Ultimate Camping Essentials

Ultimate Camping Essentials

We are big campers in the Well Travelled Munchkin family. We usually spend our summers camping somewhere in Europe, or beyond, with a trusty tent, a good blow-up mattress and a simple gas stove, living it up in the great outdoors.

Well Travelled Munchkins, South of France

Obviously camping is always much nicer when the weather is fair and the nights are dry, but it’s a fabulous way of making your holidays as cheap as chips, and it allows you to go just about anywhere!

My daughter was eight weeks old when she went on her first camping trip to Germany following Grimm’s Fairy Tale route. We took a little pop-up tent and she slept on a travel cot mattress.

Camping is so freeing for children. Campsites can give them instant friends in a like minded community, a safe place to run around, acres of space and a relatively safe environment to play on their own.

Camping on Lake Geneva

Camping isn’t perfect and that’s what makes it so great! It’s messy and unruly and wild and rustic and completely informal!

The tent, the weather and the kids can all be a bit impulsive, but in the end you get a messy, makeshift and wonderfully exciting family holiday!

If that’s got you thinking that maybe you might like to try a little camping trip of your own, here is a list of must haves to make sure your camping trips are comfortable and enjoyable, whatever the weather.


The cost of a tent can vary wildly, but you don’t have to spend a fortune. A couple of good places to go to have a look at tents are Decathlon and Go Outdoors.

We have a 2 second pop up tent and a bigger more expensive one and both are good for different trips.


This is the Quechua Arpenaz 4 man family tent from Decathlon. It costs £79.99 and is billed as the best seller on the website.

The thing I like about this tent is that it has a high living room, meaning you can stand up straight!

My top tip when looking to purchase a tent to take on holidays with children is get one that has a large living area. Space is always at a premium when you have kids, whether that’s at home or in a tent and when you start camping more often you’ll end up taking more stuff with you.

Ground Sheet

Ground Sheet from Decathlon starting from £9.99

I would highly recommend that you get a ground sheet to sit your tent on.

It keeps your tent clean, and limits, to an extent, how wet the underneath of the tent gets.



This is essentially the mattress we have and we love it! Just take a normal bed sheet to put over it to help keep it clean and there is your bed! It is really comfortable and super quick and easy to blow up with a simple hand pump.

This mattress from Decathlon is £24.99. They also offer a self inflating option too.

This is essentially the mattress we have and we love it! Just take a normal bed sheet to put over it to help keep it clean and there is your bed! It is really comfortable and super quick and easy to blow up with a simple hand pump.

This mattress from Decathlon is £24.99. They also offer a self inflating option too.

Hand Pump

Quite often we choose to camp without electricity so we need to take a hand pump with us for the bed and our numerous water inflatables! You can get these pretty cheap if you have a quick look around on the internet.

Kids ReadyBed

Disn Frozen Kids ReadyBed – Air Bed & Sleeping Bag £29.99 from Argos

Our little girl has this Frozen ReadyBed  from Argos, which she loves! As she tells me all the time whilst camping it’s her “special Elsa bed and it’s no one else’s!”

The cover is all in one and comes off easily. It washes well and dries quickly.

My Fit Jungle Kids ReadyBed – Air Bed & Sleeping Bag £29.99 from Argos

However, if I was to buy it again, I would probably go for this option. The enclosed part around the head seems to make the bed look a little snugglier.  My little girl sometimes tips herself out of her bed and ends up sleeping on the floor, but still in the covers, somehow. With this added buffer around the top I feel that maybe this wouldn’t happen so much.


Quechua low folding camping table £9.99 from Decathlon

Camping with two adults and two children means space in the car is limited, and I mean limited. This summer we had every last bit of space in the car utilised – we were literally packed to the rafters!

So for the past couple of years we have ditched our big table and now take this  Quechua low folding camping table from Decathlon. It folds down into a slim looking suitcase and packs into the car really nicely.

Gas Stove

CampingGaz Stove £14.99 at Decathlon

This item is another best seller on the Decathlon website and it is exactly what we take camping too. Easy to use and fool proof – meaning if I can use it anyone can use it!

You then need to get yourself some gas cartridges for around £1.79, although they are nearly always on offer if you buy them in multiples.

Sleeping bag

Vango Harmony double from Decathlon £44.99 on special offer

Technically, if we are being thrifty here, you don’t really need to buy a sleeping bag as you could just take the duvet off your bed and some extra blankets. 

If you really wanted to get one, we have a double sleeping bag that we both fit in, which I think is much nicer for a couple than individual ones. Here is the Vango Harmony double from Decathlon to give you an idea of what is on the market.

Crockery, Cutlery and Cooking

If you can, take everything in plastic, but again if your careful and you don’t want to spend the extra money just take what you have. Be ruthless though. Only pack what you think you’ll need to save room and washing-up!

We usually take:

1 frying pan, 1 saucepan, 1 spatula, 1 wooden spoon, 4 knives, 4 forks, 4 tea spoons, 4 bowls, 4 plates, 4 cups, tin opener, bottle opener, peeler, 1 sharp knife, 1 chopping board, one Bialetti coffee maker (thanks to our summer in Italy), 2 tea towels, 1 bottle of washing-up liquid, 1 sponge and one washing-up bowl.


Quechua Camping Lantern £19.99 from Decathlon

If you hook up to electricity you can take any light you want, but if you don’t then you’ll probably need something when the nights draw in.

We have a Quechua Camping Lantern and we really like it. The battery lasts a good amount of time and at 200 lumens it is plenty bright enough, even in our big tent. It has a hook on the base so you can hang it up and it charges with a USB wire so you can charge it in the car!


Quechua Low camping chairs £7.99 Decathlon

You can buy camping chairs from just about anywhere. However, we have recently purchased 2 Quecha Low Camping chairs from Decathlon – can you tell we like Decathlon!

We bought them really for the kids thinking they would last longer than a typical kids chair.However, we all seemed to be fighting over them this summer. Even though they are low they are quite comfortable and again because they are smaller they pack away in the car easier.

And that’s about it. You and your family are pretty much ready to head off on your camping adventure!

Also, send me a picture of you and your munchkins camping somewhere in the world via facebook and I will add you to the join the fun page on the website! 

Happy camping!!

If you are looking for other ways to create inexpensive and easy holidays take a look at these 40+ Best Travel Hacks!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Great list of ideas! We aren’t beginners, but I still enjoyed this list. I’ll have to look into the lantern. We need a new one!

    1. I can definitely recommended! We even have it as my daughters reading light in her bedroom!

  2. We love camping too, we don’t get to do it as often as I would like in the summer. I agree with Leah, will definitely be looking into the lantern!

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