It’s finally spring, which means it’s almost camping season. Whether you are going camping for the first time or a seasoned veteran, there is always something you can add to your list. Maybe you forgot it, maybe you never thought about it, or maybe you’ve been looking for it, we have a great car camping checklist to use on your adventures this year.
Necessities for Car Camping
As many campers know, there are necessities for every camping trip, whether car camping, RV camping, or backpacking. These things include first aid kits, food, and bedding. These are the items you should never forget when car camping:
- First Aid Kit: You can buy a premade one from any drugstore, or you can make you own. Either way, ensure it has band aids, gauze, alcohol swabs or antiseptic wipes, butterfly clasps, Tylenol, Motrin. You can always add more than the minimum as well. Other safety items that are good to bring include bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, allergy medicine.
- Shelter: Whether camping at a state park or a private campground, make sure you know what your shelter is. Car camping isn’t just sleeping in your car. Most people bring tents. Ensure your know how to set the tent up prior to camping the first time with it. Unless you are 100% certain there is no chance for rain, get a rainfly for your tent if it did not come with one. It’s also a good idea to bring a tarp to put your tent on.
- Food/Utensils: Always bring enough food for the entire duration of the camping trip. The last thing you want to do is have to drive into town to get extra bread. If you are going to be cooking your food, make sure you have everything your need. If you are using a camping stove, make sure you have fuel. If you are using the campfire, bring a firestarter and wood. Ensure you have plates, bowls, forks, and spoons for everyone. Bring a cooking set of pots and pans and cooking utensils as well. Aluminum foil comes in handy when cooking and storing food after eating.
- Sleeping: If you are sleeping in a tent, chances are you don’t want to sleep directly on the ground. It’s likely to be bumpy and uncomfortable. In that case, bring an air mattress or two depending on how many people are going. Not using electric while you’re there? Get a self-inflating sleeping pad. Depending on the temperatures, you may want a sleeping bag that is rated for cold weather, or if it is warm, just bring a few blankets and pillows.
Extra Items to Make Car Camping Better
The best part about car camping is the ability to bring extra items that you wouldn’t be able to take if you were hiking or backpacking. For example, chairs, pillows, and extra clothing are always good for starters. If you have room in the car with your passengers and necessities packed in, think about the extra things you can bring to make the trip even better.
- Games or Sports Balls: Camping is a great time to hang out and throw a football. Bring frisbees, bocce ball, baseball and gloves, or a football to play outside. In the event of bad weathers, a board game, a deck of cards, or a game of Yahtzee are fun, portable games you can play while you wait out the rain.
- Outdoor Cup Holders: Depending on the type of chairs you bring camping, you may not have a secure place to set your drinks down. Instead of using fold-up tables that blow over or fall easily or placing them on the ground, use steel outdoor cup holders. There are a variety of types available, so look for sturdy, durable ones with stakes that will securely endure bad weather if necessary. There are also wine bottle holders available if you are drinking on your camping trip.
- Day Packs for Hikes: If you are planning on hiking during your camping trip, make sure you bring a daypack with a compass, paper map as phones are guaranteed to work in the wilderness, headlamp or flashlight, rain gear and extra socks, sunglasses, first aid kit, and sunscreen. Make sure each person also has a water bottle and some granola or protein bars.
- Garden Flag and Stand: If you are car camping in a state park or private campground, there is often a shared sense of camaraderie and friendly neighbors. Many people bring garden flag stands and camping flags to place at the edge of their campground, so people know they are welcome to say hi.
Car camping is very easy to pack for, and most things are intuitive to bring. Before you go, check on the campground’s showering and restroom facilities, if they have them, and plan accordingly for toiletries and personal products. Drop us a line if you have any other items we should add to the list!