Camping & Cooking Gear

This is the second part of the series of posts about packing light for a backpacking / hitch-hiking trip. In the first part “Backpacker’s checklist: What to take and how to pack light for a trip?” we advised you on the clothes and toiletries you’d need, and we gave you some handy tips about how to make your luggage light and compact. In this post we will show you all the necessary camping & cooking gear you need if you really want to keep the costs down.


Camping gear

Rule 1: Waterproof and light tent

This is all you need. There is nothing worse, than waking up in the middle of the night in a soaking tent, so make sure it’s waterproof and you use all the straps and pegs to stretch it to the maximum.

If you are travelling as a couple, buy a tent for 3 people and use the extra space for your bags.

Our tent weighs 3,2 kg. it’s not too much but I think you can find lighter tents.

As we are a couple, we don’t carry it in a bag like this but divide it in two parts: the base + the poles and the flysheet + the pegs, and we carry those two parts in our rucksacks.

camping & cooking gear

Rule 2: Tiny sleeping-bag and a mat

If you’re not just going hostel-hopping, but are planning to couchsurf, camp or sleep rough, a good sleeping-bag is important. We normally travel in summer, so our sleeping bags are designed for mild/hot weather, but if you’re planning to camp in winter, you’d need a warmer, more specialised one.

In the past we used to take cheap foam travel mats but this year we’ve switched to self-inflatable mattresses, which are only a tiny bit heavier but the added comfort is incomparable.

This is all the sleeping stuff we have:

camping & cooking gear

Cooking equipment

Rule 1: Stove & gas

A small camping stove (9) and a small bottle of butane just in case you get stuck somewhere and have to cook an emergency meal. If you hitch-hike this might happen a lot.

Rule 2: Pots & pans kit

Buy a combined pot & pan kit (1), they’re really useful and more than enough for a couple.

Take a spoon-fork-knife in one (2), a small plastic device that will take you a long way.

Take a sharp knife for general cutting (3).

Take a small plastic cup (4), it’s not heavy and so much better to drink from than an aluminium pot.

It’s also a good idea to have a small bottle with washing-up liquid (5) and a small sponge for cleaning your cooking equipment (6).

And make sure you have a tin opener (7) and a corkscrew (8), they’re always good to have.

Remember that staying hydrated is important, so don’t forger to take custom water bottles with you.

camping & cooking gear

And this is what it looks like when all compactly packed together :)

camping & cooking gear

Rule 3: Basic food

It’s also a good idea to have some backup food with you in case you get stuck somewhere for a night. You won’t need a lot, it’s just to keep you alive and you will probably be able to get somewhere and buy more food after a day.

We always have with us some coffee (1) and sugar (2) in light plastic containers. A cup of coffee in the morning is a lifesaver after a night of camping in the forest!

It’s also a good idea to have some instant soup (3) and some emergency pasta (4) or rice.

We also normally have some stock cubes (5) and some spices e.g. curry powder (6). They can be useful if you’re couchsurfing and you want to cook a nice meal for your host.

camping & cooking gear


We hope you will find it useful. It took us a number of years to master the art of packing light and we are happy to share our experience with you :) If you have any other ideas or suggestions which could help us all to pack light, share your knowledge in the comment box below! Thanks!

written by: Ania


  • I loved all the packing advice, both for the backpack and the tent. I am just wondering if you could save extra space by packing a swiss army knife instead of that heavy corkscrew and tin opener and the knife.
    I have one since more than 10 years and it proved to be more than reliable. It has 2 Blades (Long/short), bottle opener, the corkscrew, a can opener (a bit unconfortable but it works) and the needle. I hope the link to the Picture will work:
    It weights for sure much less than your number 7-8 and 3. Is there any specific reason you didn’t consider or discarded this option?

    • You are completely right, Sergio! It’s high time we stepped into the world of Swiss army knives. We have never owned one but we will definitely buy one for our next trip and update this section as it make so much more sense. Thanks! We always appreciate hearing useful suggestions from fellow travellers! :)

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