Carry on camping: essential kit for the outward bound

From tents to picnic tables, here are 20 must-haves for tarpaulin adventurers

As boarding a plane to a far-flung destination is still a distant dream for many vacationers, the camping holiday is back in demand. But which small luxuries count when you’re sleeping under the stars? Here’s our essential selection:

MSR Hubba Hubba NX two-person backpacking tent

MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent, £409.99
MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent, £409.99 © Lisa Paarvio/MSR

An award-winning tent that is high quality, lightweight at just over 1.5kg, durable and easy to set up. With near-vertical walls, most of the inner space is thoroughly usable – happily housing two adults – and the entrance vestibule areas, located on both sides, are handy for storing gear overnight. High winds and adverse weather won’t be a problem either with its strong pole configuration. £409.99, ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk


Helinox Lite cot 

Helinox Lite cot, £224.95
Helinox Lite cot, £224.95

This foldable bed weighs just 1.2kg but can support a person weighing 120kg thanks to its nifty design and aircraft-grade aluminium poles. It’s easy to put up (and take down) and makes a great alternative to a camping mat or an unwieldy air mattress. £224.95, helinox.eu


Fjällräven Singi Two Seasons Long sleeping bag

Fjällräven Singi Two Seasons sleeping bag, £275
Fjällräven Singi Two Seasons sleeping bag, £275

Perfect for summer use, this packs down to just 18cm x 29cm, is lightweight and filled (predominantly) with goose down, distributed for extra warmth in the torso and feet areas. The full-length two-way zipper with leather tabs offers ventilation, and this longer version accommodates heights up to 195cm – but also comes in a regular size. £275, fjallraven.com


Trekology Aluft 2.0 inflatable pillow

Trekology Aluft 2.0 pillow, $21.99
Trekology Aluft 2.0 pillow, $21.99

Often overlooked, a good pillow can make or break a good night’s sleep. When packed, this blow-up design is just the size of your hand, but it inflates with a few breaths of air, and the curved shape supports your head and neck superbly. An elasticated strap is easily secured in place around your sleeping mat. $21.99, trekology.com


Helinox Table One Hardtop table

Helinox Table One, £119.95
Helinox Table One, £119.95

This versatile table, with a 60cm x 40cm surface, collapses down into a tiny package and weighs less than a kilo. It has a capacity of 50kg and offers a very stable platform for a lunch or fishing gear. £119.95, helinox.eu


iKamper Skycamp 2.0 roof tent

iKamper Skycamp 2.0 roof tent, £3,600
iKamper Skycamp 2.0 roof tent, £3,600

A complete living arrangement housed within a protective hardshell that measures just 32cm in height. Park up, and after one minute of easy setup, you’re all set to enjoy the night on a king-sized 1.8in high-density memory foam mattress measuring around 2sq m – enough space to accommodate up to four adults. The high-quality construction and clever window configuration helps set this apart from other car roof tents. £3,600, ikamper.uk.com


Timberleaf Pika Teardrop Camper trailer

Timberleaf Pika Teardrop Camper trailer, from $14,500
Timberleaf Pika Teardrop Camper trailer, from $14,500

A great option for extended off-grid adventures. Light and easy to tow, the small and rugged Pika model is well suited to punishing terrain, so you can head into the wilderness. Lift the back hatch to reveal a full galley set up, including numerous cabinets and a countertop for food preparation. The partially insulated cabin has a comfortable mattress, an enormous stargazing window, and there are numerous customisation options including a fridge, shower, solar panels and a roof rack. From $14,500, timberleaftrailers.com


Platypus Platy Water Tank 4l water carrier

Platypus Platy Water Tank 4l water carrier, £29.95
Platypus Platy Water Tank 4l water carrier, £29.95

When a water source is some distance from your campsite, this handy water carrier comes into its own. It collapses totally flat when not in use but will carry up to 4l of water when assembled. £29.95, absolute-snow.co.uk


Hydro Flask 40oz Wide Mouth flask

Hydro Flask 40oz Wide Mouth flask, £47.95
Hydro Flask 40oz Wide Mouth flask, £47.95

Thanks to a double wall with vacuum insulation, this flask keeps drinks hot for 12 hours – and cold drinks fresh for 24 hours. The wide mouth opening ensures it is easy to clean, and the large rubbery loop handle means it can be clipped onto a rucksack or tent fastening. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. £47.95, hydroflask.com


AeroPress coffee maker

Aeropress coffee maker, £29.99
Aeropress coffee maker, £29.99

A backcountry camping must-have. Place your fresh coffee grounds into the coffee maker, pour over hot water and plunge – the process takes just 30 seconds but delivers an exceptionally fine brew. £29.99, aeropress.co.uk


Primus Primetech 1.3L stove set

Primus Primetech 1.3L stove, €169.95
Primus Primetech 1.3L stove, €169.95

This complete cooking set comes with two pots (one non-stick ceramic and the other regular anodised aluminium), and the transparent lids have colander-style holes for draining water. The burner is also included and features an integrated heat exchanger, facilitating very fast cooking times as well as fuel efficiency. All the components – including gas cartridge – nest inside each other for compact storage. €169.95, primus.eu


Firepot Food

Firepot dehydrated meals, from £6.95
Firepot dehydrated meals, from £6.95

The Dorset-based company creates slow-cooked dehydrated meals that taste really good, and there’s a full range: from vegan to gluten-free and meat options. A particular mouth-watering favourite is the Orzo Pasta Bolognese – I pour boiling water into the bag, stir and a few minutes later, voila! From £6.95, firepotfood.com


Petzl IKO Core Headlamp

Petzl IKO Core Headlamp, £76.50
Petzl IKO Core Headlamp, £76.50

At just 79g, this phenomenally light, splashproof and rechargeable (it also takes standard AAA batteries) head torch sits unobtrusively on the head with adjustable brightness up to 500 lumens. £76.50, snowandrock.com


Snow Peak Takibi fire and grill 

One of the best collapsible fire pits out there, this packs down into a small canvas storage bag that you can throw over your shoulder. The air holes ensure a good draw for optimum burning and a base plate collects any embers, preventing damage to the ground. With the grill attachment placed on the top you’re all set for a alfresco BBQ. £343, snowpeak.co.uk

Snow Peak Tabiki fire and grill, £343
Snow Peak Tabiki fire and grill, £343

LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power lantern

LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power lantern, £36
LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power lantern, £36

Ideal for use around camp or in your tent, this collapsible solar-charged lantern is more than sufficiently bright at 150 lumens, offering 50 hours of runtime, plus a USB port that allows charging by phone. £36, luminaid.com


Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC portable power bank

Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC portable power bank, $299.95
Goal Zero Sherpa 100AC portable power bank, $299.95

This is both powerful for quick charging and generously loaded with a 25,600mAh battery. This is enough to recharge your laptop a couple of times, and a smartphone around seven times (wirelessly too). It also comes with a wide variety of ports including USB-C, USB-A, plus a regular AC plug socket to charge other items around the campsite. $299.95, goalzero.com


Leatherman Charge+ G10 multitool

Leatherman Charge+ G10 multitool, £229.95
Leatherman Charge+ G10 multitool, £229.95

This palm-sized 226g wonder offers 19 tools in one gadget. The knife blade is made from S30V stainless steel, reputed for its excellent edge retention and rust resistance. Store in a nylon sheath, attach to your belt and it’ll be a trusty go-to companion to get you out of many sticky situations. £229.95, leatherman.co.uk


VSSL Camp Supplies Compact Adventure Kit

VSSL Camp Supplies Compact Adventure Kit, $135
VSSL Camp Supplies Compact Adventure Kit, $135

The waterproof military-grade aluminium canister measures just 22cm in length and 5cm in diameter, yet holds 72 pieces of essential outdoor gear that will come in handy on any camping trip. From rope to fire starters, fishing gear to water purification tablets – not to mention the compass and 200-lumen light built into the canister lids – you’re all set. $135, vsslgear.com


Lifesystems Camping first aid kit

Lifesystems Camping first aid kit, £29.99
Lifesystems Camping first aid kit, £29.99

A neat and compact companion, which is well organised in a compact zippered canvas bag. It includes 40 items – tweezers, scissors, thermometer, pain killers, bandages, tapes and dressing – and at just 450g, it’s also light enough to carry on a hike. £29.99, lifesystems.co.uk


MSR Trailshot Microfilter

MSR Trailshot Microfilter, £43.99
MSR Trailshot Microfilter, £43.99

Should your campsite be in remote surroundings, this pocket-sized device is a great backup, ensuring you’ll always have safe drinking water. Simply drop the tube into a stream and pump the hand trigger directly into your mouth or into a water bottle. £43.99, ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk

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