Is £2588 to much to spend on your camping holiday? Gear cost breakdown

Camping is an ideal single parent holiday, even though the thought may be scary. It allows you to spend more quality time with your children and visit areas you may not usually visit.

Camping is becoming very popular due to staycation holidays.  I have noticed more people asking how much they will be expected to pay for the initial camping equipment.

Although the initial cost may be steep, it is an investment and can be used for many years if maintained correctly. 

Once you have all of the equipment you need, you can just book a pitch and go without planning too far ahead if the weather forecast is right.

To start camping as a family of 3, you would expect to pay £2,588 initial costs, including a tent, cooking facilities, sleeping bags and mattress, lighting, table and chairs, electrical connections, shelters and windbreakers. There will be an additional cost of £360 for a pitch for 7 nights, including electrical point, shower, toilet facilities. For a dog, there is a set cost of £14 and £35 if you want a gazebo.

Cost of pitch will vary depending on location and facilities available.

Costs can vary, but it does depend on where and what camping equipment you purchase. Prices can be reduced using items from your home, such as cooking utensils, foldable garden chairs, and lighting.

The expected cost of £2,588 is based on the maximum you would pay for all items for camping.

How much does a basic family tent cost

The average family tent cost can range from £229 – £800, a basic tunnel tent. This will include separate sleeping blackout compartments, windows, fly mesh doors, vents, and a communal area that you can stand in and provide shelter for any rainy days. For a family of 3, I would recommend that you purchase a tent for 5 – 6 people to allow space.

Purchasing a tent is the most expensive part of camping; it must be of acceptable quality as you want to stay warm and dry.

Before deciding on your tent, visit some camping shops and explore the different options available. Go Outdoors is an ideal shop to visit, with various tents from air tents to traditional pole tents.

Groundsheets will give additional protection

Many tents have groundsheets included in the designs, but having an additional layer of protection against the damp and damage for a minimal cost of £10 – £20 is worth it.

Plus, if your tent is wet and the ground is muddy, using the groundsheet to help pack your tent will protect it from dirt when folding.

How much does sleeping bags cost

There are 4 different designs of sleeping bags, which can range from £15 – £300. Sleeping bags insulation is either synthetic or down.

For UK Summer expect to pay between £5 – £20 for a rectangle synthetic adult sleeping bag.

  • Mummy sleeping bag
  • Double
  • Barrel (pods)
  • Rectangle

When choosing your sleeping bags, consider the period when you will be camping as you must select the correct season, which relates to the warmth of the sleeping bags.

If you are not sure of the type of season, read our easy guide on selecting your sleeping bag.

Blow up air mattress or roll mats

A single person air bed is £5 – £6, and an electrical pump will cost £6. These are easy to find in Tescos, Aldi or the Range.

Self-inflating sleeping air mattresses range from £15 – £35. These do not really look much and are expensive in comparison to a normal air mattress.

Roll mats range from £5 – £15 and are good if you are backpacking. But not really on a family camping holiday. 

For your first camping holiday, I recommend the air mattress. Providing you inflate correctly, it is a very comfortable night for a small financial outlay.

Adding shelter to your camping pitch

Shelter when camping is ideal for additional space. Not only does it provide you with protection from the sun or rain, but it will also help you to keep any equipment dry for those rainy days as they are waterproof.

They are expensive and can range from £125 – £250 with an additional cost, on average of £25 per side enclosure. It will also need to be weighed down, which is an additional cost of £35 for 4 weight legs.

A marquee gazebo is not ideal for camping, as it does take up a lot of space in your car and is very heavy. Ideally, purchase a pop-up gazebo that has the same build structure as your tent. But again, you will need to buy the sides separately.

Remember, the larger the tent and gazebo, the higher the cost of the pitch.

An alternative option to purchasing a gazebo shelter

The awning will also provide you with additional shelter at a minimal cost of a gazebo. The average cost of £25-35, for 3m sq.

This will include a set of poles, guide ropes and pegs. They are waterproof and easy to set up, can easily be attached to a tent with purchasing and an additional set of poles for £14.99.

Windbreakers to help with privacy

Windbreakers are a must as they will offer you shelter from the wind and privacy.

Windbreakers can range from £6 to £45, depending on the quality and size. A standard beach windbreaker costs £6-£10 for a 7ft x 4ft. Ideally, you would want to have several of these as they are short.

Or you can purchase a 19.5ft x 4.5ft windbreaker which is poled with guidelines and repair kits included for no more than £45. They fold down into small carry cases and do not take up much room in your car.

Kitchenware for camping

A must for camping is a kettle, normally a whistling kettle for the portable gas burner, cooking post and utilities. Don’t forget BBQ cooking equipment.

Sturdy plates, cups, eating utensils, including a can opener. Although most tinned foods have pull tabs, bottle opener. Throw away plates and cups can be used if you don’t want to bother with washing up.

Disposable foil trays, fly net and rolls of foil are handy. Coolbox and ice blocks to keep your food cold. If you are camping for a few days, you do not need to purchase a portable fridge as these are expensive.

Average price range £50 – £100.

Portable gas stove

There are gas and electric camping stoves available, either single or double. More expensive stoves and ovens are tempting, but you just need something quick and easy to use.

An electric double-ring stove will cost up to £50, but they are not very easy to cook with. There is not a massive amount of heat. So cooking will take some time.

I swear by our portable gas one ring portable gas canister cooker. It is straightforward to use and quick. These cost £14.99, but prices can differ, with an additional cost of £6.99 for 4 gas canisters.

For £5.99, you can buy a toaster stand that will allow you to toast 4 slices at a time on your portable gas canister.

Buy a cheap portable BBQ

To help with the cooking portable BBQ’s are ideal. Prices will vary, but you should not pay any more than £15.

They are great for cooking a traditional BBQ evening meal, and the kids can toast marshmallows for fun. Don’t forget the charcoal,  lighter cubes and matches. 

Must have camping furniture

Camping furniture should be comfortable, practical and also foldable.

Camping table and chairs for mealtimes

Combined foldable picnic table and chairs costs from £45 – £150. The lower price, although suitable for children, can be flimsy. So expect to pay around £60 for stability.

Food preparation table

Having an additional table for prepping and cooking your food is a must as you don’t want to spend your time clearing down tables before you eat. 

A basic table will cost £15 – £20 with a plastic or aluminium top.

Kitchen cooking table

Not only will the kitchen table offer you storage of your food and utilities, but they also have a windshield that will help when cooking outside. Protecting your portable gas canister from blowing out in the wind.

A single kitchen cooking table cost £60 – £70.

Camping chairs

A basic foldable camping chair costs £14 – £50 each, including a cup holder to stop drinks from being spilt inside your tent. These are ideal for the outside.

For inside the tent, depending on how much space you have, you can buy inflatable chairs. These are bulking inside of your tent, but they are comfortable, and you can relax more. The average cost ranges from £14 – £30 per chair.

Camping equipment you will forget to buy

Apart from the main camping essentials you will need:

LED lighting for your tent, plus a hand torch or headlamps, is essential. Lighting for the inside of your tent is important, ideally one that can hang from your light holder in your tent. Prices can vary from £5 to £50 each.

Headlamps or torches vary in price from £2.99 to £10. You don’t really need expensive ones so long as they work. Don’t forget the additional batteries.

Electrical connector including USB charge points for your mobiles or Ipads. Ideal for plugging in your fan heater and kettle. Has a safety off switch so you can turn it off when you are out or during the night. Average price £30 – £36.

Carpets for the inside of your tent will make it feel more at home, help retain heat and waterproof. Tent carpets can be expensive but will add warmth and range from £45 – £70.

Has this put you off camping?

£2588 set up costs is a lot to start camping if you are a single parent or really anybody. Although if you compare this to the average overseas holiday spend, this is a cheaper option.

We managed to spend no more than £300 total for our first camping trip, which included our pitch, tent, and equipment.

Want to find out how we did this? then read our camping on a budget article.


I'm a single parent who loves pitching a tent and exploring the countryside at any opportunity. I am working with a glamping pod company and helping them to set up a family campsite in East Riding Yorkshire.

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