Must-haves for your first camping trip

Embarking on your first camping trip can be an exhilarating experience in the great outdoors. Perhaps you’re planning a multi-day hike or holiday – or maybe you were lucky enough to secure tickets to this year’s Glastonbury festival. Whatever the case, you’ll want to pack wisely to make sure your adventure is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Here’s a quick guide to the must-haves for your first foray into camping, so you’re well-prepared for anything the wilderness throws your way!

Basic camping essentials

  • Tent: Your shelter is key. Choose a tent that’s durable, waterproof and easy to set up. Consider the size carefully; you’ll need enough space for all campers and their gear.
  • Sleeping bags: Opt for sleeping bags suitable for the season you’re camping in. A good one will keep you warm even when temperatures drop at night.
  • Roll mat or air bed: A layer between you and the ground not only makes sleeping more comfortable, but also provides insulation from the cold ground.

Kitchen equipment

  • Portable stove or grill: A compact, reliable stove or grill is essential if you plan to cook some of your own meals. Just don’t forget fuel!
  • Cookware and utensils: Bring lightweight pots, pans and eating utensils. Consider a camping cook set designed for outdoor use.
  • Cooler: A decent cooler will keep your perishables fresh, ideal for longer trips.
  • Water purification: Planning to refuel from streams or other natural water sources? Pack a means of purification, whether it’s tablets, a filter or boiling.


  • Multi-tool: A good multi-tool can be invaluable for a variety of tasks around the campsite, from cutting rope to repairing your gear.
  • Torches and lanterns: Reliable light sources are key when the sun goes down. Pack a durable torch and a lantern for illuminating your campsite at night.

Health and safety

  • First aid kit: Prepare for minor injuries and illnesses with a basic first aid kit, including any medications you’ll need.
  • Suncream and insect repellent: Protect yourself from sunburn and bug bites, which can quickly ruin any camping trip. The NHS warns that you can still burn in the UK – even when it’s cloudy!


  • Biodegradable soap: Whether for dishes, clothes or yourself, a small bottle of biodegradable soap is a camping must-have that’s kind on the environment.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: You’ll still want to keep up with your dental hygiene in the wilderness.
  • Hand sanitizer: For times when water and soap aren’t available, hand sanitiser allows you to kill germs and eat and drink safely.


  • Books, cards or games: Ready to forego your devices? Time around the camp is perfect for old fashioned card or board games. A good book can also be a great companion for relaxing moments.
  • Camera: If you’re heading somewhere spectacular, you’ll want a camera to capture the memories of your adventure.

Camping for the first time can be a venture into the unknown, but being well-prepared can make all the difference. Start with these essentials to make sure you’re all set!

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