Before I had ever gone camping, whenever I thought about camping, I thought of how uncomfortable I was going to be. Look, I’m not saying I’m high maintenance, but getting a good night’s sleep and being comfortable all day is high on my priorities list. That’s why I’ve taken to car camping so quickly. You still get all the benefits of being outdoors and sleeping under the stars, but you don’t have to worry about packing light to hike to a camp spot. You just pull in and you’re good to go. I’ve been car camping a few times now, though I’m far from an expert. I’ve invested in a few more superfluous things to make my car camping experience better than ever, and I suggest you do the same.
Eureka Desert Canyon Tent
Yes, you could go for a lightweight, small tent for backpacking, but why not give yourself some room to breathe when you’re not? This option is easy to set up, has a full mesh roof (that’s easily covered with the included rain fly), and mesh windows that can be sealed from the inside to protect you from any bad weather.
FOR COMFORT WHILE SLEEPING
Intex Dura-Beam Series Pillow Rest Raised Airbed
I love a good sleeping pad to keep you from laying on rocks/roots/bugs but this is car camping! You can get luxurious! This bouncy, supportive air mattress will make it feel like you’re at home, rather than the middle of the woods. It has a built-in AC electric pump, so all you’ll need to do is find an outlet or use a car adapter.
FOR GETTING COZY
Rumpl Solid Puffy 1-Person Blanket
While a sleeping bag is necessary, adding a blanket can really make your whole experience that much better. This puffy blanket is the perfect thing to crawl under if the temps dip below 60 or to curl up with next to a fire. It’s made with ripstop nylon fabric and has a DWR coating to keep you dry.
FOR A SEAT AROUND THE CAMPFIRE
Whether you’re sharing your seat with your family or just want room to spread out, this is a perfect car camping chair. Scouted contributor Steven John swears by this seat for his camping trips. “A pair of built-in cupholders and adjustable armrests are icing on the cake of this steel-framed, durable polyester upholstered loveseat, my new favorite piece of camp (and beach and park and BBQ) gear.”
FOR ALL YOUR FOOD AND DRINKS
Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler
This retro cooler isn’t just all beauty and no brains. Its 54-quart capacity can keep up to 85 cans cold for up to four days, even if things get toasty outside. It features rust-resistant stainless steel hardware, so you won’t have to worry about it falling apart after every use.
Coleman Gas Camping Stove
I have two friends that both have this stove and it’s become such a lifesaver on car camping trips. It packs down small so it won’t take up any space in your vehicle or storing it when you get home. You get up to 20,000 BTUs, with two dials to control the temperature and an hour of runtime on a small tank of propane.
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