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Car Camping Essentials Checklist

You may be wondering what to bring when you go camping. You found the right camping essentials list and don’t want to forget these items.

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Are you planning a car camping trip and looking for the right gear to make the most of your time in the great outdoors? Look no further than this comprehensive list of car camping essentials. With the following items, you’ll be ready for your next camping adventure.

My family and I LOVE to camp!  It’s a nice way to get away from things.  Camping trips keep us busy and it’s nice to be away from all the things that distract everyone like TV’s, phones, video games, work and sports.  It’s also inexpensive. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do.  However, making a camping checklist is never fun.

2 girls standing on a rock fishing in a lake

Best Camping Essentials

 We usually camp with a group of people it’s always fun to see what other people bring.  It’s also nice because when you forget something hopefully someone else remembered! Make sure to look through this list before your next camping trip.

A Car Camping Checklist for your Next Camping Adventure

Tent Camping

A spacious tent is one of the most important car camping essentials, providing extra room for a comfortable sleep system. Invest in a good sleeping pad and air mattress for a great night’s sleep.

A tarp with some bungee cords doesn’t take up much space or a pop-up canopy is bulky but you will be thankful if it’s raining (or hot). A jacket and rain boots are nice to have if you have space.

Cooking Equipment

A camp stove, camp kitchen, and cooking utensils, like tongs are necessary for preparing camp meals. Don’t forget paper towels, toilet paper, coffee cups and a water bottle for convenience, as well as an electric cooler to keep your food and drinks chilled. Foil is a necessity You don’t realize how much you need this until you forget it! You can a lot of your cooking on foil for easy cleanup.

Make sure you take dish soap so you can clean off all your cooking equipment and clean off messy hands. This collapsible wash bin is so nice addition to your camp kitchen.

A water cooler is bulky to pack but you won’t realize how much you are going to use it. They are nice to fill up water bottles, rinse your hands off and brush your teeth.

Yellow and grey tent in the woods

First Aid and Hygiene

A first aid kit, bug spray, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer will help keep you healthy and clean on your car camping trip. Consider a camp shower for longer trips and toilet paper for public lands and campsites without facilities. Don’t forgt flip flops for public showers!

I’ve always carried anti-itch cream in my purse and you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve used it or someone else needed it. It’s perfect for anything to little ant bites or bee stings.

If you have kids and fire you know they love to poke sticks in it or the fire pops and little sparks float out and get on someone.  If you have those metal marshmallow roasting sticks, someone always grabs the wrong end too.

Outdoor Activities

Car campers can enjoy a range of outdoor adventures, including day hikes, open fires, and using a camp table for games or eating at the picnic table. A comfortable hammock is a nice thing to have for relaxing.

A small axe is great when getting the wood for your fire set up or a random branch poking everyone in the head.

Electrical Devices

Charging electronic devices is easy with a portable power station or solar panel. Extra batteries are also a good idea, especially for longer trips. You need to keep those flashlights powered up for everyone in the family

Additional Luxury Items:

If space allows, you might consider bringing luxury items like a coffee maker, deck of cards and other games like Uno and Phase 10. They don’t take up much space and fun for all ages. It’s nice to play when resting in between activities.

Glow sticks are fun too! I get these at the Dollar Tree

National and State Parks

Planning to visit some national parks? Check the weather forecast beforehand and bring extra layers of clothing. Window screens are essential for keeping out insects and critters.

With this complete list of car camping essentials, you’ll be prepared for your next camping experience and ready to make the most of your much-needed break. So start planning your next camping adventure and enjoy the great outdoors!

What do you take when you’re camping that you can’t live without?  I’ll keep coming back and adding things to the list when I get recommendations or as I go on trips and realize there are things I need!

GREAT camping recipes

  • Breakfast Burritos– I make these before we leave and breakfast is a breeze.
  • S’macos–  These are a family favorite camping dessert!