camping checklist

A big part of the joy of camping is stripping things back to basics and escaping the trappings of modern-day life. You may want to travel light for the best experience – packing everything including the kitchen sink may seem like a safe bet, but you’ll likely regret it when you come home after a relaxing trip away and need to unpack – and clean – all your worldly belongings.

That being said, we’ve probably all kicked ourselves at some point for forgetting an important item! You don’t want to arrive and realise you’ve left behind something that would have made your trip easier or more enjoyable.

To help you prepare for a fun camping trip, we’ve put together a camping checklist of essential items. When adventure calls, tick off these items to cover the four main priorities of sleep, comfort, cooking and survival!


Ahhh, a peaceful night under the stars… surely you’re guaranteed a blissful slumber?! Not if you don’t have the right equipment! Without getting a good night’s sleep, you’re not going to be able to enjoy your trip, so to avoid waking like a bear with a sore head, make sure you pack the basics for comfort, warmth and protection.

A tent is the obvious item to remember. Coming in different shapes and sizes, make sure you pick one that’s right for the number of people camping together, and the type of camping trip you’re taking. If you’ll need to carry it some distance to your perfect pitch, choose something lightweight and easy to pack. Bear in mind that a one-man tent caters for one person to sleep inside, but it doesn’t necessarily accommodate storage or an under-canvas living space, so think about how much room you’ll want.

One of our favourite tents is the Vango Helvellyn 200. A two-man tent designed for trekking, it has a great strength to weight ratio and benefits from a porch that can be opened in different ways for multiple functions. Check before you leave home that you’ve packed the tent pegs and a mallet for hammering them in.

Once your shelter is sorted, you’ll need a comfortable bed for the night. You’ll find a variety of options on the market for a makeshift mattress, ranging from a simple foam sleeping mat to a full-blown airbed. Our advice, if you want comfort without compromising on packing space, is to go for an inflating sleeping mat like the Exped Synmat. It will offer decent insulation from the cold ground, it has an integrated pump, so you don’t need to carry a separate one along, and it’s nice and compact.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to climb inside a sleeping bag that’s warm and easy to wear. Choose one that’s suited to the climate by selecting the right season rating and look for features like a draught collar, a full-length zip and an adjustable hood. Starlight II by Mountain Equipment is a great choice for spring and summer camping.


There’s a long list of items you could take for ultimate comfort, but if you’re looking for a camping experience rather than glamping, it’s more about the little things that make a big difference.

Taking along a camping chair can set you up for pleasant campsite relaxation and, if you want to settle in for the night or enjoy a laidback day at camp, a simple pack of playing cards or travel game can provide some welcome entertainment.

Don’t let the sun go down on your fun – take along a tent light and enjoy the great outdoors for longer on an evening. When you’re venturing out to the toilet block before bed, you’ll also thank yourself for packing a torch or headlamp to guide the way.  Check out our range of torches and lights on our camping accessories page.

If your camping style is more remote, or you don’t want to take any chances, having your own roll of toilet paper can feel like five-star luxury! Your toiletry bag should also include sun cream and insect repellent to avoid any unnecessary discomfort, and don’t forget a towel.

Getting back to basics, there’s often nothing more uncomfortable than having wet, cold clothing, so make sure you’ve packed appropriate camping clothes. For the right kind of wardrobe, think hiking gear: a waterproof jacket and trousers, thermals for sleeping, fast-drying layers for temperature control, a hat, and plenty of spare underwear and socks.  


Sizzling sausages over the campfire and melting marshmallows on a stick are golden memories of camping holidays! Cooking and eating alfresco should be a highlight, and it’s super easy if you have the right camping cooking essentials.

A classic camping stove like Go Systems Venture will give you powerful cooking fuel for mealtimes and, as a bare minimum, you’ll benefit from taking a camping kettle for making that glorious morning brew.

For the full outdoor dining experience, add pots, pans, cooking utensils, and cutlery to your list. If you’re planning to take or store fridge items while you’re off-grid, don’t forget to pack a cool box. And, don’t get caught out by forgetting a tin opener or bottle opener!

Finally, you may be on holiday but some chores never rest – remember to take washing up items, a tea towel, and some rubbish bags, so you leave nothing behind but happy memories.


You may not be going on a wild Bear Grylls adventure, but you do not to be prepared with basic survival gear.

Check ahead with the campsite to see what provisions will be there – many have drinkable water, but you’ll benefit from a water carrier to save you making endless trips every time you make a brew. If not, make sure you take your own plentiful supply and, either way, a personal water bottle is a must.

Even if you’re not planning on camp-style cooking, taking a fire starter kit will mean you can keep warm at twilight, and a Swiss army knife comes in handy for more than just meal prep – it’s a useful tool for cutting rope, sawing wood and making camp repairs.

Last but not least, we can’t stress enough how important it is to pack a first aid kit. Be prepared for any unexpected mishaps or minor medical needs when you’re far from home.

If you’re missing any items on our camping checklist, take a look at our full range of camping gear, equipment and accessories for our full range of products that will help you to get the most out of your outdoor adventure.

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