Camping Gear | 10 of the Best Bits of Summer Camping Kit

From bluetooth speakers to festival tents, board shorts and even suncream, here are ten bits of camping gear you shouldn't be without this summer

“What do I need to go camping this summer?” is a question a lot of people ask. Maybe you’re hoping to pitch your tent near the beach to make the most of the British summer, or you might be wondering what to pack for a festival this summer.

Check out the best summer outdoor gear in the latest edition of the Outdoor 100

There’s a whole world of summer camping gear out there, and it can be a bit confusing, so we’ve found ten of the best things you need to take camping this summer.

Coleman's Kobuk Plus 3 Tent will help you sleep longer in the mornings thanks to the blackout bedroom

Coleman Kobuk Valley 3 Plus Tent

Price: £100

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The best tents for camping in the summer have to be capable of keeping you dry on trips to the middle of nowhere, but also able to handle the mud, sweat and tears of a music festival.

Thankfully this ticks both boxes. The Coleman Kobuk Valley 3 Plus is one of the bes›t festival tents we’ve ever slept in, chiefly thanks to the innovative ‘Blackout Bedroom’ feature. The inside of the tent is coated in black material which stops sunlight coming in and waking you up early.

Not only is it dark inside the blackout material also keeps it up to 5 degrees cooler than other tents, so you don’t feel like you’re cooking either. Having tested this ourselves at a rare, warm Glastonbury this year, we can honestly say it’s a game changer – Mpora slept until midday on some of the hottest days of the summer. Being hungover in a tent has never felt so comfortable.

Of course it’s not just for festivals – the blackout bedroom is really useful feature wherever you’re camping and the tent is waterproof enough to handle anything the British summer can throw at it – whether it’s a rainy mission to Scafell Pike or a wet weekend at Secret Garden Party.

Rab's Morpheus 3 Sleeping Bag is filled with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down

Rab Morpheus 3 Sleeping Bag

Price: £220

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Camping in the UK can mean enjoying or enduring temperatures that are as changeable as, well, as the British weather. So a sleeping bag that can cope with a range of conditions is essential. The Rab Morpheus 3 sleeping bag, is a great option. It’s a three-season sleeping bag, which means it’s good from Spring through to Autumn. You’ll still be completely comfortable when it’s -2°C outside, although this bag is tested down to positively baltic -27°C

Inside, the Rab Morpheus 3 is filled with a combination of Hydrophobic Down (made by waterproofing experts Nikwax) and Pyrotec insulation. This not only keeps you nice and toasty at night, but also really light, and means the sleeping bag can pack down to a small size in its stuff sack. When you’re sleeping in it, the extra-wide mummy shape, and twin zip system at the opening make this sleeping bag not only incredibly comfortable, but also really versatile as well.

Therm-A-Rest's Neo Air Camping Mat is a great one for summer trips

Therm-a-Rest Neo Air All Season Camping Mat

Price: £110

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If you’ve ever tried sleeping in a field without a camping mat of some kind, having contorted your spine around hidden rocks and tree roots, you’ll know how essential a good bit of bedding is. The Therm-a-rest NeoAir All Season SV inflatable camping mat is perfect to ensure you get a good night’s sleep wherever you pitch your tent.

It inflates really easily, not even requiring a pump. A cleverly designed valve lets you breathe through the opening, inflating the mat, but stopping air coming back out. We found between 20 and 30 good lung-fulls got the NeoAir good and firm. For a softer sleep, there’s a small release valve that’s really easy to reach, even when you’re lying on it, should you want to let some air out. It packs down smaller than a loaf of bread, so you’ll hardly notice it’s there when you’re not using it.

The Primus PrimeTech Stove Set is like a portable, packable kitchen.

Primus Primetech Camping Stove Set

Price: £130

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One of the best things about camping in the summer is cooking outdoors. There is something undeniably rewarding about rustling up some grub in the open air. The Primus Primetech stove set is basically a fully functioning kitchen that can fit in the bottom of your backpack, so getting a good meal when you’re camping has never been easier.

Primus have packed a lot of tech into this tiny package. There are two one litre pots that fit neatly into each other – ideal for cooking different food. Both pots feel really stable when you place them on the heater, which when you’ve hooked it up the the gas, can have a pan of water boiling in no time. The removable pot handle doubles up as a pair of tongues, which is perfect for that early morning bacon sandwich before you head out for a day of activities, or watching your favourite bands.

Goal Zero's Nomad 7 solar panel charges your phone and other electronics on the move

Goal Zero Nomad7 Solar Charger

Price: £100

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Going camping is all about getting away from the world, but in reality, we all have some tech that we like to keep with us, even if we’re getting a bit Bear Grylls. Whether it’s a camera, a SatNav, or a smartphone, keeping them charged while you’re camping this summer can be tricky. One way to stop you from having to spend hours each day bumming free electricity from the local pub to charge your iPhone is to harness the power of the sun, and get a solar charger.

The Goal Zero Nomad7 solar charger is a good way of getting natural energy back into your phone’s dwindling battery. Its internal USB means you can hook up your phone directly, or use the panel to top up a remote battery. We found it worked best in strong, direct sunlight, with the power fading when the Nomad7 was in shade. But as a natural way to keep your tech fully charged, it’s portable, lightweight, and effective.

Finisterre's True North Vendavel Board Shortsare made from recycled materials.

Finisterre True North Vendavel Board Shorts

Price: £75

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There are a tonne of board shorts out there these days, but a really good pair is worth investing in. And good board shorts don’t get much better than these Finisterre True North Vendavels.

The look good, and feel incredibly comfortable to wear – almost like wearing nothing, but without the shocked screams of onlookers in Tesco. But it’s not just an aesthetic thing. The True North Vendavel are made from 100 per cent recycled polyester, which is turned into stretchable, ripstop fabric, that’s also UV protective. In short, good looks, good performance, and good for the environment.

Suncream is good, water resistant suncream is better

Zinka Water Resistant Sunblock

Price: Varies

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Even in summer, the idea of getting sunburnt in an all-too-often rainy Britain may seem laughable. But when you’re camping, and especially if you’re going for a dip in the ocean or surfing at some point, a bit of sunburn is rarely far away, and as the voice of experience, burnt eyelids are no joke.

While regular sunscreen may cut the mustard on land, it’s going to get washed off in seconds if you’re going for a dip in the sea. California based Zinka make a range of really strong sunblock that’s water resistant, so you’re going to stay protected even after a good few dunkings. It’s quite thick, so putting it on does give you a slight Casper-like appearance, but it’s UVA and UVB protective, paraben and oil free, and even contains Aloe Vera, and vitamins A and E.

GorPro's Karma Drone is one of the easiest to operate

GoPro Karma Drone

Price: £1200

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Capturing your camping trip in a movie is a must, especially if you’re somewhere particularly scenic. But getting that golden sunset over the hills on your Nokia 3310 isn’t going to look amazing in your Facebook video. GoPro’s Karma drone has made it possible for anybody to get those epic sweeping shots from angles that would have been the preserve of professional film crews as little as five years ago.

Karma is really easy to fly after a few minutes practice – the controller even comes with a demo mode to help you learn before you actually get the drone off the ground. Straight out of the box, it’s not quite ready to fly, requiring some wifi and GPS signal to calibrate, but this only takes about ten minutes. In flight, Karma’s battery last around 20 minutes, but in that time you can get some really special footage.

This Marley Bluetooth Speaker pumps out some serious volume

Marley Get Together Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Price: £130

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After a long day in the outdoors, it’s time to head back to the tent, kick back and… And? Who’d brought the entertainment? Luckily, we packed a Marley Get Together Mini bluetooth speaker.

At around three centimetres by seven, this small speaker doesn’t half pack a big old, deep sound. Pair it up with your mobile phone, and you can relax with your friends to some Willy Mason, or crank it and get a small rave on the go with some Skepta. With the battery lasting around 10 hours off a full charge via USB, you’re set for a full weekend of good vibes. The only down-side is the voice command, where the speaker bellows “POWERING ON” when you turn it on.

Dragon's TenZig Sunglasses will protect your eyes from all forms of UV

Dragon TenZig Sunglasses

Price: £100

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Whether you’re wild camping in Scotland, pitching your tent near the beach in Newquay, or packing for a music festival, one item you’ve got to take is a pair of sunglasses, and we love these Dragon TenZigs. They’ve got a classic surf look, which feels like a bit of a stylistic nod to the mid 90’s. Whether you think this solid looking, almost Batman like style is for you or not is rather down to personal preference, but we really like it.

But they’re not just all about looks. The frame of the Dragon TenZig sunglasses is designed to give your eyes maximum protection from the sun. Sitting the the frame is a LumaLens, which optimises colours as you see them, basically giving you the shade of sunglasses, but without any loss of what you can see of your surroundings. They’re also offer 100 per cent UV protection, keeping you safe and looking rad at the same time.

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