If you regularly camp then your backpacking ritual will no doubt be down to a fine art, with what you need regularly at the top and the less used but still important at the bottom.
However, if you are preparing for a backpacking trip or any wild adventure with overnight camping, then you had best get used to checklists - and this is a good one to start.
1. Sleeping Bag and Liner
You know you need a sleeping bag, but if buying a new one then remember most sleeping bags have been designed with a specific season rating, allowing you to pick the optimal bag for your trip. In addition to this a sleeping bag liner can give you the additional degrees of heat you need on particularly cold nights and has the advantage of being easily washable.
Sleeping bag liners range from the Cotton Sleeping Bag Liner for £19.99 to the Silk Sleeping Bag Liner that will keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. It’s also been treated to be anti-bacterial, anti-mosquito and anti-bed bugs, so it’s also the perfect companion if you’re staying in a basic hostel.
5 stars - "Bought the mummy version and have used from sea level up to 3500m, in tropical as well as Welsh climate. Up to now its kept the bugs at bay, and although a tight fit does the job. Packs small, and it now travels wherever I go." - Matt - 15/02/2016
Whether a portable stove is required or not, you’ll want to keep it as simple as possible. So you might just want to start with a titanium fork spoon and cup and then graduate up to the nesting pans and stove.
The main range comes in plastic, stainless steel or titanium. Plastic is cheap and light-weight, but the main disadvantage being it’s obviously not heat resistant. Stainless steel is tough and durable, so will outlast plastic, but won’t conduct the heat as well as titanium. Titanium is generally the most expensive, but for that you get super lightweight cookware, that heats up quickly and will last years.
Even camping trips close to home can leave you needing to collect water from a nearby source. This brings up some potential complications as you often won't know the origin of the water or whether it is safe to drink. Having water purification tablets at hand alleviates this problem by killing off any bacteria present in the water. Not only is this then good for drinking but also washing food or cleaning your teeth. Droplets or tablets are available from £2.99.
4. Fire Starting Kit
The camp fire is an integral part of any camping trip, whether it is for cooking or for comfort. However, getting a fire going can prove difficult, particularly in adverse weather. A good fire starter can produce a spark in all weather conditions. Couple this with a waterproof tinder kit and you can get a fire started in even the wettest conditions.
5. Reusable Hand Warmers
Hand warmers work by popping a metal disc and massaging the gel inside for around an hour and a half of heat. Perfect for putting in your pocket or even in wet shoes to help dry them overnight. Do note, that to reset hand warmers you will need the ability to boil water.
6. First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit should be one of the first things on your packing list. Having the right equipment with you means you can patch up minor scrapes and cuts or attend to more serious injuries before you get help.
There are a large variety of first aid kits to choose from, some to fit in a pocket and some much larger for groups or families. It can be a good idea when camping to go for a waterproof kit to ensure the contents remain dry but the Lifesystems Pocket First Aid Kit is probably a good place to start.
When camping in warmer weather there will undoubtedly be a series of flying and biting insects waiting for you - and prevention of getting bitten is always better than cure. It’s much more crucial to repel the insects when in high-risk areas such as Africa, South America and South East Asia, but on any trip they can be a nuisance.
DEET based repellent is the strongest, but we also have solutions for those who prefer DEET free repellents or electrical units. Our Expedition 50+ range is one of our most popular Insect Repellents and this video gives you a guide on how much you should use and how to use with sunscreen.
5 stars - "This product is excellent. Eight of us recently used it in Antigua and none of us got bitten. It is so easy to apply and smells very pleasant. Before placing the order I phoned customer service for advice on which product would suit our needs best and they were brilliant as well!" - VS - 01/03/2016