Essential Gear for Wild Camping in Scotland

15 Items You Need To Camp Comfortably

It’s easy to say that essentially all you need is a tent, a sleeping bag, and a roll mat (or a yoga mat) but realistically, you’re going to need more than that.

Over the years we have been working on getting this down to a fine art so that we can walk out and camp further away from the car, by minimising what we need to carry.

We gathered all the kit we like to have on our Wild Camping Kit List  which should help you get what you need for wild camping pretty much all year round!

1. A Decent Tent

We love the Vango Tempest Pro 200.

It’s super easy to put up – we can do it in less than 5 minutes, and it’s compact, discreet, comfortable, compact and hard wearing. Ours is 3 years old, and it’s survived numerous trips to Europe, festivals, wild camping in 3 seasons, and the occasional camp in a civilised camp site.

We like to peg it out as taut as we can get it so it doesn’t flap about it in the wind and keep us awake. The porch is great for storing our belongings, and there are useful pockets on the inside too. It’s basic, neat, and due to the speed we can put it up and take it down in, I wouldn’t want anything else. All in all, a great tent.

Vango Tempest Pro 200 in the Cairngorms

2. Sleeping bag & roll mats

I have an all season sleeping bag from Vango and it’s lasted me 8 years. It’s probably about time I replaced it, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

I don’t tend to camp in winter, so having a sleeping bag that goes down to -5 is great – if you are considering winter camping in Scotland, you might want something more hardcore!


For sleeping mats, we have tried various things over the years. We used to have a blow up mattress but found it unreliable and cumbersome. We now use self inflating mats which are genius, and comfortable enough, and we team it with yoga mats for extra comfort. Yes, we are those people.

3. Travel pillows

These are tiny and take up no extra space in our camping equipment bag, so I definitely enjoy having mine. If I was hiking more, I probably wouldn’t need it, as rolling up clothes and popping them in a pillow case is a bit more space- saving – but while I’m still car-camping, the travel pillow stays!

4. Blankets

Because Scotland isn’t that warm. And yes, ours happen to be tartan.

The bottom line is this – no matter what season it is, bring blankets for camping in Scotland. 

5. Gas stove

We use this Primus stove – it’s cheap, lightweight and portable, and fuel efficient. We are still trying to figure out how to recycle the gas canisters, but other than a barbecue, this is our favourite thing to cook on. It heats water quite fast, but also, teamed with a trusty saucepan, we can cook all sorts of things on it.

6. Kelly Kettle

We freaking LOVE the Kelly Kettle

This heats water incredibly fast, is very efficient as it burns all sorts of fuel, and is very sustainable. Ideal for a quick morning coffee! Drawbacks are the size, but given that coffee is a non negotiable, this is a fantastic bit of kit.

Speaking of coffee….

Where would we be without the Aeropress?! Still at home, and probably poor from buying takeaway coffee all the time!

This system makes the best coffee hands down, and it’s our number one favourite thing about camping wild – waking up, getting the coffee on, and just enjoying the view.  This makes camping all the more enjoyable, especially when we are using our favourite coffee (PACT LINK)

Alex making coffee at Loch Morlich

8. Picnic Kit

We were given a super handy back pack with a picnic kit and this fast became one of our favourite things to take with us wild camping. Technically we don’t need everything, and we could survive with much less – but you might have guessed by now that our approach is thriving, not surviving.

In the picnic set we keep a set of plates, cutlery, sharp knife, cutting board, camping cups, bottle opener, tall plastic cups or a thermos (for making coffee), emergency sporks, and emergency kiwi knife (we got ours in Norway and now we won’t be without them)

9. Head Torch & spare batteries

Essentials, and you can pick these up in any outdoor shop, or here:

Useful for when it gets dark, obviously, trying to find things in the car, and as a great prop when taking astro photography!

Camping at Loch Garten

10. Food cooler

For keeping food chilled. For longer trips we often buy ice cubes or frozen food as we go and keep the cool box cool. It also doubles as a table when we are doing food prep or playing poker. Etc.

11. Big water bottles – 5L

We buy a few of these from the nearest supermarket at the beginning of any trip, and then try and fill them up from  from clean drinking supplies as we go.

These can be decanted into smaller bottles or flasks, especially useful when walking out to a camp spot and you don’t want to carry everything. Always take into consideration your water requirements so that you can pack accordingly – we like 2L per person per day plus extra for cooking and making coffee.

12. Battery charger

Having a battery to charge phones and kindles on the go was a bit of a game changer – because let’s be honest. It’s nice to post on social  media when you have reached your spot – partly for safety, and partly to bask in the glory of your camping spot on social media. 

We use the Anker PowerCore 20100 which can charge both our phones at the same time.  In our car, we have a USB charger to charge the battery bank and our phones while we’re driving.

13. Midge Repellent

Smidge is one of the best midge repellents we’ve used and it doesn’t smell too bad either. We have some mosquito head nets, but to be honest we hide away in the tent or car if it gets too bad.

14. Toilet Roll & Trowel

I don’t want to go into too  much detail here, but a trowel has to be on your kit list. Toilet roll is a bit of a comfort item! Remember – best practice is to bury human waste, and bag other waste and take it with you when you leave.

15. Miscellaneous Essentials.

Chocolate, whisky and thermals – these items are useful for when it’s cold, wet, or it’s just been a long or uncomfortable day – these are great rewards and definitely part of making the wild camping experience a really enjoyable one!

Reviewing this list, I reckon there is more work that we could do on minimalism – but this is just how we like it.

Planning a trip? Have we missed something essential? Let us know what you take with you!

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