The best camping gear for holiday makers and explorers
Looking forward to sleeping under canvas this year? Camping is a Great British institution, like fish and chips, or Broadmoor, but it's best to be prepared before heading out to the wilds. Any boy scout will tell you that.
Thankfully, we've done the hard part for you, by choosing the best kit for cooking, navigating, lighting and generally not having a shit time, al fresco. Read on for our picks, or perhaps let one of these thematically similar links divert you…
Staggeringly simple to pitch and effortlessly cool, the Cave is a tent that you pump up like an airbed, and it takes less than a minute to inflate this super rigid geodesic exoskeleton.
There are lighter expedition tents and you do need to carry a pump, but for just 5kg you get a cavernous space that Kevin McCloud would be happy to call home.
Worried an oik with a knife and vendetta could end your fun, like in Eden Lake? In the event of a puncture the multi-chamber design will still keep the frame upright all night, so fear ye not.
£480 | Buy Heimplanet Cave
LED Lenser M3R hand torch
We love LED Lenser torches. We recently took one of its head torches on a trip with a bunch of other journos and they thought we were a motor bike as we returned through the darkness from the khazi. It didn't make us very popular during fireside chats, mind you.
Like that, this is far brighter than you’ll ever probably need: this pocket-sized, 220-lumen, rechargeable torch can illuminate an entire mountainside, brighten your campsite with a flawless floodlight or flush out the ravers with an intense rescue strobe.
£50 | Buy LED Lenser M3R
Primus Onja Stove
If you like to glamp it up, this is just the (Glastonbury VIP) ticket. Get one for your yurt.
From the messenger bag style carry handle to the solid oak top that doubles as a chopping board, this fold-out two-burner gas stove has the power to feed a family, but also enough style points to guarantee a singed hipster beard or two.
£100 | Buy Primus Onja
Puddle- and pond-based hydration at its finest, Lifestraw Go is like a Brita water filter on steroids.
Just fill up from pretty much ANY source of fresh water, screw on the lid and suck. The life-saving filter gets rid of 99.9% of all known bacteria, parasites and viruses and meets the strictest US EPA drinking water standards. There’s no danger of the filter running out mid drink, it automatically blocks the flow when it’s time to replace.
Lifestraw does a full range of filter products from a literal straw (so you just drink straight from a pond or puddle, then mosey on) to larger systems for filtering litres of foul fluid at a time. A cut of the brand's profits go towards providing clean drinking water in the developing world, so that's cool too.
The one thing it can't handle is saltwater, which also means you probably can't use it with urine. Sorry.
£30 | Buy Lifestraw Go
Ultimate Ears UE Boom II
There are plenty of candidates vying for the title, but this is definitely up there in the international Best Camping Speaker championships.
About the size of a can of Special Brew, the Boom II packs easily, lasts for 15 hours on a single charge, has good water resistance (1 metre submersion for half an hour, officially), and can also stand a fair amount of argy bargy, although maybe don't use it to bang tent pegs in with.
Best of all, it puts out really excellent sound, especially given its ruggedness, size and price. It comes in about 5 million colour combinations, too, from minimalist to luridly psychedelic.
£110 | Buy UE Boom II
Handpresso Wild Hybrid
Anyone who’s been camping at least once knows that mornings can be a little bit of an effort, but there’s a simple solution: coffee, and lots of it.
If you're a conoisseur, instant is, naturally, out of the question, so then how best to get your fix? Barista-style espresso is possible thanks to the Handpresso Wild Hybrid – a portable espresso machine which is small and light, allowing you to take it anywhere.
The Hybrid part of the name indicates that you can either use ground coffee or ESE pods. But not Nespresso, alas.
Developer Chris Sheldrick has mapped out the planet into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares and given each plot a three-word name on this ingenious web app.
Why? To keep you safe, to help you locate your tent after a night at the local hostelry and even get you back to the car park after a festival. Pin your location, share it, and find it again using the map wherever you are. You’ll find T3 at costs.cloak.modes if you need us.
Free | Visit what3words.com
MSR Flex 4 System
Cooking when you’re camping can be a little bit of a challenge, as you can’t just throw everything from your kitchen into the back of your car. Well, maybe if you leave the kids behind.
However, MSR’s Flex 4 System goes some way to solving this culinary calamity, by allowing you to carry everything you need to cook for four or more people in just one pot. With its clever design the Flex 4 crams in almost everything but the kitchen sink, including pots, strainers, plates and mugs.
£115 | Buy MSR Flex 4
Hang from your rucksack by day, and blow up at night for up to 12hrs of LED lamp light. The inflatable bag works as an effective magnifying shade and it’s waterproof to IPX7 standards. You can also set it to flash for up to 32 hours, in case you go overboard.
The price buys one light for you and donates one to a charitable trust, hence the LuminAID monicker.
From £18 | Buy LuminAID
Kiddie GPS trackers might feel a bit Orwellian, but T3 Dad wants peace of mind when away, as well as peace.
Tintell is a super tough, kid-friendly wearable with a one-button 2G mobile phone with voice recognition, GPS locator and simple map app. Run free, sort of.
Pre-order for $99 from Tinitell.com
Keep your stash (we mean keys, wallet, phone… obviously) secure with this compact, lightweight yet exceedingly rugged, portable safe.
A 4-digit combination lock and 480mm braided steel cable will keep your preciouses safe and there’s a port to run a headphone cable through - perfect if you’re daft enough to bring your Astell & Kern AK380 to a festival.
Bogs Classic Mid
Made from vulcanized rubber and 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech (neoprene) what these boots lack in supermodel endorsements they make up for by being as comfy and warm as a pair of slippers, even in sub-zero temperatures.
As well as being hugely helpful when pulling them on, the handles make strapping them to your bag a breeze, too.
£90 | Buy Bogs
FRĒ Power for iPhone 6s
The perfect combination of power and protection, this rugged case is waterproof down to depths of 2m for up to an hour, can survive a 2m drop with ease and is completely sealed from dust.
Despite the 2,600-mAh battery pack - enough for a complete 6S recharge - it's not hideously bulky, either.
From £63 | Buy FRÉ Power
Nite Ize Reflective Rope
As most of you are probably all too aware, trying to walk around a busy campsite at night can be a perilous journey, fraught with hazardous obstacles – namely, guy ropes.
If only everyone used Nite Ize Relective Rope. This luminescent cord makes uninvited guests stumbling onto your tent while you’re sleeping a thing of the past. It also makes your tent easier to find.
From £8 | Buy Nite Ize
Adventure Medical SOL Origin Survival Tool
This little beauty belongs in every camping bag – the Survive Outdoors Longer (or SOL, for time’s sake) gives you everything you need to handle adventure camping with casual aplomb.
A variant on the Swiss Army Knife theme, this pocket do-it-all kit contains numerous essentials, for a hunting knife to a flint and steel. Essential outdoor gadgetry for budding Rambos and Ray Mearses.
£116 | Buy Adventure Medical
Goal Zero Lighthouse
Going on a long camping trip? You’re probably not going to be around a power source, so how do you get juice for all your gadgets? You use the potential energy available in your arm. T
he Goal Zero Lighthouse uses crank power which not only provides you with a limitless light source for those late evenings, but you can also plug your devices in and charge them up; again, using just your arm. Easy, free and good for you too.
From £60 | Buy Goal Zero