The best lightweight camping kit of 2022
Swapping heavy items for lightweight camping kit can make your trips much more enjoyable. Here’s our edit of the most innovative products on the market today.
No one wants to lug around a heavy pack when they’re trying to enjoy a camping trip in the great outdoors. Add a few of these clever items to your inventory and you’ll thank yourself later.
What is lightweight camping?
If you love to roam the countryside on foot with your camping gear on your back, you’ll want to make sure it’s lightweight. You might be a backpacker who loves hiking from A to B to C; or maybe you’re planning to walk to a remote spot and use it as a base camp to explore from there. Lightweight camping gear is also great for bike-packers and fishers who love overnight trips.
Lightweight camping involves both choosing light and compact kit, and stripping out all the unnecessary and impractical equipment in your pack to achieve the lowest possible weight. As a general rule, lightweight campers carry no more than 9kg, and ultralight packers take less than 5kg.
The benefits of lightweight camping are obvious: it’ll make your load more comfortable, improve your agility and reduce the chance of injury. Lightweight gear may also dry out faster after rainy spells.
On the other hand, lightweight fabrics may not be as warm or durable as more substantial materials. Plus, innovative lightweight products are often more expensive than alternatives.
Pro tip: As well as buying lightweight camping kit, you could also consider swapping items with a specific use for multi-purpose options like zip-off trousers, bandanas and multi-tools.
Lightweight camping kit
MSR Hubba Hubba NX Tent | 1.72kg
Your tent will probably be the heaviest and bulkiest item in your pack, so the more weight you can strip away, the better. At under 2kg, the Hubba Hubba NX from MSR is a brilliant choice - especially considering it can sleep two people and has two entrances and vestibules.
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It’s also cleverly designed, with a removable flysheet allowing you panoramic views through the mesh canopy on dry days. You can even use the flysheet on its own as makeshift shelter when you’re out and about. In rainy weather, the integrated gutters above the doors channel water away for easy entry.
If the Hubba Hubba NX isn’t quite right for you, try the Vango F10 Xenon UL 2, another durable and lightweight, yet reasonably priced option.
Sea To Summit Spark SPI-R Sleeping Bag | 360g
Unless you’re hiking in extreme temperatures, a three-season sleeping bag is a sensible, lightweight choice. This one has a low temperature limit of 5°C and an extreme rating of -9°C, so it’ll take you through to the colder months.
The hydrophobic down insulation should keep you warm and dry overnight, and it’s all RDS-certified.
As for the design, you’ll get a side zip stretching halfway down the sleeping bag, which will help conserve warmth inside - ideal for anyone who suffers with cold feet.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad | 470g
Once inflated, this sleeping mat is 6.4cm thick and uses clever internal design details to trap heat inside and keep you warm overnight. When you’re ready to move on, it packs down to the size of a water bottle to fit easily inside your rucksack.
Conveniently, this sleeping mat comes with a stuff sack, pump sack and repair kit as standard, so you’ll have everything you need to keep it working well.
It comes in different sizes, so it’s worth shopping around if you want the wide or extra-long version.
Osprey Eja II 58L Backpack | 1.3kg
Forgetting to factor in the weight of your rucksack is easily done when preparing for a camping trip, but choosing the right pack is crucial.
While you might be tempted to go for a small backpack, you’ll need a 50L or 60L capacity to carry all your kit on overnight trips. Osprey’s Eja II gets the size/weight ratio just right, with 58L of space at just 1.3kg.
Removable sleeping pad straps, three stretchy mesh pockets and a sternum strap with an integrated safety whistle complete the package. Plus, everything is made with 100% recycled materials for sustainability.
MSR PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit | 259g
A bulky stove kit can add a lot of weight to your pack, so we recommend finding a durable option with just one cooking pot.
MSR’s PocketRocket 2 has a single 0.75L aluminium pot and a BPA-free plastic bowl, along with a multifunctional strainer lid, lightweight pot lifter and the mini stove itself.
Everything slots together, making it easy to pack away and slot into your rucksack.
Nabaiji Swimming Microfibre Towel | 40g
Carrying microfibre towels with you on lightweight camping trips is a no-brainer. They dry out damp kit in seconds and they’re a great alternative to heavy cotton towels if you’re lucky enough to enjoy a shower while you’re away.
Once you’ve finished with them, they’ll dry in record time, thanks to their thin and lightweight construction.
There are four size options when you buy this towel. Go for the small, at just 39x55cm in size - or, if you’re after a larger option, try the M (60x80cm, 90g), L (80x130cm, 200g) or XL (110x175cm, 330g).
Petzl E + Lite Front Emergency Headtorch | 27g
A head torch is such a small, lightweight item, but it’ll be your best friend when you find yourself scrabbling around in the dark. With slimline models like this weighing less than 30g, it’s definitely worth taking one along with you.
Not only is this Petzl head torch lightweight, it’s also compact, with the rigid front section measuring under 5cm across. There are three white light settings, giving you visibility up to 29m, as well as a red light function for night-time toilet trips. In emergency scenarios, turn on the red light to be seen from up to 300m away.
For more camping essentials, take a look at our ultimate summer backpacking checklist.
Alice is a digital writer with a knack for tracking down the most innovative and exciting products to hit the market. Working across several of Our Media's special interest brands, she's written for publications including Countryfile, Gardens Illustrated and Science Focus. Outside of work - and lusting over homeware and gardening products - you’ll find her rambling in the great outdoors or watching an old film.