Camping For BEGINNERS In The UK (+ Basic Camping Gear Checklist)

Camping for beginners - Nant Peris campsite Snowdonia

Camping in the UK is becoming more and more popular.

Planning your first camping trip you might think you need loads of fancy equipment. I am here to tell you that camping for beginners in the UK is possible without spending a fortune on your first trip.

Camping means you can have a holiday on a budget and a great outdoor adventure exploring our gorgeous 15 National Parks in the UK.

Also included is a checklist of basic camping gear and equipment that you’ll need for your first camping trip.

Plus a few of my camping tips, tricks and hacks to start you off on your outdoor adventure.

UK camping for beginners - Nant Peris campsite Snowdonia
Hanging out in my Vango Banshee tent

*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.


What tent for your first camping trip?

The first thing you think of when planning a camping trip is buying a tent. There are a lot of options out there (I have three tents and continually suffer from tent envy at campsites!)

From tiny one-man expedition tents to some giant 8-man tents that seem bigger than the downstairs of my house you are spoilt for choice.

A few things to consider:

  • How many people will be sleeping in your tent?
  • Do you all want to sleep in the same compartment?
  • What is the maximum number of days you’ll spend in your tent?
  • Where will you keep all your camping equipment and personal belongings?
  • Do you have somewhere to shelter (not in the sleeping compartment) if it rains?

A family camping trip in the UK might require more space than a camping trip with friends, where you’ll probably have a tent to yourself or share your tent.

Or another option to borrow a tent from friends or family!

Read next: Camping on Lake Windermere in the Lake District

What size tent?

So how many people in your tent? 1-person tent, 2-person tent, 3-person tent or more. The number relates to how many people can sleep in a tent. It does NOT factor in your belongings.

For my wild camping trips, I initially had a 2-person tent  (Vango Banshee 200 – pictured above). This allowed enough room for me to sleep, plus my rucksack with a mini porch area to keep muddy boots and cooking equipment.

I’ve since upgraded to a smaller but lighter tent, the MSR Hubba NX, a 1-person tent. But this tent feels bigger in some respect because you have a lot more headroom inside.

You can read my review here and check out my photos in use.

Glamping in the UK – Camping pods and yurts

Blair Atholl Campsite, UK - Blair Castle Camping Pod
Camping Pod at Blair Atholl Campsite, UK

Breaking news (or not haha)! Just because you’re going camping doesn’t mean you have to buy a tent!

If you want to try out sleeping under the stars a great option is to try out one of the many camping pods or yurts that are now available at some campsites in the UK.

Camping pods now range from full-on luxury. 

My pod in the Lake District at Kentmere Farm pods with a double bed, shower and sofa, to some moderate luxury Blair Atholl campsite in the Cairngorms with a sofa bed, light and heater to a more basic pod with a roof over your head at Eskdale Campsite in the Lake District!

YHA Borrowdale has some great camping pods in the Lake District too or you could try a Mongolian Yurt in the Peak District.

Sleeping equipment for your beginner’s camping trip

Comfy Sleeping bag

The basic sleeping equipment is simply a sleeping bag and camping mat, maybe a pillow if you fancy some extra luxury and have space. Probably not the thing to take on a wild camping trip!

Your sleeping bag should be suitable for UK weather conditions.

Generally, in the UK a 2-3 season sleeping bag is perfect for most camping trips unless you’re camping in winter!

Top tip

  • Take some VELCRO® Brand Stretch Straps to wrap your sleeping bag up in – much easier than trying to fit it into the bag, which is always too small!

Sleeping mat for Camping

Basic camping gear - Nant Peris campsite Snowdonia
Camping essentials – foam mat kept rolled with VELCRO® Brand Stretch Straps

These come in all shapes and sizes. From the thin foam mat that gives an extra layer between you can the cold ground but not much padding, to a full inflatable mattress, with a pump!

The foam mats are commonly used on outdoor expeditions and you’ll see them attached the back of rucksacks, for example on the DofE challenge!

Again the VELCRO® Brand Stretch Straps are perfect to keep your mat tightly rolled up (pictured above).

I personally love the Thermarest mats, they roll up small and are lightweight too, the super lightweight ones can be costly so for your first trip maybe select something that’s practical but doesn’t cost the earth!

You might like to read 22 best day hikes in the UK

Basic camping gear – cooking equipment

To get ready for your first camping trip in the UK, you’ll need some basic cooking equipment. Yes, I know there are fancy camping stoves with giant gas bottles but really all you need is a gas stove, gas bottles and some cooking gear (saucepan, frying pan and cooking utensils).

For my wild camping trips, I take a small gas canister and attachment, easy and lightweight. But when I’m staying on a campsite in the UK I also take my small camping stove. The two together allow me to cook some delicious meals.

Nant Peris campsite Snowdonia
Using VELCRO® Brand ONE-WRAP® Reusable Ties to keep my crisps fresh

A few things to consider:

  • Camping breakfast – save cooking and take food that’s easy to eat (or ignore that and go for bacon butties all round!)
  • A kettle is handy but a pan with a lid is just as good for heating water and you can use for cooking too.
  • Dinner – do you really want to cook? Is there a local pub near your campsite #cheating haha.
  • Camping snacks don’t need cooking haha

Basic camping gear – Other equipment

Don’t forget your cutlery, bowls, plates and mugs. Dig out those old plastic cups from home instead of buying new ones. A couple of water bottles are a great idea too.

All campsites in the UK will have somewhere you can refill your bottles with water, saving you money and the environment!

For campsite washing-up, for your first trip take the washing-up bowl from home, but don’t forget the eco-friendly washing up liquid + sponge too!

Ever wanted to try wild camping in the UK? Read more about here

UK wild camping essentials guide for your first trip

Basic camping gear – a few other camping essentials (or not!)

Nant Peris campsite Snowdonia
Technology and camping combined!

These are a few things that you might already have so hopefully no extra costs but if not then they are pretty handy to have anyway!

Of course, you see everyone with those fancy camping chairs, I personally like chilling out on a picnic blanket instead and much smaller to pack in your car. I also throw in a few blankets too, great for wrapping around you in the evening or an extra layer to keep you warm at night.

You might want a technology detox on your UK camping trip but if not then a power bank is a great way of keeping your phone and any other USB cable equipment charged.

Top tip – Use VELCRO® Brand Stretch Straps to keep your camping blankets tidy and VELCRO® Brand ONE-WRAP® Reusable Ties to keep your cables organised.

Are you all ready for your beginner’s camping trip in the UK now? Or do you have any more camping questions for me?

Ask me anything about camping in the comments below.

Free beginners basic camping gear checklist here

The beginners basic camping gear checklist UK

Save to your UK camping Pinterest board

Camping for beginners UK - Basic camping gear checklist

Camping for beginners UK - Basic camping gear checklist

Camping for beginners UK - Basic camping gear checklist

15 thoughts on “Camping For BEGINNERS In The UK (+ Basic Camping Gear Checklist)

  1. Marty Deemst says:

    OMG I want everything on this list! There are so many little things that I don’t have. I would love to travel but don’t enough time to plan properly. This list helped me finish off my camping gear checklist of needed must-haves. Thank

  2. Sébastien says:

    Hi, this article really helpful for me. I am confused about choosing the right camping gear what would be the best for everything. But review this article my confusion is clear, Thanks.

  3. Poleta says:

    Thanks for sharing this helpful information. I’m sure most people can take notes from this article. One thing most people lack experience while camping. I have a couple of young friends that are going to get camping in UK soon. Well, this post gives me some good ideas for camping.

  4. Juliea Watson says:

    I am so grateful I found your post, You’ve really covered up almost all the possible tips that a beginner should follow while camping. My husband and I have been thinking of going on camping soon. Actually, I got a lot of information from your blog which can help to make our camping checklist much more relaxing and enjoyable. Thanks.

  5. Pawel Bartosinski says:

    Hi Becky. Thanks for your beautiful pictures and all tips.Hopefully in may I will walk Jurassic way.I have only question where you got water from?thank you

    • Becky the Traveller says:

      Hi, thanks so much, I’m glad you found it all useful. The Jurassic Coast was a few years ago now so I can’t remember exact locations but I remember a couple of taps on some of the beaches and I also popped into shops/cafes and asked them to fill up my water bottles as I walked through the towns 🙂

  6. Pingback: Best Camping Gear Guide UK 2022 - Best Outdoors

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