Camping does not mean that you have to jam everything into a backpack and hike miles to the campsite. It can certainly be that you just start throwing stuff in the car and you’re not done packing until you’re forcefully shutting the truck door. Car camping offers nearly all the luxuries of sitting at home except for the fact you’re out in nature and ideally you left the streaming capabilities at home. But no matter the length of time you plan to be gone, even if it’s just a quick 24 hour escape so you sit around the fire with a handle of whiskey, a packing list will help get the essentials in the car and to where they need to be.
Outdoor Tech: Big Turtle Shell Ultra
It seems the debate of whether or not music is welcome at the campsite will continue well beyond the last flame goes out. But if you need a little aural pleasure to set the mood the Outdoor Tech Big Turtle Shell Ultra is the Bluetooth speaker made for the outdoors. The Turtle Shell is waterproof, has a power bank for charging your EDC, and has a built-in lantern optimal for mood lighting once the sun goes down. This speaker will certainly get it done in the woods and all that is asked is that you respect your neighbors.
Big Agnes: Big House
The Big House is ideal for car camping and is perfectly sized for housing the whole squad under one “roof”. It’s big enough to stand up in, which is a wooded luxury and if rain sets in, you’ll have the party tent. The added bonus of Shelter Mode lets you pitch it as a covered shelter without the tent body, proving to be stupendous when the sun is beating down and you’re just looking for a little shade. And though this Big House is a car campers dream, the backpack-style carry bag adds just another level of ease to the weekend adventure.
Teton: Fahrenheit Mammoth Sleeping Bag
The continued beauty of car camping is you don’t have to worry about the size or weight of your gear. And if you’re going to be sleeping outdoors, you might as well sleep in comfort and without the restriction of a coffin. The Teton sleeping bag is stitched for two people, but on your own, it’s the perfect starfish companion. It has built-in blankets, foot vents just in case you’re one of those people that sleep with your feet out from under the covers, and a zip-off layer for the hot summer nights. This doublewide bag was built for car camping and an unrestricted night of sleep.
Exped: MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad
Big tent, big bag… big sleeping pad. The Exped Mega Mat is big enough for two and even better for one. It comes with a pump, though it is self-inflating and because wear and tear is part of the game, the durable laminate will keep you above ground through the night. The MegaMat is 4 inches thick and the 3D construction brings level support out to each edge, so you don’t end up in the halfpipe. With this pad, you may just even sleep in or at least till you smell the bacon.
BioLite: BaseLantern XL
Unless the moon is full and to avoid a circle of headlamps, a BioLite BaseLantern XL is the way to go. It will light the entire campsite without too much blinding attention and can be controlled from your phone. The BaseLantern has a built-in charging station which is nice since we don’t go anywhere without our phones and with the app, you can turn it on from your bag to see who or what is stirring around in the middle of the night. The BaseLantern XL is a great addition to the packing list and campsite, especially when the fire is lacking lumens.
Pelican: 80QT Elite Wheeled Cooler
Bigger is better when it comes to car camping. And when you’ve got the Pelican Elite Wheeled Cooler you can rest assured that your adventures will be well outfitted with food and beverages. It’s Elite because it has a built-in bottle opener, is capable of holding ice for up to 10 days, and if you’re camping near water, the lid will let you know just how big the lunker is. The cooler also comes stocked with certification from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which is great for you and maybe even better for the bear. And though it’s not guaranteed, the threaded plug and sloped drain may just wash away the campfire hangover.
YETI: Trailhead Camp Chair
If you’re asking yourself if you really need a $300 camp chair, the answer is undoubtedly yes. The YETI Trailhead Camp Chair is a best-in-class seat designed for legendary durability and unmatched comfort. The included cup holder fits just about any size bottle and can be moved from left to right to coincide with your preferred drinking hand. And with Flex Grid Fabric, your Trailhead Chair just may end up in the living room.
Camp Chef: Pro 60X Two-Burner Camp Stove
Just because you’re out in nature doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a king and with the Camp Chef Pro 60X and it’s 60,000 BTUs of cooking glory. You’ve got your car, so there should be plenty of room for this dual burning stove and enough propane to last the weekend. The Pro 60X comes with windscreens, adjustable leg levelers for uneven terrain and is optimal for cooking for the masses. Bacon, pizza or fajitas, the Camp Chef Pro 60X is ready to go camping.
Gerber Gear: 9” Black Hatchett
You can go throw axes for fun while out on the town, so why wouldn’t you pack a hatchet for the woods? The Gerber Gear 9” Black Hatchett is a pint-sized beast of a blade and its compact size makes it ideal for chopping kindling. The forged steel head and composite handle are extremely durable and lightweight making this hatchet ideal for any task around the campsite. It’s not recommended that you throw it at a tree for fun, but what happens in the woods should probably stay in the woods.
Due to the fact that packing for a car camping expedition is usually a last-minute thing, it’s nice to keep a bag like the Mystery Ranch Coulee 25 ready to go or at the very least have a go-to outfit ready for nights by the fire. The Dickies Flex Work Pants are perfect at camp and if you head into town to reload supplies, the big duty belt loops to hold your tool belt and cellphone pocket are ideal, because this is car camping. A campfire flannel is a must when the temperature drops and the Filson Vintage Work Flannel is optimal to retain heat and look good doing so. Brushed twill interior offers wind-resistant comfort and a look that says, “yeah, I was in the woods.” And because the terrain will be variable and wooded, the Logger from Danner Boots are optimal for day and night adventures… rain or shine.
If it fits in the car, pack it
Not one for sleeping on the ground, try the roof
Pick a weekend or even a week, it feels real good to get away from it all
Don’t forget to pack the cooler with plenty of refreshments