Car Camping Essentials

Car camping actually isn’t exactly what it sounds like. You don’t sleep in your car. Car camping is camping at a campground that you can drive your car to.  Best of all you can bring some really cool camping gear along.

Some of our favorite car camping gear can be found below along with tips for new campers.

Car Camping Gear List

REI Passenger 2 tent

REI Passage 2 Tent – ($159.00)

The REI Passage 2 Tent is ideal for car camping and backpacking as well for up to 2 people which offers a great combination of space and comfort. Made with a rectangular floor, and symmetrical layout, the mesh wall, and ceiling storage make your gear always easy to find. Set the REI Passage 2 Tent up in under 5 minutes – no matter where you are. Features include Pole clips, equal-length poles and color-coding. The REI Passage 2 Tent also supports other people just like you who love the outdoors. Welcome to the REI Co-Op –  where every trail connects. Pick up this camping must-have anywhere you shop for REI goods.  [Purchase: $159]

MPOWERED Solar Luci Lights

MPOWERD Solar Inflatable Lights – ($19.95)

When you are in the forest, deep in a trail, or anywhere else in the backcountry you need light. You can’t always count on natural light to hold up when you need to put something together or break something down. Pack MPOWERD lights when you go camping and consider them a must for any type of travel, too. It’s easy and as simple as it could be to have light every place you go with these collapsible lanterns. There is no need for a plug because MPOWERD solar lanterns illuminate with stored energy from the sun. Just clip an MPOWERD lantern to your pack to give it a good charge, and when the lights go down you can turn it up with this little light. Just let the MPOWERD light shine, and it will keep things bright after dark no matter where you are. MPOWERD makes best inflatable solar lantern on the market. [Purchase: $19.95]

GSI Coffee Rocket

GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket – ($9.95)

GSI is there for you when you leave home and head into the backcountry, you already know that you will NOT have all of the luxuries of home. That is part of the fun! What isn’t fun is the weak coffee that you can make over a campfire. Up your coffee came with the GSI Coffee Rocket and you will never complain about camping coffee again. Made for Joe on-the-go sturdy, notched, folding legs grip nearly any mug and hold the drip cone above the mug to keep your coffee out of the dirt. Take this gizmo with you for a compact way to create your favorite morning beverage (with a camp mug for easy storage). [Purchase: $9.95]

Thermacell Radius Mosquito Repeller - Gen 2.0

Thermacell Radius 2 – ($49.95)

There is never a good time to get bitten by bugs. Repel mosquitos, and other pests with this easy-to-use, odorless insect repellent. Highly effective and DEET free, you simply push the button and this simple Thermacell Radius 2 machine goes to work. Offering up to 40 hours of protection with just one refill, this award-winning lightweight insect repellant comes with a built-in Li-Ion rechargeable battery, a 12-hour refill repellent cartridge, and a USB battery charger. Includes automatic shut-off timer, 15’ area as a chemical-free bug repellent option that totally travels friendly!

Ruffwear Dog Water Bowl

Ruffwear Collapsible Dog Bowls – ($14.95)

Ruffwear Quencher Bowls. They are made for your four-legged friends, but the truth is that these collapsible fabric bowls are ideal for any travel purpose. The traveling collapsible Ruffwear Quencher bowls are made for any adventure with options for your pets. Choose between 0.75, 1, and 2.5-liter sizes. Just toss the Ruffwear Quencher in your backpack or stash it in your pocket when you’re traveling. You never need to worry about not having room because the Quencher is made for messy pups. This built-to-last Ruffwear traveling pet bowl makes any trip you take easy peasy for your pup. Grab one, or two! [Purchase: $14.95]

LifeStraw Portable Water Filter

LifeStraw – ($19.95)

A camping must-have, LifeStraw is your go-anywhere water filtration system able to clean even the smallest microplastics found in the water – down to 1 micron. LifeStraw reduces turbidity down to 0.2 microns to protect you and your family from pathogens. Never miss the chance to sip from LifeStraw because it also gives back to those in areas where drinking water is not available. Truly, a life-giving straw that you must-have when you’re off the grid. [Purchase: $19.95]

Frontiersman Bear Box

Frontiersman Bear Box – ($79.95)

When you are in the great outdoors, sometimes the bears come looking for what’s good. When they start sniffing around, you could be away from your camp, asleep or (gasp) inside your tent! Prevent luring in bears with this Frontiersman Bear Safe Carrying Case. Made to prevent odors from seeping out, the user-friendly design makes it easy to travel from your campsite fast. In the case of a sudden party crasher, The Bear Box is ideally sized for extended trips and family use with the capacity of 11.86L/734.64 cubic inches. Tough enough to keep the bears out for up to 60 minutes of attaching with crush, break and open proof features. Includes locking mechanism that is easy to open for those with opposable thumbs. Not bears. The Frontiersman Bear Box meets the U.S. Forest Service specifications for use in national parks and areas requiring food storage. [Purchase: $79.95]

The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag – ($289.99)

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the North Face ONE Bag sleeping bag is more than just a sleeping bag – it’s an entire sleeping system! Designed with 3 interchangeable layers that configure it to handle temperatures from 40° to even 5° F temps, the North Face ONE Bag sleeping bag is ready to roll if you want to go road tripping, backpacking, or camping in any season. Additional features include 3-in-1 layered system, removable mid-layer, compressible 800-fill-power goose fill, a bottom layer that rolls up into a pillow, and more! Purchase: $289.99

REI Co-op Kindercone 30 Sleeping Bag – ($59.99)

There are few better ways to get your kid to love the outdoors than camping. But nothing will ruin your late-night campfire mojo worse than a cold child who won’t just suck it up and shiver himself to sleep in silence. The REI Kindercone saves your night, with a synthetic filling keeping it warm enough for any trip you can expect a pup to enjoy. And it has the added benefit of being able to shrink or lengthen it so you don’t have to buy a new mummy bag for junior every 6 months, which makes its durable nylon outer even more important. [Purchase: $59.99]

Kelty Discovery Low-Love Seat – $99.95

The holiday season is a great time to show the people in your life just how much you care. So why not get close, and snuggle up in the Kelty Discovery Love Seat?! This super-comfortable folding camping chair is built for 2 butts… and also stores up inside your car easily after any road trip or camping adventure. Other features of the comfy, cozy Kelty Discovery Low-Love Seat include puncture-resistant quilted 600-denier polyester fabric insulation, durable steel frame, adjustable armrests with 2 insulated beverage holders, padded, multifunction roll-tote storage bag that also doubles as a firewood/gear tote and more! [Purchase: $99.95]

Petzl Tikka Headlamp – ($29.95)

Not all headlamps are created equal, and if you’re looking for one that not only delivers functionality, but also fabulous style try the Petzl Tikka Headlamp! Made to piggyback off of the original LED headlamp from Petzl, the Tikka Headlamp includes a bulb that delivers 200 lumens with a longer burn time, and a stylish design that fits into any practical activity you have planned outdoors including camping, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or even cooking! Shine the light on anything you do in the wilderness with this simple-to-use LED headlamp from PETZL. The re-designed Tikka also features single-button transition into lighting modes, wide, uniform light beams, close-range vision capability, red lighting for night vision, IPX4 water resistance, phosphorescent reflector, adjustable elastic headband with an integrated emergency whistle, and a 5 year Petzl guarantee. [Purchase: $29.95]

Jetboil Flash Cooking System – ($99.95)

Rack up some serious style points when you pack the Jetboil Flash Cooking System along. This unique mini-stove is loaded with features so that you can have a hot and satisfying meal any place you roam. The Jetboil Flash Cooking system can create a hot beverage for you in under 2 minutes! So, don’t miss the chance to upgrade your outdoor experience with the Jetboil Flash Cooking System. Other features of this camping mini-stove include cooking cup clips to avoid spills, fuel canister tripod for stability, 1.0 Liter FluxRing cooking cup, adjustable stainless-steel burner, push-button igniter, stove burner and 100g fuel canister (stows inside the cup) and many more! [Purchase: $99.95

ENO DoubleNest Hammock – ($69.95)

So many people take the outdoors so seriously today; the most important thing is enjoying yourself. At a pound and some change, the ENO Doublenest Hammock is unnoticeable in your pack but with a 400-lb. weight limit, this 2-person nylon-taffeta hammock turns your backcountry camp into a luxury vacation. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration; but at the least it lets you chill in comfort with that significant (or not-so-significant) other next to those poor suckers resigned to squatting in the dirt like a bunch of animals. [Purchase: $69.99]

OMeals Beef and Lentils

OMeals – ($8.00)

Each pack of OMeals has its own biodegradable heater. Sure to enthrall the kids as you rip the boiler open, throw it in the sac and watch dinner cook itself. The lentils and beef were one of the best camping meals I’d ever had. My only complaint was the meal and its calorie count were both pretty small. [Purchase: $8.00]

RePurpose Straws

RePurpose Straws – ($9.99)

Take anything from RePurpose’s line of compostable plant-based cutlery with you on a camping trip. Never forget to also stash a box of RePurpose Straws along with forks, knives, and cups in your bag. Flexible, durable and disposable, RePurpose straws are also guilt-free to use. Certified compostable to naturally breakdown into the atmosphere in just a matter of months, there are no other plant-based straws like them on the market today! [Purchase: $9.99]

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About the Author

Brittany Artwohl
Brittany is a fitness expert and natural health enthusiast based out of sunny Arizona. A certified first responder, lifeguard, group fitness instructor and yoga trainer, Brittany has also worked as a professional writer with a focus on natural health for over 8 years.

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