October 20, 2022 4 min read

Car camping tent on a pickup truck

No matter if you are a seasoned car camper or a first-timer, it’s a challenge to keep all the essentials in mind and resist the temptation of packing unnecessary things.

Not to worry - we’ve done all the hard work for you! This car camping checklist covers every essential item you might possibly need on your trip, as well as some functional extras you might want to bring along.

Car Camping Packing List

When you think about what to pack for camping, there are a lot of factors to consider, from your vehicle’s size to the weather conditions. Yet, there are some items that you will never regret taking with you.

Below is the camping checklist with the essentials you are sure to benefit from during your trip:

1.   Sleep and Shelter

Car camping tent on the inside

Here are the basics to pack for you to get a good night’s sleep during a car camping trip:

With these items at hand, you are guaranteed to have a comfortable sleeping place.

2.   Safety and Tools

You are going for an outdoor adventure, so you never know what might come up. That’s why safety items and a functional tool kit are must-haves! Make sure you bring the following things:

Also, think about how you will be sourcing the firewood. Planning to cut it yourself? Then pack an ax and gloves. If not - buy some firewood at the store.

3.   Food and Water

Food on a camping trip

The food and beverage supplies and the equipment you need will depend on what you would like to eat during your trip and whether or not you plan to cook.

A typical set of items for a car camping trip includes the following:

Note that you are free to adjust this list to your specific needs. For instance, you might prefer to skip cooking and choose ready-made food options instead.

Here are some great ideas for snacks that don’t require cooking or refrigeration:

Also, remember to take enough water with you! Specialized camping water tanks are a compact and reliable way to store it.

4.   Clothing

When deciding on the clothing you are taking with you, think about the weather forecast for the upcoming days and the activities you are planning to do. Here are some car camping essentials for the warm season:

Remember that even if the weather is warm during the daytime, the temperature can drop significantly at night. For such cases, as well as for a colder season, don’t forget to bring these pieces of clothing:

Besides, it is always a good idea to be prepared for rainy weather. Pack some waterproof and fast-drying clothes, as well as a pair of rubber boots.

5.   Toiletries

Some basic toiletries you will need on your car camping trip are:

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toilet Paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Hairbrush
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Deodorant

If you will be staying at a primitive camping spot, it is best to bring a portable camp shower and additional water with you.

6.   Extras

Card game during car camping

Since you are going to be reaching your destination by car, you can afford the luxury of bringing some additional elements for extra convenience.

You could benefit from packing the following items:

This functional car camping gear will make your experience even more hassle-free.

Apart from transporting bare necessities, some people choose to travel with things that will ensure some fun along the way and at the camp spot. This is especially useful for families with kids. 

Here are some items that are compact and can keep you entertained:

  • Board games (portable versions)
  • Playing cards
  • Books
  • Sports equipment like balls, rackets, frisbees, etc.

If you have extra space available, you can even travel with a musical instrument.

On the other hand, if there is nowhere to pack any extras, a pen and paper would suffice.

Car Camping With Pets - Travel Prepared

Cat on a car camping trip

If you decide to bring your four-legged companion on a car camping trip, be aware that traveling with a pet comes not only with fun but also with responsibility.

For pet owners who wish to stay at campsites, it is crucial to confirm whether the furry friend is allowed on the territory and if it should be muzzled and leashed at all times.

Besides, it is not recommended to take your pets with you in the event of extreme heat.

If all the conditions are suitable for animals to join you on the adventure, remember to pack the following pet essentials:

If you are planning water activities, bringing a life jacket for your pet is advisable. Besides, it is crucial to have a space with shade during hot weather.

For extra-cold weather conditions, include a polar jacket to keep your furry friend warm.

Also, revise your first aid kit and ensure it has animal-specific supplies.

Ready for Your Next Car Camping Trip?

So there you have it - a car camping checklist you can follow to never forget the essentials!

Now that you know what exactly you need to take for your future car camping adventure, you are almost set for the trip. Just get all the car camping gear you are missing, and you are ready to go!


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