Updated on April 26, 2019 by Asher Fergusson
Car camping entails camping next to your car at a chosen campground. It’s an easy way to enjoy the outdoors without having to do a ton of pre-planning. Car camping lets you pitch your tent right next to your car, and bring all of your favorite creature comforts with you, like coolers, lawn chairs, lanterns, and board games.
What to bring Camping:
10) Food Supplies – The trickiest part of car camping is choosing your menu for the weekend. If you’re bringing a gas stove (or if there is a fire pit on site), bring hot dogs, burgers, or anything else you might like to grill for dinner. For breakfast, bacon and eggs or yogurt with granola are good options. Make sure you bring tongs and a spatula, and pack perishables in a cooler filled with ice. Since you’re car camping, there’s more room to get fancy with your culinary skills!
Other packing list items for camping:
Lightweight/ quick dry towel
Map (specific to the area you’re traveling to)
What to wear Car Camping:
1) Comfort is key if the drive to your campground is a long one. Stay comfortable with sweatpants, leggings, tee shirts and sweatshirts. Make sure to bring sunglasses as well.
2) Before you start packing your clothing for your camping trip, do a little research on the area you are going to in case the location is prone to rain or snow. Layering is vital to being comfortable in the outdoors, since temperature fluctuates. Layer up in moisture-wicking (no cotton!) tank tops, shorts or leggings, thermals, and jackets. Because you’ll be living out of your car, you will probably want to pack as light as possible. Try to pack only items that can be mixed and matched, and keep your supply down to one item per clothing category (for example, one tank top, one short sleeve shirt, one pant, etc).
3) For footwear, sandals are great for letting your feet breathe on hot days when you’re lounging around. Wool socks are good for keeping your feet warm and comfortable. On hikes wear hiking boots or sturdy athletic shoes with traction.
What NOT to take Car Camping
2) Jeans – Don’t weigh yourself down with stiff, inhibiting jeans. Denim and camping don’t mix well.
3) Jewelry/ Nice clothing – Nobody’s going for style points on a camping trip.
4) Unnecessary electronics – You definitely will not need your computer or tablet while you’re trying to soak in the outdoors.
6) Valuables – Unless you’re at a busy national park during peak season, you don’t need to worry about thieves. You do, however, need to worry about the elements ruining anything too valuable.
7) White clothing – If you wear white pants or a white shirt camping, you’re just asking to fall in the mud or get accidentally squirted with hot dog condiments.
FAQs about car camping:
1) How do you shower while car camping?
You can bring a solar shower, or bathe in clean stream or rivers. Some campgrounds have restrooms with showers. Worst case scenario, keep a stash of wet wipes handy!
2) What do you eat while car camping?
Bring snacks that are convenient and healthy. I like to bring along a lot of nuts, dried fruit, granola bars and apples, along with a cooler full of yogurt, salami, cheese and other easy foods. Check pinterest for campfire meal recipes.
3) How can I find out if there will be potable water at my campsite?
Always check the website of the park that you’ll be camping at. Most, but not all, campgrounds have a water source like a spigot that can be used to fill up your water bottles. Look online or call the park ranger service to check for specifics about your campground.
4) How do you deal with inclement weather?
Always dress in layers. Make sure you bring a rain jacket or poncho, the rain fly for your tent, and some board games to stay entertained during a random thunderstorm.
5) Do all campgrounds allow campfires?
No, not always. During dry season, many campgrounds will have a fire ban. Make sure you check online or call your local park ranger service to find out. If you are prohibited from making a campfire, make sure you bring a gas stove to cook with!
6) How do I find a campground near me?
You can find a campground through this website. You can also search for specific dates and group sizes!