Camping Essentials

Tents

The warmer months are coming and you are planning your next family getaway… A wild camping trip seems the ideal fit, right? It’s cheaper, more fun and you get to be at one with nature with your family. So you take a visit to the shed to whip out your good-old camping gear, but that good-old camping gear is looking more old than good… YIKES! You need new camping gear and a refreshed checklist of camping essentials and you need them now!

Whether you are avid camper with a worn out supply of camping equipment or you are new to camping and don’t know where to start! We’ve got a list of all the camping essentials you’ll need to make your family camping trip perfect!

Supermarket Items

Toilet Paper

Toilet roll is an essential to add to your camping checklist! You will need toilet paper for, well… the toilet! Also useful if you are camping in fields and your child has hay fever

Another top tip is if you have no bins around to put your wasted tissues, use scented disposable nappy bags and then once you are near a waste bin, plonk them all in.

Shower gel

Most, if not nearly all, camping sites and holiday parks have shower blocks you can use but they will not offer you shower gel so always take your own.

Bottled Water

A good rule of thumb is to bring two gallons of water, or about seven and a half liters, per person per day of camping. This amount might sound like a lot of water to you, but remember that it isn’t only for drinking. Having water with wherever you go too is always a good thing, especially if you are going for hikes.

Insect Repellent / Bug Spray

Bugs are everywhere generally but if you are camping you are a lot more exposed as you outdoors 24/7. Insect repellent is always advised. You can get repellent in the form of bug spray which you can spray on your skin or spray for furniture. You can even get bug repellent bracelets too!

Here are some recommendations for insect repellent in the UK…

  • Jungle Formula repellent – Maximum Strength
  • Lifesystems insect repellent
  • Wilko insect repellent
  • Smidge insect repellent – Great for when camping in Scotland, protects against midges.
  • Avon oil spray
  • Incognito insect repellent

Lip Balm

The best lip balms for camping are those that can lock in moisture and have SPF protection. Always make sure to test out the lip balm on your hand and wait for 10-15 minutes in case you have any allergic reactions. 

 

Brands like Carmex are easily accessible in supermarkets, drug stores and online – and it is cheap too! Make sure to get the Carmex lip balm with SPF. The lip balm also has some fruit-scented flavours like cherry, vanilla, and winter mint which might make your kids want to wear it more!

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Lip Balm is also a good option. It protects the thinner layer of your lip skin and is perfectly portable! The main ingredient in its formula is shea butter which is a natural fat commonly used in cosmetics due to its intensive moisturizing capabilities.

Burt’s Bees is another popular choice of lip balm. Made from natural beeswax, this lip balm is more suited to cooler temperatures as it unfortunately does not have SPF. Its other ingredients include coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, peppermint, lanolin, rosemary leaf extract, soybean oil, canola oil, and limonene.

Aluminium Foil

You can do many things with this basic household item while you are camping. Here are all the different ways you can use aluminium foil in your cooking…

Steaming Pouch

If you want to steam your meat & vegetables for tea, all you need is a 1-foot-square piece of aluminum foil, your camping fire or stove, and either water or oil that you will put inside the aluminum steaming pouch. Just fold the edges when you’ve added your meat, vegetable and oil and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Frying Pan

Two sheets of foil, each one foot long, can be stacked and the perimeter folded upward to create a square-shaped pan. Make the side walls one to two inches tall and use a metal grate to hold your frying pan over the flames of your small fire. Add a few spoonfuls of oil and add you food inside. As the aluminum frying pan is fragile so stir fry’s are not advised.

Cook Pot

Use two or three foil sections, and fold the side walls taller than you did on the frying pan. Now you have a cooking pot. Put the pot on a grill over the fire and boil your water, simmer a soup, or cook up a wild food stew.

Foil Oven

For this foil trick, build up a bed of coals in the campfire. Shovel the coals off to one side and place an 8-inch-square piece of foil on the ground in the fire pit. Stab a finger-thick, foot-long piece of wood through the foil (pinning it to the ground). Skewer a piece of chicken or a small squab on the wooden stake.

Now, wrap the foil all around this “chicken on a stick” so it resembles a silver cone sitting on the ground. Surround the base of the cone with the coals, adding a few more coals around the cone every 20 minutes. Bake for one hour, or until the chicken is falling off the stake (which is the reason for the foil on the ground).

Cream for bug bites

Hydrocortisone cream is the best cream to use for bug bites. Hydrocortisone is an Anti-inflammatory topical cream which can be used to help minimise itching, redness and swelling. You can buy Hydrocortisone at supermarkets!

You can also use and Oral antihistamine. Antihistamines work to counter the effects of the natural histamine produced by your body.

You should always Water & soap available to you while camping as it is the first thing you should use when bitten. An ice pack is also recommended too.

Sun cream

You should be wearing sunscreen everyday no matter what the weather. Factor 30 – 50 are the best coverages to buy and you should re-apply this every few hours throughout the day if you are constantly outside.

La Roche Posay – This suncream is fast absorbing with a milky texture that doesn’t leave a white cast on your face and it is also non-greasy. It’s available online and in high street stores like Boots.

Super Goop – This sunscreen has a gel-like texture, is non-greasy and is clear, so it works well on all skin tones.

CeraVe – This is a great pocket sized sun cream you can take everywhere with you on your travels, and it is non-greasy.

Camping Gear

Sleeping Bags

If you are camping with kids and they are different ages and sizes they will need either a child size or baby sized sleeping bag. Check out our kids sleeping bag blog for more information.

Camp Bed

If you aren’t comfortable sleeping in your sleeping bag on the floor then there are always camp beds! A camp bed is a narrow bed for an adult. It is made of canvas fitted over a frame, and you can fold it up. You take it with you when you go camping, and you can even use it as a spare bed at home.

Picnic Table

The tabletop surface should be approximately between 2′ and 3′ in height and width and 6′ to 8′ in length. For a standard aluminum picnic table, the bench should measure approximately 1.5′ from the ground.

A camping picnic table is a portable table that folds up and folds out seamlessly. They are easy to pack into your car and to fold out when having your meals in the daytime.

Camping Mat

A sleeping mat is almost as important as a sleeping bag, since it is mainly this that separates you from the cold ground. When you lie in your sleeping bag the insulation is compressed, making it ineffective at retaining warm air as most is pushed out.

Camper’s Stove

Camping cooking equipment is another obvious essential to take with you especially if you are going wild camping, rather than staying at a holiday resort.

Camping Light

  • Solar String Lights
  • Rope Lights
  • Collapsible Solar Lanterns
  • A Lantern That Doesn’t Collapse
  • Battery Operated Lantern
  • Torch

As the sun goes down on your tent in the middle of nowhere a good camping light would be useful. You can choose from a different range of camping lights. Here are some options:

Camp Shower

If you are a family of wild campers or you are an experienced camper you’ll be familiar with a camp shower. Available to buy on Amazon and other online shops, this type of shower is helpful when it comes to washing your pets, cleaning your cooking utensils and gear as well as keeping clean yourself. You can even find solar powered camping showers to take with you on your travels.

Tin Opener

Very standard camping essential which you don’t even have to buy if you already have one in your kitchen draw at home!

Air Mattress

The best air mattress you can buy is SoundAsleep series mattresses. This mattress is extra durable, eco-friendly, has ComfortCoil Technology and has SureGrip on the bottom for extra stability. However, it is quite expensive ranging from £70 – £110. Alternatively, if you have a mattress that is comfortable, waterproof and doesn’t slip and slide everywhere then that will be fine too.

This camping essential is needed for comfort but it is important to consider multiple factors when choosing your air mattress. If you are a family of outdoor enthusiasts and go camping regularly you’ll want a n air mattress that is durable, waterproof and comfortable.

Air Pump

Air pumps are great for blowing up air mattresses as opposed to using your own lungs! Air pumps have really advanced from your standard foot pumps and man-powered ones to electric powered miniature ones like the FLEXTAILGEAR TINY PUMP, Halfords Battery Powered Air Pump and the Domestic Gale 12V Electric Pump.  Some of these have a USB cord so taking charger port would be another essential camping item to take with you.

Spare batteries

If you haven’t got solar powered equipment or a portable charger make sure to take batteries with you and have another pack spare to just in case!

Portable Charger

Your mobile phone is always an essential tool regardless of camping. If ever you get lost, can’t find someone or need to google something quickly to solve a problem you phone is your go to. So, it’s worth investive in a portable charger to make sure your phone is always on full battery in case of an emergency. Most phone chargers have a USB port so anything else that requires charging can be used on here too, not just your phone.

Pillow

A very obvious camping staple, after all you don’t want to rest your head on the hard cold ground!

Mallet, spare pegs and puller

These are you essential camping tools which you can buy from camping & outdoors shops. They may even come with the tent that you choose to buy. You need each of these things to build your tent and ensure it has a stable structure.

Sewing Kit

Sewing kits are useful in emergencies like if you tent tears or an item of warm clothing does. Afterall the last thing you want is a tear letting all the cold in during a chilly night! Here’s everything you should include in your travel sewing kit…

  • Hand sewing needles.
  • Thread – most sewing kits come with at least six basic thread colors. Black. White. Red. Blue. Green. Brown.
  • Needle threader.
  • Scissors.
  • Tape measure.
  • Thimble

Cups, Pans, Cutlery

To go with your portable stove, you’ll need some portable kitchen utensils to match. Flasks are alway a go to, you can store water & soup in them as they keep your drinks/food hot & cold.

It’s always best to buy camping pots and pans that save space which is why the EuroHike Trek 2 Person Cook Set is so great. Each pot and pan fits within the other like a Russian Doll!

At Argos you can buy a camping cookset set that contains two sizes of mess tins, a lid doubling as a plate, knife with bottle opener and a fork and spoon all for £8! This savvy set is called Summit Stainless Steel Tiffin Camping Cook Set.

Cool Bag or Cool Box?

Cool bags are deemed more suitable for camping as you can fill them up and fold them down creating more room for you when packing. They are lighter to carry too which is good to know if you are going to touring around different places.

Fire Starter

Fire starters are used instead of matches or gas fueled lighters to light a fire. They are handy as an emergency fire starter in case your matches get wet. The types are flint and steel, and magnesium fire starters.

Pocket Knife

Pocket knives are a camping essential for experienced campers who tend to cut rope, make kindling, and even start a fires using them. Ideally, the only other need for a pen knife while camping would be for cutting food.

Hot water bottle

For those chilly nights, hot water bottles will be your saviour. Just remember to look for these 3 things when buying a hot water bottle:

  • Material: Generally, hot water bottles consist of rubber but they can give off a funny smell. For those who are allergic to latex and don’t like the rubbery smell thermoplastic hot water bottles are the way to go.
  • Covers: Always get a cover for your hot water bottle otherwise your skin will burn.
  • Texture: Ribbed hot water bottles spread heat more evenly, while a smoother textured bottle provides a more targeted heat source.

Clothing

Rain jacket

You’ll need a waterproof jacket as it is a camping essential, especially when camping in the UK! It’s important to remember the difference between waterproof jackets and water resistant jackets when shopping for yourself and your children.

Waterproof – Material that is impermeable to water. This means that no matter how much time it spends in water, it will not seep through the material. Think of a plastic bag for example – water isn’t getting through that material.

Water resistant – Water resistant jackets can only stand up to so much rain therefore water will eventually get through the clothing and onto your skin. An example of water resistant material would be canvas.

Hiking footwear

Hiking boots are the best option for footwear when going camping however if you don’t have a pair of these you don’t need to run to the nearest outdoors store. A solid pair of running shoes that you can lace up will do. Shoes that cannot be laced up such as moccasins, Birkenstocks, or slip-ons are not good option!

Hiking pants / hiking trousers

If you are planning to go hiking on your camping trip, then hiking trousers are one of many wild camping essentials you will need. Hiking pants are perfect for long walks, climbing and any other outdoor activity you have planned with your family. They are worth it because they are comfortable, lightweight, and dry quickly. They also keep your legs cool as they are made from a breathable material!

We hope you’ve found this camping checklist useful and if you need any more advice or tips & hacks head to out Parenting page! If you are looking for more camping holiday inspiration check out our latest blogs like Dog Friendly Campsites Cornwall and the Best Camping Holiday Parks.