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  • Car Camping Essentials

Outdoor Social

Car Camping Essentials

By: Stanley

Calling all Weekend Warriors, Automotive Adventurers and Practical Pioneers - nothing helps you shake off those big city blues like a little jaunt into the wilderness. At the same time, not everyone is quite ready to embrace the full scale “living off the land” aspect of straight camping. You have to be back at the office bright and early on Monday, and the last thing you need is to show up to that board meeting looking like you slept on rocks and and ate berries.

Those looking for a quick and easy escape from the mundane without having to go full Wildman of Borneo need look no further than your trusty car. We’re talking car camping, people. Think of it as the happy medium between full roughing it and glamping: Car camping means you don’t have to pack light and you can load in and out just as fast as your horsepower can carry you. More than that, car camping is about being able to experience the great outdoors and be comfortable.

For all you first timers looking to dip a toe into car camping, whether it's with your partner, your buds or your trusty pooch, here are your car camping essentials:

The Car (duh) and Some Extra Space

Doesn’t matter if you have a sedan, SUV, RV, van or a two door hunk ‘o junk, the car is going to be your main means of conveyance and cargo hold. Even so, it pays to streamline: take out anything that might be cluttering up your trunk or backseat (not including kids, though feel free to spook ‘em into being good by saying that). If you can, think about borrowing or renting roof rack storage or a small trailer to hold some of your bulkier items.

First Aid Kit, Car Phone Charger and Lighting

Even camping in comfort and style can be a little dangerous. That’s part of the excitement, but to keep everything on the “fun” side, be sure to have an emergency first aid kit, plenty of flashlights, and a car phone charger in case you need to call for help.

Tent, Camp Chair and Sleeping Bag

Don’t let the name fool you: Car camping is still more camping than car. You won’t be sleeping in your car most likely, so bring along whatever you’d need to set up camp. This includes a tent, camping chair, sleeping pads and sleeping bag. This is where that extra space can come in handy: Feel free to bring a larger, more roomy tent and more cushy sleeping paraphernalia, even an air mattress and pump.

Food, Water and a Little Extra

Ya need ‘em to live, what can we say? Food and especially water is a camping essential, so bring plenty. Luckily, you aren’t one of those poor saps who has to worry about “only pack what you can carry.” Fill a 2 gallon Adventure Water Jug and you should be good for a few days of roughing it. Feel free to pack along some of your favorite imbibable treats alongside the staples in your Stanley Adventure Cooler. Heck, you can even prep your meals ahead of time and bring them along, keeping them warm for hours on end in an Adventure Vacuum Crock or Bowl.

The space afforded you by your car means that you can bring along some of the luxuries of home as well: Is this is a lads and ladies trip with some of your closest besties, the last thing you want is to realize you left the adult beverages at home. Fill up a Growler or vacuum pint with your favorite brew and you’re good to go. And if you overindulge the night before, be sure to bring along ground coffee that you can make the next morning in your percolator and sip from a camp mug.

Kitchen and Cookware

Camp cooking can be a blast, especially if you have all the best toys. A simple Base Camp Cook Set can give you everything you need to throw your own version of Chopped: Car Camping Edition.

Did we miss anything in our car camping essentials? Have a wild tale of adventure and excitement while car camping with your trusty Stanley? Tag #Stanleyness to share it with the world!