From the Mountains of Mourne to the Sperrin mountains; a globally-designated Dark Sky location, and the scenic Causeway Coast, we are spoilt for choice in Northern when it comes to choosing where to pitch up for the night.
But since a lot of people are new to camping and hiking trips – those of us who would normally be found sunning ourselves on a Greek beach and drinking cocktails at sunset, are instead donning hiking boots and sipping soup round a camp fire – the team at NI Travel News are sharing our tried and tested kit list for that overnight camping trip.
Tick off the items in our definitive back to basics kit list below and you won’t go too far wrong on your next camping trip:
Before making any big purchases, it’s best to keep in mind what you want most from your tent. Size, weight and capacity are all key factors for the best tents – a lightweight but roomy tent is our recommendation. Cheaper tents will normally only have a single skin, which means less protection from the elements, but they are simple to set up, lightweight and easily transportable, making them perfect for festivals or short camping trips. Pricier tents normally have a double skin and are usually waterproof and come with a more robust frame.
For the best value we recommend the Coleman Darwin 3 Plus. It’s lightweight and easy to pitch, with light highly flexible fibreglass poles. Although the tent advertises as suitable for three persons, it would be more comfortable when used as a two person tent. The tent has several ventilation flaps for optimal air circulation, a mosquito net in the inner tent to keep bugs out, taped seams and fully sewn-in groundsheet. The tent also has a UV guard of 50+ offering high protection from the sun.
The small porch area is large enough to store your backpack, equipment and shoes. The small pack size and low weight of the tent also make this ideal for hiking trips.
For a more luxurious option or if you are looking a tent that can accommodate a family we recommend the Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus with Blackout Bedrooms. Lightweight, sturdy and easy to pitch, this full head height tunnel tent will ensure you get a good nights sleep with its blackout bedroom areas. This tent sleeps up to five, comfortably two adults and three small children. If your kids are a little older or you are heading off with a group of friends, we would recommend it as a four person habitat. This tent has a large living area, big enough to accommodate a table and chairs. It also has taped seams and fully sewn-in groundsheet to keep you dry and a UV Guard rating of 50+ protection from the sun’s rays.
2. SLEEPING BAG
The same way you think about what you want from your duvet at home, you need to think about what you want from your sleeping bag. There’s no need to spend a fortune. Our recommendation is to choose a sleeping bag that doesn’t get too hot in warmer climates while still keeping you warm in the cooler weather. We would recommend you don’t jump into your sleeping bag in your thinnest pj’s when camping if its cold. Wrap up in some something fleece-lined and a pair of thick socks, that way you will only need one sleeping bag year-round!
We recommend the Bloomsbury & Co Sleeping Bag Kit. Its great value for money, reliable and includes an ergonomic inflatable pillow, sleeping mask and a camping guide eBook, which all fit into a compressions carry bag making it perfect for serious hikers as well as weekend campers.
3. CAMP BED
While being that little bit closer to nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve your sleep, a comfortable nights sleep under the canvas is the key to a happy camper! With that in mind a camp bed is a must. Both inflatable and folding camp beds are available, but in all honesty, for a more conformable nights sleep we would recommend an airbed. This one to be exact.
Unlike many inflatables, the Comfort Quest Airbed has a robust coil beam construction, meaning as the bed is inflated, the internal coil beams harden to provide the support and stability of a real mattress. The result is a more comfortable sleep, free from the aches and pains that are common with some other airbeds.
Make sure you grab a foot pump as well. This one from Milestone Camping won’t break the bank and will make inflating your airbed so much easier.
4. CAMPING STOVE KIT
A girl’s gotta eat… and so do the guys, so a camping stove is a must. There are so many different options on the market for camping stoves that suit all types of hiking and camping adventures, but for us it has to be BBQ-style! If you are hiking you will want something lightweight and compact, if you are camping you can afford a little extra space and weight.
For hikers, or those who just prefer to travel light we recommend this Camping Cookware Set with Wood Stove. It’s an outdoor kitchen in your backpack with no gas required! You can use fallen leaves and dead branches for fuel… so it’s a little more rustic and ‘back to nature’.
If you have a little bit more room to spare and are bringing your own charcoal check out the Gentleman’s Hardware Suitcase Style BBQ – style and substance!
Or if you have a few more mouths to feed then this Portable Barrel BBQ is a better option. While still compact, it offers two separate cooking areas, a locking catch for safety and a natural wooden carry handle for easy transportation.
5. FIRST AID KIT
However you spend your time outdoors, a good first aid kit is essential. As confident as you may be, accidents can happen and when they do, it’s important to be well prepared to treat injuries and minor ailments as best you can. Whether it’s as simple as a blister or a more complicated problem such as dehydration, having a first aid kit to hand makes a huge difference.
We recommend these two kits from Surviveware. Both kits contain everything you need for a camping or hiking adventure including adhesive bandages, cotton gauze, CPR Pouch with Instructions, CPR breathing mask and emergency blanket.
The Large Surviveware Kit is more expensive, but worth the investment if you are a regular camper, especially if you are travelling with kids, while the most cost-effective Small Kit is essential for short camping trips and is perfect for putting in your day pack for short hiking adventures.
Camping is the perfect way to discover picturesque, remote spots far away from artificial lights or pollution where you can enjoy stargazing with only the light of the moon. However its always a good idea to have some extra light – you never know when it could come in handy.
Truly unique in design, our recommendation, the Hurricane 4-in-1 Lantern, is a versatile indoor and outdoor flashlight that is convertible from a lantern into a handheld torch.
Ideal for camping trips, this lantern can be hung inside a tent to provide light while you’re busy inside, and the touch of a button it can be taken and used as a flashlight when you venture outside into the darkness. In addition to this, battery powered lanterns are a safer alternative to gas/liquid lanterns which can be a fire risk.