All you need for a stay in the great outdoors
From lamps that will charge your phone to super-lightweight air mats, Liz Connor has your summer camping kit covered
Sitting by a pool with an ice cream in hand is all well and good, but sometimes, nothing beats the thrill of getting outdoors in nature on an active holiday.
Whether you're planning an epic hike in a national park, are hitting up one of the UK's many festivals, or simply fancy staring at the stars in the wilderness for an evening, one thing's for certain - you'll need the right gear to help you survive the elements overnight.
From portable gadgets that can provide home comforts, to hard-wearing kit you can pack away and reuse, we've found some solid investments that'll make sure your camping experience is an enjoyable one. Here's what to pack on your next adventure...
1. Vango Skye 300 Pole Tent, currently reduced to £99 from £130 (outdoorworlddirect.co.uk)
Whether you're off on a solo trip or heading to the country for a romantic getaway, this sturdy three-man tunnel tent has all the space you need for bedding down in comfort. It's light to carry, easy to erect and angled to create the perfect space-to-weight ratio inside.
It's made from a sturdy 70-denier polyester fabric with 3000mm waterproofing, so there'll be no chance of feeling any sudden downpours overnight. Plus, there's a handy porch area for leaving any muddy boots or wet clothing.
2. JBL Go 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, £29.99 (jbl.com)
Need a soundtrack to your weekend away? This compact speaker uses wireless Bluetooth streaming, so you can blast out your favourite playlists straight from your phone. The built-in, rechargeable Li-ion battery supports up to five hours of playtime, while a built-in noise-cancelling speakerphone means you can take calls on the go. If you're not a fan of this dark blue hue, it comes in 12 other colours too (we love the yellow and peach versions). Best of all, it's also completely waterproof.
3. Biolite Campstove 2, currently reduced to £117 from £130, (www.millets.co.uk/equipment/ 283907-biolite-campstove-2.html)
This camping stove is one of the most eco-friendly options going, as it uses clean energy to create fire by burning pieces of wood. Pop a few foraged twigs and broken branches inside and an internal fan will create a smokeless fire that can cook meals and boil water in minutes.
There are four settings to choose from, depending on the intensity of the fire you want, and you can buy and attach separate Biolite grills and kettles to help create the perfect camp kitchen. Cleverly, the stove also turns the fire into electricity to charge phones, headlamps and lights through a handy USB port while you cook.
4. Outwell Ecocool Slate Grey 24L, £100 (outwell.com)
Nothing beats cracking open a drink after pitching your tent, but there are few things worse than sipping on a lukewarm bottle. Keep all your drinks perfectly chilled in the summer heat with this ergonomic cool box, which cools liquids to 18-25°C below outside temperature.
There's a lots of room for bottles and cans, as well as a built-in water bottle which you can also use as an ice pack divider. Handily, it warms food too - plug it into the car or with a mains plug and the inner chamber will reach temperatures of 50-60°C. Portable and super-easy to carry, you can slide it into the car boot and forget about it until you need it.
5. Hot And Cool Mini Fan And Heater - White, £15 (johnlewis.com)
One of the most frustrating things about camping is that you need to prepare for all temperatures. When night falls, you're usually freezing in your sleeping bag, yet come morning you're close to boiling point.
This inexpensive battery-powered gadget is a campers' best friend in all situations. It can provide relief in the morning by blasting a breeze onto your face via a three-blade fan, and also doubles as a portable heater, generating a decent amount of warmth when the evening chill sets in.
6. Snugpak Basecamp Camping Air Mat With Built-in Foot Pump, from £46.94 (outdoorgb.com)
We're all for roughing it, but there are certain home comforts we can't do without - the most obvious being a decent sleep. Waking up with a sore back can spoil your early morning hike, so investing in a decent air mat is crucial. This one incorporates a built-in sponge-like air pump and utilises a two-way valve to allow air to enter without escaping when pressed down with your foot, eliminating the frustration of trying to blow it up manually.
It's great for people who like to travel light too - weighing in at just 630g - and can be rolled up tightly and stuffed at the bottom of your backpack after use.
7. Black Diamond Apollo Lamp, £59.99 (ellis-brigham.com)
If you don't fancy going completely off grid, this high-tech night light doubles as a portable phone charger, so you can give your iPhone or Android some juice while you sleep (at its maximum, it can offer up to 3.5 hours of charge).
It's great for illuminating dark tent corners too. A super bright LED sits inside a diffuser globe, giving off 225 lumens of bright, glare-free light that's easier on the eyes than the harsh strobe of a torch. Ideal for card games, gear sorting or bedtime reading, the easy-to-use design features folding legs and a double-hook loop, so you can place it by your pillow or attach it to your tent top to create a cosy, on-the-go ceiling light.