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Car Camping List – our checklist of essential car camping gear

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Car camping? Want to make sure you’ve got it all on board? Our essential car camping list can be your checklist the next time you hit the road. I am fresh out of the car from a great camping and climbing trip to Bishop, California, so I thought I’d round up what we brought, along with some tips on packing and staying organized.

As you can see in the picture above (taken at the Horton Creek Campground), we filled up my Subaru (with 2 crash pads taking up lots of the space), but used every bit that we brought. Car camping is all about comfort; don’t be afraid to bring a few extra luxuries you wouldn’t pack when full-on backpacking.

  • FULL MESS KIT – Go ahead and bring the full monty for cooking, why not? A cutting board, a sharp knife, a Coleman double burner, a coffee press, a double-wall mug, a kitchen towel, a tupperware to act as both plate, bowl and daypack sandwich holder, stacking utensils and a Snow Peak cookset are my essentials, but I expand that to include much more depending on the length of the trip.
  • COOLER – Stocked with ice, of course, for perishable items (we know you won’t forget the beer, but don’t forget the creamer for your coffee).
  • FOOD – No dehydrated anything if you don’t want – you’ve got a deluxe camp kitchen!
  • SUN SHOWER – This is a car camping essential in my book. Hook it to your hatchback, or set it on your roof top or a tree branch.
  • 5–7 GALLON WATER JUG – When you live in a place with as good of drinking water as Tahoe, no other water will do. Plus, this is the best way to easily refill your water bottles and pots for cooking. (more…)
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