As I sit here, contemplating one third and final camping trip before the summer leaves us for this year (even though, it may feel like it has only just re-emerged this weekend), I’d like to share with you a selection of items that I consider as essential to my own camping experiences. I’ve noticed that others seem to carry a lot of kit with them…
But then, perhaps it’s because my motive is different – I’m not travelling to ‘camp’ as much as I am earning a place to stay while I head off adventuring in to each day.
I’d like to start by talking about the rucksack I bought from Mountain Warehouse. In preparation for August’s Green Man Festival, I felt it would be better to ‘upgrade’ for a holdall – which is fine for carrying clothes but I’d noticed how many rucksacks will also allow you to pack a sleeping bag and roll mat.
Featuring a detachable from backpack (15l), straps for securing a roll mat and my sleeping bag fits in a zipped compartment at the bottom (not clearly visible).
At first, I had my eyes set on a big-name backpack from another store, albeit for £20 less than what I payed for the one you see in these photos. But that was out of stock and as I trawled across a couple of other websites, I was immediately taken in by this pack for its detachable 15l backpack, which allowed me to keep my valuables with me throughout the festival as I left my spare clothes in the tent.
Zipped rain cover for the back and straps – this pack also comes with a strap and lanyard so that you can carry it like a holdall.
It is my first proper backpack and so I’m unable to really compare it to anything else but I carried it for a good mile to the camping area and then back again a few days later and about as comfortable as a bag can be. There was no diggiing in and the shoulder straps are heavily padded.
Underneath, the main rain cover lives behind a velcro seal (although, I’ve yet to need to use it).
65 litres is less than my holdall (the volume of which I do not know) and I struggled to get everything in but, despite changing most of my clothes each day, I didn’t even wear half of that I had packed. So, if I was to do it all again but more considerately, I’d probably have room to spare!
For the second attempt running, I’ve been able to fasten the zip back all the way!
My tent was one of several items I carried along my hand but it’s worth giving some thought to how you’re going to store and carry a mallet and also, after a regular ‘gunshot’ experience at night; I’d recommend investing in a spare pack of tent bags if you’re attending somewhere busy like a festival. But in saying all of that, I managed to pitch my tent in Wales without the need for a mallet as the ground was soft enough.
Food’s an important subject. At the festival, I chose to save up (in advance) and spend on what was readily available (this proved to be a wise decision, given the rather clustered nature of the camping areas). But on my own, I like to have simple things like fruit available. That’s where my big box (from Lidl) comes in, although it’s largely used to store tea-making ingredients – which leads me neatly along to the next photo…
Does anyone else use powdered milk?
Ice packs – you might need them. I would probably mostly require them for my feet at the end of a day!
In Dorset, I found I could not get even the 0.5l bottles to stay cold enough and, I imagine, in some camp sites (particularly if you’re camping in the ‘wild’), there may not be facilities for re-freezing your ice packs and keeping drinks cool. I don’t intend to cook an awful lot although my habits need to improve on from my first attempts.
I’ve mentioned tea because I cannot start a day without one and you’re obviously going to need something to boil the water. The set I’m (still) borrowing from a friend is relatively inexpensive and simple but does the job very well. Replacement gas canisters and dirt cheap, too.
She stores her basic cutlery (which I’m also in loan of) in a separate bag altogether, which is a good idea, even though I felt a bit like a Sherpa doing the long walk from the car park, through the entrance and then on to the camp site at Green Man a fortnight ago! I’m going to need my own set for the long-term future. If I can remember to bring my only cutlery, I won’t need to ‘borrow’ any of the freebies from a pop-up café again…
So, I will get my own ‘tea set’ at some point and it might be wise to invest in something like a spork as well (keeping item numbers down to a minimal).
Beyond that, I can only really think that I might like to invest in a folding chair of some sort, particularly if I’m to attend another festival. I don’t always find the ground very comfortable and I’m convinced that years of lifting heavy things have already had an affect on my back’s strength and posture. Otherwise and, being a regular walker, I feel I’m very well equipped for future outings. Maybe I should do an additional post on walking necessities?
The only item I feel I’ve forgotten to photograph or mention so far is a headtorch!
I hope this post gives you an idea of what may be essential if you’re thinking about going camping yourself, maybe next year (as it’s effectively September tomorrow).
Thanks for reading.