Affordable camping gear – our top picks from Decathlon

The tents you see most on European campsites are often from Decathlon. And it’s easy to see why. Not only do they look rather stylish, they’re some of the cheapest tents we’ve found.

Decathlon isn’t great for everything, though. Their camping range is relatively small because the store covers 70 other sports – from fishing to diving.

So, we’ve given a thorough test of their most promising camping gear and chosen the items that really make the grade and save you money.

Latest update: March 2020

Sleep longer in a blackout tent

There are five sizes of Quechua Air Seconds tent with a black interior so you can sleep beyond dawn. The white outer keeps the heat off in sunny climates too. They look lovely and sleep from three to eight people.

This pale and interesting Air Seconds 4.2 XL tent won the 2020 Best Family Tent award, by the way. It costs around £300 and has great blackout bedrooms, plus a zip-out groundsheet.


Prices range from around £150 to £700 for the big eight-person tent.

There are poled tents too if you’re not into pumping up your tent.

More tents in our guide to quick-erect tents from all the top manufacturers.

A warm, pressurised shower

It looks a bit weird, but this is a clever camping shower. You pump it by hand to get the pressure and the sun heats the water. You can fill it with warm water if you have no sun!

8-litre capacity and an on-off button to save water. Around £35.

If this one isn’t for you, have a look at our other recommended camping showers.

Blow-up camping cupboard

Now here’s a good idea. An inflatable cupboard for your tent or awning.

140cm high and 80cm wide, the cupboard has shelves inside and pockets on the outside. It comes with a handy carrying bag too. Around £50.

Sun and rain protection with a tarp

We use our Fresh tarp as a sunshade, a rain shelter, to make extra space or to create a windbreak. They cost around £30 and pack up very small. 

Tarp and VW Campervan

Quechua Tarp Fresh

We’ve written a guide to setting up and using tarps with some important info about pegging them down. Have a look!

Fishing umbrellas for shelter?

One of our readers left us a comment below about using a fishing brolly instead of a tarp. It’s a great tip. Decathlon’s fishing umbrellas come in a range of sizes, but don’t forget you’ll probably also want to buy the separate ‘awning’ – a sort of curtain that gives you more shelter. Brollies from around £25 and the awning bit around £15.

Comfort that’s not just for anglers

We’ve actually written a whole article about campbeds and chairs that are designed for anglers. Some of this super-comfy kit is light enough for day-to-day camping too.

The Caperlan bedchair is under £60 and weighs only 5kg – light for one of these comfortable campbeds.

And the Fullbreak chair is another good one, with adjustable legs for uneven ground. Around £40.

Have a look at other comfy options in our article.

And how’s this for comfort?

Personally, this is a step too far for us for camping, but we spoke to someone using one this summer and they loved it. Basically, it’s a blow-up base for your camping mattress, which is held in place by straps.

Weighs just under 4kg and packs down into a neatish size. You need a decent pump with it because it needs to be fully inflated.

Costs around £50.

Cold weather sleeping bag

Made from cotton and warm enough for a night close to 0°C, the Arpenaz 0 has an adjustable hood and converts into a duvet.

A choice of two colours and around £65.

A coolbag that actually works – even without icepacks

We use an amazing Dometic compressor fridge for BIG camping trips, but this coolbag is brilliant for picnics and weekends away.

With ice packs, you should get two or three days of cool temperature inside. Without ice, it’ll last all day (providing the food and drinks you put inside are cool already).

This one is the family-size 36-litre (£40), but there’s a 26-litre version and two smaller backpack coolbags too.

X-Warm Hybrid Fleece Jacket

A cross between a warm fleece and a hiking jacket, this women’s top gives you heat where you need it, plus breathability. The fleece part is polyester and so you’ll need to wash it using a Guppyfrind bag to catch the microplastics. £40 and available in blue or white .

See our article on environmentally-friendly alternatives for more details.

Pop-up tent simplicity

Pop-up tents are the easiest of all. There are models for two or three people.

The only downside is getting them back into the bag, though colour coding has made that easier. Watch the video and practise at home to avoid the mockery when you’re in public!

From £45 to around £110.

Shelters that work as campervan awnings

These are gazebo-like structures, but with lots of options for opening the sides. They’re great for extra room or for rain shelter, but they really come into their own when they’re used as a campervan awning.

Arpenaz Base Fresh

This is the Arpenaz Base Fresh. It’s a versatile shelter for up to eight people (2.5×2.5m) and only costs £80. 

The Base Fresh Living Area/Gazebo

An exciting one from Decathlon. This is the Base Fresh Living Area simple and versatile. A 3m x 3m standalone shelter with three opening doors and a mosquito net. Excellent 225cm head height too. Around £150.

The Base Connect for campervans and tents

An affordable awning or a tent extension, we really like this Base Connect Fresh. Lots of light, loads of uses and costs around £200, which is not a small amount but a lot less than most inflatable awnings.

Lots more in our articles on driveaway awnings and in our guide to multipurpose shelters.

A self-inflating mat for under £35

We’ve tested some fantastic (and expensive camping mattresses), but this Arpenaz 4.5cm self-inflating mat isn’t half bad. 

It’ll inflate most of the way on its own, but expect to have to top it up by mouth for the last quarter or so. We like the non-slip surface.

If you’re happy to spend more on a thicker mat, have a look at our other recommendations for the best camping mats.

Unbeatable water shoes

There’s nothing to say about these water shoes, except that they’re great for swimming in and for walking on rocks. Plus they cost £5. Enough said.

Ponchos with arms – great in the rain

Ponchos are an easy way to keep dry, but they can be a bit annoying when you’re trying to set up camp or cook outside. The answer is a poncho with arms.

The B’Twin cyclists’ ponchos in a choice of colours for under £30.

A reclining chair for dining and dozing

A ventilated back, a small folded size and a sturdy seat. This Quechua reclining chair is around £35 and even has a headrest.


A simple stainless kettle

We like stainless steel better than aluminium (though not as much as titanium!). This is a simple £12 kettle. The handle gets hot, so be careful, but it’s a neat little classic design. Holds a litre.

More kettles? Here you are.

Warm and flexible winter trousers

Windproof, water-repellent and with stretch. You probably can’t find much more comfort or more features for under £40. Fleece shorts and a hand-warmer pocket too. Only for women, though.

Bright, rechargeable camping lanterns

A range of neat camping lanterns from 50 lumens brightness and £8 in price. Our favourite, though, is the £20 200-lumen lantern. It’s rechargeable, waterproof and has three lighting modes.

If you have a Decathlon favourite… or even something you’d warn us NOT to buy, please do leave a comment below.

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  1. Head over to the fishing section and look at the fishing brollies. If you’ve ever wrestled with a tarp this is an easy alternative. Buy a spike to hammer into the ground and the sides will pin it down in the wind. There’s space for a couple of chairs and a cooker small bbq or even a small fire bucket.
    Thumbs up for the camp bed. For those of us getting older, no more struggling to get up off the floor. It’s warmer. A lot less weight and pack size than the folding beds and you can clip two together. Stash bags under and save space in the bedroom. You need a pump with a gauge as it needs 6psi.

  2. I’ve already sung the praises of Decathlon’s Helium Trek Pillow on Campfire Mag before and still love it.
    I also have the backpack cool bags in 10L and 20L sizes.
    I hadn’t planned to buy both but they were having a sale!
    They are well made and surprisingly light when empty.
    Also work well as coolers, (I always put an ice pack in the mesh pocket inside the bag)
    I’ve also discovered that the small one fits perfectly inside the larger one, which takes less room for storage, and should be super cool if used together like this!
    Only negative so far is that the insulated fabric can cause a bit of a sweaty back when carried on hot days.

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