5 Things You'll Need When Car Camping

5 Things You'll Need When Car Camping
5 Things You'll Need When Car Camping

I learned the hard way that car camping is different from traditional, hike-in campground tent camping. Car camping trips cut down on weight and time spent on the trail while allowing you to bring a ton of extra stuff that would generally be too heavy or bulky to carry into the woods. You can even bring along things that aren't typically allowed in park campgrounds (like propane stoves, for example). But with all this new freedom comes a different set of challenges. Here are five pieces of gear I always make sure are in my car when heading out for a weekend of car camping:

Low-Temperature-Rated Sleeping Bag and Pillow

The first thing you'll want to do when shopping for a sleeping bag is determine what temperature rating you need. This can be based on the weather, or it can be found on your comfort level. Regardless of how you choose to make this decision, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • The best way to figure out what temperature rating is suitable for you is by checking out the EN13537 standard. This European certification standardizes sleeping bag ratings to be accurate and easy to understand by consumers everywhere. It's not perfect, but it's a good start!

  • Sleeping bags have insulation layers that trap warm air around your body to keep it comfortable at night—and depending on where your trip will take place (or whether or not you plan on visiting colder climates), different levels of insulation may be required than others would need at home. Be sure not only buy according to how warmly insulated each one is; think about how much room there might be inside! Would sharing space with someone else cause either person discomfort? Or could both comfortably fit inside without feeling cramped? These questions might seem silly now but once winter rolls around and temperatures drop significantly lower than usual...you'll thank yourself later!

Large Water containers

It's important to have a container that's large enough to carry enough water for the trip. It should also be leak-proof, easy to carry and store.

It's also helpful if you can clean it out easily: when we were car camping at Yosemite National Park last month, we saw a lot of people using big five-gallon jugs as their water containers. While these look like a great idea at first glance (they're very big!), they make for a real pain in the butt when it comes time to clean them out after you've used them—and after all, what good is having your own personal water source if it doesn't stay clean?

LED lights, LED headlamps

LED headlamps are a great addition to your list of car camping supplies. LED lights like these have many benefits over traditional bulbs, including being more energy efficient, lasting longer, and being brighter. Additionally, they're more compact, safer for use around children (since the heat is contained and won't burn you), more portable when compared to an equivalent amount of incandescent light and even more durable than their counterparts. Plus with LEDs you never have to worry about water exposure or breakage!

Biodegradable Hygiene Wipes

Biodegradable Hygiene Wipes

When you’re car camping, you’re not going to be able to hop in the shower and wash up like you would at home. For this reason, it is important to have a good supply of biodegradable hygiene wipes on hand. These can be used for cleaning your hands or face—and even your feet if necessary! Biodegradable hygiene wipes are an eco-friendly alternative that allow you to keep clean without creating waste after use.

Camping Stove

You'll need a camping stove to cook your food, and what you can cook is limited only by your imagination. All you need is the right equipment and some basic supplies (like water). Camping stoves are easy to use. You just add fuel, set the dials to high or low heat depending on what you're cooking and wait for the magic to happen.

You have three main options when choosing a camping stove: propane (or liquid fuel), butane/isobutene mix (sometimes called "white gas"), or methylated spirits (meths). The first two types are available in multiple sizes from small backpacking stoves all the way up to giant commercial-grade units used for catering jobs such as weddings and bar mitzvahs...


Getting outside and connecting with nature is a great way to re-energize, relax, and recharge. It’s also a great opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Car camping is the perfect choice for those who are looking for an easy way to get outdoors but don't have the desire or ability to carry a lot of gear. With this type of trip planning comes some extra considerations that you wouldn’t normally think about when backpacking—like having enough room in your car! So if you're ready to get out there but not quite sure where start, just check off these 5 things on your packing list and get going!

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