With summer in full swing, now’s the perfect time to pitch a tent and spend a few days exploring the outdoors.
Planning a camping trip may not be as relaxing as staring into a flickering campfire but there’s a good reason why you should put some thought into what you pack. With few of the usual creature comforts of home available at campsites, neglecting to bring an important item could turn your much looked-forward-to getaway into a damp squib.
Avoid holiday misery with our handy checklist.
Obviously, you’ll need a tent (or tents) big enough to accommodate your party. If you already have one, dust it off and check it before you travel as you may have forgotten that tear from your last adventure needs to be patched up. You should also set it up and pour water over it to ensure it’s still weatherproof. If your tent is new, practice pitching it at home first so you know exactly what you’re doing when you arrive at the campsite.
Check you have all the poles, mallets, pegs and groundsheets you need to keep your tent upright. Bring spares too.
If you want to protect your back and get a comfortable night’s sleep, an airbed or sleeping mat and some comfy pillows are essential. If you don’t want to mess about with pumps, then you may want to invest in self-inflating roll-up mats and pillows. You could also opt for a camp bed if you want to be raised off the ground. Don’t forget sleeping bags too - you can get mummy sleeping bags for ultimate warmth, couples’ bags and ones in junior sizes.
If lounging on the ground isn’t your thing, pack portable camping chairs and a table to create an air of civilisation in the great wide open and a perfect spot for socialising and al fresco dining.
If you plan on cooking, you’ll need a stove or a barbecue, gas or charcoal and some matches or a lighter. You’ll also need pots, pans, utensils, crockery, cutlery and water containers. A basin, some bin bags, a coolbox, a tin opener and a bottle opener should also come in useful.
City dwellers may be surprised by how dark it can get in the countryside. Pack a few lanterns, torches and headlamps to help you stay safe on those night-time trips to the loo and make rooting around for your pj's easy.
If caveman-style camping doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll need power supplies. Whether you plan on Instagramming your trip via your smartphone or you’re hoping to use a handheld GPS for hiking, you’ll need a portable electronics charger to keep your devices topped up with juice. Or if you just can’t live without a morning brew from your instant boil kettle, make sure you have a mobile mains kit to get power from an electric hook up.
Health and safety
To keep you and your family healthy and happy, take all your usual medicines, a first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen and after sun. Stay clean with antibacterial hand sanitiser, body wash, wet wipes and toilet roll too.
Waterproof duct tape
Whether you need to mend a rip in your groundsheet or your waterproof fishing trousers, this stuff is bound to come in handy.
Tent poles, fishing gear, golf clubs, bikes and other such equipment can take its toll on the upholstery of your car boot. Protect it with a boot liner so memories of your trip aren’t imprinted on your vehicle forever.