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Muddy’s Guide to Camping Essentials

Forgetting your toothbrush is one thing (bad breath will be the last thing on your mind when you’re camping) but forgetting your sleeping bag and tent – now that’s an entirely different matter so be prepared and pack that extra blanket if there’s any chance you’ll need it.

To ensure you have your essentials sorted, here’s our guide to the best camping essentials around and – good news – all these brands are available at Cotswold Outdoor, Leicester and online. They also offer expert advice and a fantastic backpack and boot fitting service in-store which is well worth checking out.

Let’s start with the obvious shall we? A tent! Now whether you’re planning a backpacking adventure across the globe or  heading to a festival with your gal pals, it’s worth investing in one which will keep you safe and cosy inside no matter what the weather. Think about how many of you will be sleeping in the tent and decide on the size, pay attention to the weight and of course the weather you’ll be camping in. If you can’t get to the store, try using the handy  Tent Finder Tool on the website (find the perfect tent in 3 easy steps). Once you’ve purchased your tent, practice pitching it up a few times before you head out on your adventure.

The tunnel-shaped Vango Beta 350XL Tent offers generous sleeping space combined with a large, functional porch area to store all your camping essentials.

Next you’ll need some essential tent accessories. This covers everything you’ll need to pitch your tent from tent pegs, stakes and ropes to footprint sheets and a mallet to ensure those poles are firmly in the ground.

When it comes to sleeping bags, do you choose the classic square/rectangle bag which gives you room to move your feet or the mummy bag which come tapered at the legs and the head to follow the natural contours of the shoulders and hips? Each have their own benefits so the best thing to do is try them both out. The mummy-shaped Womens Stratos 250S bag  is stylish and offers lots of great features, including extra warmth through its double layer of insulation.

You may not have your Silentnight mattress with you but the camping equivalent you need is a sleeping mat – okay well it’s not exactly the same thing, but it gives you that added comfort and padding between the hard, and sometimes cold ground. If your tent is big enough you can always get an air bed instead – they roll into nothing but that little air makes all the difference and with just a few pumps, you’ve got a little bit of luxury in your tent – just remember to pack the pump.

Al fresco cooking will be a piece of cake with a nifty cooking stove. There’s a wide variety to choose from but even a a basic one will do the job and can create tasty dishes beyond just sausage and beans. So you may be limited on space but choose wisely and you can still have a good morning coffee.

The Onja Stove from Primus is ideal for picnics with the family or car camping trips where weight isn’t a factor and slides open effortlessly and includes an oak lid which doubles as a cutting board or serving tray. So fire up that bad boy and get creative and don’t forget the gas/fuel.

Folding chairs are an essential when you’re camping- after all, there’s only so much sitting on the ground you can do before your bottom starts to feel numb. Choose ones that are easy to fold and store and remember, even though they’re great for camping trips, they’re handy to use in the garden too.

Robens Pathfinder 2.0 Chair comes in a lightweight package that you can carry with you anywhere to make camping life a little more comfortable.

There’s always room in your bag for a basic first aid kit and if there’s not, then make room. They’re good to treat minor injuries, dressing a wound, insect bites and more especially if you’re travelling with the fam.

A backpack is essential to carry all your bits and bobs around. Choose one with lots of pockets, and space or better yet, head in-store to get an expert backpack fitting – it will save you so much time, energy and cost. Staff will dedicate the time to ask you what you’re after and will then kit you out with the best one to suit your needs.

If you’re expecting chilly nights you want to be prepared with appropriate clothing, insulated jackets and rainwear. If you’re lucky and pick a scorcher of a weekend, sun lotion, sun hats and moisture wicking t-shirts are worth packing too. If you’re heading to a festival, wellies are always a good shout and if you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure, think of getting a good pair of walking boots and leave your Converse at home.

Cotswold Outdoor, UNIT 4-5, Highcross Highcross, 5 Shires Lane, Leicester LE1 4AN.

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