Here Are All Your Car Camping Essentials

Here Are All Your Car Camping Essentials

Here Are All Your Car Camping Essentials


Car camping is a great way to get outside without the pressure of backpacking or a thru-hike. Using your car to get you to the campsite is not only easier and more convenient, but also safer in a lot of ways. By having your car to stow things in instead of a single bag, the likelihood of you forgetting something important are slim. That being said, there are certain things you’ll need in order to enjoy your car camping experience to the fullest. Here are your car camping essentials.

car camping essentials

Car Camping Essentials For Sleeping

Unless you plan on sleeping in your car (and some people do, especially if they have an RV), you’ll need to bring some things with you. First things first, you’ll need a tent. Now, having a car will allow you to bring a much larger tent than you would be able to bring if you were lightweight backpacking. But, you’ll also need to fit other things in the car, so don’t go overboard.

For inside your tent, you’re going to need your sleeping bags. Having a car means you have a little more flexibility when it comes to choosing the sleeping bag you want. That’s a really nice thing during this time of the year when the weather is getting colder. You can bring a heavier sleeping bag, throw in some blankets, and even a few comfy pillows (which you can sit on as you ride to your campground!).

Car Camping Essentials For Eating

A car camping trip would be nothing without the ability to eat good campfire meals and desserts. Luckily, with a car, you can bring everything you need for cooking, without the hassle.

Essentials for eating include a grill, firewood or charcoal (if you plan on making a campfire, you’ll need both). You won’t have to rely on a tiny, portable camping stove like you would have to if you were backpacking. Along with that, you’ll need pots, pans, a cooler to hold your need-to-be-refrigerated ingredients, and a water jug to keep everyone hydrated.

Tip: Many people who go car camping in groups tend to bring a fold-up table and chairs unless they know that the campsite they’re staying at has picnic benches. Consider bringing a tablecloth and plastic cutlery to make cleaning up easier. Additionally, don’t forget the trash bags. It’s important to keep your campsite clean.

car camping essentials

Car Camping Essentials For Comfort and Relaxation

Car camping, unlike a thru-hike or a backpacking trip, is all about the comfort and relaxation. In fact, the only part of it that should be uncomfortable is the packing and unpacking of the car. When you get to your campground, you should be able to relax comfortably. Bring some lounge chairs, an awning to protect you from the sun, and a spare hoodie to keep you warm when the night falls.

car camping essentials

Car Camping Essentials For Fun

Car camping should be FUN. After all, what would be the point? Having your car allows you to bring whatever it is you want to the campsite. Whether this means a case of beer, a stereo (please be considerate of others sharing the campground), games for the kids to play outside, or your bike, feel free to bring it along!

Car Camping Essentials For Safety

Generally, car camping poses less of a risk to outdoor enthusiasts than other forms of outdoor exploration. However, you’ll still be outside, which means you need certain things to ensure your safety. Don’t forget to bring along the first-aid kit, fire starters, a radio or phone, a lantern or other light source, life jackets for swimming, etc. Oh, and extra gasoline and jumper cables for you car.

Now you have all the essentials for your car camping trip. Have fun!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.