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Beginners Guide to Camping

Camping is more popular than ever, with more and more people choosing a Holistay here in the UK. With the right camping equipment, you can holiday at a low cost with friends and family for years to come.

If you are new to camping, this guide will direct you to all the knowledge you need to purchase your camping gear and have a successful first trip away.


What are the different types of camping?

What kind of camper are you? Not sure? Below is a brief overview of some of the most popular types of camping in the UK and what makes them unique. It's important to work out what type of camping you want to get involved with, as it'll influence the type of camping equipment that you're likely to need.


Campsite Camping

By far the most popular choice with GO Outdoors customers. This type of camping includes any camper that has paid for a pitch on a campsite for a period of time, ranging from groups of friends, to couples, through to large families. A dedicated pitch means that you will have your own space and be surrounded by other holidaymakers, and you're usually able to park up next to your tent. Make sure you check the rules of your chosen campsite before your trip as some sites will be specific on the size of the tent you can bring, not to mention many family campsites won't allowed single-sex groups.

These types of campsites may also be EHU compatible, which means you can hook up to the onsite electricity for an extra charge and use low wattage appliances. Campsites will often have on-site facilities such as showers and toilets, with some more family orientated campsites having playgrounds, and entertainment to keep the kiddies occupied.


Festival Camping

Festival camps come in different shapes and sizes and are often not split into specific pitches (so it usually comes down to where you can fit your tent, meaning it's best to arrive early). One thing most festivals have in common is that you've got to get all your festival gear from a car park to the campsite (depending on the festival, this can be quite some distance). Festival campers will sometimes opt for the cheaper, smaller options in tents and camp alone or with a friend. As a tip, It's worth considering the size of your festival group and looking into whether a large tent with a living area is worth splitting the cost, this could mean you get a better quality tent for less money.

Festivals each have their own rules when it comes to the size of tents you are allowed to pitch, or the type of cooking equipment you are allowed to use on-site (many festivals now do not allow gas for example). It's worth checking with your chosen festival's website to make sure that your gear adheres to these rules, or it will likely be confiscated.


Wild Camping

Wild Camping is all about heading out and pitching up in the wild, but the chances are, if you're into wild camping, then you probably just know it as simply 'camping'. This style of camping is usually back to basics stuff with all the kit you take able to be carried attached to, or inside your rucksack. It really is about disconnecting from the general public.

Wild Camping is technically only legal in Scotland and areas of Dartmoor National Park, everywhere else by law you should seek the permission of the landowner. If you do plan on Wild Camping, it's especially important to leave no mess behind, nobody should know you were ever there the next morning. Help to protect our wild spaces. Though let's face it, you shouldn't be leaving any mess for ANY type of camping.



Glamping can be quite divisive, camping purists may deem anybody who takes electric or mod-cons with them as 'glampers', however, we like to think of glamping as the luxurious side of camping. Glamping can include booking into pre-pitched sites, or the growing number of Yurt and Teepee sites that are cropping up around the UK.

Glamping is a good idea for those of you who may not like the idea of 'roughing it' in your own tent and enjoy a little more luxury from your holidays.


What size tent will I need?

Tent berths (6 man tent, 4 person tent, 2 berth tent etc) are based around how many people the tent bedroom can fit side by side. This does not take into account any rucksacks, luggage etc. When choosing your tent, it's best to take into consideration:

  • How many people are camping (4 people will be comfortable in a 6 berth tent etc)
  • How much kit are you taking
  • How many bedrooms do you need (for larger groups
  • Does your campsite of choice have any size limitations (some sites may charge for two pitches for the largest tents)

Most of the GO outdoors range of tents are pitched at our stores around the country (Note: not all tents can be pitched, the full range is always available online). Not all tents of a similar berth are the same size, so it's worth popping down to your local GO Outdoors to really get a feel for exactly how big a tent is.

For more information, visit our tent buying guide on the link below.


What do I need to take camping?

If you are new to camping, it's worth getting a hold of the bare essentials (or borrowing from others if possible) to really get a feel for what camping is all about. If you find that you enjoy camping, then over time you will be able to build up your kit and create a home away from home.

If you're wondering what sort of kit to take with you, why not check out our camping checklist on the link below.

We recommend using our checklist as a starting point and adding/removing to fit your needs. A checklist is a great way to start your shopping trip, it's also a good thing to use when packing your gear for your first camping holiday, to make sure you remember everything that you need.


Before Your First Camping Trip

There are a few things worth remembering before you take your first trip away in your new tent.

  • Check your gear - We aim to supply the best possible camping equipment, however sometimes faults can occur during manufacturing. It's worth checking all the gear you buy to make sure it's ready for use when you get to the campsite. If you find any issues, bring the item back and we'll be happy to help where possible, it's easier to correct these issues before your trip than when you reach your destination.
  • Test Pitch your tent - Pitching your tent at home or on a local field will give you an idea of any faults that need addressing, it will also give you valuable practice at pitching.
  • Make a list - We hear stories all the time of people forgetting items, whether it be tent poles or something as simple as a tin opener. Making a list of all the gear you plan to take gives you something to check off as you pack your bag or car.
  • Check the rules - Whether you're going to a campsite, a festival or wild camping, do make sure you check any relevant rules to your stay to make sure all your kit is compliant.

Cooking Outdoors

Cooking outdoors is one of the most fun aspects of camping. Whether you choose to live off of the barbecue, cook up a feast on a camping stove, or keep it simple with a tiny backpacking stove, there are plenty of options for what to cook and how to cook it while out camping.

The internet is full of fantastic simple meals that you can cook while camping (Why not check out our hub of over


How To Care For Your Tent

if correctly looked after, your tent will last for many trips. Caring for your tent means ensuring it is packed away clean and dry. Prolonging the life of your tent may also include having reproof it to ensure it remains waterproof.

This information and more can be found in our guide to caring for your tent, below: