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Car Camping Essentials

Car Camping Essentials: Top 6 Gear You Need for a Perfect Outdoor Experience

Car camping is a fun, affordable, and accessible way to reconnect with nature. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a ton of gear to get started. In fact, there are only six essentials you need to start your car camping adventure.

1. Vehicle and Gas Money

Vehicle and Gas Money
The first thing you need for car camping is, unsurprisingly, a vehicle and some gas money. The amount of gas money you'll need depends on how far you have to travel to reach your preferred camping spot. There are numerous apps and websites, such as Campendium and iOverlander, where you can find potential camping sites. Campgrounds can range from rustic county parks to fully equipped RV parks.

2. Sleep System


Your sleep system can be as simple as a air mattress and a sleeping bag. If your car has seats that fold down, you've got shelter. Alternatively, you could invest in a cheap tent. The goal is to ensure you have a comfortable place to sleep during your camping trip.


3. Food System

Your food system could be as simple as a cooler for keeping things cold, a simple stove for cooking, and basic utensils. Alternatively, you could bring non-perishable snacks and avoid cooking altogether. The key is to think about what you need to eat for the duration of your trip and bring the necessary food and tools to prepare it.

4. Poop System

When it comes to bathroom facilities, you have a few options. You could choose a campground with bathrooms or pit toilets. If you're camping in a more remote area, you'll need to bring some toilet paper, a trowel for digging a hole, and a trash bag for waste. Remember to follow the "Leave No Trace" principle and pack out all your waste.

5. Clothes for Any Weather

Clothes for Any Weather
When packing clothes for your camping trip, consider the potential weather conditions. Layering is key. You don't need a lot of clothes, but you do need clothes that can handle a variety of weather conditions. Quick-drying clothes are a plus. You'll also need a hat for sun protection, a hat for warmth, gloves, and a rain jacket.

6. Smartphone


While not absolutely necessary, a smartphone can be a useful tool for car camping. It can provide maps, campground finding apps, and a way to call for help if needed. If you're just starting out with car camping, it's recommended to stick to campgrounds that have cell coverage.
Remember, the goal of car camping is to enjoy nature and have fun. You don't need to overcomplicate things or invest in a lot of expensive gear. Start small, perhaps even in your driveway, and gradually venture further as you become more comfortable with the experience. Happy camping!

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John Harvey

John is a car camping enthusiast with a 2009 Jeep Wrangler. He loves pizza 🍕 and enjoys the company of his mischievous cat.