New to camping and not sure what kit you actually need? Here is your essential camping checklist.

Heading camping for the first time? Not sure what camping equipment you actually need? Don’t worry, we are here to help. Buying the right camping gear – from tents to stoves – can be a pretty daunting experience, there is so much to choose from. To give you a steer in the right direction, we have compiled a camping checklist with all of the essential camping equipment you need to ensure your adventure is a complete success.

Camping Checklist:

Image: Tommy Lisbin

1. Tent

Spending money on a good tent is well worth it. A cheap tent will often end in disaster – there is nothing worse than spending a night in a leaking tent! You will need to decide what size you want your tent to be. Long-distance hikers and thru-hikers’ main consideration will be weight, while space will be important for a family, for example.

The Best Two-Man Tents on the market 

2. Sleeping bag and sleeping mat

When choosing a sleeping bag it is important to think about the time of year you will be using it. If you plan to camp most of the year round in a moderate climate, a 3-season bag will suffice. However, it would not be suitable for Arctic exploring!

A sleeping mat is also really important as it will be the difference of a good night’s sleep. I love the range of inflatable camping mats from Thermarest – they are light, easy to inflate and very comfortable.

Check out our article on the best sleeping bags and camping mats for a good night’s sleep.

3. Head torch

A head torch will not only provide you with light in the great outdoors, it will also leave your hands free to get on with various campsite tasks like making dinner, gathering wood and building a fire. Head torches are relatively inexpensive items of kit.

4. Lots of layers

This is especially important if you are planning on camping in the UK or Ireland – you can never quite predict the weather, can you?! I always make sure I have a beanie, some merino wool baselayers and cosy socks. My most valuable layer, however, is a lightweight down jacket. They are so light in your pack but offer so much heat, not to mention comfort when temperatures drop.

Check out our round-up of the best lightweight down jackets for more information on what to buy.

5. Camping stove

There are five main types of camping stove on the market – canister, wood burning, solid fuel, alcohol and liquid fuel. All of which have their pros and cons. For me, a canister stove is worth the investment. You will get boiling water super quickly and it is definitely the most convenient. I have popped together a list of pros and cons for each type of camping stove to give you a better idea of which will suit you. You can also check out my round up of the very best camping stoves on the market that money can buy.

6. Camping food

Cooking up a meal fit for a king is a little more challenging in the great outdoors. You need to plan ahead. There are lots of camping specific foods out there that only require boiling water which are great for those on the go. However, they often don’t taste the best. If you are looking for something a little more pleasing to the palate, then it is essential to think through meal options that can be transported, ideally be cooked in a single pot and are lightweight. Pasta for me is always a winner!

7. Camping chair

I was never a big advocate of the camping chair until I came across the Thermarest Treo Camping Chair. This is the most compact chair I have ever come across in my life and super comfortable to boot. Get the full lowdown in our Thermarest Treo Camping chair review.

8. The small but crucial items

Among the most vital camping equipment you can pack are duct tape (you won’t believe how many uses it will have out in the wild), string (air out your clothes on a make shift washing line), and waterproof matches (the waterproof element is VERY important in the UK and Ireland). Also be sure to look closely at the food you have brought with you – a tin of tomatoes won’t be much use without a can opener!!

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