Recommend me the essential camping equipment for a first timer!

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  • Recommend me the essential camping equipment for a first timer!
  • piemonster

    Sleeping bags


    Sleeping bags or duvets for the kids? I thought just duvets might be best?

    Premier Icon kayak23

    If you’re staying at proper sites you won’t need a portable toilet as they mostly have all that covered.
    Keep it simple, don’t try to take every little thing you have at home.
    Great food.
    Duvets will do but can be bulky. Plus you need something to be under you, it’s not nice just lying with skin on airbed.

    sleeping bags definitely.

    Adds to the adventure for the kids.


    Essentials are:
    Tent (arguably)
    Sleeping bag
    Portable loo ie folding spade
    Cooker ie box of matches
    Cooking utensil ie penknife
    Cooking pot.

    For what you plan I would suggest you need some intent entertainment for the kids in the event of bad weather and also full waterproofs for the kids crankbrat has a puddle suit so we can kick him out of the tent when ever we or he feel like it . We take a few books and will take drawing things in future to keep him entertained.

    A table seems a waste of space but folding directors chairs add a touch of comfort and class over sitting on the ground .

    For cooking we have used a single burner that we got for light weight camping but I would suggest you get one of the double ones go for something flat and stable.

    Also required is a sence of humour and a bit of the spirit of the blitz.


    For the 1st holiday you might want to try and do as cheapo as poss coz it’s not everybodys cup of tea, and the cup of tea is likely to be significantly weather impacted, irritatingly if you buy good kit it generally makes camping more fun.

    – what about portable bbqs (foil ones – and two bricks etc to save the grass)
    – get airbeds/mattresses etc and just use current bedding (*assuming quilts) – take pillows – I’ve camped for years and maily use a quilt
    – can you pick a campsite with a cafe etc as some do this and with a nearby town for pub/chippie etc facilities
    – if there is a nearby supermarket nip out get hot X, salad, coleslaw etc etc etc
    cooker is handy for morning coffee etc, if you have two rings design meals to suit – ie 2 pan meals (pad with takeaway chips etc)|(I use a 2 ring gaz with 907 cylinder)
    – torches, led lights etc

    re loo – pick a campsite with decent loos, showers and washup facilities

    take some bin liners (for wet stuff) and have rules about where wet stuff/people can and can’t go – ie not near bedding etc etc
    you can usually tie a clothes line between tent/car and if you hang stuff on a car on a sunny day it dries quickly(shut doors on it to stop it blowing away)

    sorry bout this, old fuddy duddy lecture – do NOT EVER change a gas cycinder in tent or near people, if you do cook in tent all people should be nearer the door than the cooker/not blocked by cooker, and do NOT put a smoldering bbq anywhere near/in tent drown it in water and leave well away


    It’s not essential but I would miss my jetboil nearly as much as my pillow 😉


    Defos sleeping bags if the bags are too long you can fold the unoccupied bit under. More of an adventure and more practical and comfortable than duvets.


    Deffo sleeping bags for kids – if the duvet comes off there’s nothing worse than cols unhappy kids in a tent – there are lots of reasonable kids bags – check out Decathlon.

    If you get a stove, get one with 2 rings and a grill, a grill makes life so much nicer.

    If you can stand in your tent, cooking at a table/camp kitchen is so much nicer.

    You can get a good roll up table that is easy to pack and again is a bit easier than the floor.

    Use cheap thermal mats with a couple of car blankets over them rather than airbeds, airbeds conduct heat away and do go down over night, sacked ours halfway through a week away and never used them since. And there’s nothing more irritating than the whirr of air pumps in a peaceful campsite!

    Take wet weather clothing, waterproofs, wellies, etc – kids can still play outside in the rain if they have the right gear.

    EDIT: And pillows, pillows are just a nice bit of luxury. As has been said ^^^^ sleeping bags can be shortened, we use to use a luggage strap to nip the bag off to just the right length when out two were a bit small for their kids bags, a luggage strap or belt works a treat.


    +1 for sleeping bag number one coplaint fro customers over the years when i working in a camping shop i was cold she was cold he was cold you know the ones remebber you have no double glazing central heating insulation lots easier to cool down than get warm if your cold

    sleeping bags and airbeds as a minumum selfinflating mats if your budget can stretch to it

    if your local to leeds i may be able to put you in touch with somone who has some GAZ 907 bottles for sale cheap


    Cheers guys. Good point about the kid suits not thought of that, really good idea.

    I’m quite excited but my wife isn’t!


    Planning to try out camping for a family holiday. So, bought a second hand tent and cooker off a friend and a portable loo 🙂

    Have two children (3 and 4).

    What are the camping essentials? Thinking…

    Inflatable beds for the kids
    Table and chair set
    Light for night tim
    Cooker – but what type?

    What else?

    Apart from the night in a b&b when it rains and everyone is miserable?! Don’t want to spend a fortune as just starting it.


    enjoy and make the most of it


    For the first trip or two, try not to go all Swiss Family Robinson on it – maybe aim to do a simple breakfast, bacon & scrambled eggs or something and eat out in the evenings – trying to do everything in one go on your first trip might be a bit overwhelming given you’ve got two kids to mind as well. You’ll also see what other people are using and be able to decide what you do and don’t want.

    If you like nice coffee, then, try one of those premium instant microground coffees – they’re not too bad and you haven’t the hassle of grounds around the place.

    If missus rob2 is being dragged along, then for jesus’ sake, make sure she won’t be cold – this is the most miserable thing that new campers experience. Being cold overnight makes you feel terrible for the rest of the day. So, duvets, warm sleeping bags. DO NOT use gas stoves as a heater (I’m sure you probably realise this but you’d be surprised…).



    as above, sleeping bags and decent self inflating mats, we got some from argos, pretty good. we take a couple of the old camping mats as well, most of the cold comes from the ground. also do not cook in or near the tent, a family died last year by putting their disposable bbq in the tent, it had nearly gone out but stilled killed them with CO poisoning.
    as a dry run try and go somewhere local first, if its too cold you can always go home


    This thread brings back memories of our kids playing on Welsh, French and Irish beaches when they were little in their “radiation suits” as my wife and I called them – head to toe all in one waterproofs. Bought for less than a tenner each they were worth many times more than their weight in gold.

    Happy memories, the eldest is at uni now… I’ve got something in my eye…


    IME, camping on the South Coast for 6 months while working down there, if possible get an electric hook up! I got a single ring electric induction cooker from Aldi far safer than gas! Also if its cold and you have electricity you could plug in a fan heater, need boiling water quickly take the kettle from the house, u could go on but you probably get the idea!
    Good luck hope you get better weather than we did last year.

    Premier Icon ampthill

    You really don’t need much to start with. I would say that buying good sleeping bags and mats makes way more sense than loads of tat that might be of some use (chairs, pans with folding handles, tables). Actually we have all of those but you don’t have to have them for the first trip.

    If anyone is cold in the night then that’s because you didn’t get a good enough sleeping bag. We got the kids some Karrimor ones 6 or 7 years ago for about £25 (Sports Direct reduced from a huge amount or so they said). They are now falling apart but the kids have never been cold. A £10 paper thin bag is a false economy. I prefer self inflating mats to air beds as they are a bit warmer and less bulky in the tent. I’m not talking about a £80 thermo rest just a £20 type job. I think the kids were £12 5 years ago


    Usually I’m wild camping as a means to an end, but if ever using campsites and especially with a car involved, +1 for pillows and chairs – luxury !
    I guess keeping kids entertained would be the priority, so take stuff for them.


    check out for other tips, and excellent reviews of campsites


    The basics:

    A tent – I like Decathlon ones, make sure you get one big enough that you can stand up in it. If there will be 4 of you camping, get a 6 man tent. Sewn in groundsheets aren’t the be-all and end all a lot would have you believe, and help keep tents stuffy in warmer weather.

    Self inflating mats to sleep on. The normal blue foam ones rolls are rubbish, air beds are rubbish, self inflating mats are amazing. A 2.5cm one is pretty good, a 5cm one is really comfy. Did 2 weeks on a 5cm thick mat a couple of years ago. Vango do good doubles, everyone (Aldi, Lidl, Argos, Wilko etc.) do singles for the kids.

    Sleeping bags. Nice and cheap from decathlon again.

    A table and chairs. Decathlon do decent tables, Ikea’s folding chairs are bob on.

    A cooker – get a one of those £10 single ring briefcase jobbies to brew up with if you’re just trying it out. Spend £80-£100 on gas bottles and a proper two ring stove and grill if you like it.

    Torches. Lots of torches.

    If you’re going for longer, try and lay your hands on a camp kitchen to stand your cooker on, makes producing food a far more pleasant experience.

    You should be able to get completely kitted out for £200-£300 at the likes of Decathlon / Go Outdoors etc.


    Four essentials that I found:

    Decent large inflatable mattress
    Fan heater
    Electric point connector
    Sleeping bags AND duvets.

    Glamping sorted. Guaranteed future trips.


    You would put THAT in the car on the way home??

    Premier Icon Cougar

    get a one of those £10 single ring briefcase jobbies to brew up with

    I had one of those for a while, and couldn’t recommend it any less. Drank gas and took about a fortnight to boil a cup of water. Awful.

    Best one I’ve found for no money at all is the Go Systems range. I got two off eBay for buttons.


    Take a wok for cooking, its the best thing i have found for cooking over a stove


    I had one of those for a while, and couldn’t recommend it any less. Drank gas and took about a fortnight to boil a cup of water. Awful.

    I’ve always found the ones I’ve had to work passably well and don’t threaten to topple over like the backpacking style single burners.

    For a try out, you might as well spend as little as possible on cooking gear, and find out whether you can stick sleeping in a tent whilst scranning down scampi and chips from the pub before you go and get a full cooking set.


    Cricket bat, tennis balls, football, frisbees ant thing else to keep the kids entertained( there’s no tv in the jungle y’know).

    O and proper fold out beds are nice too, try millets for the vango ones.

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