7 Items You Need To Pack For a Camping & Hiking Trip

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View of the hills we have hiked from one of the many campsites we have visited

We Always Pack for a Hiking Trip When Camping

For us, camping and hiking tend to go hand-in-hand and we often pick a campsite knowing that there will be a great trek or at least a long ramble nearby for us to enjoy.  We have even been known to set up our tent in the Peak District when the snow is still covering the ground, partly because of beautiful scenery and in part because over the Easter weekend each year, Hope Valley has one of the best beer festivals we have ever experienced.

So, yes, we could be classed as extreme campers and it is fair to say that we are not ones to shy away from a bit of cold weather but we also enjoy camping during the spring and summer months when the sun has begun to warm the ground a little, when you can hear the lambs bleating in the nearby fields and when it is pleasant enough to sit outside as the sun sets with a campfire on the go, ready for us to indulge in slightly over-toasted marshmallows as the night goes on.

However, the art to a successful camping trip is not, as many may believe, only going camping during the high of summer; it is in fact all down to making sure that you have packed the right geartherefore, below is a handy guide to what we pack for such a trip.

The Basics You Should be Packing Regardless of the Weather

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A bit small for some perhaps?

#1 A Top Quality Tent

This really does go without saying, but as camping has become more and more popular in recent years the number of companies that now produce cheaper, low-quality products have increased.

When looking for a new tent, regardless of whether we are camping in the winter or summer, the very first thing we look at is the hydrostatic headcount which basically means that the higher the number the more waterproof it is.

Why buy something that, unless you are planning to camp in the Sahara Desert, will leak with the slightest amount of rainfall.

Our advice whilst some tents may seem cheaper, work on the theory that if the deal seems too good to be true than chances are it is.

The packages that you now see where you get a tent, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses and so much more all for the grand price of around £200 are unlikely to survive even a summer camping trip let alone one where the weather is slightly more extreme.

Instead, look at the well-known brands that can be trusted and spend a little more.  We recommend looking at tents by companies like Outwell, Vango,  Kampa, and Coleman, all of whom have been producing high-quality tents for many years now.

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Good Quality Sleeping Bags are a Must

#2 A Comfy 3-4 Season Sleeping Bag

Once again, the lightweight sleeping bags that you see in supermarkets, outlet stores and online for a really cheap price are great if you are looking to head to a warmer climate for a week or two but if you want to camp over the cooler months you will need something that can keep you warm even when the temperature plummets.

Opting for a 3-4 season bag may seem extreme, especially when some will still keep you toasty even if temperatures drop to minus figures, but there is nothing worse than being too cold to sleep.

If you struggle with a thick bag in the summer months, we also carry a couple of silk sleeping bag liners with us.  They fold down into a small bag, so add no real weight to what we pack and are a great alternative for the hotter summer season.

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This is ideal if you want a comfortable night’s sleep

#3 Inflatable Roll Mats

There is nothing worst, in my opinion than lying on the cold, sometimes lumpy ground. 

If you value your sleep than an inflatable roll mat is well worth investing in.  I guarantee packing one of these into the car will be a far better choice than one of those inflatable mattresses that double if not triple in size.  Whilst they will, of course, keep you off the ground and therefore warmer, they will also keep you awake.  Even time you move in your sleep, every time you roll over, the chances of you rolling off the double-decker mattress increases.  Likewise, if you buy a double inflatable mattress you also have the added problem of every time one person rolls over the other person feels.

Trust me when I say, both Paul and I have experienced several sleepless nights between us over the years thanks to someone else’s restless sleep.

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Probably the most comfortable hiking boots we have ever brought!

#4 Hiking Boots

Comfortable walking boots are essential when heading out for long walks or difficult hikes.  Not only are you looking for a pair that are suitable cushion your feet, but you also want a pair that do not rub against your heels causing blisters and that support your ankles against nasty little twists that ultimately happen whenever you are hiking up a steep incline.

Not only that, but you also need a pair of hiking boots that have a sufficient tread on them so that you avoid slipping and sliding halfway back down the hill you have just climbed up.

Over the years we have tried many different brands and whilst we love the look of Salomon range, for those after a pair of boots that won’t break the budget completely we suggest packing a pair of Merrells instead.

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Glad we packed our Jack Wolfskin Jackets when we headed to Iceland

#5 Warm, Durable Clothing

Whenever we go camping, no matter what time of year it is, we always pack for all eventualities.  Whilst the sun may be shining during the day, it doesn’t take much for the grey clouds to appear and an almighty thunderstorm to then send a deluge of rain our way.  Likewise, when hiking we want to make sure that we have clothes that are breathable but also at the very least shower-resistant.

Enjoying the outdoors lifestyle often means that your clothing takes more of a battering than if you were sitting around in your back garden or on a shopping trip.  Therefore, we make sure that the clothing we purchase is hard-wearing and versatile.  Cheaper clothing may look great on the hanger, but the true test is trying to hike up a mountain in the same cheap gear to see whether it survives to the top.

Over the years there are certain brands that we have come to trust when it comes to outdoor wear and therefore now would only purchase from the likes of Jack Wolfskin, Paramo and Dickies because all of these companies provide clothing with as much stammer as us and our outdoor lifestyle.

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If you are after a durable, multi-purpose jacket check out the range by Dickies

Wandering around #lazise on the shores of Lake Garda with our #cool #cabinzero rucksacks.

A post shared by Tamason and Paul Gamble (@travellingbookjunkie) on

#6 Brightly Coloured Rucksack

Hiking is a time when you need to stand out from the crowd and be seen.  So often you read about people that have got lost, where search and rescue teams are unable to locate them because they cannot be seen from afar.

That is why we always choose brighter outer clothing and accessories because… well you just never know.

When on the lookout for a new rucksack not only, however, did we consider colour we also considered how versatile the bag would be.  Not only do I want a rucksack that has enough space for my waterproofs and my lunch I also, on days when we are not hiking, want something that looks nice to carry around. 

Cabin Zero offers a great selection of brightly coloured rucksacks in two different sizes that I personally feel fit our needs at a reasonable price.

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We never leave home without our Paramo jackets

#7 Waterproof Jackets and Trousers

Even after all the years of camping and hiking it still amazes me to see people wandering around without any protection against the prevailing weather.

Whenever we set out on a hike, even if the sky looks invitingly blue and there is not a cloud in sight, we still pack our waterproofs.  Why?  Because when you are high up on a mountain or wandering a lengthy route the last thing you want is to be soaked on because you haven’t planned properly.

Again, this is something we refuse to skimp on and therefore turn again brands like Paramo and Dickies as well as Berghaus and The North Face.

It may sound like we pack a lot but truly; in order to enjoy your trip to you need to make sure that you have the right equipment.

Of course, there are many people out there that pack far more than we do and if we are going away from a long period of time in the summer months our list grows considerably, however, the basics remain and we now refuse to leave home without them.

What do you pack for your camping and hiking trips?  Have we missed something vital off of our list that you feel should be included?


  • Simon says:

    Nice write up Tamason..i will definitely use your checklist every time i prepare for a camping expedition.

  • Michael says:

    That’s a great selection. When i was done putting together our checklist, I had over 400 items on it. Agree, preparation is the secret. It’s key. No magic. Just prep. 🙂

  • Doctear says:

    Hey Tam,

    Great list you have here 🙂 I’ll take note of the brightly colored rucksack and clothing, this makes a lot of sense. Let me add up iPod (music to entertain you on camping nights) and a whistle 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  • These tips are beneficial and one thing’s for sure in camping is the learning experience you gotta have to share with people. Great post!

  • Gioko Pat says:

    This is very good reading. You have zeroed in on the most essential items that one should bring for a good camping experience. Maybe one should add a small camping stove? Or maybe not.

  • Inflatable mats are just great, I replace it with my sleeping bag as it reduce the pack size and it’s very easy to carry with in bag.

  • On my last trip, I went hiking down the narrows in Zion’s Canyon of Southern Utah. I thought I had a great pair of hiking boots, but in the end I was wishing I had something better. A great pair of boots designed for the trip you are taking can make or break how much fun you have on the trip.

  • Suze Cassis says:

    Depending where you’re camping you might find taking a sleep mask and ear plugs a helpful addition for getting a good night’s sleep?! Personally I prefer to sleep a bit later than a 04.00 dawn so some added darkness always helps. Plus as tents have no sound proofing and your neighbours might be mega snorers ear plugs can be a real bonus to sleeping too. 🙂

    Happy camping.

    • I have never thought of taking a sleeping mask with me for this very reason although I have been known to use ear plugs before as snoring on campsites is really annoying. 🙂

  • Esther Diaz says:

    Thank you for sharing this informative article. I’m kinda new to hiking and I’m planning to buy some items and tools that I will be needing and this article just helped me. Thank you so much. I love your blog!

  • TriskPatrick says:

    Excellent list. The key to a comfortable trip is indeed a suitable backpack, tent, sleeping arrangement and the clothing. I never gave too much emphasis to the color of backpack, but you gave some good reasons to do so. Thanks for sharing the list !!

  • After reading this post, I’m realizing I should really invest in a high quality and COMFORTABLE sleeping bag! This was so helpful. Definitely bookmarking for the future, thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Over the years we have paid out very little for some of our sleeping bags however after investing more in the last ones we purchased I would also take quality over price moving forward. 🙂

  • Nancy says:

    Excellent list! Tent, sleeping bag, and shoes are key 🙂

    • I know there are plenty of other things you could add to this list but I agree I need to be comfortable first and foremost and I think this list helps to highlight that 🙂

  • Rosemary says:

    Could not agree more, the key to successfully camping is having the right gear. I was actually just talking to a friend who went camping and their camp fell apart due to strong winds.For me personally, the hiking shoes matter!! Being comfortable makes the difference between a great trip and a horrible experience. While I’ve not camped in many years, this is a great list to get started again with.

    • I would hate that to happen to anyone. I remember paying out for a really expensive pair of walking shoes once and just before we were heading up Snowdon I wanted to break them in so we went for a lengthy walk around out local woods and fields for the day. I could have only walked for about 8 miles or so and my feet were so sore Paul actually had to leave me on the side of the road and go back to pick up the car. I wouldn’t mind but I think that they were the most expensive pair I have ever purchased and they never saw the light of day again!

  • Jen Joslin says:

    I haven’t been hiking or camping in years, but this made me want to go! I loved your descriptions at the beginning, especially about the slightly over-toasted marshmallow 🙂 This is an excellent list of must-haves for a camping or hiking trip just about anywhere in the world. Those inflatable roll mats look like a game-changer from a comfort standpoint!

    • I glad it made you think about going again. We love camping and the fact that the marshmallows are always slightly over done never bothers us when we are in this environment. 🙂

  • Megan Jerrard says:

    Great list of essentials – totally agree on the colorful bags and clothing – much easier to spot if you’re lost and you’re not blending in with your surrounds. I would also add a small first aid kit and a torch – especially if you’re hiking in a new country and haven’t taken stock of what time the sun sets, can sometimes creep up on you when you’re a ways away from camp 🙂 Happy trails!

    • Thanks for the added suggestions we do tend to forget the first aid kit even though we know we should have one. I love the suggestion on taking note on the sunset times as well. It is amazing how quickly nightfall can come when you are our hiking.

  • Jenna says:

    Great tips!! We love camping and hiking so we have most of these items and agree that they are necessities! The one thing I seem to always fail on is the bright colors–I stick with black and grey way too often, lol! My husband does a decent job with color though, so hopefully we are together and easy to spot if anything ever happens 🙂 Thanks for the suggestions!

    • I used to only ever wear black and when not out hiking, it is still my main-stay colour but I over the years I have found a couple of other colours – especially red – seem to suit me also. 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Great list! Agree that a good quality tent is paramount. Nobody wants to be stuck in a flimsy tent when nature can be so unpredictable. Great tips on the hiking shoes as well. I have a pair of Merrells and I love them.

    • I remember going away with friends who were new to camping and they thought that they had got a great deal on their tent until it rained pretty much constantly for 48 hours and they were flooded out. They actually haven’t been camping since. 🙂

  • Hmmm, my husband and I camp quite often and I have never seen those inflatable roll mats. They look fantastic. We are both way too large for an air mattress to make sense or be comfortable so that would be a great alternative. Definitely having a good tent makes all the difference. I would prefer to have a camper but we don’t do it enough to justify the money. Great suggestions!

    • We have actually looked at campers as an alternative but I still really enjoy taking the tent away. We just couldn’t get on with an air mattress hence we started to look for alternatives and just happened to stumble upon the inflatable roll mats.

  • Chrysoula says:

    That is a great packing list for camping. I always considered it as something you do only in the summer but now I know with the proper gear is good all year around.

  • It’s definitely the time of year to start putting together the perfect camping setup for the summer, and your advice and tips are top notch. There is nothing worse than a leaky tent–I simply can’t stand waking up damp, but I had no idea about the hydrostatic head count. And while I love a warm sleeping bag when I’m in the mountains, it can be too much in the desert. Your tip to keep silk liners on hand is so smart!

    • The first time we went camping in the Sahara Desert we knew we would be far too hot in our normal sleeping bags even though the temperature does drop considerably at night, hence why we opted for the silk liners instead and they are so small they can easily fit into a small pack. 🙂

  • Maria says:

    Guys, you’ve put together a great list! I love going camping but a few years back I was not that aware of all the things I have to bring with me (I remember almost freezing in Sedona 2 years ago, haha). The inflatable roll mats are a great tip!
    I also never thought about the coloured backpack idea, I’m definitely going to look out for one now, this is really good advice.

    • Glad our tips helped. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep because you are too cold. Happened to us once when we were camping when the snow was still on the ground – never again!!!

  • Francesca says:

    It’s been some time since I’ve done a camping/hiking trip, so this serves as a great reminder of what’s needed for such an adventure. I am a Merrell devotee so I’m happy to see you’ve mentioned them 🙂 And I never considered a bright colored backpack but, for the safety aspect you’ve pointed out, it totally makes sense.

  • Stephanie says:

    Great round up of key things to pack for camping/hiking trips! I love my waterproof hikers and outwear cause as long as you’re comfortable, no matter the weather, you’ll enjoy the outdoors! Oh, and don’t forget to pack the camera! lol

  • Christina says:

    There are some good tips here on how to pack for a camping trip. Having the right hiking boots is most important and I’d suggest breaking them in before a long hike. I always make sure I have plenty of extra batteries for my camera.

    • I did make the mistake on one of my first hiking trips of not breaking in a new pair of boots and my feet really did suffer. Extra batteries for the camera is also a good suggestion – there is nothing worst than running out of power just as you stumble upon what could be the best shot of the day.

  • Bob R says:

    Useful list. 4-season can be too warm for the summer months, so the silk liners are a really good idea for warmer periods. I’m a huge fan. 🙂

    Vitals? I always tell everyone not to forget a flashlight.

    • We do have head torches that we tend to pack but always end up forgetting them on a hike which I think could end being a mistake one day. Great suggestion to add to the list. 🙂

  • mark wyld says:

    Looks like you have all the essentials covered here. We do camping here in Australia. The little wall like divider structure you have next to the tent is not something you see in Australia. I have seen them in many overseas pictures. I assume they are for privacy or just to mark where your sights start and finish?

    • They are somewhat for privacy I think but they also mark the boundaries, especially in the UK. You are not allow to pitch your tent on some campsites too close to others for fire reasons so many campsites plant bushes and trees as a marker. I have noticed since spending more time in Italy however that it is more for visual enhancement than pitching too close to someone.

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