When we find a new piece of camping or outdoor equipment that we love and that really works, it’s here.
Everything you see – from barbecues to mosquito repellent – has been tried and tested by a member of the Campfire team and is now one of their actual camping essentials. If something let us down after long-term use, it’s gone!
Click on any picture or link for details and prices. And if you’re looking for something in particular – from the best campervan to the best loo – just use the search box to find specific articles elsewhere on Campfire Mag!
Updated at least every month, and whenever we find something else fantastic for you!
Coleman’s Cortes Octagon is our favourite tent for looks and versatility. Standing height, sleeps six to eight, the flysheet removes to create a screened shelter and there’s a sewn-in groundsheet. We love the hinged door and the airy feel.
New blackout bedroom version available now too.
Lots more options in our tent feature.
We’ve been using this portable electric shower on wild camps in the Lakes, on Mull and more. Great pressure and a neat kit to carry. Recharges via USB. We filled the Colapz 2-in-1 bucket from the river and topped up with a kettle of hot water.
More camping shower options here too!
We tested lots of camping storage cupboards and kitchen stands in our special feature on camping cupboards and camp kitchens, but the Campart Valencia. really stood out. Aluminium top and even a sink! There’s a smaller model too.
See more in our camping cupboard and kitchen stand feature
A Dometic compressor fridge. The fantastic new CFX3 35 (32 litres) is expensive but brilliant for two or a small family. It stays cold whatever the temperature outside.
The older version (the CFX range without the 3!) worked perfectly for us for years in the UK and Europe, but the CFX3 range has been improved. They come in a range of sizes. The larger ones even have separate ice-making or freezer sections.
See our fridge guide here for how to choose.
The easiest real coffee – no mess
While we love the Wacaco Nanopresso (also on this page) and use it at home even more than when camping, sometimes you need quick, simple and mess-free for your breakfast coffee. Especially true when wild camping.
Fill before you go, or take a jar along and pop in a dessertspoon of coffee, pour on boiling water, wait a few minutes and voilá. The bag is now totally compostable, and the coffee is perfect.
We were burgled in our campervan while sleeping in the roof bed…it made us a lot more aware of security. So, these are our choices for quick and easy alarms.
The Doberman window alarms go off if anyone tries to break a window (or knock on it loudly!). That would certainly wake you up. Around £25 for four.
Our problem was that the site was beautifully dark, so our other choice is a sensor light. It wouldn’t disturb neighbours but would deter thieves and would probably have woken us up.
See lots more choices at our BIG article on camping security.
If you’ve read our guide to camping toilets, you’ll know we have a healthy interest in these matters! Kathy, of binoculars fame, also won us over with these super-handy wee tubes. They fold down small, seal well and have a fit that works for women as well as men. Oh, and they cost about £5.
First some advice. Don’t bother with cheap, Chinese-branded hammocks. We’ve tested a lot and they either rip, don’t measure up to the claimed dimensions or come without straps.
You can’t go wrong with a Hennessy Leaf hammock. Although you’ll pay a bit more, it’ll last.
They have the added advantage that they’re designed so you can use them diagonally, which means a flatter, less slumpy snooze.
The best I’ve found is the DexShell brand. Cosy inside, lots of colour choice and totally protective against wind, rain and snow. If I have one complaint, it’s that I’d like a slightly bigger, less close-fitting version, but I have a claustrophobic head!
A brilliant series of guides that help you discover lovely landscapes, places to swim and camp, unusual and special places to eat and more. There are guides to Scotland, Central England, the Lakes and Dales, Wales, Portugal, Cornwall and the South West, Scandinavia and wild swimming in the UK, Italy and France.
Look where the French one took us!!
We quite liked the original inflatable Luci light, but this bigger Base Lamp is really good. Three brightness settings, no weight, waterproof, charge lasts for ages and you can even charge your phone with it.
The best thing, though, is that it’s both bright enough to read by or illuminate outside eating areas and can be dimmed for a soft background light.
Viewranger is our favourite way of discovering new walks, cycle routes and exploring new places.
We used it for the first time on a trip to the Lake District. Absolutely loved its Skyline feature for identifying fells, tarns and interesting landmarks.
When we got back, I got in touch with them and they agreed a special offer for you, 10% off and you can try it free for a week.
If you have a campervan or caravan or room in the car plus electric hook-up, the Instant Pot is a great way to cook your meals quickly and economically. From stews in 15 minutes to perfect rice and even cakes and yoghurt.
Basically, it’s a clever electric pressure cooker that also slow cooks and steams. They’re quite big (5.7l) but not heavy. Around £70.
What’s this doing here?
Not totally camping, but…we love Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 soap liquid. And actually, you can use it for washing up, washing clothes, washing yourself, your kit and your pets, keeping ants at bay, so…totally sensible for camping?
It’d be hard to find a more ethical, people- and environment-minded company and the bottles are made from recycled plastic.
Fairtrade, organic, no detergents, foaming agents or synthetic preservatives. Lots of lovely scents.
It was our friend Kathy who introduced us to the wonders of these lightweight binoculars. For birdwatching, a pair of carryable binoculars is a really good idea.
These £80 Nikon binoculars are the best we’ve tried for portability and clarity. We’ve spotted a golden eagle, seals, yellowhammers and a naked man having a shower next to a green bucket on the beach! Who could that be?
Boy, these are brilliant. We’ve been using bulb timers for when we’re away, but they were unreliable. The TP-Link Smart Bulbs and Smart Plug let you control your lights and a radio, say, from anywhere you’ve got signal or wifi.
Dimmable, tuneable lights with screw and bayonet fitting and the easiest, most feature-rich app to control them (Kasa). VERY impressed. From around £20.
We love the airy feel with a mosquito net to protect you, the option to pitch on the ground and the perfectly flat (unslumpy) floor).
See more hammocks and bivvies too.
Cut the size you need for wrapping sandwiches, using to seal bowls or for wrapping around loaves to keep them fresher. We struggled to find individual wraps big enough for large loaves, so this is a super alternative.
There’s a metre x 33cm on a roll and it costs around £15. You can rinse it in cold water and use it over and over.
Vegan version uses plant-based wax. Around £14.
See more green camping ideas in our special feature.
As simple as it gets, but we wish we’d spent the £8 sooner. This aluminium windshield fits around almost any size of cooker and folds back easily to nothing!
It saves frustration, matches and gas.
The Joco Cup is the right size for a decent Americano, is nice to hold and a pleasure to drink from. We use the cardboard packaging to hold our camping cutlery!
See other reusable and insulated travel mugs too.
One of our favourite (non-down) sleeping bags – it doubles as a blanket/quilt and is made of eco-friendly materials.
The Vaude Navajo is soft, warm, versatile and really well-designed. We use the 900 option for spring, summer and a warm autumn. Great opened up as an extra layer when you’re camping with a duvet too.
We love our neat Campingaz Bivouac stove. Small and effective. Been using it for years and years and still just as perfect.
Stows in a small bag and takes easily-findable canisters. The Cadac (also on this page) is our choice when we need something bigger and more versatile, but this is the one we use the most.
Our favourite sleeping arrangement for fair-weather wild camping (when we can’t use bivvy hammocks in the trees). Aqua Quest’s West Coast lightweight mesh tent lets you sleep safe from bugs and able to see the stars.
It takes about 20 seconds to set up and is roomy, without that claustrophobic coffin-like feeling you get in many small tents.
See our wild camping kit feature too.
Super-comfy camping mattresses
We used to swear by Sea to Summit’s Comfort self-inflating camping mats, but they’re now a bit too expensive and we needed to find a better recommendation for you.
The answer is Klymit. We first came across them for their clever hammock pad, but now use their Static V Luxe as our main camping mats. They’re unusual in design, very comfortable and take up far less room than our older mats.
More options in our special feature on mats.
The Cadac Safari Chef 2 camp stove is our favourite versatile gas cooker. Very efficient, packs away nicely and has lots of options for cooking styles – from pizza stone to seared steak griddle plate. Piezo ignition.
And it all fits into a roomy, easy-to-carry bag and sets up in no time. High and low pressure options (ie. big gas bottle with hose or screw-in canister).
Our favourite bell-tent?
We’ve just got excited about tipis and bell-tents because there’s only one pole to install (plus awning if you have one). We really love the Robens range, including this simple Green Cone for four people.
Have a look at Bell Tent Boutique too, if you’d prefer something a bit glamping in style.
We’ve reviewed more over at our quick-pitch tent article
Peace of mind while you’re away
The Netgear Arlo security system sends alerts to your phone when it detects sound or motion and lets you see what’s happening at home. Peace of mind when camping.
See the smart bulbs and plugs on this page too.
And I’m sorry to have to suggest this, but do have a look at our guide to security when camping. We learned the hard way…burgled in our van while we slept in it!
A tarp. Nothing fancy, just a very versatile piece of kit. String it up from a tree, attach it to your tent, use it as a shade, an extra dining area, a rain shelter. This one is the great Decathlon Fresh.
Remember to get bungee or elasticated cord for fastening your tarp (details at the end)!
We’ve got a feature on tarps here too.
These bits and pieces will cost you under a tenner and will change your (camping) life! Use the bungee cords to secure tarps, awnings, bits of flapping tent or for 101 other uses. The green clips fasten on to canvas taps, tents and so on without damaging the fabric and give you more options for securing.
A hanging cord wraps neatly around it. Clever little Petzl Noctilight!
The best headtorch we’ve found is the new Actik Core 450-lumen Petzl. It’s big advantage is that it can be recharged from a USB socket or used with batteries. Very bright, very comfortable.
The Cobb stove is a great outdoor ‘cobblestone’ or charcoal-fuelled cooker. Not really a barbecue, but very versatile for other types of cooking. Loads of accessories and we’ve even made cupcakes on it.
There’s now a more controllable Premier Air version too, by the way.
Have a look at our review.
The Reisenthel hanging toilet bag makes organising your bathroom kit very satisfying (am I revealing a bit of fussiness here?!)
Anyway, I embrace my tidiness! The medium size is plenty big enough, it’s easy to find things, there’s a mirror and it looks lovely. Perfect for hanging in trees, in the campervan or in the shower block.
The Bog in a Bag camping toilet has to be the neatest for storing. It’s a stool with a cover that removes to reveal a hole. Fit a bag over the top and you have a toilet.
Best bags are the Green Elephant biodegradable ones, by the way.
And see alternative camping loos in our toilet feature.
It’s a taste-free, non-BPA, foldable water carrier. Holds six litres. Stands up (many water bags don’t), reliable tap and easy-fill top.
See other options in our water-carrier special.
For warm nights – the safest campervan heater
The baby Eco Chico Dimplex is an oil-FREE radiator that warms up super-quickly and is light to carry.
It’s our choice for larger campervans or caravans on hook-up because you can safely leave it on to warm your space. We use ours in the porch at home when we’re not camping.
More heater ideas here.
Perfect camping pans – for home as well
We like to keep extra gear to a minimum, so we use the same pans camping as we do at home. Tefal Ingenio pans share a removable handle so they’re easy to pack and can be used on stoves, in ovens and as mixing bowls.
John Lewis seems to have the best range and prices on these, though look out for them in French supermarkets when you’re on your travels.
Avoid plastic when you can! It’s easy when bamboo crockery is as lovely as these bowls, plates and more. Lightweight, very stylish.
Read our round-up of the best alternatives to plastic plates and bowls for camping.
Headphones for cyclists and walkers
This is one of the best ways of listening to music or a podcast for runners, cyclists and walkers. Why?
We love our stainless steel bowls for all our home baking and mixing. They’re even more useful when camping. These Mari bowls (five of them) are great because they have lids, plus interchangeable centre bits for grating, slicing etc. Mix in them, measure in them, serve in them. Perfect and indestructible.
An old favourite, the Vango steel kettle has the best handle of all we’ve tested, and it folds. It has a whistle too (though it doesn’t always work). The spout cover saves steam and spills. A bit heavier and bulkier than some, but only £11.
Lots more kettles in our boiling hot guide to the best!
Use this Redcamp trowel for digging a toilet hole on wild camps, or for sawing, chopping, cutting branches, pulling out nails and more. Use it for weeding at home. £10.
The shockcord-wound handle makes it extra-useful and comfortable, plus you can easily replace it when it gets worn.