Compact Car Camping Essentials

When some people think of sleeping in their car they envision hitting rock bottom, forced onto the street. But for others it means a weekend away in the great outdoors. No, the second group is not highly enlightened seeing the best in the worst situation – they are car campers. A growing number of outdoor enthusiasts are forgoing the RV, camper or tent and choosing to use their car a transportation and shelter. But If you are going to spend the night (or longer) in your car you will need some special gear, especially when that car is a compact model.

One of the key attractions to car camping instead of backpacking or traditional tent camping is the fact that you can take anything with you. Of course, it needs to fit into your car so while there may not be a limit to what you take, there is a limit to how much you can take. With that in mind we have compiled a list of some of the must have essentials that you should make room for. But remember, everything needs to be as compact as your car.

Sleeping system

A good night’s rest sets the stage for the rest of the day so this should be top of your list.
1. Air mattress
2. Sleeping bag
3. Inflatable pillow

Cooking Gear

Eating at restaurants can easily drain your funds. Cooking on sight can increase fun and decrease costs.
1. Portable stove
2. Compact cook kit (pots, pans, utensils)
3. Folding workstation or table
4. Quality cooler (for food storage)
5. Compact individual sink

More Power

Modern camping often includes, and even depends on electronics. This means you will need a ready supply of power both when on the road and in camp.
1. Portable generator
2. Power convertor (for charging high power item when car is running)
3. Extra power cords

Camp Comforts

Face it, car camping is not about completely roughing it so why use the space for some extra comfort items.
1. Windows shades/screens (to darken interior for sleeping)
2. Portable sunroom or awning with bug screening
3. Camp Chairs
4. Lighting for in or around camp area

Extra Storage

Remember your gear selection is limited to available space, but that does not need to be what the manufacturer provided. You can add additional space as well.
1. Roof top carriers
2. Hitch rack
3. Sit organizers
4. Hatch mounted saddle bags

For more information on car camping check out this YouTube video.

Now all you need is a few days off and a destination!

Updated: April 20, 2018 — 6:44 pm
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