Sleeping under canvas is growing in popularity. But with the right kit, you don't have to rough it, says Sarah Marshall.
For so many of us, the idea of pitching a tent and sleeping outdoors stirs memories of uncomfortable childhood holidays or muddy festivals.
But camping can be a thoroughly relaxing experience – even if you’re a novice – and you don’t need to sleep in a pre-erected yurt or tipi to glamp in style.
Pack a few creature comforts to elevate a camping trip, and you’ll wonder why you ever bothered booking a hotel room in the past.
Jack Wolfskin Exolight tent, from £350 for a one person, jack-wolfskin.co.uk
If you’re planning to embrace the latest trend for wild camping – but want to do it in style – this lightweight, easy to pitch tent does the job. Available in three different sizes, sleeping one to three, it can easily be packed into a backpack and taken on a hiking trip. (The smallest version weighs under 1.5kg.) Although there are few pegs, it’s extremely stable and windproof. The inner tent and fly sheet are also connected and can be clipped to the pole system frame, making it easier to pitch in the rain.
Snugpak Snuggy Headrest, £6.95, Amazon
How many times have you relied on a bundle of jumpers for a camping pillow? Packing a goose down headrest might be a bit indulgent, but this is the next best thing. Made with sleeping bag insulation and fabrics, it’s comfortable, warm and provides great support for your neck and head. Stuffed into a small sack, it’s easy to carry too.
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Machine, from £75 with case, bearandbear.com
Coffee lovers will agree that one of the greatest hardships of being out in the wilds is foregoing a morning espresso. This brilliant invention provides a solution. Pack ground coffee into the cylinder and screw onto a cup filled with boiling water. A pump action, which can provide up to 18 bars of pressure, produces a caffeine hit with creamy froth to rival anything purchased from a Costa or Starbucks. Worth every penny.
Red Original Changing Robe, £44.95, redoriginal.com
Wriggling around in a tent trying to get dressed can make you look like some sort of contortionist. But who wants to strip down in open air when other people might be walking around? Save your modesty with this towelling gown which works like a poncho. It’s also ideal for using at the beach when changing into swimming gear.
Snugpack Snugfeet, from £39.65, outdoorgb.com
Slippers are an indulgence in hotel rooms, so why not have them under canvas too? These insulated boots will make you feel like you’ve got mini sleeping bags attached to each foot – and they’ll keep tents mud free. Perfect for anyone with bad circulation, who’s prone to getting cold toes.
Nemo Helio Pressure Shower, £112.99, ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk
Campsite shower blocks aren’t always appealing, but that’s no excuse for staying stinky on a trip. Unlike most portable showers, this lightweight sprayer doesn’t need to be hung overhead; rest it on the ground to create enough pressure to wash hair or do dishes with up to seven minutes of water flow each time.
Zippo Rechargeable Candle Lighter, £26.85, Amazon
If you don’t have the bushcraft skills to rub two sticks together, this is the cheat’s ways to creating fire. Fully rechargeable, with several hours of use each time, there’s no need for refilling this device with butane. A windproof design and flexible neck make it simple to use in any conditions.
Simplehuman Mini Travel Mirror, £119, johnlewis.com
Camping doesn’t mean going feral. Emerge from tents looking fabulous with the aid of this 10x magnification travel mirror, which lights up automatically when you approach. The lighting system picks up every line, hair and pore, allowing you to tackle any close-up grooming needs.
Kelty Folding Cooler, from £69.95 for 25 litres, outdooradventurer.co.uk
Taking a mini fridge on holiday might be a stretch, but it’s still possible to have chilled food and drinks at your disposal. Keeping items cool for 36 hours, this cooler is suited to weekend breaks. Featuring cup holders on top, it can be used as a table and packed flat for easy transportation when no longer needed.