If you’re travelling in South Africa, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you have all of the camping essentials with you. Having the correct gear will make your camping experience much more comfortable and safe. Depending on where you’ll be camping, you might want to bring along more or less gear. Here’s a list of what to bring to make sure that you have everything that you need:


The most important piece of camping gear is without a doubt your tent. Without a comfy and secure place to rest your head at night, you’ll be experiencing discomfort and unsafe conditions. There are several different kinds of tents designed for different purposes. Find one that is high enough to prevent the wind from entering and beaching your tent on the sand. Also make sure that the floor of your tent is waterproof to prevent any unpleasant surprises in the morning. A waterproof floor can also be an advantage if you’re planning to have a barbecue during the day. When pitching your tent, secure it with pegs to prevent the wind from putting it into its down position and leaving you exposed during the night. A spacious tent with a capacity of two or more people also makes for a good multi-personnel shelter. Ensure that your tent is big enough to accommodate you and your guests in luxury. One thing that also comes in handy is a sleeping mat that’s rolled up in a rug. This will help you keep the soft and cosy sensation of a real mattress even when camping. A sleeping mat also comes in handy if you plan on going on a hike during the day and need something comfortable to lay down on afterward.

Sleeping Bag

While your tent is the most important piece of gear when it comes to camping, the sleeping bag is just as essential. Depending on how long you’ll be camping and what kind of weather you’re likely to encounter, you might want to bring a three-season sleeping bag. A sleeping bag is an important part of camping as it not only keeps you warm at night but also cushions you from the cold ground. One tip is that instead of filling your sleeping bag with lots of expensive and bulky synthetic materials, go for a simpler option made of down and feathers. Also, instead of having only one small open hole on the front to let the air in, consider getting a bag with two open areas. The dual-zone sleeping bag will keep you both warm and cosy whenever you need it. When it comes to choosing a camping bag, you also need to keep in mind the weight that you’re allowed to bring along. Most national parks in South Africa have restrictions on the weight that you’re allowed to bring to camp. So, if you’re planning on going to a remote area and need to bring along a lot of extra gear, consider the size of your backpack. If you’re going to be in a populated area or near a lake, consider bringing a smaller backpack.


When camping, you’ll also need a groundsheet to keep your sleeping bag and you’re sleeping mat clean during the day. Natural materials like grass or gravel are ideal for this job as they prevent the ground from overheating during the day and causing you and your sleeping bag to overheat. One thing to keep in mind is that while some groundsheets are completely waterproof, most of them are not. It is therefore important to have a groundsheet that is windproof as well as waterproof. Find a groundsheet that is a minimum length of sixty centimeters to remove any excess heat during the day and prevent you from getting wet should it rain or hail during the night. The longer the groundsheet, the greater the advantage as it will keep you both warm and dry when camped. It also needs to be big enough to cover your sleeping bag and you’re sleeping mat without being folded upon itself. Smaller groundsheets are also better as they’re easier to pack away when not in use and can be stored in smaller spaces.


To pitch your tent effectively, you need to have a pair of poles that are long enough to reach the ground and strong enough to support the ceiling of your tent. Depending on how tall you are, you can determine the ideal length for your poles. In general, if you’re an average height, you’ll want your poles to be about two and a half times your height. So, if you’re standing on a chair to be able to reach the ceiling of your tent, your poles should be about seven or eight feet long. You’ll also need a pair of trekking poles for walking and negotiating the terrain. While some prefer aluminum poles, others prefer wooden ones. The material of the poles will also dictate the nature of the experience you have while camping. If you want to have a comfortable and secure camp, you should consider bringing a pair of wooden poles.

First Aid / Emergency Kit

Besides having the correct camping gear, you’ll also need to prepare for accidents and injuries that might occur while camping. This is where a first aid kit and an emergency kit come in handy. The first aid kit will help you treat small injuries that you might sustain while camping. Depending on where you’ll be camping and what the climate is like, you might want to consider also getting a sunburn cream, waterproof sun shade, and bug spray.

The emergency kit is important to have in case of accidents or illnesses that require medical treatment. This way, you’ll have the necessary equipment to treat yourself or others. The kit will also contain a manual for first aid should you have insufficient knowledge on how to treat injuries or illnesses that you deal with. This is a vital item to have while camping as you might require it to save a life rather than just to treat oneself.


If you plan on cooking your own food while camping, you’ll need a barbecue. This is an indispensable part of camping as it not only enhances your cooking skills but also provides you with various recipes that you can make. Some barbecues are better than others depending on the material that they’re made of and how much weight you’re allowed to bring along. If you want to be able to cook anything without feeling constrained by space, consider getting a foldable barbecue. This type of barbecue can be stored anywhere and will be easy to use whenever you want. Make sure to prepare the area where you plan to cook beforehand by digging a fire pit or setting up some picnic tables. Ensure that the weather is on your side as much as possible so that you can enjoy your meal outdoors.

To be able to cook effectively, you’ll need some sort of fuel. Whether you’ll be using firewood, charcoal, or kerosene cubes, having the appropriate kind of fuel will make your barbecue experience much more pleasant. Make sure to purchase the necessary fuel before you leave home because it can be cumbersome to find a place that sells it and haggle with the salesperson over the price. Once you get the fuel, you can start testing out all of the different kinds of barbecue recipes that you can make. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start camping!