Beginner camping checklist

02 November 2022

I'm sure all of us at some point in our lives have been camping. Whether it was childhood holidays with the family (if you’re a ‘70s kid, this was probably you) or Scouts and Guides trips, most of us have been camping at least once in our lives.

An Image of a father and daughter camping for our beginner camping checklist

If you’re thinking of planning a camping trip yourself, you might be a bit stumped about what to bring. Luckily, we’ve put together this beginner camping checklist to give you all the information you need to get started!


Now, maybe this sounds a little insulting, but we promise it’s worth it to read on. The tent may be synonymous with camping and you may think it a no-brainer, but think why that is – it’s the thing you’re sleeping in. Therefore, having a decent tent is essential if you are going to be properly protected from the elements. You also need to consider the weight of your tent. If you’re backpacking, for example, it definitely can’t be so heavy that you can’t lug it around!

Sleeping bag

Next up on the list of must have camping equipment is the sleeping bag. Again, you can buy ones that are suitable for backpacking, but temperature rating should be strongly considered here.

As you well know, camping in the South of France is a very different experience to camping in, say, Norway. Therefore, you’ll need to choose a bag with enough insulation if it’s chilly. There are also varying degrees of tightness – a tight sleeping bag will likely be lighter and easier to carry. However, because it’s lighter, it will provide less insulation – it depends on where you go and when!

When it comes to essential camping gear, a pillow is sometimes overlooked. But come on, you aren’t really telling us you wouldn’t want somewhere to rest your head at night, are you? While there are dedicated camping pillows on the market (like this one), they aren’t strictly necessary. So, if you fancy saving a few quid, you could always just bring one from home.

Camping near Nottingham? Check out our list of the best walks in Nottingham.

Campsite Lantern

These are an important bit of camping kit – even if you’re on a campsite (which you probably will be, in the UK anyway), it can still get pretty dark at night, and you’ll at least want some light in your tent. Apart from that, a lantern is fantastic for providing night-time ambience outside and guiding camping games played after-dark.

In terms of power, 100 lumens should do it for the tent. However, if you’re looking to light up the space surrounding the tent, you might opt for something rated between 250–600 lumens.

An Image of a camp at night for our beginner camping checklist 

Flashlight/headband light

An essential piece of camping gear indeed! You will definitely want to go for some walks on your trip and there’s likely to be limited street lighting (and indeed streets to light). Therefore, a powerful, portable and maybe even wearable light source will ensure that the sunset doesn’t stifle your evening stroll. A head torch like this should be fine.

Camp stove

This one can depend on how “barebones” of a camping experience you’re after, but you’ll generally want to have hot food at some point. Building a proper campfire can be tough, and not every campsite permits fires anyway. The solution? A camp stove. This really doesn’t need to be anything fancy – just a single burner “hot plate” style stove will do for camping cooking equipment (oh, and a pan!).

Table and chairs

Now, you won’t be spending all the time around the campsite in your tent, will you? So, naturally, you’ll want to have a nice garden set of table and chairs to use for eating, drinking and maybe playing some games. Any foldable chairs would work well here, as they don’t take up much space. As for the table, a plastic garden-type one should do the trick. You might even have one at home, just another money-saving tip.

If you’re going on a hike whilst you are camping, here is our list of hiking essentials for beginners!


This is a must have, especially if you’re out in the sticks. Beyond the “nice-to-have” functions like opening beer bottles, a good multitool has a variety of functions: you could slice bread, cut strings and strip wires, the list is endless.

Maybe you don’t want to slice bread with a tiny knife (and we would completely understand) but, if you find yourself needing to make some minor repairs to equipment or tie off something with string, you’ll be thankful you brought this!


That’s about it for our beginner camping checklist, we wish you the best on your adventures!

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