5 Things You Need in Your Car for Camping

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Car camping combines the thrill and excitement of a night spent outdoors with the convenience of having the space to bring everything you need. It also provides a simple way to transport your supplies, which can make the trip much more enjoyable. Knowing what to pack can help you turn your next car camping trip into an adventure of a lifetime. There are numerous car camping checklists available, and these lists are great resources to begin building your own customized list of necessary supplies.

The following five items are a great place to start, and should be part of every car camping vacation. Choosing high quality camping supplies will bring many years of enjoyment, and are investments in a healthy and active lifestyle.

Your Home Away From Home

One of the most important purchases to support your car camping adventure is a tent. There are a wide range of options available, and sizes to fit anywhere from one to more than ten people. A great option for car camping is an instant tent, which can be put up in just a few moments. These tents make use of integrated poles that extend and secure in seconds. There are instant tents on the market in every color, shape and size, and some models have all the bells and whistles.

Be sure to make a decision that is in line with your immediate needs, and avoid being swayed by features and functions that are not necessary. Choosing an instant tent allows you to spend less time setting up camp and more time enjoying nature, which is the reason behind your camping journey.

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A Place to Lay Your Head

sleeping cot


Once you have your tent up, the next thing you will need is a place to call it a night. Sleeping bags are fine in a pinch, and are great for backpacking, but car camping allows you to bring along additional comforts. For many people, a camping cot is the perfect way to get a good night’s sleep under the stars. When choosing a cot, be sure to select a model that offers a large enough sleeping surface.

Weight is also a concern of you plan to use the cot for anything other than car camping. Some models are designed to hold an ait mattress on top, but all can accommodate a pad and sleeping bag. Most also come with a carrying bag, and it is a good idea to choose a style that is easy to fold and unfold.

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Your Outdoor Kitchen

Being able to prepare meals is an important part of any camping trip. Some camping sites offer fire rings and even grills, but having your own camp stove means never being dependent on finding those niceties. A number of different stoves are available, but a basic two-burner unit is a great place to start.

Two burners allows you to cook up a mean pan of eggs on one side, while heating water for coffee on the other. These units are also lightweight and compact, leaving more room to pack an ice chest, food and other camp kitchen supplies.

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A Light in the Darkness

Even though your vehicle will be close by, having a source of light is an important part of a successful camping trip. A camping lantern is the way to go, and a good unit will provide years of service. Some lanterns use propane as a fuel source, but these also require glass shields and fragile mantles. For car camping, a better choice is a battery powered lantern, preferably with long-lasting LED bulbs.

There are battery powered lanterns available in many different sizes and with varying light outputs. Choose one that is easy to carry and provides the right amount of light. The best thing about a battery powered lantern is that it can serve double duty as an emergency light at home.

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Drink Like a Camel

Once you have your camp set up, you will probably want to take a hike and check out the area. Staying properly hydrated is important while outdoors, but carrying bulky water bottles can slow you down. The best way to carry water is by way of a hydration pack, which uses a flexible bladder to distribute the weight of the liquid across the wearer’s back. These packs also offer storage for other hiking essentials, like a compass, flashlight and snacks.

Choose a pack that offers a close but comfortable fit, and is roomy enough to store the necessities but not overly large.

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