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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This one is the family-size 36-litre (£40), but there’s a 26-litre version and two smaller backpack coolbags too.
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 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.
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.
This is the Arpenaz Base Fresh. It’s a versatile shelter for up to eight people (2.5×2.5m) and only costs £80.
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.
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.
We’ve tested some fantastic (and expensive camping mattresses), but this Arpenaz 4.5cm self-inflating mat isn’t half bad.
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.