Camp Cool 2 – great camping gear discoveries

We’re always on the look-out for well-designed camping, cooking and outdoor gear that’s genuinely useful and a little bit different. We scour the shops, shows and the web for interesting things and we share our finds in these round-ups.

For the VERY best things our team has found and use all the time, have a look at our recommended favourite camping equipment.


Towel, sarong, beach mat, baby wrap, picnic rug, tablecloth….these Turkish cotton towels are very versatile. Quick drying, absorbent and in a range of lovely colours and subtle patterns, they pack up small and weigh next to nothing.

We’ll be lying on ours on the beach and wearing them as cover-ups between the tent and shower block. From around £20.

Cocoon lightweight but soft camping towels

If you’re not planning on wearing your towel, a fast-drying microfibre towel may suit you better. Opt for a plush or terry version so that it’s more like the towels you’re used to at home. Cocoon Terry and PackTowl Luxe are the ones we like best.

EcoGrill barbecueEcoGrill

Disposable barbecues are pretty rubbish for decent cooking. The charcoal is so shallow, they’re usually finished before you’ve managed to grill your sausages. EcoGrill is made of hollowed out alder filled with charcoal and lasts for between two and four hours’ cooking time. They sell a grill pan to sit on top of the fire, which is many times better than a rack grill where you’re always dropping food through the gaps.

As well as simply sitting it on the ground, you can use the EcoGrill in a kettle barbecue or fire basket too.

The downside is that they’re one-use only, and some may find the £10 cost a little much for disposable. However, they burn well and smell good and are head and shoulders above the cheap barbecue foil trays. Plus they leave no waste.

Have a look at our recommended barbecues too, though!

Herb barbecue lightersherb barbecue lighters

What a delicious way to light a barbecue or campfire. These natural lighters are made from soy wax impregnated with rosemary and thyme oil and studded with dried lemon, herbs, spices and pine cones collected from UK forests.

They get the flames going quickly and smell great. Around £8

The Source Liquitainer is a great way to carry and dispense water when camping

The water carrier we use all the time

We’ve tried them all, but this is the one that’s proved most useful. The Source Liquitainer holds four litres, fills easily and has a tap. It’s never leaked in three years of use and the water has no nasty taste.

Here it is hanging from a tree. Around £15.

We also carry a 10-litre Summit PackTap on longer trips.

See our guide to BPA-free water storage when camping.

Really Useful BoxesReally useful box

Sturdy plastic boxes in all shapes and sizes help make packing a car or campervanner super-easy. The best we’ve found are the Really Useful Box range, which have handles that lock the lid in place. There’s bound to be one that fits your space perfectly.

They turned to be the perfect way to turn our old Berlingo into a part-time campervan. Find out how!

Easy-on camping shoes?

The cheapest and comfiest we’ve found are the Dirt Boots slip-ons. Neoprene-lined, non-slip, waterproof, perfect for slipping on and off for all those trips to the shower or washing up area. And they’re under £20. Available in the full range of sizes too.

See some other options for good camping shoes here.

Safe camp kitchen knives

Joseph Joseph’s Elevate chef and paring knives come with a safety sheath and a rest to keep them off the work surface. Ideal for the camping cook kit.

The set isn’t cheap, but enough knives for home and the camping kitchen.

Have a look at our special feature on excellent camping kitchen kit too.

Excited about a plug?

Folding smartphone and tablet travel plugs, and an international set too. Very neat.

Well, we are showing it off quite a lot. Mu make fold-up USB plugs for phones and tablets. They take up no room in a handbag or backpack and you simply unfold then spin out the prongs.

As well as single USB version, there’s a ‘system’ that mean you can use your charger in any of 200 countries (Europe and the States included). Designed by Made in Mind, it’s claimed to be the world’s thinnest international USB plug.

The plugs range from £15 to £35.

Proporta cable tidyNeat cable tidies

Tiny and terribly useful. That’s the Proporta cable tidy. A simple magnetic clasp that keeps your headphones or charging cable neat and untangled. Around £4 for three. Simple and clever.


Pack-Away bucket

Folding silicone things are popping up pack-away buckets(literally) everywhere these days. They’re not all as strong and well-designed as they could be though.


We like this Pack-Away bucket from Wacky Practicals because it’s strong and simple and has a comfortable handle. It’s suitable for pets, plants or the washing up, FDA food safe and unaffected by UV rays. Costs around £15-£20.

If you want a lid (and you do want a lid if you plan to use it as your overnight loo), then go for the cheaper Kampa folding bucket.

Incognito insect repellentAll-natural insect repellent

We can’t say Incognito repellent is actually a cool product, but being bitten by mosquitoes is definitely un-cool, so it earns a place in our good design round-up.

It gives total protection against all insects anywhere in the world (that’s a claim we’re gradually proving!), and it doesn’t have any DEET, parabens or SLS. There’s a choice of sprays, roll-ons, moisturisers and even an impregnated pop-up net. And the range starts at around £6.

Cheapest we’ve found for single bottles is Ebay but Amazon is good for three or more bottles.

And things we probably don’t need?

  • A blow-up armchair
  • A reindeer-skin coffee and sugar holder
  • An ice-cream cone shaped ashtray for the beach

If a new product we’ve tested stands up to long use and proves a really practical addition to the camping kit, it wins a place in our favourites.



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