20 Items to Make Car Camping Your New Thing

If you like the outdoors but don’t love sleeping on the ground, car camping could be for you. You still get all the best parts of camping—animal sounds, nature smells, beautiful sights—without the worst parts—animal attacks, nature poisons, lumpy sleeping surface. This list covers everything you will need to stay safe, full, and prepared, whether you’re Ron Swanson or Tom Haverford. We didn’t include food or water on this list, but bring food and water.


Air Mattress

This SUV air mattress from Saygogo has six different sections to fill and comes with an air pump. It’s covered in flock and supports the weight of “three large people.” It takes about eight minutes to fill up.

Mosquito Net

If you’re sleeping in your car, you’ll want to leave the windows open a crack—even when it’s cold—to let out some of the condensation. Drape this 10-by-20-foot easy-to-store net over all openings.

Portable Solar Panel

This bank of three solar panels from KingSolar is lightweight and features USB ports for charging your devices when you don’t want to run your vehicle. It’s waterproof, so don’t worry about rain.

Eveready Camping Lantern

This pack includes two collapsible battery-powered lanterns. They feature a magnet base and hanging hook, and will last 16 hours in lantern mode and nine hours in flashlight mode.

Napier Backroadz SUV Tent

This tent is designed to accommodate all crossovers, SUVs, and minivans. It measures nine by nine feet to expand your camping space beyond your cargo bay. It also converts to a stand-alone tent.

Coleman Sleeping Bag

This Coleman sleeping bag is rated to 20 degrees and features a tube along the zipper to keep warm air inside. It’s made of polyester and weighs about five pounds.

Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock

If you don’t want to sleep in your car or on the ground, get a hammock and get comfortable. This one comes in a ton of colors and is made from parachute-grade nylon.

Coleman Propane Grill

amazon.com

$139.99

$110.53 (21% off)

This Coleman features both grill and stove options, and wind block panels shield the burners. It features a push-button ignition, but you’ll need propane.

Luggable Loo Portable Toilet

Depending how rustic your campsite is, you might want to bring this Luggable Loo. The seat snaps on to a bucket and combines with a waste bag to keep everything tidy.

Sunnydaze Cast Iron Skillet Set

This set comes with three sizes of pre-seasoned iron skillets measuring six, seven, and 10 inches in diameter. They’re not intended to be used in a dishwasher and should be periodically oiled.

Campfire Grill

With the iron skillet or without, this grill from Redcamp will take up little space in your cargo area and is made for cooking over an open fire. It measures 21.6 inches by 11.8 inches and folds up for easy transport.

Camping Kitchen Utensil Set

This portable kit is a little expensive but features everything you would need for a weekend or a week of camping. It has settings for four places.

Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is good for cooking, storing food, making funny hats, and about 100 other things. Bring some when you go camping.

Butane Torch Lighter

You could get the cheapo plastic lighter for your campfires (or rub two sticks together), but you’re better off getting something cool like this jet flame. In a pinch you can make one s’more at a time.

Gerber Multitool

This Gerber multitool features pliers, knives, saws, can opener, scissors, and more and will be indispensable whether you need to gather kindling, scale a fish, or fix your car.

Hefty Tall Kitchen Trash Bags

Leave only footprints when camping with or without a vehicle. That means taking your garbage with you. You probably don’t need the whole box, but bring more than you think you should.

Skewers for Grilling

This skewer and kabob set from Morole will have you ready for anything from s’mores to grilled vegetables. The 33-piece set comes with eight wooden handle skewers, eight thread skewers, eight straight skewers, and eight corn forks.

First Aid Kit

This 100-piece kit comes with bandages, antibiotic ointments, antiseptic towelettes, a cold compress, and more. This should probably already be in your car, but if not, get one before heading out.

Sportneer Sighting Compass

Sportneer
amazon.com

$18.99

When your phone signal goes down, the only way to navigate is old school. This compass comes in army green and is waterproof and shockproof. It clips neatly onto a belt loop.

Frontiersman Bear Spray

Depending on where you’re camping, you might (but hopefully won’t) need bear spray. It travels 30 feet, to keep more distance between you and the beast, “as they charge up to 35 mph.”

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