Packing for a European Camping Trip


If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been blogging my way through a epic nomadic getaways in Europe. We started in Paris and then followed the Atlantic coast southwards into Spain before going east. I’d love to do another trip like that again soon! It was really a memorable experience to travel through five or six countries with a tent on a budget. The fact that I got to stay in Europe for a good few weeks offset the price of my flight from Cape Town in South Africa (an added bonus).

But what did I pack? The most important thing about packing for camping is to pack light! Think like a backpacker. Think minimal. The more versatile your clothes and shoes, the less you’ll need to pack.

Black clothing is great because it can be casual and then easily dressed up. If you have any reversible clothing, that could be really useful as well. Layers are also very useful for light packing and mixing up your wardrobe. Bear in mind that everything that you take with will probably have to come back home too. If it comes down to it, it is better to under-pack and buy something new as a practical souvenir. We packed up three bags for four weeks of camping in Europe with almost everything listed below, including a tent, mattress, sleeping bags, some food, a stove plate and a few cameras.




Clothing for the ladies

Smart & casual clothes
• 2 pairs of shorts (chinos can be dressed up)
• 1 pair of smart longs for evening city dwelling (some churches don’t allow shorts)
• 1 light, cotton casual long pants for medium temperatures
• 4 pairs of black socks
• 5 pairs of underwear
• 4 t-shirts
• 1 collared shirt
• 3 sleeveless shirts (to keep warm by layering)
• 1 skirt (optional)
• 1 dress (smart casual, non-crinkly fabric)
• 1 pair of long pj’s
• 1 pair of leggings or stockings for very cold, and in-between weather
• 1 woolly hat

Warm clothes
• Gloves
• 1 scarf or shawl (some churches require your shoulders to be covered)
• 1 – 2 coat/jumper/hoody (Europe can be colder than expected, so definitely take more than one warm top)
• 1 cardigan
• 1 wind-breaker or anorak

•  1 pair semi-casual walking shoes (I usually end up wearing flip-flops)
• 1 pair smart shoes

• 1 generic or semi-smart belt
• 1 peak cap or straw hat (especially if you’re heading to the south!)
• Jewellery for every occasion
• 1 swimsuit

Clothing for the dudes

Smart & casual clothes
• 5 t-shirts
• 1 collared shirt
• 3 sleeve-less shirts for layering
• 3 shorts (pockets are always useful)
• 1 pair of smart long pants
• 1 pair of long jeans
• 4 pairs of socks
• 5 pairs of underwear
• Long-sleeved pj’s

Warm clothes
• Gloves
• 1 scarf
• 2 warm tops
• 1 anorak (for hikes or rainy city adventures)

• Semi-smart comfortable walking shoes (closed and/or open)
• 1 pair smart shoes

• Swim-pants
• 1 belt
• 1 peak cap or rimmed hat

Work-out clothing

• 1 pair of running shoes
• 1 pair of thick running socks
• 1 short-sleeved quick-dry top
• 1 medium length running pants


• Personal medication & perscriptions
• Bio-soap
• Bio-shampoo & conditioner
• Face wash
• Face cream
• Moisturiser & suncream
• Waterproof sunscreen
• Nail-clippers and file
• Shaving equipment and lotions
• Towels (the small micro-fibre towels are amazing)
• Other personal items

First Aid

• Disinfectant wipes
• Voltaren (muscle relaxant gel)
• Tweezers
• Bandage
• Plasters
• Small scissors
• Antiseptic wipes
• Tabard (insect repellent)
• Burn shield (or ointment for burns, not that one is often allowed to make fires in European campsites)
• Antisan (cream for itchy bites and stings)
• Alergex (anti-inflammatory pills)
• Iboprufen (anti-inflammatory)
• Disposable gloves (also useful for filling up with pertol/diesel)
• Disprin/ Panado
• Vitamins
• Probiotics
• Bascopan (for abdominal pain, nausea and deli-belly)
• Knee guard

Camping gear to pack

There are a few things that are optional to take or buy and of course it all depends on what you can afford to take with you on the flight in terms of space and weight.

• Cutlery (we manage with 2 sporks and two tablespoons)
• Utensils (knife, spatula, bottle opener, tin opener)
• 2 plastic bowls
• 4 plastic plates
• 2 insulated mugs
• 1 flask
• Chopping board
• 1 pot
• 1 pan (with a lid)
• 1 tiny kettle
• Sleeping bags
• Sleeping bag liners or a sheet
• Plastic bags for rubbish or dirty shoes
• Ziplock bags for storage
• Small amount of toilet paper (take out the cardboard support for easier packing)
• 1 piece of soap (for clothes washing, such as Sunlight)
• Dish-washing liquid
• Dish-washing sponge
• Drying cloth
• Water bottle
• Camping light or headlight
• Torch
• Clothes line
• Leatherman / pocket knife
• Three storage tubs: small, medium, large (you can also pack cutlery inside these)
• Batteries (as required)
• Extension cable
• Connector (required by some campsites)
• Inflatable or travel pillow (or use your clothing and warm top as a pillow)
• GPS for off-line navigation (with charger)

Camping gear to buy

• Tent (Quecha 2-second three-man tent)
• Moussemats (lightest, easiest to use yoga-like mat for sleeping on) or inflatable mattress
• Air pump if required
• Dangerous utensils such as knives and scissors that you couldn’t take on the plane
• Hammer for tent pegs
• Extra blanket if required
• Single plate stove
• Anything that you left at home





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