Top 12 Car Camping Essentials

Top 12 Car Camping Essentials

Posted by phil kelly on


Malo'o Camping

As we are all itching to get back outside after the COVID quarantine we thought we'd share a few tips to help in your planning process for a quick camping getaway. 

Car camping can be an exciting vacation adventure for people who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Unlike years ago, this type of vacation doesn't mean you have to be roughing it or being uncomfortable, if you bring along the right camping gear. Once you have picked a camping ground with the beautiful scenery, exciting activities and nearby facilities you need, there are a few things you need to take with you that can make this outdoor adventure safe and comfortable for you and any family or friends you decide to take with you on your fun, outdoor experience.

A Few Must-Haves

Here are the Top 12 things you need to take with you if you want to make sure you are not starving, getting soaked by sudden rain showers, freezing at night, stumbling around in the dark, being forced to sleep with rocks digging into your back or getting into wet gear. These are some basic essentials that while they won't make your campsite luxurious, they will provide you with everything you need to be safe and comfortable while you enjoy the fresh air, starry skies and the stupendous beauty of nature. They include having the basic items you need to prevent your exciting trip from turning into a huge disaster.

1. Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads and Camping Pillows

Being able to get a good night's sleep is important for enjoying your outdoor adventure. Making sure to pack enough sleeping bags, sleeping pads and pillows can help to make sure you can relax and sleep comfortably and wake up without those annoying aches and pains sleeping on the cold, hard, ground can cause. Tossing an extra blanket or puffy camp quilt in with your gear can also add some insulation should the nights get chilly.

2. An Easy to Assemble, Water-Proof Tent

A good tent is a must-have if you plan on sleeping outdoors. Weather can change in an instant from warm and sunny to cold and rainy. Having a tent that you can set up quickly and close securely can prevent changing weather from leaving you and your crew wet, sick and miserable. Bringing along a few water-proof tarps can also help to keep unexpected rain or blazing sun from ruining your fun.

3. A Camping Stove

Being able to quickly whip up a steaming hot cup of coffee early in the morning or a tasty, nutritious, filling, lunch or dinner, no matter what the weather is doing, can add a much-needed level of comfort to your outdoor escapade. While your inner boy scout may give you the confidence you can build a blazing campfire to cook on, having a small, rugged, easy-to-use, stove ensures you will be able to have a hearty meal if your campfire building skills are not enough to overcome the elements.

4. Camp Meals

Even if fishing for your supper is part of your plan, taking along some camp meals is a great idea. Having packs of coffee, lentils, pasta, sausages, vegetables and beans can make putting together a tasty, filling, meal a snap if you fishing skills can't deliver enough food for you and your crew. There are easy to prepare camp meals that contain eggs, cheese, bacon, or any other ingredients you need for breakfast, lunch or dinner. These can making going fishing a lot less pressure-filled.

5. Portable Shower

Let’s face it, after a day of hiking or fishing you’re going to be starting to share your scent with nature. We know some people can go days or even weeks without bathing, but we like to go to bed clean and you might also. A good portable camping shower with pressure can make or break some people’s camping experience. Some even have heaters for a HOT shower! What? Yes, hooking to the car cigarette lighter can give you hot water. They are also great for washing off dishes, gear and feet.

6. At Least Two Large Coolers

Having a large cooler filled with water and other refreshing drinks and another one for the ingredients for your meals can make the time you spend car camping even more enjoyable. You can leave the coolers in the trunk or stash them in the shade and you will have easy access to the food and drinks you want and need. Sure, you won't be roughing it as much, but having the coolers filled with food and drinks allows you to focus on simply having fun.

7. A Lantern, Flashlights or Solar Lights

It gets really dark at night in the great outdoors and hunting for firewood or a place to relieve yourself may not be your idea of fun. Having a battery-powered lantern or solar lights mean you can have enough light to see what you are doing even when you are not close to your campfire. Walking to the restroom at night, in the woods, can be dangerous. Having a lantern or flashlight can help you avoid missteps that can cause you to turn an ankle and ruin your vacation.

8. A Camp Table

Stashing a collapsible camp table in your car is a simple addition that can make preparing and serving meals faster, easier and more organized. If your campground does not have picnic tables, a durable, camp table can be a lifesaver. It doesn't have to be too large or fancy, but it can be an essential item that can make your trip much more comfortable.

9. Camping Chairs

Portable seating like camp chair can come in handy when spending some time in the rough, rugged, outdoors. Even if they are not very tall or stylish, they can make eating meals, sitting at your favorite fishing hole or gathering around the campfire telling stories, a lot more comfortable. These inexpensive, durable, pieces of portable furniture can make it much easier for you to relax and enjoy your time with your loved ones in any type of beautiful outdoor setting.

10. Camping Rack

A camping drying rack hands off the side of your vehicle and provides a dedicated place to dry your gear. Shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, sock and more can be air dried faster than placing on a bush. We recommend a camping rack right after camping chairs, otherwise you’ll dry your gear on the chairs and end up doing a lot of standing around.

11. A Small Shovel

A small shovel is an indispensable tool for anyone who frequently goes off on overnight outdoor adventures. A small shovel can come in handy for putting out campfires or properly disposing of fish guts or any other type of organic waste you need to bury well away from your campsite. This can keep bears from following the scent back to your intimate little gathering and turning your relaxing getaway into a life and death situation. With a small shovel you can do your part to prevent forest fires and recycle biodegradable waste.

12. Bear and Rodent-Proof Containers

If there are bears or small rodents in the area around where you plan to camp, the smells of the things you cook and eat can draw them to you. It would be wise to keep your coffee, tea, spices, ramen, oatmeal and other perishables in a tightly sealed container. Knives, spoons, plates, cups, wet wipes, cutting boards and other items you have used for preparing or eating food should also be stored in tightly sealed bear and rodent-proof containers. So, take a few with you. But keep them a safe distance away from your campsite.

Choosing the Right Camping Grounds

To ensure you have a safe, enjoyable, memorable, outdoor adventure, you have to choose the right camping grounds. Look for someplace with lots of natural beauty. You should also make sure it has the facilities you and your loved ones will need within a reasonable distance. Always research the area to find out if it's frequented by dangerous animals, or prone to flooding, sudden, dramatic changes in temperature or weather or any other issues than can threaten the safety of your party. You should also ensure the camping grounds have attractions that interest everyone in your group.

Take Only Picture and Leave Only Footprints

It's important that you do not damage the area in which you do your car camping or take things that were meant to be left there. You should also thoroughly clean up any mess you make, take all of your trash with you and not diminish the area's natural beauty.

Camp Safe!

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