I’m a big list person. Without them I’d forgot a lot, so going on holiday definitely needs a list. But going camping for the first time in years, I was initially a bit stumped on what equipment I’d need. There are some key camping essentials you don’t want to forget. Some might see them as luxury, but when you get past your 20s camping, you might want a bit more luxury and mod cons with you.
Beforehand going camping for the first time as a proper adult, I asked around work colleagues who were camping fans, and had a search online. Tents were a nightmare to choose because there were so many, and all the reviews were different. There weren’t that many helpful guides on what you needed to take. One was brilliant…if you were going wild camping. But the others were a mish mash not really providing a full guide.
I thought I had everything I’d need, but of course once you’re camping you think of other things that you wish you had.
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So I’ve pulled together my Essential Camping List available to download. The list has the usual items (based on camping and having your car to transport it in), plus some more unusual items you might not immediately think of.
The additional useful items:
Dustpan and brush – for cleaning out the tent before putting it down
Door mat – for inside the tent (outside one would also be useful)
Windbreak – to provide a separator and confined area between your tent and the next
Gazebo* – or something to cook under if the weather is bad. Make sure you’ve plenty of spare guy ropes (or string)
Tables – I took one, but realistically you need 2 – one to cook on and one to eat at unless all the family are good at eating off their laps. Some campsites have them to use – either snaffle the free ones, or you may need to pay.
Bucket or washing up bowl – I used our bucket to transport the washing up to the washing area, but also as a bin transporter
Something to show your tent if it’s a huge campsite – flag, or we used solar light poles by the entrance
Clothes horse – if you’ve got a large enough tent, or a washing line facility of some kind.
Baby wipes – for wiping up everything
Potty – if you have children who still wake in the night it might be easier to use a potty behind the tent rather than trekking to the toilet block
Lip salve – my lips were so dry by the end of the holiday. This is an essential.
Money – if you’re planning on going out and about, take plenty of change for parking. I’d thought I could call up or use an app, but in several places they didn’t have that ability.
Pegs – good for pegging towels and swim wear to windbreaks or guy ropes.
The only problem with camping is having a car big enough. Ours was packed and there was only 2 of us in the car. I’d catered for both of us having enough clothes for each day, and did pretty much wear all of it. I didn’t want to do washing and drying while we were on holiday, but that is an alterrnative to reduce the amount of packing.
If you want to look like a camping pro or pretty up your tent, bunting always looks pretty. Pop several flags up (this seems be more prevalent with caravanners and motorhomes). Or fairy lights* inside or out.
At least with a car and not being too far from civilisation we could just nip to the shops and pick up anything we needed. Plus going camping with friends mean you can split packing if you’re sharing certain items.
What is on your camping essentials list?
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