List of Car Camping Gear You Can’t Live Without

There’s fun in car camping! And when we say fun, we mean that it doesn’t require tons of up-front costs. Personally, I don’t want to buy the most expensive car camping gear with all the features. I found these intimidating. I like to start car camping small and ease my way into making it as my hobby. I better have a car camping gear list with me.

In efforts to keep my adventure simple, I wanted to put together a car camping gear list of all the things I think are super helpful. I’m also budget-conscious. So, you can count on me on not recommending a car camping gear list that isn’t good or helpful.

1.      Cast Iron Camping Cookware

Choosing a pan can be complicated because there are different types of camping. Also, different people who camp have different needs. But since we’re talking about car camping here, we choose cast iron as the best. Here are the following reasons why cast iron is in the car camping gear list.

  • Durability. It can withstand open fire for long.
  • Versatility. This can be used for a variety of dishes without bringing other pans from home.
  • Long-Lasting. This does not require early replacement.
  • Nonstick. Washing dishes is simple and easy with the type of coating this pan has.

2.      Backpacking Stove

One of the essentials in the car camping gear list is a backpacking stove. A good backpacking stove I can recommend is the Alpertie backpacking stove. It’s a small stove that folds out to a 7 to 8-inch diameter and works well for a 10” cast iron stove. It weighs 8 ounces in the case. It works well for car camping, even if it’s heavier than a more expensive backpacking stove.

3.      Camping Tent

Your home is your castle. When you are camping, your tent is your home, so it should be one in your car camping gear list. There are hundreds of tents to choose from, so it can be quite overwhelming to choose from. 

For me, the $40-$50 is the ideal price range you want to spend on a tent. By the way, this is a 2-person tent. Any less than $50 might be substandard already. You can get a decent 2-person tent with necessary features such as 

  • Guylines
  • Vents
  • Rainfly
  • Waterproofed seams

In this price range, you are taking more of a gamble on longevity and quality. This may be fine for you if you are only planning on going camping with yourself or with a partner once or twice a year.

The price range of $40 to $50 of tents is not going to cut it for extreme cold weather and for frequent use. A tent should be able to handle chilly, but not snowy conditions. Moreover, tents in this range will be heavier than more expensive tents that sleep the same amount of people. This is not necessary for car camping, but for backpacking, every gram counts.

Coleman Dome Tent is the most popular tent in this price range. 

You can assume to get an okay 2-person tent for this price range. It is recommended if you are just getting into a car camping. Other tent options fit more people for $50. However, the quality might be compromised. You should be skeptical about that.

4.      Camping Rain Gear

Camping Rain Gear is our fourth must-have in the car camping gear list. One brand you can enjoy wearing is the Columbia Watertight II Jacket. This jacket can be your most valuable accessory! Why? It’s because it can keep you dry and warm from wind and rain.

This rain gear jacket has no durability issues. It has vents and zip-seal pockets too.

5.      Camping Clothing

I’m not going to talk about how to be stylish when doing car camping. However, I can give you advice on how some clothing can be incredibly useful to you. Here, I’ll share with you some nice-to-haves essentials.

Thermals: Your Essential for Cold Weather

Even for chilly weather, thermal underwear can make a much more pleasant experience. The best type of thermals for each scenario is a long discussion, as there are a lot. Assessing your needs is the key to that research. The looser fit and the heavier of the thermals are, the more air is trapped inside of it, which captures more heat.

Form-fitting thermals won’t retain as much heat by themselves, but layered with extra warm clothing will create air pockets between those layers, which will keep you warm.

Here is a sample of the sample thermal set you can wear comfortably.

My Thermal Bottom

My Thermal Top

With this set, you can able to hang out in 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You can still feel a little warm even when the temperature rises up to 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are other options for warmer thermals, but this set can keep you comfortable outside. These can also wick away sweat, which is essential to keeping warm.

6.      Headlamp

There are many types of Headlamps. However, all of them perform a unified function – To light up your way. One of the favorites that I suggest you own one is the Supfire headlamp. Here are the reasons why I like the Supfire headlamp and why you should include it in your car camping gear list.

Rechargeable

This is my favorite part of the Supfire headlamp. Most LED headlamps are using AAA batteries. It is not really a bad thing anyway, but it’s another thing to pack and consider when you’re going camping.

It’s best to store your batteries outside of your headlamp, because most of the time, headlamps will drain your batteries. If you leave your headlamp along for a long time, then when you go to use it, the batteries are empty and you have to replace them.

The Supfire headlamp has a micro USB charging port, which you can use to charge your headlamp. Though the battery may die by itself if you don’t use the headlamp for a long time, you can simply recharge it directly instead of disposing of 3 more AAA batteries. This can actually last for at least 3 hours of light without needing a charge.

Different Light Modes

The Supfire headlamp has a variety of light modes that come in handy while doing car camping. It has has a very bright white light mode, a dimmer white light mode, and a flashing red light mode.

Another interesting mode of this one is the temperature sensor mode. This turns the headlamp on or off if you wave your hand in front of the headlamp. When you are working with people around your campground, it’s discourteous to shine your headlamp in people’s faces. You can switch the light on and off easily by waving your hand in front of your face to prevent blinding people. How cool is it?

7.      Coal Chimney Starter

This is a simple device where you put kindling into the bottom of the chimney. After 15 to 20 minutes of dumping coal and a bit more newspaper to get the coals going, you should be burning them all ready to start cooking. Having this in your car camping gear list is incredibly valuable, most especially if you are planning on cooking in the firepit.

This is a commodity, so it doesn’t matter which one you will buy. Here is the link to some of the well-rated coal chimney starter on Amazon.

Here are some quick tips:

Make sure that you don’t start burning the paper when you have food out. The ashes can get everywhere and will scatter into your food.

Make sure you have enough airflow. Pack the paper in tight enough so that you can lift the chimney while you’re lighting it to get as much air in as possible to get a quick light.

8.      Battery-Powered Fan

Having a battery-powered fan in your car camping gear list can make the heat bearable. It’s worth it if you are car camping in hot weather. Choose a fan that can be recharged and doesn’t need huge D batteries.

When thinking of the size, choose the bigger one as it can move more air. Others can be contented with a 10 inches fan as it is portable but can still cool enough to sleep in hot weather.

9.      4-Liter Gravity Water Filter

This filter comes with two reservoirs. The first one is made for the dirty water, while the other is for the filtered water. The dirty water is held above the clean water reservoir, and gravity does the rest of the filtering process.

With this gravity filter, the process of filtering water is faster and easier. You can simply fill up the dirty reservoir after getting a clean reservoir-full of water, and then filter the dirty reservoir again when you need it. It’s super convenient.

10. Cottonelle Wipes

This is not a gadget in this car camping gear list, but I feel it needs to be mentioned here. These wipes are fantastic for car camping. This is essential most, especially when you can’t wash your body, especially in the sensitive regions.

They’re great also for cleaning your hands and for going to the body most especially when you’re faced with toilets without toilet paper. Just make sure to dispose of them properly.

There’s fun in car camping! And when we say fun, we mean that it doesn’t require tons of up-front costs. Personally, I don’t want to buy the most expensive car camping gear with all the features. I found these intimidating. I like to start car camping small and ease my way into making it as my hobby. I better have a car camping gear list with me.

In efforts to keep my adventure simple, I wanted to put together a car camping gear list of all the things I think are super helpful. I’m also budget-conscious. So, you can count on me on not recommending a car camping gear list that isn’t good or helpful.

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