Camping Gear – Tent and the basics

Camping shops sell a wide range of camping gear and camping accessories, only a few of which are essential. If you pack camping carpet you need to ask yourself if you have the right hobby. We pack as light as possible because it makes pitching and striking from campgrounds easier and quicker: maximum utility, minimum weight.

Vaude badawi tent in Lake District

Vaude badawi tent in Lake District

Before rushing out to buy the biggest tent in the shop, bear in mind that some of the more interesting campsites are quite small and will refuse entry or charge more for an enormo-tent. At festivals, a big tent can be a massive problem, as it will be far too heavy to lug from the car park and you won’t necessarily have a large enough pitch for it. Nearly all the family tents on sale play to the delusion that you are buying a house, in which square footage is important and weight irrelevant. You are not buying a house. You are camping because you want to be outdoors, not because you want to cover the outdoors in a giant bag. A well-designed family tent should have headroom in the living area, but low ceilings in the bedrooms to trap heat.

A sheet of tarpaulin strung from a tree means you can cook in drizzly weather, and offers breezy shade when the sun is out.

All-in-one suits and wellies for toddlers, all-in-one suits for babies, and waterproof jackets for everyone else. If you don’t want to wear waterproof trousers, then change into shorts. Walking boots or wellies are essential, especially at festivals, where the mud can be biblical.

Picnic rug
If you don’t want to bother with a table and chairs, take a plastic-backed picnic rug.

Table and chairs
We used to camp without a table and chairs, using a rug instead. After five years of eating off the ground, Math’s longing for a chair was so intense I was concerned that he would resort to theft. I found flat pieces of reinforced plastic that slid unobtrusively into my rucksack and could be folded into small stools, about six inches high, but the spectacle of him squatting on them only added to Math’s indignity and sense of failure as a man. Once we switched to camping with a car, he bought himself the biggest chair in the shop.

Cooking Matches
Long matches to light fires, stoves and barbecues. A cigarette lighter is not always suitable.

Ordnance Survey map of the area
Math is a great believer in the importance of orientating ourselves upon this earth.

Don’t forget to take a big warm jumper; whatever the season, it gets cold at night. At bedtime, stuff the jumper into a pillowcase and rest your head upon it.

Cath’s camping gear checklist:
Camping Gear – Tent and the basics

Camping Gear – Camping cookware

Camping Gear – Food and drink

Camping Gear – Hygiene

Camping Gear – Sleeping bags and camping lanterns

  2 comments for “Camping Gear – Tent and the basics

  1. June 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I enjoyed reading the post on cooking but you’ve ruined it a bit with your rather restrictive definition of what classes as camping.

    Camping covers a very wide range of activities (backpacking to campervans and beyond) and trying to limit it to people in small tents cooking over campfires really doesn’t do it justice.

    We’ve just sold our ‘enormo-tent’ (and it’s carpet which made it nice and warm inside) and bought something else (with a floor and a kitchen) but it’s still (mostly) canvas. When the lightening was lighting it up at 3am on our last trip is sure felt like camping to me.

  2. Harold Giumarro
    April 9, 2013 at 7:07 am

    These are basic simple things to think about. Your camping equipment needs will vary depending on where you will be camping. Camping on the beach has different needs then camping in the mountains. You should always start your foray into camping small. Take a day trip somewhere close to your home. Check out the surroundings and the camp sites. Get an understanding of what the equipment needs will be.,

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