If you are new to camping, you may be wondering what to take and where to start. The more organized you are, the better your experience will be, so taking a bit of time when packing could make a big difference.
There are many things to consider, so we’ve put together a list of 9 essentials to help you have a fabulous camping experience.
Choosing a tent
Unless you intend glamping, a tent is probably the most important thing you will need. You will find many different versions, sizes, and types, so it’s worth doing a bit of reading first and weighing up the pros and cons of each.
If you have a large family, you might want a tent with extra rooms to socialize in rather than just having somewhere to sleep. If ease of use is your priority, then an inflatable tent may be perfect for you.
You should also consider how big the tent is when stored. If you have a small car, a tent which takes up the whole trunk might not be the wisest decision. Seek specialist advice, read reviews, and take time over your decision.
A restful night’s sleep
Sleeping outdoors can be very relaxing and somewhat invigorating but not if you’ve only caught a couple of hours’ sleep and been tossing and turning all night. A good night’s sleep can make a big difference to your overall enjoyment of any vacation, so it makes sense to find something comfortable to sleep on.
Lots of seasoned campers sleep on blow-up air pads, but if you want to go the extra mile, there’s a wide range of air beds on the market these days. They will vary in quality and price, but our advice is to buy the best that you can afford. Add a sleeping bag and a few inflatable pillows, and you should sleep like a baby.
If you have space in your vehicle, you may even want to take a duvet and pillows from home to make it feel even more luxurious!
Camping gives a whole new meaning to the phrase eating out. If you intend to make your own meals, a camping stove is a must, as are pans, plates, and cutlery. Plastic plates are a good option as it’s so durable and lasts for years, or enamel is another suitable choice and very traditional in the camping world.
If you don’t want to buy individual items, many camping tableware sets come with everything you could need to make mealtimes easier.
Knives perfect for camping
We’ve already covered cutlery being a must when camping, but there will be times when you need to cut bits of rope, carry out maintenance repairs or even prepare food, so a good, sharp, functional knife is always worth taking along.
A penknife is fabulous as it can be used for many different things and is easily stored. If you feel something a bit heavier duty would be better, you can’t go wrong with a USMC Ka-bar – but you must be very careful as due to their superior quality, they are exceptionally sharp and should only be handled if you know what you are doing!
Camping chairs are a must when you are away – unless, of course, you want to spend much of your time sitting on hard grass! You can pick up budget chairs for next to nothing, but if you intend camping regularly, it probably makes more sense to buy something that is exceptionally comfortable. From bucket-type chairs to those that recline with a built-in footrest, you shouldn’t have any issues finding something to suit.
Entertainment for the kids
If you are going camping with children, the chances are you will find an abundance of things to do and places to explore that will keep them occupied for most of the day. There will, however, also be times when you want to relax by your tent or spend some downtime as a family, so why not bring a pack of cards and a few easy-to-store board games with you to play in the evening.
If you are struggling for space or don’t want to pack anything extra, there are loads of online quizzes and games you can download on your mobiles or tablets that the whole family can enjoy.
I’ve got the power
For a small fee, campsites nowadays offer electricity hook-up facilities as an optional add-on. It’s a great feature to have on your pitch (particularly for beginners to the camping world) as it makes things a little less complicated and arduous. From charging mobile phones to powering an electric cool box, there are many different things that you can use it for. If this is an option on your choice of campsite, take it. It will come in so handy that you are unlikely to regret spending a little bit more.
Pack extra clothing
If you have children, packing extra clothing is even more important as you never know what state they will get into when camping. Climbing trees, paddling in nearby streams, and exploring the area can cause them to get very dirty, so take lots of extra clothes with you. You never know what the weather has in store, so it’s worth taking extra layers just in case things get a little bit chilly.
When night falls…
There may be occasions when you need to take a trip to the bathroom during the night or create extra lighting in your tent, so a flashlight or some other form of lighting is an absolute must. There are lots of solar lighting options that come in very handy and can be used in and around your tent or, if you want a hands-free option for wandering around in the evening, a headtorch is a great idea.
Finding your way around when it’s pitch black isn’t enjoyable nor safe, so to avoid injury, make sure that lighting options are on your list when packing.