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!
Small enough for a campervan or tent but with decent capacity and a flush. Not for big bums, though! H31.3 x W34.2 x D38.2cm.
UPDATE: Never has there been such a rush on camping loos (!!). You’ll find many are out of stock at the moment, so have a look at more camping toilets here.
Solo Stoves are beautiful things. The smaller ones are hugely popular with backpackers and wild campers who want to cook without carrying gas.
The larger ones are (almost) smoke-free firepits and even come with a lifetime guarantee. We’ve just bought the Ranger because the size is perfect for home and for taking in the van for picnics and camping. Not cheap but gorgeous.
A smart, surprisingly sturdy and affordable option. The Lumaland gazebo comes with one side wall and you can buy the others separately as needed.
Comes in a minimal black, a vibrant lime and a blue for those sitting on the style fence!
It takes less than two minutes to snap the poles into place and peg it down. It’s waterproof and includes a bag and pegs. We use it in the garden, on campsites and as a workaround campervan awning. Brill and not expensive.
If you’ve read our articles on multipurpose shelters or our feature on tarps, you’ll know we love versatility. A good set of tarp poles means you can create a whole range of shelters and awnings.
The Unigear tarp poles are the best we’ve found. They’ll give you between 40 and 240cm of height and are made with lightweight (800g in total) but strong aircraft aluminium. They also have some good bits of design to add strength and make it easier to set up. They come in a set of two.
The (individually) adjustable-leg Uquip aluminium table is great for uneven ground and folds easily into a bag. Around £55 for the medium. You’ll also find it branded Nestling if the Uquip is out of stock. There’s also a large version for around £90.
There are big ones (up to 91-litres) like the one above, but also a neat 28quart/26-litre version.
We also love the Igloo mentioned below.
It’s not cheap, but it will (used correctly) keep ice frozen for five days when the outside temperature soars to 30C.
This is the Igloo BMX and it’s a thing of beauty and sturdiness. Brilliant insulation and holds 49l.
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.
If they’re unavailable (as they often are) or your budget doesn’t stretch that far, go for the affordable but still great CDF range, which worked perfectly for us for years in the UK and Europe.
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!
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 Fast-Pitch tent feature.
Also look at our recommendations for camping storage cupboards and kitchen stands.
The Coleman Sportster is a fantastic petrol stove that’s cheap to run and small to pack.
Don’t use unleaded fuel (clogging) and don’t use the Coleman fuel (expensive). Instead, buy Aspen 4T or a similar purified petrol. You’ll find them in garden equipment stores. Around £25 for five litres and without the smell and health hazard of unleaded.
The stove comes in a neat and sturdy box. It’ll last a lifetime of camping trips.
Just imagine how many of those 5l plastic containers of screenwash get chucked away every year.
Keep the one you have and use P1 Autocare screenwash pods instead. They work just as well and work out cheaper.
Just add one to your empty container and fill with water. Around £9 for six (30 litres in total).
We’ve been recommending the Dirt Boot shoes for all that in-and-out of tents and vans (see further down), but we’ve just discovered the Toffeln range of professional quality clogs and shoes. Brilliant!
Lightweight, waterproof, proper insoles and non-slip grips. Go for the higher-back clogs with back strap or the closed shoe. Both easy to get on, but won’t leave your feet half way to the toilet block. Around £40 and way better than Crocs. Oh, and men’s and women’s sizes plus lots of colours.
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
Tough on the outside and soft inside…well, she is rather special, but it’s the Rubbastuff Pacmat poncho you should be looking at.
The poncho has straps to keep it attached to bike handlebars or a pram handle, rolls up small, nice colours and spread it out for a picnic mat. Great.
You can stash your rucksack underneath, there are reflective bits for night-time…oh, and the hood works. It’s very adjustable and has a peak.
Our favourite camping blanket. Packs into a pillow, good insulation, withstands damp and drizzle and made with the environment as a priority.
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.
The best method we’ve found is to make your own coffee bags using unbleached plastic-free paper pockets and a good ground coffee (we use Percol because the whole company is going plastic-free).
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.
Don’t bother with cheap, Chinese-branded hammocks. We’ve tested a lot and they either rip or don’t measure up to the claimed dimensions.
You can’t go wrong with a Ticket to the Moon hammock. Although you’ll pay a bit more (around £50), it’ll last. The picture shows ours in France five years ago…and it’s still perfect.
They fold quickly into an integrated bag and are really light to carry too.
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!
Fab folding saws
The teeth cut in both directions, so it’s a bit easier to use, plus folding it up is a tad simpler. It’s super-cheap too. Both are great, though.
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. The 3l Mini is the perfect size for taking camping (when you have power). Perfect for home for a couple too.
For something cheaper than the Voited (mentioned higher up), try a Snugpak Jungle Blanket for sleeping under on warmer nights, for adding a layer to your sleeping bag or for wrapping around you and a friend so you can sit under the stars for longer. Lots of readers say they love them. Warm and light.
The Kelty Bestie blanket serves the same purpose and might suit you more if you’re after some colour!
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.
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.
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.
You can rinse it in cold water and use it over and over. There’s also a vegan version that uses plant-based wax.
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.
Some of the best we’ve found are these neoprene-lined slip-ons. Sizes 3 to 13 and only £20. Dirt Boots for women and men.
The Toffeln clogs mentioned above are probably a better bet for fast on-offness!
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. 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 first came across them for their clever but exorbitant hammock pad, but now use their Static V Luxe as one of our main camping mats. They’re unusual in design, very comfortable and take up far less room.
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).
Rugs made from recycled plastic are a great idea for camping and for decks, patios and gardens. Fab Hab or Green Decore are the best. They come in loads of colours.
You can use them on wet grass, muddy campsites…wherever. Soft enough to be nice to lie on, and in lots of sizes for inside and out.
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 do love the versatility of this affordable TentHome tipi.
Use the inner or the outer on its own and prop up the big canopy for loads of space. It gives you 310 x 360 x 240cm of space. Aluminium poles, bug-mesh and lots of ventilation. Great.
We’ve reviewed more over at our quick-pitch tent article
A fabulous DWD wood-burning stove. It all packs down into a small bag, you can cook on it and keep warm.
The water heater option is brilliant and there are kits so you can use it inside a bell tent.
Our other favourite for lighter packs is the neat and easy Solo Stove .
See our wood-burning stove feature here
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 good-value Unigear tarp, which comes with everything you need.
Remember to get bungee or elasticated cord for fastening your tarp (details at the end)!
We’ve got a feature on tarps here too.
Fast-pitch tents…yes, please
We don’t like faff, so we have super-easy single pole or pop-up tents for quick camping. Although, we’ve been a bit sceptical about inflatable tents, we do like the Berghaus range, especially the Air4XL, for huge space and head height on longer trips and thoughtful touches like an electric hook-up point on each side. Affordable compared to Vango and Outwell too.
plenty more in our quick-erect tent review
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.
We like the Regatta Calima windbreak for its simplicity. Just two big panels and three steel poles. Stays up in a wind (as it should!) and very cheap too. The Yellowstone is a near match if this one isn’t available.
More options in our round-up of windbreaks if you need bigger, prettier or whatever!
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 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.
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.
Look out for them in French supermarkets when you’re on your travels.
No shower? No worries. We always take a couple of packs of these totally natural Aqua Wipes. Just water and biodegradable.
Biodegradable doesn’t mean you should ever chuck them in the wild. They take a long time to disappear and are just litter meanwhile. Take them home!
For even more environmentally friendly cleaning options…
…have a look at our new article on 25 ways to make camping greener.
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.
This is one of the best ways of listening to music or a podcast for runners, cyclists and walkers. Why?
Choose either the Plantronics Backbeat Fit 3100 earpods or (below) the super-light Aftershokz Trekz (preferred by my cycling friend). And don’t forget Apple Airpods. I’m a new convert thanks to the amazing sound quality.
A simple freestanding mosquito net from Lifesystems. Fasten it to your campbed or use it on the ground. Around £60.
This kind of ‘tent’ could be great for warm weather camping. But we’ve also chosen lots of tents that are basically a mesh shell (some with optional rainfly).
Have a look at our guide to the best tents for stargazing.
We love our stainless steel bowls for all our home baking and mixing. They’re even more useful when camping. These 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.