Essential Weekend Camping Tips

You don’t have to go far from home to feel like the trials and tribulations of your everyday life are a million miles away.


Camping is a great way to make the most of being outdoors on a glorious weekend. Just chuck a few camping essentials in the car, strap the kids in the back seat and hit the road, but what exactly are the essentials?


To make sure you don’t forget a single tent peg, read these camping tips in our handy camping checklist below or download our weekend camping kit list.

Something To Live In

Going camping for a weekend and forgetting to take the tent is somewhat ludicrous. The tent you do remember to take should be a good size for your party. If there are two of you going and you like a bit of space it might be worth investing in a 3 person tent or at least a 2 person tent with a sizeable porch so that you have space for your kit as well.


A roll of duck tape is invaluable for any short term tent repairs, fixing any accidental tent pole splinters or fabric tears.

Something To Sleep In And On

Your sleeping bag and mat is your key to a good night sleep, make sure they are warm enough and that you are happy with the space they give you. If you are a couple you might prefer a double sleeping bag and double sleeping mat which often don’t pack down as small but can be considerably cosier to snuggle down in. If you decide to choose an inflatable air bed, make sure it fits the dimensions of your inner tent and remember to take something to pump it up with or you could be in for a cold, hard bed and a terrible night’s sleep.

Something To Cook And Eat With

Some people might choose to go camping for the weekend and stick to the local cafe or pub for food. But if you’d like to save yourself the expense of eating out and want to get back to basics with a bit of camp cooking then you’ll need some kitchen basics. Camping stoves are fantastic bits of kit – both safe and easy to use providing you follow the instructions.


It’s important to remember that you’ll also need a pan or two along with plastic crockery and cutlery for the whole camping party. A cool box or bag with ice blocks are essential to keep your food fresher for longer.


Disposable BBQ’s are handy too but not all campsite’s allow them as they can damage the ground and leave unsightly scars for the rest of the season, it is always worth checking before you take them.



  • Pack extra long matches over a lighter to avoid catching your fingers.
  • Freeze your drinks like orange juice and milk. That way they double up as an ice block and are still cold when you come to use them the first morning.
  • It’s worth noting no matter how bad the weather may turn do not be tempted to cook inside your tent.

Something To Light Up The Night

Taking a torch or a lamp will make even the simplest of tasks a whole lot easier to complete after the sun has gone down, whether it is tending to the bar or dealing playing cards, having light to do it by will ensure everyone gets the right drink and a fair hand. Even if you choose to relax in your sleeping bag with a good book and some peace and quiet, reading by moonlight is not always possible.

Something To Relax In And On

You might want to go out for a walk during the day or even just explore the local hotspots. Either way when you get back to your tent after a good mooch about you’ll want to have somewhere comfortable to rest whether it be sprawling out on a picnic rug or putting your feet up in a hammock.


A solid camping chair does the trick for most, coming in all shapes and sizes from the most basic folding seat to luxurious loungers with integrated pillows and foot rests.

Good Old-Fashioned Ball Games For Hours Of Fun

Sometimes when you get away for the weekend you might prefer to just spend some quality time hanging out with family and friends. In which case it might not even be necessary to leave the campsite, taking games with you like Swingball, cricket or even just a football can provide hours and hours of endless fun.


Some of my most treasured memories stem from playing in a field full of space with a simple bat and ball and a whole host of people. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and turn what could have been an ordinary weekend into a fantastic experience.

Personal Items

Don't forget your ear plugs!

There are also your personal items to consider, you still want to shower, clean your teeth and maintain your general hygiene. Most campsites will have toilet block facilities that allow you to do this exactly as you would at home.


If the sun is shining you will want to wear sunscreen, and if the midges are about then insect repellent is always a great idea. A first aid kit might not be needed but it’s better to have one just in case.


If you know you’re a light sleeper an eye mask and ear plugs are ‘must pack’ items.

Camping Checklist

Our camping checklist combines essentials along with some other more luxurious items that might help make your life that little bit easier when going camping for the weekend in the car. For more weekend camping tips check out our ‘Camping Ideas’ Pinterest Board.

Posted By

Charlotte Fish, Cotswold Outdoor HQ


Charlotte discovered her passion for the outdoors at a young age and has a great deal of experience of personal pursuits as well as many years of experience volunteering as a leader for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme expeditions. She has travelled to some incredible places in Europe for outdoor activities as well as further afield to India and Nepal but her favourite place is still Scotland in winter.

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