Essential camping gear: Equipment, tents and tools for your trip
For your first trip after lockdown rules start to lift, make sure you have these essentials packed
In the the next stage to the government's roadmap to easing lockdown, the prime minister Boris Johnson announced that from 4 July, people in England will be able to stay overnight at holiday and second homes, as well as book stays at hotels, caravan parks and campsites.
Families from two different households will also be allowed to congregate inside as long as social distancing measures are observed. These measures have been eased from 2m to 1m-plus.
For campsites and caravan parks, this was welcome news as it allows them to reopen just in time for the summer season. Boris Johnson warned that shared facilities on these sites will need to be kept clean to reopen safely.
Whether you＊re an avid camper or are looking to do so for the first time, we＊ve put together a guide for all products you need to be well-equipped for sleeping under the stars. For our full IndyBest reviews, visit our camping section.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Adequate shelter when camping is the most important part to any outdoor trip. If you plan on camping with family members, a bigger tent will always be beneficial. The larger styles available have internal space that you can use for resting or running around. They will also provide a safe haven for everyone if it's raining, along with storage space to keep your things dry.
Look for features that will enhance your camping experience, such as a built-in awning for shade, a porch for wellies, brightly coloured guy ropes to avoid any tripping and double zips on sleeping compartments.
Typically the larger the tent, the heavier it is, so keep that in mind if you＊re going to be lugging children＊s toys and board games from the car to the campsite.
If there＊s few of you or a group of just adults, an inflatable tent may be worth your while to make setting up much quicker and the tent far lighter to carry. However, they tend not to be as sturdy as an old fashioned pole construction, so check the weather forecast for your camping trip before you make a purchase to avoid a blustery night＊s sleep.
If you choose the pole style set up, don＊t forget to pack a mallet to secure your tent to the ground, as you don＊t want the wind to try and take your tent while you sleep.
Instead of being pole-based, its structure is made from air beams which were lightweight and easy to set up, with three adjacent queen-sized bedrooms, a living room and awning inside.
If you do end up in the middle of a downpour, our reviewer found there was lots of room space separate to the sleeping areas, and enough room to store muddy wellies without dirtying the rest of the tent.
They said: ※There are loads of pockets in the bedrooms, and because the dividers roll up you can change the layout to suit your family 每 to create one big room for parents and a crib, for example, and another room for an older child.
"All this plus the little touches 每 like the cable entry point for wires you want to run from the hook-up, and the light-blocking lining and curtains 每 made this our best buy.§
An uncomfortable night's rest can ruin a trip, so invest in the right sleeping bag and doze off in an instant.
Sleeping bags come in two shapes 每 mummy and rectangular 每 and are often rated by comfort and season. The comfort rating indicates the coldest ambient temperature at which you＊ll be comfortable, while the season rating tells you the time of year the bag is most suitable for. Getting this right is important, especially as British summertime can still mean chilly evenings.
We loved the Thermarest vesper 32 (Ultra Light Outdoor Gear, ?259.99) which is as close as you＊ll get to your quilt at home, without the weight, size or extra heat.
Once packed down, it＊s no bigger than a small water bottle and weighs a nifty 15oz, so won＊t add any extra strain to your car boot.
Despite its compact size, it still delivers insulation to keep you warm when night-time temperatures start to fall.
Sleeping bag liners
Often dismissed as an unnecessary extra, a sleeping bag liner can provide relief as a lightweight travel sheet when it＊s hot, or act as a layering piece to keep you warm in colder months. It will also add a bit of extra padding, which is always a plus if you don't have the luxury of lush grass beneath you.
A decent liner will help your bag last longer, providing protection from sweat and dirt, which is ideal if you＊re camping for longer periods of time.
This Cocoon merino wool mummy liner (Add Nature, ?87.99), impressed us with its luxuriousness, spacious feeling and softness against our reviewer's skin.
It's made with merino wool, which has antibacterial properties. This means it can last longer in between washes.
If a night in the wilderness relying on a humble sleeping bag isn＊t for you, another option is an air bed.
They＊re just as lightweight and portable, but are more raised from the floor, so will feel closer to the real deal.
The best one we tried is the Coleman extra durable double air bed (Amazon, ?60.17). Our reviewer said that "It is just the right height for comfort without being so high you get the air bed wobble; it＊s perfectly firm and about as close to a real bed as you can get on a camping trip."
Inflation can be done with a 12v car pump or a rechargeable battery pump, so kicking off your adventure with a sturdy bed is simple. They are easy to foldaway and pack up too.
There＊s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night needing the toilet and scrambling around in the dark to find the tent door, or if you＊re unlucky enough to still be setting up your tent after the sun has set.
This is why you should never head off on a camping trip without a torch. Look for a long-lasting model that delivers good quality light to illuminate your space.
Weighty and water-resistant, it will add a noticeable difference to your camping rucksack, but is a worthwhile investment. It＊s made from a water-resistant material and is rechargeable, although our reviewer noted that its eco mode meant that the battery lasted for days.
Campsite cooking may have you conjuring up images of burnt marshmallows and charred bake beans, but thanks to the advancement of tools at your disposal, these days you can even bring a pop up kitchen sink that can be used to chop vegetables and dice kebab meat.
While it won＊t be gourmet cooking, it can be pretty close if you shop smart. In our guide to camping cook gear, we found several products that are must-haves.
Our best buy was the Trangia 27-8 stove hard anodised pans with kettle (Alpine Trek, ?91.95). Bringing a complete cooking system may feel excessive but trust us, it's worth it.
It packs away ingeniously into a single pot, so there won＊t be random pots and pans floating around the rest of your belongings, and it's made from hard anodised aluminium, which will protect it from bumps and scrapes.
You＊ll be surprised at how light it is too, despite the whole kit containing a kettle, two pans, a frying pan and a windshield. Whether you want to use it for simmering, sauteing or gently boiling coffee, this set does it all.
Camping-appropriate cutlery is another piece of kit worth investing in, rather than trying to prep and eat food with blunt knives. This Opinel nomad cooking kit (Cyclaire Shop, ?51.98), is by a French knife manufacturer that has created a set of three folding knives specifically for cooking in the great outdoors, with serrated edges for bread-cutting and peelers for vegetables.
Along with knives comes a cutting board and quick-drying microfibre cloth to raise your cooking and cleaning game.
For reviews, visit our IndyBest camping section
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