Jan 21, 2024

Best camping equipment: tents, sleeping bags, kitchen kit, gadgets

Camping has increased in popularity since the pandemic

markferguson2/Alamy Stock Photo

A camping trip will be on the schedule for many people in the UK this summer.

Staycations are "here to stay" and "it's good news for the original British getaway", said The Independent. With the 2023 camping season now here, "sleeping under the stars is expected to be more popular than ever".

Since the pandemic, millions of people have headed to the countryside for their first-ever camping holiday. And the "affordable nature" of taking trips in a tent in the current cost-of-living climate has "made the prospect of swapping luxe pads for BBQs and blankets around the campfire ever more appealing".

There's plenty of places to explore in the great British outdoors, all you need to do is have everything ready and packed before your trip. Here's the essential camping equipment you may need – from tents and sleeping bags to kitchen kit and gadgets.



This octagonal three-man tent has a robust steel frame, but weighs around 11kg so is best for car-camping or carrying on a festival trolley. Pitching takes between 10 and 20 minutes.



With more headspace than any other pop-up tent, the Hub can be erected by one person in under a minute, and sleeps four comfortably. Solar power packs can be bought to provide power through the USB outlet.



A tree house in a bag, this multiple-award-winning flagship model by British firm Tentsile has enough space to sleep three adults or a family of four, suspended off the ground, using three trees as anchor points.



Boutique Camping stocks a range of iconic bell tents in the usual sandstone colour. The Classic is available in various widths, and also comes in a choice of material so you can prioritise weight or durability.



For comfortable family camping, this four-man tent has a bright, airy living space, cosy blackout bedrooms and a spacious porch area. It has lots of clever features such as mesh doors for warmer evenings, plenty of pockets and step-free access and is also available as a larger six-person tent.



If you want to glamp in style, then Lotus Belle's Outdoor Deluxe may be the tent for you. It resembles a kind of giant mushroom spaceship that has just landed on Earth. The Outdoor Deluxe has two doors and two windows with zip-open mesh layers for maximum airflow while keeping creepy-crawlies out. It is made of a waterproof, yet breathable, canvas to minimise condensation.



The Luna Bell Tent is a spacious tent for glampers that can be pitched quickly. Setting up the canvas and aluminium structure takes just a few minutes, and its innovative design allows it to be pitched as one. There's lots of space inside which makes it ideal for families.



Ideal for family camping trips or festivals, the Coleman Tent Octagon can sleep six people and is sturdy and easy to pitch.



If you’re looking for something smaller, cheaper and easier to assemble then a two-man pop-up tent from Mountain Warehouse may do the job.



If you’re not a frequent camper and don't need fancy gear, this great-value Eurohike Pop 200 two-person tent will serve you fine. It is waterproof, and has an easy pop-up design that takes seconds to set up.


Sleeping bags

This hollow­fibre sleeping bag will keep you warm in temperatures as low as -20ºC; and is mummy-shaped for extra cosiness.


Sleeping bags

Two-way zips mean this can be used as two singles or one huge sleeping bag. It is machine washable (it dries in around 90 minutes), and comes in its own duffle bag.


Sleeping bags

Made from recycled fabric, this water-repellent bag comes in a longer length for taller campers, and has the option of left-side zips for left-handers.


Sleeping bags

Ideal for colder months, this has an integrated hood to keep draughts out, security pockets and a pillow.


Sleeping bags

This ultra-compact bag for warmer weather measures 190cm x 75cm.


Sleeping kit

You may choose to rough it in a sleeping bag on the tent groundsheet, but for those seeking a bit more comfort, an airbed might be needed. Trespass has a number of blow-up and inflatable air beds and mattresses.


Sleeping kit

Therm-a-Rest's NeoAir XLite Regular Sleeping Mat is extremely lightweight and fits into a tiny bag, but can still keep you well insulated from the cold. It makes for a supportive sleep surface, and comes in several sizes.



The Kid-O-Bunk is an absolute must buy for families. It takes 10 or 15 minutes to put together and can be configured as bunk beds, single twin beds, and even a sofa. It packs back down into its own carry bag, and can double up as extra sleeping space at home for sleepovers or guests.


Kitchen kit

This clever stove burns wood, twigs and pellets without creating smoke, and generates electricity to power devices via the USB port. There's a portable grill, a KettlePot and CoffeePress, plus a FlexLight for cooking at night.


Kitchen kit

This 2.5-litre silicone and stainless-steel kettle collapses flat for storage when not in use. Break-resistant, it is easy to clean, has a wide stable base and is quick and easy to open and fold away.


Kitchen kit

With strong handles, this durable 9-litre washing-up bowl also folds almost flat. It has a twist plug to keep the water in, and measures 20cm x 32cm x 31cm.


Kitchen kit

Made from robust plastic, this stackable set is not designed specifically for camping, but would be useful. It has a peeler, mini grater, bottle opener, grinder and a pizza cutter.


Kitchen kit

Quechua's tough, integrated cook set for two people features a saucepan that doubles as a measuring jug, a frying pan with strainer, 2 bowls, 2 cups and 2 sets of cutlery.


Kitchen kit

Unless you’re hunting or foraging for your dinner then it's likely you’ll be taking some grub to cook on site. A decent cool box is essential for any camping trip. Winfields Outdoors stocks cool box brands such as Coleman, Igloo, Outwell and Kampa Dometic.


Kitchen kit

Already beloved by coffee drinkers as an easy way to make an espresso in a minute, the Aeropress is now more portable than ever. The "Go" version comes with a lid and packs down into its own plastic mug.



Worried about committing to outdoor socialising in the cold? Ikea has you covered. The Fältmal is a cushion that unzips into a wearable sleeping bag-style blanket, with sleeves, and a kangaroo-style front pocket.



Perfect for sitting around the fire, for reading a book or just general relaxing, a decent camping chair is essential. These Milestone Camping steel foldable chairs are lightweight and comfortable.



If you’re seeking something softer than a folding item, then Trespass has an inflatable camping chair.



Camping can be a dirty business. You are living in a field, after all. But if your campsite doesn't have facilities of its own, or you don't fancy trekking across the site to queue at the toilet block in the morning, don't worry. Take along the Quechua solar shower. Its 10-litre water bag is heated by the sun and its pump system ensures there's enough pressure to wash all the grime off.



If your gadgets require charging then use the power of the sun. This waterproof ADDTOP Solar Charger is perfect for the outdoors.



Ideal for travel and camping, the 2XPLORE Emergency First Aid Kit can cover a wide range of minor injuries and comes with strong scissors, tweezers, sticking plasters, bandages, safety pins, first aid cleaning wipes, and medical tape.