Family Camping Essentials

pop up camping tent

We’ve been camping a number of times now and each time I write down things which I could do with adding to our camping boxes.  I have 2 large plastic boxes which contain all our camping essentials such as cooking gear, travel games, etc.  This means we can just pick them up and put them straight in the car, knowing they contain everything we need.

There a still a few things we could add but here is our list of camping essentials.

  • Tent (pretty essential!).  Go for one that has enough space for sleeping everyone as well as some living  space in case you all end up sheltering from the rain.  Sewn in groundsheets are a must for keeping out rain and keeping kids/pets in.  The higher the hydro head number, the better water resistance.  I would also recommend getting one you can stand up in.  I had dreadful backache after 2 days in our 1st (very small!) tent.  We went to Go Outdoors to choose ours as they have loads pitched up for you to look around and get a feel for their size and design.  We opted for the Hi Gear Kalahari Elite 8 but there are loads of options to choose from.
tents at Holmsley campsite
Our original tent on the left, our current one on the right.
  • Beds.  We started off with inflatable beds but constantly found they deflated and had to be blown back which was a real pain.  They also weren’t very comfortable.  We now have Freedom Trail Aluminium Campbeds which are absolutely brilliant.  They are easy to put up, off the floor and very comfortable.  They also fold up into a carry bag like a camping chair.
  • Sleeping Bags.  I purchased a double sleeping bag and it has been a fantastic investment.  Mine is very similar to the Outwell Colosseum Double Sleeping Bag but it can unzip all the way down to the bottom on either side or along the bottom if your feet get too hot!  It fits across two camping beds and is so cosy.  The girl’s each have a mummy style sleeping bag similar to the Hi Gear Spirit Jnr one.  We usually take pillows too.

kids camping beds and sleeping bags

  • Torch.  Headlamps come in handy, plus a main lamp for in the living area of your tent.  We find Duracell ones are pretty hardy and reliable.  Don’t forget to pack spare batteries for these!
  • Chairs.  Folding camping chairs are an absolute must for us, especially if we’ve been on long walks exploring the forest.  One’s with a drink holder are best 😉

camping Kalahari 8 tent and chair

  • Stove/BBQ.  We use a single hob gas stove for boiling the kettle or heating up soup, beans, pasta, etc like the Go System Compact Stove .  We also have a small portable BBQ for cooking meat on (and those all important marshmallows!).

cooking marshmallows at the campsite

  • Cooking equipment.  We have a plastic storage box which permanently holds our camping kitchen essentials.  This includes matches, saucepans, cutlery, tin opener, scissors, tea towel, plates/bowls/cups, washing up cloths, rubbish bags, tin foil, fairy liquid, water bottles, skewers (for marshmallows and kebabs), bottle opener and I’ve recently added a folding colander for draining pasta/rice.
  • Cool Box.  It’s very difficult to keep anything cool if you are camping in summer so a cool box is a must.  We are planning to purchase a new one that plugs in to the car or mains to keep it cool as last Summer we were desperate for cold drinks.
  • Entertainment.  We always take a football, boules set, pack of Uno cards, travel games such as snakes and ladders, plus a frisbee.  Books and phone chargers as well.
  • Other Useful Items.  Picnic blanket for everyone to sit on and eat or play card games.  As well as your usual toiletries its useful to have a pair of flip flops or crocs to walk to and from the showers in.  Insect repellent and sun cream.  Ziplock freezer bags (all sorts of uses!).  Wet wipes.  Dust pan and brush to sweep grass and debris out of the tent.  Hand sanitiser. First aid kit.

So what have we missed?  Is there anything you would add to the list?  Let us know in the comments below.  Happy camping!

If you’d like to know more about Holmsley campsite in the New Forest you can read our review here: Holmsley

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