Indispensable Camping and backpacking gear

Could you use a bit of help to make sure you leave nothing behind? Why not use our check-list of indispensable camping gear? You'll see that you won't be needing the same gear for wild camping and staying at a campsite, and it's best to find out before packing and setting out for the open air.

Let's look at campsite gear first, because there's more flexibility. You don't usually have to carry your gear over long distances, so you can add extra stuff for extra comfort.

Indispensable campsite gear includes:

- A tent: to choose the right one, you need to factor in how many are to sleep in it, the climate and how easy you want it to be to put up. If you can, opt for a tent with plenty of living space as well as bedrooms, it's more camper-friendly. And if you have any doubts, our Tents Product Manager Jean-Baptiste explains how to choose the right product for your needs and activities right here (

- Sleeping bag: at the campsite, there's no need for a lightweight or compact sleeping bag. For tip-top comfort and greater freedom of movement, we suggest a rectangular tent. Most sleeping bags can be zipped to another, to sleep two together. Remember to check for thermal insulation, which reflects comfort temperature, i.e. when you are neither too hot nor too cold. It depends on your resistance to cold, your gear (especially your sleeping mat), your clothing, and the climate (damp, wind, cold etc.).


- Sleeping mats: it's important to choose the right sleeping mat since it can contribute greatly to a good night's sleep. The three most important factors when choosing gear to sleep at a campsite are, in order of importance: comfort, practicality and weight/compactness. The level of comfort depends on the thickness, size and material. The smoother the surface of your sleeping mat, the more comfortable it will be. Practicality involves set-up, storage and transport. There are self-inflating sleeping mats, and those you need to inflate either with an integrated pump or a separate one. Those with an integrated pump take 2 minutes to set up. They take the same time to deflate. Weight and compactness are measured by examining the weight/volume ratio: the lower the weight in comparison to volume, the more lightweight and compact your sleeping mat.

Comfort is a highly subjective matter. If you go to the store, you can try gear out and see for yourself what suits you best. Some might prefer a camp bed.

- Lighting: when packing, remember to take lanterns and rechargeable torches. We suggest taking two types of lighting: those you keep at the campsite, which you can place on the floor or table, or hang up, and those you take with you, like the Clic by Quechua, making it easier to move around at night. Important criteria to factor into your choice: battery life, power and the type of battery.

- Time for dinner: to share great times with your family or friends, there's nothing like a table of good cheer! We have some great cooksets with several pans and frying pan, enough to cook for 6-8 people. We suggest using plastic crockery to prevent breakage. We suggest taking a camp stove and kettle to enjoy hot meals and beverages.

For extra comfort during your stay, you can also take along:

- Furniture: there's a wide range of furniture to choose from depending on your needs and budget. We have dining tables and coffee tables for 4 to 8 campers, chairs with or without arms, stools, armchairs and deckchairs, all designed to fold up for the camp site. If you have room, you can even take kitchen furniture and cupboards.

Another nifty piece of furniture: a portable folding cabin. It doesn't take up much room and it's really practical for changing and showering.

- Ice-box: there are two types of ice-box to keep food and drink cool: foldable and hard. If you want to take your ice-box when out hiking, a foldable backpack version is ideal. If however you want to keep it at the campsite or just take it for a picnic, we suggest a hard or self-inflating ice-box. These ice-boxes, like the Arpenaz 26 Compact Fresh, are our design team's latest invention and look set to spark a revolution this summer. Tested in an independent laboratory, they are 60% more effective than classic hard ice-boxes and 40% more powerful than an electric ice-box. In other words, your food and drink will stay cool for several hours more than in another ice-box. Remember to choose the right size too, because too much empty space leads to the loss of cold air.

Lastly, to simplify your life and if you still have room, you will appreciate having: a deck of cards, first aid kit, washing line and pegs, kitchen paper, bin liners, scissors, lighter, tin opener and bottle opener, condiments, toilet paper, shower products, dustpan and brush, outlets and extension cords, mosquito repellent and citronella candles and folding sink, sponge and washing-up liquid.

Now let's take a look at what you need when wild camping. There's one golden rule: you need products that are lightweight, compact and easy to carry in a backpack.

> Tents: the same criteria apply as for a campsite tent, but your needs are different. For something that's both lightweight and compact, go for a model designed specially for wild camping. And for more comfort, we suggest paying attention to the height of your bedroom, which will double up as your living area. Yet again, Jean-Baptiste, our Product Manager, can point you in the right direction to choose the right tent. (

> Sleeping bags: you need a sleeping bag that's lightweight and compact, so it doesn't take up too much room in your backpack.

Sleeping bags designed for wild camping will have a hood, to protect your head from the cold properly. Like a sarcophagus, it fits your body to reduce its weight as well as the surface area needing to be warmed in comparison to a rectangular one. If you are going to sleep in near freezing temperatures, we suggest feather filler, which is not only very compact, but also very warm. As for the campsite, remember that the comfort temperature indicated on the sleeping bag is subjective and may vary from one camper to another depending on conditions.

> Sleeping mats: the must beneath your sleeping bag, to insulate you from the cold, damp floor. They make for more comfortable nights, and so you recover better from the day's exertions. You can choose between foam (the type of mat you often see on top of hikers' backpacks), inflatable and self-inflating sleeping mats. Foam sleeping mats are very lightweight and resistant, but not very compact. Air or self-inflating sleeping mats are easier to store in your backpack and more comfortable, however they can also be heavier and more fragile.

> Cookset: we suggest taking as little crockery and cutlery as possible, so it doesn't take up too much room nor weigh too much. Campsite cooking equipment is ideal. These cooksets are really compact and include several utensils: saucepan, a plate which doubles up as a frying pan, fork, spoon and glass. They are made of aluminium, meaning they are both lightweight and suitable for cooking over the stove or camp-fire. Some cooksets have heat diffusers too. Place one under the product to ensure better heat transfer, increase yield and reduce heating time.

> Lighting: even more important when wild camping than at the campsite, you need lighting that doesn't take up too much room. We have multi-purpose lights like the Clic hike light by Quechua. You can fit it to your head to light up your way or inside your tent, on your clothing or backpack. Some models can be used for up to 10 hours.

> Hydration: whether you go for a water bladder for drinking on the go or a water bottle, do not under-estimate your need for water.

Other nifty items include: a survival blanket, lighter, compass, map, your first aid kit, woollies and energy bars.


Now you have your list of wild camping essentials, you're going to have to fit it all in your backpack. We can show you how to fit your gear in without tearing your hair out.