Road test: Essential camping gear


With the summer weather balmy, there's never been a better time for a holiday right here on UK soil.
And if you're particularly brave, doing it under canvas can be great fun. However, if you're new to tents and outdoors life, working out what you'll need for your first camping road trip can be a little daunting.

So before we took off we sought some advice from the lovely people at on exactly what we'd need for a few nights on the open road. We also spoke to the Camping and Caravanning Club to help us find a place to stay. They have a huge network of approved sites around the UK and by becoming a member and using their locations you can be guaranteed of stunning locations and clean facilities – an absolute must if you're used to holidaying in hotels.

Here's a look at the kit we used on our trip:

Go Outdoors Vango Nyx 200 2-Person Tent


Simple to set up, spacious and comfortable, the Nyx is a great starter tent for those on their first camping trip. It's waterproof and, although a little snug inside for one, managed to swallow our kit and a full-sized airbed. Taller campers might find their feet touch the end and their head touches the door, though.

LED Capsule Tent Lights

You'll want to see what you're doing when the sun goes down so you need a decent night light. These hook on to a strap at the top of the tent and using LED technology last much longer than normal, bulb-based torches. Competitively priced too.

Mummy Style Sleeping Bags

Perfect for summer sleeping, this single layer bag kept us warm enough during the balmy nights we were on the road. They have a comfortable poly-cotton lining which kept us snug but not clammy.

Essential camping gear
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Road test: Essential camping gear

Mains & 12V Electric Pump

An absolute must if you're taking air beds with you. Powered by your car's cigarette lighter socket this pump works quickly to blow up a camp bed. It was powerful enough to have the inflatable solid enough for a good night's sleep in around a minute.

Vacanza by Outwell Folding Barbeque

If you're sleeping outdoors, chances are you'll want to cook something with fire too. This fold up BBQ is perfect for road trips as it folds down completely flat for easy storage. It pops up in seconds, has a decent cooking space and is easy to clean.

Folding Picnic Table

Working in perfect tandem with the BBQ was this folding picnic table. It was easy to put up and a great place to eat. With four seats, it can be a bit snug for adults, but as an alternative to eating food off your laps – or worse, the ground – it is brilliant. Unbelievably good value for money, it folds away into a handy carry case for easy storage in the boot.

40-Litre Mains and 12V Electric Coolbox

This might seem a bit pricey, but you'll want to keep your meat fresh, your milk cold and your beers cool. We added some ice to get it really cool and while the car is running the motor uses your 12v socket to keep things cool. It was large enough for food and drink and worked perfectly even in soaring 35 degree temperatures.

Complete Cookset Pack

This pack comes with a gas stove and saucepans, cooking utensils, plastic food containers and a carry bag for easy transportation. It has essentially all you'll need to get cooking on the fly. The handy bag makes it easy to pack away and slip into the boot too.
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