Incompe-Tent: Camping checklist for new campers

I’ve been nosing around the internet and perusing camping books to try and come up with a definitive checklist of essential camping gear for the new and inexperienced camper – myself. Guide camp and Duke of Edinburgh were my most recent camping experiences and I am now 36.

I have discovered many lists claiming to tell me what I “must have”, and I have decided that I am quite disturbed by what some sources believe I “must have”. I will be bankrupt if I follow their advice. This is what I reckon I need, bearing in mind there will be me and a four year old and we will probably only camp for two nights at a time:

1. Tent (Already bought one – a Gelert 4 man dome tent thingy)

2. Spare tent pegs

3. Mallet

4. Sleeping bags (I have one, but will get a child size one for CJ to keep her cosier)

5. Air bed or inflatable sleeping mat

6. Blankets/pillow

7. Lantern

8. Torch

9. Head torch (already bought one – bargain from T K Maxx)

10.Small camping stove plus gas/lighter

11. Kettle

12. Plates/cutlery/food/drinks

13. Bucket

12. Camping chairs (already have some)

13.Appropriate clothing for warm/cold/wet weather including wooly hats for night time

14.Midge repellant

So, will I be travelling too light? Have I missed anything off that I “must have”?

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20 Responses to Incompe-Tent: Camping checklist for new campers

  1. Nice list! As a sort-of camping novice myself (brought a tent to the Hay Festival last year) you’re bring just about the same sort of stuff we did, except we didn’t bother with a kettle (just had a lid for one of the cooking pots) or a mallet (you can just stamp the pegs in with your foot). We didn’t have an airbed, but we laid yoga mats down and and old duvet on top to soften things up, and then the sleeping bags on top. We didn’t have a bucket either. I’d say bring flip-flops for going over to the toilet area at night because it’s hassle putting shoes on in the dark and your feet will get wet otherwise…

    • Parklover says:

      Hi Valerie, thanks for all these tips. Very good point about the flip-flops, that will definitely be added. The bucket is mostly down to having a 4 year old with me…

  2. Ha! Good point. The next time we’re getting the tent out we’ll have a 7 week old (give or take) with us – I think a bucket might well be in order!

  3. You’ll probably want a pan or two, even if you’ll just be heating up soup and beans. I’d also suggest taking a camera (the four-year-old will thank you later), and a waterproof roll-top bag is a Really Good Thing for keeping essentials dry when the tent leaks (I got some pretty serious ones for 6.99 from Aldi, so it doesn’t have to be an expensive big brand like Ortlieb).

    • Parklover says:

      Hi Rachel, my camera goes more or less everywhere with me! Do you have some of those special light pans for camping? I was looking at those – I think first time we go, I’ll try to get by without even if it means mainly cold food. I don’t want to spend too much in case we don’t like it. If it goes well, I’ll invest.
      Leaky tents, God I hope not! That’s a very good point though.

  4. Ear plugs! If you can bear to wear them – if you’re on a noisy site you can go off to your own special place without interruption then šŸ™‚

  5. Thank you! It will be mine – sometime in late April. Though the sooner the bloody better at this rate; I’m running out of internal space!

  6. Shelley says:

    A hot water bottle sometimes comes in handy on cold nights (or 2 pairs of bedsocks)

  7. Chris Mosler says:

    I did a post about our camp packing way back when! Here you go!

    waterproof plasters would be my top tip, they repair holes in leaky tents!

  8. Pans for cooking in.

    Dave forgot them once, so we had to go and find a cafe. I was overjoyed, he was furious. I try and leave the pans out every time we go camping.

    Enjoy it!

    • Parklover says:

      It will be just me and CJ, so no-one will be upset if we have to go to a cafe! I may well plan it in for one of our meals the first time we go. I don’t want to make it too hard and put myself off.

  9. Pingback: Helping Us With Camping

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