Tent! the poles are essential.
our current tent being a Khyam ridgipod classic. it takes us 1/2 hour to be all up and beds done in its smallest setting, so nice and easy. the modular nature means that we can make it bigger for accommodating friends or long stays, or we can keep it smaller [not v small!] for pitch sizes and weekends. [photos with and without pods!]
previously we had a khyam frontier for long stays and a vango venture 500 for weekends. why are we changing? well, the khyam was too big for the 4 of us, TBH. it will easily sleep 8, and is very roomy. Also it takes nearer an hour for the all in factor as there are more guys . we will casually get round to flogging it OIRO £150! but its reliable, good for tall people and a lovely tent! It has stood up to all weather conditions without fail! when we bought it, the adverts showed the tent being tested in a wind tunnel!
and the vango venture 500 floor is delaminating, so not as waterproof anymore [which we didn't release when we let someone borrow it - sorry!]. but actually otherwise has been a fab weekender tent. its up in about 15 mins. it also takes up significantly less room in the car than the khyam. i think for UK camping a reliable brand name is essential and a bit of research before you buy. skimping on tent costs is short termism. better to buy a second from ebay [or me ]
Oops, we have accidentally bought a new tent!  we thought we needed a nightstop, and thought either a vango sigma or similar would do, but ended up buying a sunncamp evolution second hand on ebay cheaply!! but it is really great as a throw up and squiggle into nightstop, and perfect for friends garden where you just need a sleeping pod!! with the 4 of us in it, it is snug! and there is condensation, but for the its bought reasons it suits us well!
Oops I did it again!  due to family illnesses etc, we are doing more weekending, and thought that perhaps we should treat ourself to a weekender again as the vango definitely deceased! SO, have bought an outwell minnesota 4. we did buy it from ebay second hand at less than half price, so don’t feel too extravagant! just must get around to selling the frontier!
pegs and other tent bits
Actually, having complained that the frontier was too big, we added another module onto the new khyam – a porch. and we are v happy with it! it gives somewhere to cook outside given we have a coleman dual fuel stove and run it on petrol. also means a porched area when rainy – we do alot of uk all weather camping!
We also have some delta pegs for the really severe weather – bought this year for the 4 corners. though it has to be said our frontier has been fully weather tested and never let us down!
2 mallets – stored with the pegs
oh, and the repair kit and some spare joints for the tent.
thermarests and equivalent i think come out trumps here. we and many of our camping friends now use them. you do get what you pay for mind you! DH and kids have a 5cm one, and i have an outwell 7cm one, which i am v happy with, and is fine with my cronky hips from spd – try and be pleasantly surprised! the problem with airbeds is that convection takes the hot air away from you, they aren’t as insulating!
the other place not to skimp in the all weather uk summer is on sleeping bags! I decided in the end that mummy sleeping bags weren’t for me, that i get cold quickly, and needed a bag with room for the youngest to squiggle in. in the end i went for an outwell camper lux. heaven! SB got my old 3 season mummy bag, and BB a new kiddy vango bag. we all like a pillow
we have a coleman dual fuel
which we run on petrol. this means that it is easy to get the fuel, rather than worry about gas cylinders. we obviously have a proper petrol canister as well. we have had our first failure with it in 6 years [and a lot of camping episodes] with the valve on the pressuriser [? proper name] so we will carry spares in future. however, we always have a single gas hob fitting and a small gas canister with us. so we used that. we have used this [M.S.R. WhisperLite Internationale Stove] on cycling camping trips in the past. it always terrifies me as is terribly wooshy to start with. obviously we have matches as a backup to a lighter wand!
we have a kettle with a whistle for the essential regular cups of tea – the whistle lets us know its ready, and a wide mouthed flask as the teapot/coffee pot. when camping in italy we bought a nifty plastic thing for holding coffee filters, it fits beautifully on a wide mouthed flask and gives you the perfect coffee whilst camping sensation. i’ve searched and found something similar for you! it works really well.
other things – we take a colander for straining pasta – having lost one too many meals onto the grass! [we do 'proper cooking' whilst camping so do like to have the right things!] we have a sharp chopping knife, smaller sharp knife, chopping board, flat grater, nice tin opener [i am left handed for tin opening!] corkscrew, wooden spoon and requisite number of forks, knives spoons, bowl and plates. all the camping cutlery is in a clip box and used only for camping, so can be relied on [mostly!] to be complete. we have plastic tumblers and insulated mugs. milkl bottle for BB. also some good trips out and about water bottles, and a big water container for the tent.
we also have a washing up bowl as otherwise we tend to lose stuff! washing up liquid, cloth and teatowel are perpetually stoered in a little bag in the grey box.
we also have a coolbox that you can attach to hookup. its nothing special, so link omitted!
lighting and electrical
we have a just bought a new gas light. this one is lovely!
i like it because it is v sturdy and steady, with a fab light. plus spare canister, as it just is much nicer, and a Ring Eco wind-up lantern flashlight
[which can be recharged by hookup] a head torch each, and that seems to do the trick . All the lighting and cooking paraphernalia live in ‘the grey box’ [which also carries a few basic tools - adjustable spanner, screwdriver- and spares] this means they should all be ready to go each camping trip without us racing around to find them. this is often not the case! particularly with head torches. on a shorter trip we might take the older samller gaslight [Campingaz Lumogaz 270 2007]
and on the electrical front, a hookup! and since a hook up present, all the various chargers!
camping chairs – actually, i can’t remember the make ? suncamp? we’ve had them a long time! 2 adult size ones, and our youngest has a baby chair still. [from asda] . some friends have some lovely outwell back supporting ones which seem v nice. they take up more room on packing, so maybe only i should have one… btw, on the standard camping chairs, i often have both girls on my lap, and our combined weights may tip over the manufacters weight limits [being a bit coy] but they have never collapsed yet!
we have a camping table – a rollup slat type [link maybe to follow - hmm, most like this one i guess] which we usually put the stove on TBH. and we have a picnic table and 4 seat arrangement that the girls sit at [and me at an end in a comfy seat!] the picnic table is cheap and cheerful and they craft on it as well as eat. when they are big/sensible enough to eat at a camping table, we will get a bigger table instead. i’m not sure why we don’t have a ‘proper’ camp kitchen arrangement though.
rugs – its nice to have rugs over the groundsheet – we don’t have a carpet in the tent! and they can be taken out and about. we also have some of those folding crates – so one for girls stuff, one for ours, and one for veggies. we have 2 closed plastic crates for food ingredients to keep ant/insect free. we also have those big supermarket reusable bags – waterproofs and shoes as then the tent keeps a bit more organised! storage and organisation makes camping in unpredictable weather easier, and also finding things.
compulsary wellies 4 all, raincoats 4 all, muddypuddles 4 girls. sunsuits for girls, sunhats 4 all. crocs-a-like for all trainers or person specific footwear! gloves and winter hats [even in summer]. swimming costumes for all and towelling ponchos for girls [+/- misc swimming paraphernalia]
then less than we usually take i guess!
night nappies for the youngest
we tend to take wine and beer, fizzy water, tea, coffee, marg, oil , spices and herbs. the rest of the food is either brought whilst camping, or for a weekend perhaps taken.
breakfasts – the girls like those multichoice boxes, i like toast and chris likes muesli. we do have katy’s camping pancake mix as a treat [also in the camping food pages!]
lunch – on the hoof, but sandwiches and fruit often feature
dinner – have blogged some of our camp recipes. quick options are pasta and stir in sauce with salad; fried sausages in a roll with salad and baked beans. longer options are ‘camp curry’ and ‘ken hom’ as our staples, and then we have chilli in tortillas or a BBQ as the mood takes us. fruits and yoghurt
treats – choc, crisps and cakes – keeps the world going in the rain! chris likes jamaican ginger cake with custard to cheer him up.
you know, this tends to be the biggest nightmare to pack!
medicines – I tend to take a good first aid package! [it includes safety pins and handwash alcohol gel
toys – the girls get to take a backpack of toys and games. we take a bag of outside type toys. book bags – bedtime books etc. we also take a small selection of less messy craft kits to do when weather not so good, or to keep busy whilst dinner being cooked.
chris and i now have a camping game to play in the eve – a birthday present from loads of lovely friends.
camera and spare batteries and cards.
washkit and towels – enough towels for beach and swimming too
toilet roll, kitchen roll, clothes pegs and small line, bin bags, j cloth, baby wipes, dustpan and brush
spare roofbox, house and car keys
roofbox – essential for us to fit everything in
any paperwork for bookings etc
english heritage cards and the like
suncreams and insect repellants
gazebo structure if going for a while and sun expected.
windbreak if wind and privacy needs!
potty – we don’t take, but our youngest will soon be out of nappies at night.
doormat – surprisingly useful, particularly in terrible weather!
bikes and bike rack and trailer – probable kiss of death to good weather mind you
other more succinct camping lists!