Packing for a Successful Car Camping Trip
Car camping is a great way to get out into the great outdoors without the need to hike long distances or lug all your camping gear in a backpack. For campers of all experience levels, packing well is key to a successful and enjoyable car camping trip. Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks to ensure you have everything you need for a trip full of adventure and relaxation.
Essential Gear and Clothing
No matter your skill level, you’ll want to make sure to bring the essential gear when car camping. Of course, the gear you decide on bringing will depend largely on the weather and the outside temperature. A good rule of thumb is to dress in layers and bring a few options so you can adjust your clothing according to weather conditions.
The essentials you need for car camping include the following items:
- Sleeping pads
- Sleeping bag
- Backpacking stove
- Lightweight cookset
- GPS and map
- First aid kit
When it comes to clothing, you’ll want to bring items that will keep you warm and dry, and depending on the location and season, you may want to bring items designed for cold weather. A lightweight rain jacket and waterproof pants, along with wool insulating layers and warm hats, gloves and scarves, are usually good to bring to stay comfortable and dry during car camping trips.
Organizing Your Car for Packing
To make packing for a car camping trip more efficient, it’s important to also plan ahead for how you’ll be organizing the items in your car or vehicle. This can help make the experience more stress-free and provide easy access to all your essentials when needed. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you may need to consider the following tips:
- Bring A Separate Bag: Bring a large bag or container where you can store all your smaller items such as clothes, toiletries, and snacks. This will help keep all your smaller items easily accessible when needed, and organized when packing and unpacking.
- Keep Things In Reach: Plan ahead of time how you’ll store large items in the car such as tents, sleeping bags and mats and other bulky items. Try to put these items in the cargo area or trunk for easy access when setting up camp
- Make Use Of Space: Utilize the smaller sections and pockets inside your car, such as the pockets on the back of the car seat. These are great for storing smaller items such as flashlights, batteries and other gadgets. You can also hang bigger items from the ceiling of your car, such as backpacks and sleeping bags.
And don’t forget to take pictures of the car layout before you leave. This will help remind you exactly how everything was organized so you can easily set it up again after your trip.
Organizing Your Camp Items
Once you’ve organized your car, it’s time to start packing! To make the process smoother and less stressful, you’ll want to divide your items into categories and pack them accordingly. As a camper and a father of three kids, here are my favorite categories and items that I usually pack for car camping:
- Essential Camp Items: This includes items such as the tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, headlamps, and water bottles that you’ll use throughout the adventure.
- Cooking and Eating Utensils: I usually bring a camping stove and cookware so I have all the items I need to cook meals during the trip. This includes plates, mugs, bowls, cutlery, and a camp coffee percolator.
- Clothing Items: I bring an assorted collection of clothing items to stay comfortable throughout the hiking and camping. This usually includes lightweight and water-resistant clothing such as jackets, long pants, hiking boots, and mid layers.
- Other Items: I also bring other items with me when car camping to make sure I’m always prepared. This can include items such as hand sanitizer, sunscreen, insect repellent, and basic first aid items.
Once you have all your items packed, make sure that you have backed up any potentially important documents or pictures in case of theft or damage.
Tips for Having Fun and Staying Safe
Car camping is an excellent way to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, but it’s important to remain safe and have fun, too. Once you have all your items packed, there are a few other items that I always like to bring to ensure I have a safe and enjoyable camping experience.
To ensure safety when car camping, you should bring a GPS or map of the area, a flashlight or headlamp, and a whistle or bear bell in case you need to alert others of danger. You should also bring a first-aid kit, bug spray, and enough food and water for more than one day. Additionally, I like bringing a waterproof ground cover and a tarp to protect from rain, as well as a tailgating car mat to provide extra comfort.
Finally, it’s important to know your limits and pay attention to your surroundings. Always stay on marked trails and don’t venture out alone. It’s also a good idea to let friends and family know your plans for your camping trip, where you’ll be, and when you plan to return.
Following these tips for packing for car camping will help ensure you have the best possible experience. Have fun and explore all the natural wonders the outdoors have to offer!