In this blog, we share our countdown of the top 8 UK camping stores. We have sampled the big chains and the smaller online camping stores to bring you our top picks. We have considered geographical coverage, product range, price and customer service to provide you with our countdown of the top 8 UK camping stores.
Kicking off the countdown is Olpro, an online, family run business that offers unique camping equipment. Their entire range is really quirky and includes items such as a beach-hut style windbreak and an animal print melamine dining set. Of course, these unique pieces come with a higher price tag than most major chains, and I am yet to find a high-street stockist to take a look at the range before buying. But I can’t fault their melamine dining sets and unique style.
- Pros: Unique and stylish camping equipment from a family run business.
- Cons: Only available online and a bit pricey
When to comes to UK camping stores, Millets is the Godfather, with J.M. Millet setting up shop in 1893. In the UK, there are 96 Millets stores, and that goes up to 164 when you include Millets sister stores; Blacks, and Ultimate Outdoors. The Millets range includes camping basics such as small tents and cooking equipment, but Millets main focus is definitely on outdoor wear. Although their stores don’t always have much floor space, they do use it wisely so you can pick up walking boots, gloves, and waterproofs in pretty much every store.
- Pros: Millets stores can be found in most major towns and cities.
- Cons: The isn’t much camping equipment in store to actually try out.
6. Mountain Warehouse
Mountain Warehouse is a well-known UK camping store found in most major highstreets. In a similar fashion to Millets, Mountain Warehouse offers camping basics, but its main instore focus is active wear. Mountain Warehouse regularly has sales so you can often pick up a good deal, especially with items like ski-wear and walking accessories.
- Pros: Good UK coverage and competitive prices.
- Cons: Again, there isn’t much camping equipment in store to actually try out.
5. Camping International
Camping international is one of the biggest UK camping stores that is not part of a chain. It is based in the South East of England, and also sells via its online store. Camping International has an impressive, multi-storey show room, and their staff are extremely knowledgeable. What is great about Camping International is that they haven’t tried to diversify too much, and their focus really is on great quality tents, awning and shelters.
- Pros: Knowledgeable staff and a big range of tents and awnings.
- Cons: Only one store in the UK.
4. Military 1st
Military 1st is not well known as a camping store, however it had a great range of good quality camping and survival products at affordable prices. It is an online store, based in Manchester, and as well as camping gear it also offers clothing, footwear and rucksacks. As well as good prices, they also offer free delivery in the UK.
- Pros: Good prices and free delivery in the UK.
- Cons: Some products are fairly basic, so it’s probably not the place to go for style.
3. World of Camping
World of camping is one of the largest independent online UK camping stores. Starting off as a small camping store in Cornwall, World of Camping has successfully headed online and now services Europe alongside the UK. As well as your camping staples, they offer several other accessories like travel fridges, sporting equipment and bike racks. When it comes to price, World of Camping sits somewhere in the middle, but orders under £75 incur a delivery charge, which can push the price up for smaller items.
- Pros: A good range of equipment for campers and caravans.
- Cons: Only available online and delivery charges push up the price for orders under £75.
Decathlon’s motto is ’70 sports under one roof’ and they are not lying – they have everything from tennis rackets to canoes. Decathlon is really competitive on price, so their range is great if you want to try something new but don’t want to invest too much money. There are 28 Decathlon stores across the UK and they each alternate their product ranges seasonally, so it’s great for tents in the summer and cosy boots in the winter. But if you are looking for something out of season you will struggle to find it in Decathlon.
- Pros: Cheap camping and sports equipment with great seasonal ranges.
- Cons: Limited camping equipment out of season.
1. Go Outdoors
Topping the list is Go Outdoors, one of the biggest dedicated UK camping stores, with over 50 locations across the country. The offer everything from pop-up tents to specialist rock climbing equipment. One of the major benefits of Go Outdoors is the size of their stores; their huge floor space means there is plenty of room to display multiple tents so you can climb right in and test them out. For £5 per year you can also pick up one of their discount cards which gets you at least 10% off your purchases, so if you spend £50 a year then it’s worth investing in. From our experience the staff at Go Outdoors are always friendly and plentiful, and know what they are talking about 90% of the time.
- Pros: Good geographical coverage with 50 stores where you can try out their camping gear.
- Cons: The occasional staff member lacking camping knowledge.
So that’s it, our countdown of the top 8 UK camping stores. Do you agree with our list? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.