What to Take on a Camping Trip (and What to Leave at Home!)

Tue 9 January, 2018

The trick to a successful camping holiday is knowing what to take and what to leave behind. Taking everything including the kitchen sink inevitably leads to a cramped journey in an over-packed car and a chaotic mess in your tent or caravan. However, there are certain essential items that provide convenience and home comforts so you can “enjoy” rather than “endure” your family camping holiday to the full. Here’s our recommended camping trip checklist for you to consider!

Camping Essentials

One of the things that earns its place on your tent camping checklist is a sturdy cool box. It will keep food fresh if you have a replaceable ice pack each day and it provides an insect-free, watertight storage container to act as a pantry. Those enjoying a caravan holiday will probably have a gas refrigerator as part of their kitchen appliances, but a cool box is still handy for transporting picnics to the beach or providing hygienic air-tight storage for bread, fruit, veggies, cheese, yoghurt and milk. A few zip-loks or plastic bags will solve all your food storage problems and a pack of handy wet wipes takes up almost no space at all.

Camp chairs are now so light and portable that even hikers can include them on their UK camping trip. Choose beach/camping chairs that are a sensible height for comfort yet fold down to a compact set of tubular rods that convert to a backpack for easy transportation. Many holiday parks provide picnic tables, but having your own camp chairs means you can relax in your own private area, or take your chairs to the local park, open-air swimming pool or beach.

It’s worth investing in quality multipurpose cooking pots as self-catering is far more economical and fun than eating out each day, especially for family camping. Sporks (spoon forks) are ideal for every meal from breakfast cereal to bangers and beans. You will need a spreader and a kitchen knife for opening packaging, cutting bread and spreading peanut butter and jam. It’s best to bring them along, especially if you are wild camping, as caravan parks may not stock them in their shop.You’ll also need a metal fork or skewer for toasting marshmallows or making campfire toast – plastic does have its limitations! If you’re celebrating, one-serving cartons, cans or wine-in-a-box are easier to open and store than bottles. 

When camping in the UK, a source of light is essential for trips to the bathroom, reading after dark and cooking. Strap-on battery headlights (the sort plumbers use for working in dark confined spaces) are particularly effective and less intrusive. They also attract less moths! And while we’re talking about trips to the shower block, a pair of slip-on shoes, crocs or flip-flops are ideal for keeping outside your tent or caravan door.  

What Not to Pack for a Camping Trip

Things you can definitely leave behind are books (you can download an ebook onto any electronic device with free software), fancy clothes (even UK campsites with clubhouses tend to have a casual dress code) and valuables. Leave behind designer luggage and anything that you would be upset about getting lost or damaged. 

When it comes to clothing, layers of multipurpose clothing are key. You don’t have to have pyjamas and matching accessories for every outfit. In fact, most fellow campers you’ll meet on UK campsites will be wearing the same clothes every day! 

In short, when you pack for a camping trip, everything must be multipurpose to earn its place on your checklist of camping essentials. Happy packing!

Once you are packed be sure to browse, find and book your perfect camping destination in the UK and Ireland on CampStead.com