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What to pack for the ultimate camping trip

Whilst camping in a holiday park in Cornwall you can enjoy the outdoors and experience a simpler way of living. However, just because you are staying in a tent doesn’t mean you have to go without your home comforts. You can still have a good night’s sleep and a warm coffee in the morning if you pack the right camping gear. Read on to find out what you should pack for the ultimate camping trip, featuring advice from outdoor experts.

The essentials

Woman sat outside a tent in the woods

The most obvious item to pack is, of course, the tent. The larger tents are not always the best option, consider the amount of space you are likely to use as people tend to spend more time relaxing outside their tent rather than inside.

We asked Joey from Cool of The Wild a blog for outdoor adventures and camping tips, for her top tip for first-time campers: “It’s a pretty annoying one, but one that could save a great deal of stress and money. If you have a brand-new tent, then be sure to set it up in your back garden or local park before you go camping. Finding there’s a pole missing or a ripped seam when you get to camp will mean forking out for a new tent or abandoning the trip altogether. It shouldn’t take you long to do, and you can always have a mini mid-week adventure by camping out in your garden, campfire and all!”

When packing, think about how you are going to sleep comfortably. Some people prefer airbeds and blankets whilst others opt for a fold up camp bed. Remember, even in summer, camping in a tent at night can get cold, so be sure to pack a pile of blankets. Also, find a sleeping bag that’s lightweight, durable and has added thermal layers to ensure you’ll be cosy and warm.

For lighting

Yellow tent under a starry sky

Something that’s easy to forget when packing for your camping trip is that you will be without electricity. Many campers will pack a solar lantern as they don’t require a battery charge or an electrical source.

We spoke to Mallory from Your Adventure Coach, a hiking and travel blog, to find out her thoughts: “My must-pack item for any camping trip, outside of the essentials like a tent, sleeping bag, etc. is at least one MPowerd Luci Inflatable Solar Light. I usually bring just one on backpacking trips and will pack two for car camping trips. I love how they brighten up the campsite or tent after dark, especially when conditions or regulations prohibit campfires.”

Using solar lighting is a popular choice, Shalee from Shalee Wanders, an outdoor adventure and budget travel blog shares her essentials for camping: “My solar-powered lantern, my trusted pair of hiking shoes, and an external charger. The external charger may seem overkill, especially when trying to disconnect. However, it provides an extra sense of security in case anything goes wrong.”

If solar lighting isn’t for you, there are alternative ways to avoid the dark. We spoke to Sarah from The Urban Wanderer, an outdoor and travel blog, for her must-pack item: “It has to be a head torch. It is amazing how much easier it is to get about when you have light and your hands free, think trips to the loo in the night and reading in your cosy sleeping bag. A handy tip for turning it into a whole tent light is to use the elastics to place the light onto a clear bottle filled with water and instantly you have a lantern without having a bulky item to pack.”

Kat from Wandering Bird, a travel and adventure blog, agrees that a head torch is essential: “Yes, you will look silly. Yes, you’ll turn it to ‘red light’ and dance around. But we use it pretty much every single night for late-night dog walking, popping to the bathroom and many other jobs. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but easy to use and comfortable are a must. Keep it somewhere easy to find in the dark!”

Food and drink supplies

Cup of coffee and campfire

When camping it can be hard to adapt to not having a kitchen. Our top tip is to pack large water containers that you can fill up at your nearest drinking water tap. This will prevent trips back and forth filling up small bottles.

When cooking your meal at the campsite, create realistic expectations and arrive with a few easy meal ideas in mind. Make sure to pack a camping stove and gas, and don’t forget tongs and cooking utensils. To store your chilled food and drinks, pack a cooler and ice packs.

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a good cup of tea or coffee. Remember to pack a kettle that you can use on the stove, Agnieszka from Worldering Around, a travel and outdoor adventure blog, says: “I also always try to take a small pot with me, so I can boil some water. Nothing beats a cup of coffee in the picturesque camping spot in the morning.”

Don’t forget about the washing up! Pack a bottle of washing up liquid and sponges so you’re ready to head to the communal dish-washing areas. It may sound boring, but this is a surprisingly great place to chat with fellow campers and meet new people.

As camping is an opportunity to experience a more relaxed style of living make sure to avoid over-packing, Mallory continues: “My top tip for first-time campers would be to go as light or as minimalist as possible. That is way easier said than done, and chances are, even if you think you only packed the essentials, there will probably things you don’t use or food you don’t even eat. With that in mind, my next tip for you is to make note of what those things are so you know what not to bring next time!”

All-weather Attire

Man looking away on a hike

Be ready to dress for the sun and rain on your camping trip. Our tip is to pack thermal leggings and jumpers in case you’re stuck with bad weather, along with a waterproof jacket. If you’re lucky enough to experience some sun, then be sure to pack swimsuits and wetsuits so you can make the most of the crystal-clear Cornish sea.

Agnieszka continues: “Make a list of things you need for your camping trip and remember to pack them. Check the weather forecast before going on a trip and be prepared for any eventuality.”

If you’re hoping to see some of the glorious scenic views in Cornwall, then make sure to pack some comfy hiking boots. They may seem to be a bulky item to pack, but you’ll be glad you did once you’re overlooking some coastal views.

Sarah from The Urban Wanderer continues: “My best tip for first-time campers, other than to just give it a go, is to take clothing layers. Once the sun has gone down, it can get a bit chilly, so adding layers as it gets cooler ensures that you stay warm and comfortable. And if you do get cold despite having layers on, a couple of energetic star jumps before bed will warm you up in your sleeping bag.”

For any first-time campers, be prepared to fall in love with the easy way of living. Kat from Wandering Bird continues: “My top tip for first-time campers? Don’t overthink it! Yes, you’ll forget something. And yes, it won’t all go smoothly the first time. But you’ll return home energised, refreshed and remembering how beautiful the world we live in really is. I wish you all the luck on your first adventure!”

Quickfire items to pack

  • Durable tent
  • Spare tent pegs
  • Mallet
  • Windbreak
  • Camping chairs
  • Food and drink supplies
  • Ice packs and cooler
  • All-weather attire
  • Solar lights and a headtorch
  • Airbeds and bedding
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water containers
  • Crockery
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