Buying guide: camping accessories

You’ve got the tent and sleeping bag sorted, but you’ll need far more than that to really enjoy your wild camp. Here’s what to pack for that perfect overnight trip.

Buying guide: camping accessories

by Trail magazine |

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So, after much thought and research you've purchased and packed all the key camping essentials: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and stove. But what about all those other bits of camping kit that can transform your experience from one that is to be endured to one that lavish with comfort and something you'll be rushing back to again and again?

Fear not, because we've done the thinking, testing, and camping and come up with guide to help you ensure you've got exactly the right piece of kit in your backpack for any camping scenario.

Take something to sit on

British mountains aren’t famed for being dry and comfortable, so unless you want to get your backside soaked you’ll need something to sit on outside your tent. Your rucksack can do a half-decent job as a makeshift seat, but a dedicated sit-mat or lightweight air chair would be perfect if you can squeeze it in.

Sea to Summit Air Seat Insulated

Sea to Summit Air Seat Insulated

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The insulated version of the Air Seat is made from a 30-Denier Polyester top and a durable 75 Denier Polyester base, and is filled with Thermoliteu00ae insulation. It is perfect for cooler conditions.

Be wary of wild water

Even fast-moving mountain water can carry harmful pollutants, so it’s best not to just scoop it up and start drinking if you can avoid it. That leaves you with the options of carrying water with you in a large bottle or flask, zapping it with something like a Steripen, filtering out small debris using a portable filtration system, treating it with chlorine- and iodine-based products, or boiling it on a stove. Choose the system that works for you, then grab a product to make it happen.

What are you planning to eat?

Cold sandwiches and chocolate bars are great, but hot meals are even better once you’ve pitched your tent and finally kicked off those boots at the end of a long day in the hills. From portable stoves and cookware, to thermal mugs and even collapsible kettles and pans, there are options out there for every type of meal, from boil-in-the-bag curry to al fresco fine dining.

Sea to Summit X-Set 11

Sea to Summit X-Set 11

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The perfect set for a cup of tea when you are in the outdoors with one kettle and two mugs.

Don't just pack a sleeping bag

Your sleeping bag will (hopefully) be what keeps you warm through the night, but you’ll need more than that to make a comfy makeshift bed. First of all you’ll need a good sleeping mat, which not only provides a cushioned surface beneath you but also insulates you from the cold ground. If you’re camping in cold weather, consider a thin sleeping bag liner to add a layer of extra warmth. And don’t forget, there are some great options out there for packable camping pillows!

Waterproof the gear in your pack

Just because your camping gear is packed safely inside your rucksack, that doesn’t mean it’ll be safe from the elements. Most hillwalking packs aren’t waterproof and not all of them come with a dedicated raincover, so it’s good practice to buy a set of dry-bags of varying sizes to protect everything stashed inside. There are loads of options out there, from super-lightweight bags you’ll hardly notice you’re carrying, to more heavy-duty, submersible, abrasion-resistant materials.

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack

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The Lightweight Drysack offers durability and reliable weather proofing for the items that you need to protect from the elements. Prices start from £9 for a 1-litre sack.

Let there be light

It gets pretty dark on top of a mountain when the sun goes down. You should already have a headtorch in your pack, but that doesn’t need to be the limit of your lighting. From solar-powered fairy lights to rechargeable lanterns, there are loads of great options to illuminate your wild camp.

Don't forget your tools and first aid kit

Multi-tools, pen-knives, repair kits, safety pins, plasters, painkillers... it’s always best to go fully prepared with a small toolkit on an overnight camp. Whether you snap a tent pole, break a rucksack strap or develop a niggling blister, you’ve got nothing to worry about if you have the right gear.

Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack

Sea to Summit First Aid Dry Sack

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Sea to Summit's First Aid Dry Sack keeps your first aid kit dry and protected so its important medical contents are intact and ready to use when needed. Saturated bandages or damaged supplies can turn a serious situation into a life-threatening one. Prices start from £10 for a day-trip size pack.

Pack some creature comforts

Despite what the hardcore fanatics tell you, camping doesn’t always have to be a complete suffer-fest. We’re not talking about taking a dressing gown and slippers with you; but there’s nothing wrong with sticking a few more luxurious items like a packable travel towel, wash kit, hipflask or even a portable cafetière in your pack before setting off.

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