Car Camping Essentials Guide: Our Top Picks of 2022


Car camping has a unique packing list that, on one hand, requires functional gear capable of keeping you safe from the elements and, on the other, amenities designed solely for leisure and comfort outdoors. The stakes are much lower on a car camping trip than on a backpacking adventure where having the right gear might be the difference between life and death (or, less dramatically, a good time and a very, very bad time). Still, a winning combination of technical performance and indoorsy delights will make up the perfect car camping checklist.

It doesn’t matter if you’re rolling into an established campground at a state park or seeking a more primitive outdoor adventure off the beaten path, the beauty of car camping is to simply and earnestly enjoy being outside with the benefit of easy access. With that in mind, bringing along the best camping gear that has all the bells and whistles feels a bit less extra and more like balance. Right?

For the outdoorist who wants to have their morning pancakes and eat them too, this packing list is separated into three basic categories: sleep, cooking, and around camp to ensure you have all the essentials for a successful car camping trip and then some.

The Sleep System


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