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!
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
All natural Incognito keeps everything nasty away. Mosquito repellent range that's a bit kinder on the skin. We've tested it in some buggy places! We prefer this to the old favourite Avon Skin So Soft, but try them both!
We're currently testing Cubby Salve – made for Scottish midges and Mediterranean mozzies. We'll report back with photos of bite-free ankles!
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.
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 and France.
Look where the French one took us!!
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 too.
It was our friend Kathy who introduced us to the wonders of these lightweight binoculars. Fr 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?
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.
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. VERY impressed. From around £20.
You’ll probably have already come across cotton and beeswax (or vegan wax) wraps? Well, we’ve just found this fantastic plastic-free wrap on a roll.
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
You’ll find a couple of great bivvy options on this page, but the Hennessy hammock gives you almost flat-bed sleeping-in-the-trees for around £120.
We love the airy feel with a mosquito net to protect you, but a rainfly if the weather turns wet.
See more hammocks and bivvies 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.
It saves frustration, matches and gas.
Either the fabulous self-inflating Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe or the Exped 10LW. Not cheap camping mats, but well-insulated, good at inflating (especially the S-to-S) and lovely to lie on. Get even more comfortable with the best pillow we've found – a mini memory-foam, bamboo travel pillow of loveliness.
More options in our special feature on mats.
Cadac Safari Chef camp stove. Our favourite gas cooker. Very efficient, packs away nicely and has lots of options for cooking styles – from pizza stone to seared steak griddle plate. New models have added piezo ignition. All fits into a roomy, easy-to-carry bag and set sup in no time. High and low pressure options (ie. big gas bottle with hose or screw-in canister)
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. We've got a feature on tarps here too. Remember to get bungee or elasticated cord for fastening your tarp (details at the end)!
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.
Although we’re using the 10-litre Sea to Summit Packtap more and more, the Source Liquitainer has the edge when it comes to filling with water and being able to see what you’ve got left. 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.
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. There are beautiful but expensive stainless steel versions and affordable non-stick sets too.
Avoid plastic when you can! It’s easy when bamboo crockery is as lovely as these bowls, plates and more. Lightweight, very stylish. Plus lots more earth-friendly tableware in our article on alternatives to plastic.
Read our ‘20 ways to make camping greener‘ article – for more environmentally friendly shopping, cooking. washing and more.
Instant Pot for electric cooking
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.
We love our stainless steel bowls for all our home baking and mixing. They’re even more useful when camping. These Von Shef 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.