Outdoor Quotes: (Fishing)

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

Author Unknown

Camping Equipment Guide

Camping Equipment Guide

We at Chas E Smith are all avid and experienced campers and outdoor enthusiasts.

We want you to enjoy it as much as we do, so we've put together this camping equipment guide with a few pointers and general information and advice to help you make the most of your camping trip.

Choosing your camping equipment (and remembering to take it) is an important part of planning your outdoor venture.

Whether you're going to a campsite for a camping holiday, roughing it, or are preparing for a survival situation, you will want to take the right equipment.

So, what should you take?

This depends on the type of trip you are planning, and how long the trip is likely to be.

The easiest way to ensure you have all the camping equipment you will need, is to break it down into categories - as I have below.

If necessary, break categories down even further. Then list each item of camping equipment under each category and sub-category.

The main categories we have listed are:

  • Clothing
  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Light
  • Cutting
  • Navigation
  • Medical
  • Hygiene
  • Survival
  • Rucksack

You may decide some of these do not apply for the type of trip you're planning, but if you start with all possible categories then you're less likely to forget something.

So let's go through our list of camping equipment categories.

Outdoor Clothing

You must take suitable outdoor clothing. I have known several people who have painstakingly planned and checked all their camping equipment, only to forget to do the same with their clothing.

Check what the weather is likely to be and put some thought into the clothing you will need.

Your clothes should not be restrictive but well fitting, keeping you warm and dry but well ventilated.

In cold climates use layers to trap the warm air - wool is very good in the cold and wet. Cotton is very good in hot climates.

Regardless of the type of trip, you will need: -

Sleeping Equipment

You need something to sleep in, on and under.

If you're planning on staying in a hotel, B&B or Youth Hostel, then this should be planned and booked.

If not, you will need something to sleep in (a sleeping bag), something to sleep on (a sleeping mats or camp bed), and something to sleep under (a tent or shelter).

For something to sleep under, check out our Camping Tents Guide.

If Youth Hostelling, then something to sleep on and under is taken care of, but you may still want a sleeping bag or at least a sleeping bag liner.

To help you choose the right sleeping bag, check out our Sleeping Bags Guide. A sleep mat is also very important, so please also check out our Camping Sleep Mats Guide.

Eating Equipment

Something to cook on (a stove or cooker); something to cook in (mess tins or pots/pans); and something to eat with (plates and cutlery).

And, of course, you will need food as well as cooking equipment.

Check out our Camping Stoves Guide for information about the different cooking systems available.

Water Storage

Something to carry water and something to drink it from. You may need to consider taking some sort of water purification system (filters and/or tablets).

Fire Starting

Fires provide heat, light, is a morale booster, can be used to cook and heat water, dry out wet clothing, and can be used as a signalling device.

So you should take at least one type of fire starter.

Unless there is going to be a shop close by, I would recommend taking at least two types (military survival kits often contain as many as four).


Some sort of illumination - a torch, lantern, lightstick or maybe all three.

Think about how easy it will be to get fuel for them (batteries, paraffin or petrol etc.). Click on the following link to read our guide to torches.

Knives & Cutting Tools

A good knife is also an important item of camping equipment; some people would argue that it is the most important item.

For remote regions, Ray Mears actually recommends three cutting tools - a sheath knife, a tomahawk and a folding saw.

For most campers one good knife should be enough. Click on the following link for our guide to knives.


At the very least you ought to have a map and compass.


This will depend on the type of trip, but you should take at least a basic medical kit (even if only some headache tablets for the morning!).


Personal hygiene is very important, so you must take some sort of wash equipment and maybe a wash bag to keep it in.


Depending on the type of trip you are making, you may want to consider some survival accessories for emergencies.

This may include a signal mirror, whistle, emergency blanket, emergency survival tin etc.

Rucksack or Kit Bag

And finally, of course, you will need something to carry all your camping equipment in.

Even if you are mainly travelling by motorised transport, you will probably want to take some sort of bag for those occasional afternoon walks or morning constitutionals.

When choosing your camping equipment, price will always be a significant factor, but, as a general rule, you will benefit from buying the best you can afford.

It will perform better, last longer, and it is just possible that one day your life may depend on it.

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