Go Car Camping Part 2: What to Pack

Go Car Camping Part 2: What to Pack

When I was a kid we always went backpacking with very limited camping supplies.  While that’s still fun, it’s also nice to go car camping where you can have a few more comforts.  

When we started to up our car camping game, we focused on our camp kitchen first.  If you need help on that front, check out our camp kitchen article.  Then take a look at all the other stuff that’s become part of our camping gear.

tent and associated camping gear

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I put together a full downloadable checklist of everything we take car camping for you, but have to call out a few of  my favorites.

  • An Instant Cabin Tent – while our tent is bulkier to pack than a traditional tent, it makes up for it by being completely set up in 5 minutes.  It’s a bonus that I can also fully stand up in it.  
  • LED lights – these guys are so much brighter than my old propane lantern, making it much easier to play games or do anything else at night.  We even have a light for our tent that includes a night light setting.  
  • A “conversation chair” – this is the equivalent of a fold-up love seat and is so comfortable.  This actually goes with us pretty much everywhere that we want to sit outside.  
  • A folding fabric table – rather than sitting at the picnic table to play games at night, we pull this handy little table up to the campfire.  

Once you’ve gone through the checklist and see what you already have or may want to get, make sure you have containers for all of the smaller items.  I use a mix of plastic bins and duffle bags.  If you’ve got the room, keep everything in a dedicated storage space. You can then quickly and easily pull it, throw it in your vehicle, and be ready to go.

stored car camping gear

Don’t forget to pack specific gear for any activities you have planned, whether that’s kayaking, hiking, orienteering, or just flying a kite.

When you break things down at the end of your trip, keep out anything that’s not completely dry.  Take the time when you get back to pack everything up properly (once it’s all dried out) for storage.  It will be worth it when you’re getting ready for the next trip.

Although this wasn’t about your camp kitchen, I had to include one of my favorite camping recipes: Three-Bean Chili.  Nothing’s better for a fall car camping trip.

three-bean chili