Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Essential camping setup ideas

Does the perfect camp setup exist? We think it does!

I’m sure you’ll agree that a great camping trip is all in preparation. Over the years, we’ve learnt that prepping ahead means less stress and more time to enjoy the outdoors, which is what it’s all about! 

When it comes to camping, prepping your set-up before you leave will ensure you’re one step ahead before you even hit the trail! 

Of course, your set-up will be different if you’re solo camping vs if you’re with family and the type of trip you’re on. 

On an expedition-type trip, a simple camp setup that’s quick to pack up and lightweight is perfect. On a leisure trip, you can pack more luxuries as you’ll most likely stay in one spot.

Camp set up ideas, including tent layouts & kitchen areas  guides
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

What’s the Bare Minimum You Need for a Camping Trip?

While a short overnight stay under the stars might only require a sleeping bag and a roll mat, for longer trips, there are six main areas you need to think about for your camp setup which are:

We’ll go through each of these areas detailing the equipment you should consider in each area as well as the perfect camp setup and layout. 

Although you can be fairly flexible with your own setup, there are definitely some golden rules to follow, as recommended by the camping experts we reached out to for this post. 

We’ve saved these for the end of the post but if you can’t wait, jump to the golden rules.

Camp set up ideas, including tent layouts & kitchen areas  guides
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Choosing Where to Set Up Camp

Depending on the type of adventure you’re heading out on, you’ve got a few options in the UK as to where you set up camp including:

Camp Sites

Dedicated campsites are great for beginners and families, as they usually come with amenities such as bathrooms, shower blocks, and even on-site stores and restaurants for larger sites. So, you can combine sleeping in the great outdoors with the amenities you crave. 

Tips for Picking Out the Perfect Campsite
1. Choose a site with all the amenities you want
2. Review the location and find somewhere with lots of local attractions
3. Check the ratings given by past campers online to find out what others think of the site

Unlike hotels, campsites are usually easy to find, and you get the flexibility of being able to set up your own tent, meaning you just have to focus on the amenities. 

Wild Camping

Camping in the wild, on land that’s not designated for the purpose, can be a fun adventure for those who want to really immerse themselves in outdoor living. 

In Scotland, everyone has the right to roam, meaning you can camp anywhere as long as you respect the environment and clean up after yourself. 
In England and the rest of the UK, you can only establish a camp in the wild in a national park that designates it, such as Dartmoor or Snowdonia, where you can wild camp as long as you ask the landowner’s permission.

Tips on Finding a Wild Camp
1. Make sure you check that you have the right to camp in the area
2. Speak to the landowner if needed and ask if they have any rules regarding wild camping on their land
3. Be respectful and make sure you take everything with you when you leave

By showing respect to private landowners and the wildlife that lives where you want to camp, you can enjoy wild camping safely and responsibly. 

Beach Camping

Camping on the beach might look fun, but it can be a sandy nightmare if you don’t do it right! 

The rules for beach camping across the UK are the same as wild camping, as it is technically an offshoot of that. 

So, you need to make sure that you get the landowner’s permission in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, while in Scotland, you’re welcome to camp on the beach as long as you respect the land. 

When looking for a beach to camp on in the UK, consider the following

  • Look for a beach with sand rather than rocks, as large stones can make sleeping uncomfortable
  • Check that you are allowed to camp on the beach and ask the landowner’s permission to do so where possible
  • Take thick blankets and ground sheets, or consider using a hammock to get a good night’s sleep

Sleeping on a beach gives you a stunning view and the ultimate opportunity to enjoy some fishing during your camping expedition. So, if you love spending time staring out at the sea, then you should explore beaches in your chosen area that allow camping.

“When planning your staycation, make a list of the things that are most important to you on holiday and then pick an area you want to visit. Then you can narrow down the campsites available using our online search tool.”

Alan Rogers Team
Camp set up ideas, including tent layouts & kitchen areas  guides
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

How to Set Up & Layout Your Tent

The tent is the backbone of any camping setup, and there are several ways you can lay it out to make your camp as comfortable as possible. 

The way you put up your tent will depend on the type of tent you choose, so here are some of the most common options and a little more about them so that you can make the right choice for your next trip. 

We’ve created some useful infographics to give you help you visualise the layout of each setup. 

Dome Tent Set Up & Layout

Probably one of the most common tent types used in the UK, dome tents are put together using flexible poles, which are joined with small tubes and often held up by guy ropes, although you can get pop-up dome tents. These tents can sleep anywhere from one person to 5 or more, depending on their size. 

Most dome tents have one central sleeping area where you rest and store your gear, so they’re good for short trips or for anyone who packs light for their camping expeditions.

Dome tent set up
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Cabin Tent Set Up & Layout

Similar to a dome tent, a cabin tent is a domed structure with several compartments, making it ideal for larger groups or longer camping adventures. Many cabin tents also have awnings on the front so that you can sit outside and enjoy the weather during the evening. 

Cabin tents are laid out with one central entrance area, which then incorporates several separate ‘rooms’ which can be used for sleeping or storage. The door can turn into an awning, or the awning can be attached separately and removed when not needed. If it’s not windy, you could even leave it up.

Cabin tent set up
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Tunnel Tent Set Up & Layout

As the name suggests, tunnel tents are longer and narrower than dome tents. While their need for more guy lines means they aren’t great for rocky areas, tunnel tents can be an efficient way to sleep. 

They make the most of the surface area and are comfortable for campers, making them ideal for large groups or couples. As they are lower to the ground than other tents, tunnel tents can be ideal for areas with high winds

Tunnel tent set up
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Teepee Tent Set Up & Layout

Less common in the UK than in other parts of the world, teepee tents are conical structures held together by several poles, which meet in the centre to hold the tent upright. They’re often made of canvas and secured with ropes on the outside. 

These tents look amazing and are incredibly trendy for weddings and other events. For camping, they can be difficult to set up, but they are incredibly versatile and work well in a range of different climates. 

Teepee tent set up
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Creating a Cosy Sleeping Area

Once you’ve put your tent together, you need to establish a sleeping area. You can’t just lie down and go to sleep on the floor like in a house, you need to create a bedding area to rest in.

Sleeping Arrangements for Multiple People

For several people sleeping in the same tent, you need to create the perfect sleeping space for everyone. While couples might consider a joint sleeping bag so that you can snuggle up close, it can be more comfortable to sleep separately. 

When setting out sleeping bags for multiple people, you need to make sure there’s enough space between them. Some tents come with sleeping pods so you can sleep in different areas if you’re a family or campaign with friends.

Bedding Set Up (Beds & Sleeping Bags)

Choosing the right bedding products is essential if you want to get a good night’s sleep while out camping. 

You’ll need a ground sheet to stop the moisture from seeping into the tent and then a camping mat to support your body and give you an even surface to sleep on. Many camping mats come with a built-in pillow, or you can purchase a separate pillow to keep your head and neck comfortable

When choosing a sleeping bag, we recommend one that’s waterproof in case any moisture gets into your tent. You also need to make sure it’s warm enough to keep you warm at night while also being breathable so you don’t get too sweaty and uncomfortable to sleep.

How to setup your bedding when camping
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Making Space for Communal Areas

The inside of your tent setup is important for your overnight comfort, but you’ll probably be spending the majority of your time outside your tent. Creating a comfortable communal area where you and your fellow campers can relax is key to building the perfect camp, and there are several areas to focus on. 

Seating 

Having space to relax, chat and eat is vital, so you should choose some comfortable camping chairs. 

Most camping chairs are foldable, so they won’t take up a lot of space and can be folded up and stored in your tent during the night. That way, they won’t get wet if it rains while you’re not using the chairs.

Lighting

Most camps are in shaded areas to keep you safe from the elements, so even during the day, they won’t be particularly well-lit. 

At night it’ll be almost impossible to see, so you need to have lighting solutions on hand. Torches are useful for finding things in the dark, but for sitting and relaxing in your communal area, you need larger camping lamps. 

Access

To keep your camp secure, you need to make sure you have clear boundaries around your space. You’ll then be able to keep out any roving wildlife and other campers who might wander into your camping area by accident.

Setting up your campsite
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Setting Up a Cooking & Kitchen Area

While you might eat out sometimes, for the most part, you’ll be preparing your meals and dining at your camp, so you need to create the perfect setup. 

Creating the perfect camp kitchen requires some planning and a lot of equipment, but it is worth the effort when you’re able to make delicious meals. 

Food Storage

Having somewhere safe to store your food is paramount, especially foods that are easily perishable and attractive to animals, like meat and dairy products. Make sure you have cool bags to keep items at the right temperature and that you keep everything else in a strong box where it can’t easily be opened by hungry critters.

Food Prep

Once you get your kitchen area set up, you need to create somewhere to prepare your food. Make sure you have a selection of camping utensils to help you prepare and serve your meals. You should also have a clean, raised surface, like a table, on which to chop your ingredients and transfer them onto plates and serving dishes.  

Fire, Gas & Cooking

Cooking on an open fire is a staple of camping and something most of us dream of when planning our trips. Still, it can be unsafe to use an open fire in some areas or for certain foods, so it might be worth investing in either a gas cooker, solid fuel or liquid fuel stove

If you are using a fire, make sure you set it up safely by clearing an area where no overhanging foliage or camping equipment can be set alight.

Pot Wash

Every camping kitchen needs an area to wash dirty plates. Disposable plates and cutlery are wasteful and bad for the environment, but if you choose reusable options, then you need to make sure they’re cleaned after use. 

If you don’t, you might find that they attract animals and insects. Keep a bucket of clean water ready to rinse the plates, and use washing-up liquid to clean off the grease and dirt. 

Waste & Rubbish

Any food waste needs to be disposed of correctly to avoid attracting wildlife and flies. If you can’t find a bin near your site, then keep the food scraps and other waste in a sealed box or bag so that it’s unnoticeable until you can dispose of it properly.

Campsite rubbish and waste
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Camping Toilet & Shower Layouts

If you’re camping on a managed site, then you’ll probably have access to communal toilets and washing facilities. For wild campers or more remote sites, you might need to set these up yourself to make sure you can stay clean during your trip. 

Toilet

Having somewhere to relieve yourself is important when you’re camping. If you can’t access a public toilet, then consider a portable toilet with a bag that you can the waste in. 

For emergencies, make sure you stay away from running water, and create a small hole in the ground in a secluded area. Bury any waste or take it away with you to ensure that you respect the environment and landowner. 

Washing

As well as a toilet, you’ll also need somewhere you can wash your hair and body. Solar showers are a useful way to keep yourself clean, and they’re a simple, portable tool that can heat the water to the right temperature. 

Try to use shampoo and body wash that’s made with natural ingredients so you don’t cause any damage to the wildlife or foliage. 

“Bring a water filter!! And a bladder. This way, you always have clean water AND a possible shower.”

Aimee M, at The Dyrt
Campsite washing clothes
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Keeping Your Camp Secure

Security is important when camping, both when it comes to keeping out animals and other campers. Camps are often considered easy targets but criminals, so you need to make sure that you do everything you can to keep your items secure. 

Securing Your Tent

Tents are at risk from both animal invasion and blowing away in the wind, as well as human intervention. To keep it secure, make sure you check the guy ropes and fixtures every day to keep it safe from the elements. 

Locking a tent isn’t usually effective, as it can be slit open with a knife, but if you want to use a lock as a deterrent, then use a padlock on the zip to make it clear that you’re focused on security. 

Keeping Valuables Safe

If your tent is broken into or your camp damaged in any way, you need to make sure that any valuable items you have with you are safe. Where possible, try not to take anything that’s completely irreplaceable with you. If you have to take precious items, make sure they’re kept safe in a lockable box and are hidden away so they can’t easily be found. 

Keeping valuables safe when camping
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Camping Set Up Golden Rules

Ultimately, there’s no one way to set up your camp. Every site is different, and you’ll have your own ideas about what makes a great camp. Still, there are some golden rules you should bear in mind:

Camping Set Up Golden Rules
1. Make sure you’re definitely allowed to camp in the area before you set up your camp
2. Choose an area that’s shaded but not too close to a lot of trees and bushes
3. Pitch your tent on a flat area that’s not got too many stones or loose debris
4. Put your perishable foods into a cool bag so they stay fresh 
5. Set up your stove or fire away from anything flammable
6. Make sure any flames are extinguished before you go to bed, and never leave the fire unattended 
7. Wash your plates and cutlery as soon as you use them, and keep any food waste safe from wildlife and bugs
8. Keep your toilet area away from your camp and any bodies of water 
9. Try to be quiet at night to avoid disturbing the wildlife and your fellow campers
10. Respect the land and take away any rubbish you might produce during your trip

These tips and the ideas in this guide ought to help you to create the perfect camp for any trip. You’ll then be able to enjoy a great experience wherever you go. 

Camping setups
Camp Set Up Ideas, Including Tent Layouts & Kitchen Areas 

Camp Set Up Ideas Final Thoughts & Tips

Camping might look simple on TV- just shove your tent up, and you’re ready to go- right? As we’ve explained, there’s actually a lot that goes into setting up the perfect camp to give you a comfortable and fun experience. 
As a leading supplier of camping gear from a range of major outdoor brands, we understand how to make the ideal camp so that you can rely on the tips in this article. For more camping ideas and inspiration, check out our blog!

FAQs

What Should I Consider When Laying Out My Tent?

Before you lay out your tent, look for a spot that’s in the shade so it doesn’t get too hot. Look for firm, solid ground that’s a decent distance from any standing water, such as puddles. Where possible, choose a flat surface that will give you an even base for your ground sheet and bedding

How Can I Maintain Cleanliness and Hygiene in My Camp Kitchen?

Like most kitchens, a camp kitchen can be kept clean by maintaining basic hygiene procedures such as washing your hands and cutting raw meat separately from vegetables. 

One major difference is food storage: as you won’t have access to a fridge, you need a cool bag to ensure your food is at a safe temperature. You also need to make sure you store food away from the ground and safe from animals, insects and other campers.

How Can I Set Up My Campsite to Minimise the Impact on the Environment?

Camping waste in all its forms, including ashes from fires, human waste and food detritus, are the biggest ways camping negatively impacts on the environment. To minimise the impact your site has on the ecosystem, try to take as much of your rubbish away as possible. If you can’t take items, like ashes and excrement, then try to bury them and leave them somewhere it won’t disturb the local wildlife. 

Can You Suggest Some Weatherproofing Tips for Setting Up a Campsite?

To keep your camp waterproof, try using a waterproofing spray for all fabrics, including the outside of your tent and clothes. Another approach to keeping your camping equipment safe from the elements is to use a camping tarp to cover your communal area. 

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