Camping 101: What To Take And Why

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There’s nothing like lying under canvas with only the sound of the wind in the trees and local wildlife to lull you to sleep. And food cooked on a campfire or camp stove is likely to be the best meal you’ve ever had. Camping is a fun, wholesome experience for the whole family and the source of great memories.

If you’re a first-time camper planning your first trip, or you’re looking for a bit of a reminder, these tips will help you plan and organize.

The Tent

The most important piece of equipment you take will be your tent. This will provide a place for you to sleep and will protect you from the elements. The size of the tent will depend on the number of occupants. Small tents are ideal for one or two people, but you’ll need something considerably larger if you’re taking your family or a group of friends. Plan for a minimum of 25 square feet per person. You’ll also need space to sit up and store clothes and other items. You can find more information on sites like

If you intending to camp in hot or humid conditions, opt for a tent with generous screened windows, to allow air to flow. Test the zippers to make sure they open and close smoothly and don’t snag on the fabric. Check that seams are reinforced.

The type of tent you decide on will partly be based on the type of climate and terrain you’ll experience. A tent for largely warm, dry weather will be very different to one that has to withstand the cold or the wind. Sales staff are usually well-informed and often are campers themselves, so ask for advice.

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Test your tent at home before going on your camping trip. Trying to pitch a tent for the first time in the dark or wet or windy conditions can be a challenge. So being familiar with the set-up will save you some time.


What you take with you will depend on how you’re traveling. If you’re traveling by car, you will need to ensure that everything fits. If you’re hiking, then your choices will be much more limited.

The following are your basics or essentials:

  • For sleeping, you’ll need a sleeping bag, pillow, a sleeping mat or airbed, and warm night clothing
  • Furniture will depend on your personal requirements. Chairs are a minimum. It can be uncomfortable sitting on the ground all the time. A small folding table is also useful for preparing and eating food.
  • Flashlight and a battery-operated lamp
  • Garbage bags to collect any rubbish
  • Water container to carry water from the tap to your tent
  • Camping stove and a BBQ (optional)
  • Gas and charcoal
  • Matches or fire lighter
  • Spare batteries 

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  • Kettle, pots, and pans
  • Cooking utensils and cutlery
  • Plates, bowls, and cups
  • Washing up bowl for washing the pots (if this facility isn’t available at the campsite)
  • Bottle and tin openers
  • Coolbox
  • Toilet rolls
  • A first aid kit should contain plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, blister cream, sun lotion, after sun cream, insect repellent, any prescribed medication and painkillers as a minimum
  • Food
  • Spade (depending on toilet arrangements)

Depending on the space available you may also want to take a few home comforts such as blankets, cushions, etc.

These are the essentials. Obviously, you’ll also need to pack adequate clothing and toiletries. Always take extra clothing in case you get wet. It’s useful to run through a typical day and think about the items you might need. Keep packing to a minimum. Remember all your possessions will remain in the tent or your car. If you get the basics right, you’ll have a fun and memorable experience you’ll want to repeat.

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