Tuesday 10 July 2012

Essential Camping Accessories

We have been camping for a whole year now (we haven't been camping in our tent that WHOLE time; but we have been on about 10 camping trips in that time) and as I am sure you are all aware there is ALOT of useful camping equipment available on the market. 

So I thought I'd write a post on some of the great items available. Including furniture, lighting, cooking and eating equipment and some items for those wet summer days. 

All the equipment mentioned is available from Cotswold Outdoor either from their website or in their many country wide stores. Find your local store. 
 "you'll discover the UK's most extensive range of outdoor clothing, rucksacks, footwear, camping products, travel accessories and climbing equipment from all the leading brands. With staff who are passionate about the outdoors, so you'll get the help and advice you need."


You have several options for what you sleep on. There are various different items available and even then different versions of these.
Sleeping Mat
 The two main options are "sleeping mats" and "air mattresses". 
Sleeping mats are made from polyolefin foam and are approximately 1cm thick; these mats are ideal for people who might be doing lots of travelling with their kit or those of you who are travelling on public transport to your destination or just want to save space in the car; as a sleeping mat can be rolled up and easily stored in your bag. 
An example of a double air bed 

Another option available (and the one we choose) is the air bed
These feature a soft, anti-slip upper and an airtight system for ultimate comfort. These are more suited to campers who are able to take their car right to their camping pitch, as they can be a little bulky and obviously require inflating. They do however add an extra level of comfort to the camping experience and prices start from £15 for a single air mattress or £25 for a double air mattress. 

Sleeping Bags 
A example of the types of sleeping bags available
There are a variety of different sleeping bags available to buy. They come in single, double and even child sizes  - Vango have even produced a sleeping bag especially with babies in mind; so now every member of the family can enjoy camping. - There is also an array of styles available; as seen in the image above. 
The Nitestar Baby by Vango
We personally have standard polyester sleeping bags and find that the polyester fibre filling keeps us plenty warm enough on our camping trips (If I get cold then we unzip the sleeping bag and turn it in to a duvet so I can share with the hoomans). You can also purchase "liners" to add an extra layer or warmth and comfort to your sleeping bag. 

Sleeping bags come in a handy carry bag so are easily transported  and can be attached to your rucksack or daysack when on the move. 


Folding arm chair with cup holder

When camping we like to take along our folding arm chairs so we can sit in the sun outside the tent or take along to the beach when spending the whole day down there. 
These are really good as 
  1. They are lightweight and compact for easy transportation and storage
  2. They come with a handy carry bag
  3. They are durable and have "rip stop technology"  Ripstop fabrics are woven using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to tearing and ripping. During weaving (thick) reinforcement threads are interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. Ripstop fabrics therefore have a very good strength-to-weight ratio.
  4. Cup holder so you can safely store your cup of tea on a cold morning or your can of drink to stop the creepy crawlies getting in. 
And for the little campers? We have these delightful chairs. 
They come in frog, crocodile, duck, giraffe, hippo, tiger and fish. 

Cooking and Food Preparation 

If you are planning an extensive trip and are hoping to prepare your own food you might want to consider a compact kitchen unit providing you with several work surfaces for food preparation and handy storage for your kitchen equipment. 

Now for the cooking. 

There are a wide range of stoves or BBQ's available for your camping trip - you can see a selection here

A two ring stove
It is a good idea to have a stove with you when camping; especially if you are going to be away for more than a day or two. 
Portable Gas Cooker
We do not currently own a camping stove but have often wished we had one. I dont know about your family but we tend to be early risers when on our trips away and have found that on numerous occasions we would like to get up, have breakfast and set off for the day; but we cant because the on-site shop/burger van/cafe  doesn't keep the same schedule as us as therefore isn't opening for another 2 - 3 hours. 
Camping BBQ
Also on our most recent camping trip, the site we stayed on had no food facilities and was a good 5 - 10 minute drive from the closest corner shop and even further if we wanted a meal and were looking for a cafe or pub. Having a stove or BBQ whereby we could make some beans on toast for breakfast or cook a burger for lunch would have made the trip run much more smoothly. 

Pots and pans
Now you have your stove you need something to cook the food in. 
Your most basic and convenient pans would be a "mess tin" These aluminium pans are lightweight and come with fold in handles and can be stacked for easy storage. 

If you prefer something a little more like home and have a bit more space in your luggage; there are several "cooking kits" available to buy. This one  comes with 2 good size saucepans and a frying pan; as well as 2 plastic cups and a detachable handle for the frying pan. 

And of course the all important kettle for your morning cuppa. 
A collapseable bowl
So now you've cooked your dinner what are you going to eat it on. - flashbacks to new years eve eating takeaway curry out of their plastic containers in the (dark) tent with our hands because we forgot to pack our plates and cutlery - There are many, many options to what items you buy. Some of them can be seen here.
Enamel Mug

Your lighting options include 1) Hand held torches 2) Headlamps 3) Lanterns.

We own a couple of wind-up keyring type torches; useful for night time trips to the toilet or early morning dog walks, and a single clip light which is good when we want to illuminate the whole tent for example at breakfast/supper or to read a book when the natural light is failing. 

You can see the full range on the Cotswold outdoors website. 

Fun and Games
And for the moments when the kids are bored or you find yourself camping in a field with nothing to entertain you and you want to make the most of the British summer and time with family there is a variety of toys and games for you to take advantage of. Kites, balls and Frisbee's to name a few - and for when the British weather tries to ruin your fun; there's always the good old jigsaw puzzle. 
All these and more can be found in the toy section.


  1. Thats a lot of equipment to be thinking about. I am lucky that my OH has camped all of his life so I follow his lead on what we need to buy for our trips. We have just bought a VW camper and that is great fun finding out what equipment we need and how to use the equipment on board.

    I love your blog it is very helpful. Especially as I travel with Mr Moo who has to be kept in the style he has become accustomed to. I look forward to following you.

    1. Thanks for following. :)
      Yeah we dont have all of this but it's good to know what's available.
      do you know my good fwend Norty Grace? and her mum and dad from dogsndubs?