see your surroundings. Consider taking a battery-powered lantern as they’re ideal for illuminating outside as well as inside when you want to retreat to the comfort of your tent – remember to keep some spare batteries to hand in case they need changing. Citronella candles are also practical in more than one way, bringing light to your pitch while keeping away flying insects.
And if you’re lucky enough to camp on a clear night, take a moment to blow out the candles, turn off the lights, and look up at the sky.