Car camping, otherwise known as “glamping” occasionally gets foul-mouthed by those who advocate for solo on-foot missions into the hills. They’re under the assumption that if you can drive to the campsite, it’s not camping. And while this may be true for the Hugh Glass of the group, who’s going to deny the comforts of car camping when the chips are down? So maybe enjoying a relaxing weekend surrounded by Bluetooth infused music and piping hot grilled meats and veggies isn’t exactly roughing it, on the other hand, a trip full of dehydrated meals and lugging around 40 lbs of gear on your back for miles on end may not be ideal either.
Keep in mind we’re not here to persuade you one way for another. There’s certainly a time for both, whether it be it a camping trip with the family or an independent mission of self-discovery, camping is camping. The purpose remains the same. To turn off for a moment, allow for some introspection, and breathe in some of that oh-so-sweet fresh air we tend to forget about from spending our lives indoors.
Following this ethos, we wanted to provide you with some essentials to make you next “glamping” excursion one of enhanced ease and relaxation. Not all of us are out there trying to rock a minimalist lifestyle and you know what, that’s perfectly okay. Because burgers and beer will never die, just like rock n’ roll. So bring both on the next camping trip, along with these other 20 car camping essentials. No judgments here.
Leatherman Wave Multitool
Camping can get unpredictable at times. So in order to ensure that when the time comes to exercise a little elbow grease, you’ll want to make sure you’re carrying the right multitool. In this case, the Leatherman Wave will be your new best friend. This handy multitool features up to 17 tools, including all the basics such as needle nose pliers, wire cutters, a serrated knife, scissors and a large screwdriver to name a few. It’s also one of the only single-hand operable multitools around.
Camp Chef Everest High-Output 2-Burner Stove
Anyone who’s spoken poorly of car camping clearly has never enjoyed a hot meal in the wilderness. There’s really nothing better than settling down after a long day of hiking to enjoy a dinner fit for your kitchen. This propane-fueled stove by Camp Chef Everest does the trick with two 20,000-BTU burners, micro-adjust valves for temperature control, and a stainless steel drip tray to simplify cleaning.
Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite Mesh Cot
When the time comes to settle down for the night investing in a proper place to do so will ensure a solid night’s sleep and restful morning. The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite cot offers superior sleeping comfort that keeps you off the ground the well-ventilated thanks to its mesh deck. The American-made cot also assembles quickly without the need for any tools and a lightweight, compact design fits easily into a daypack or pannier.
Goal Zero Lighthouse 250
Considering that half of your trip will be in darkness, the need for a light at the campsite is not asking too much. The Goal Zero Portable Battery Charger has you covered and will keep the site light and bright thanks to its 48 hours of runtime. It also features USB charging capabilities as well to keep any and all tech charged up to stay connected. The legs fold up for easy portability and it also functions perfectly as an emergency lantern or a night hike thanks to the Lighthouse’s sturdy handle.
Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Kit
Any novice cook understands the importance of food prepping. So before hitting the stove with the goodies for the evening meal you’re going to want to make sure the prepping was on point. Including both a Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife and Freescape paring knife, this Gerber Camp Kitchen Kit comes equipped with a ceramic sharpener, locking drawer with knife retention, a drip channel around the board, and non-slip rubber footing to keep things sturdy.
REI Backpacker Extended First Aid Kit
Let’s be honest, accidents happen. And when they occur miles away from the nearest urgent care, keeping a handy first aid kit close by will prevent any minor issues from ruining the entire trip. REI hooks this First-Aid Kit up with enough medical supplies for up to six people on an eight-day excursion into the wild.
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow
A great day depends on quality sleep the night before. You may have the cot or the sleeping bag set up but without a comfortable pillow on which to rest your head, your morning won’t be a pleasant one. No one likes a sore neck from poor sleep and since the Aeros pillow inflates with just a couple of breaths you’ll never be but just a couple of seconds away from a relaxing night’s rest.
Alps Mountaineering King Kong Chair
You made it. Packed the car, drove the family out to the campsite after hours of persuasion, set up the tent, and chopped enough firewood to last the family for a week. Now it’s time to kick back with a couple cold ones in your King Kong Chair. Aptly named for the boss of the campsite, this Alps Mountaineering chair boasts a sturdy steel frame, adjustable armrests for enhanced comfort, a padded back, and two beverage holders because why not? You’re the king.
Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven
Nothing like an American-made Dutch Oven to really heat things up around the campfire. The Lodge eight-quart beast of an oven is built from seasoned cast iron, is five inches deep by 12-inches in diameter, comes with a lifetime warranty, and is perfect for fireplace cooking. Suited for heating up everything from a pot roast to seasoned veggies the old fashioned way, it’s the ideal tool for a no hassle, easy meal after a long day in the sun.
MSR Quick 2 Pot Set
So now that you’ve got the burners hot and the food prepped, here’s some outdoor cooking ware that will ensure a hearty meal is cooked the right way for everyone onsite. The MSR Quick 2 Pot Set stores in a modular design and includes a 1.5L nonstick pot, 2.5L hard-anodized pot, strainer lid, two deep dish plates, two double-wall insulated mugs, and one talon pot handle. Just because you’ve left home doesn’t mean meals need to become subpar. Your taste buds and camping cohort will thank you.
Eagles Nest DoubleNest Hammock
Camping without a hammock is like hitting the beach without a beach chair; it just doesn’t make sense. Whether it be a relaxing afternoon nap or post-hike-lounge, hammock hanging is a simple reward that takes minimal effort and results in maximum enjoyment. This high strength hammock from Eagles Nest Outfitters is lightweight, easily portable, and requires little time to set up. It’ll support up to 400 pounds and is made from 70D high tenacity breathable nylon taffeta and triple interlocking stitching. Rest away my friends.
GSI Outdoors Collapsible JavaDrip Coffee Maker
There’s really nothing like a hot cup of coffee to get things going during those early morning rises at the campsite. GSI understands this need and therefore developed their Collapsible JavaDrip Slim Drip Coffee Maker. It holds a #4 coffee filter, allowing you to brew between 1-12 cups of joe. The silicone bellows lets the drip cone collapse into the disc, and the lid doubles as a trivet when the brew is complete.
Alpine Mountain Gear Enamel Tableware Set
Paper plates and solo cup are for amateurs. Time to upgrade your outdoor kitchenware to this enamel tableware set. A campground essential, Alpine’s Mountain Gear set makes dining in the outdoors a simple and easy process. The tableware is made from steel with an enamel finish so durability isn’t a problem and each set includes four cups, plates, and bowls. They’re easy to clean and you can feel better knowing you’ve cut down on your carbon footprint in the process since ditching the one-and-done paper plates lifestyle.
Yakima RocketBox Pro
If you’re wondering where to store all this gear for ride look no further than the Yakima Rocketbox Pro 11. Each Rocketbox is ideal for longer loads as well and fits objects up to 215cm in length. The sleek design also won’t hurt you gas milage since it follows aerodynamic principles that reduce drag with forward mounting hardware for improved hatch clearance. Your gear will remain safe and secure as well thanks to a dual side opening and push button security. So go ahead, bring that extra bocce ball set. The RocketBox has your gear covered.
MSR Mutha Hubba NX Tent
We all need a place to stay. So better come prepared with a quality tent that’s easy to assemble and keeps you sheltered from the elements in case the weather forecast is a little wetter than expected. The MSR Mutha Hubba tent is a three-person, three-season tent with a 20D nylon ripstop fly and Durashield PU coating. It features two vestibules for a little extra room and comes with two StayDry doors with rain gutters. So when the sky opens up, rest assured knowing you have another option besides taking shelter in the car.
Alps Mountaineering Retreat Table
Once the cooking is complete and it’s time to settle down for a meal this ALPS Mountaineering Retreat Table offers some serious support. Made from tough aluminum and featuring folding legs, it doesn’t take up more space than necessary and will be a reliable piece for either dinner or a post meal card game with the friends and family. Nothing overly ornate here. Just an all-around solid table to help keep things organized.
Hydro Flask 64oz Wide Mouth Growler
The time with come when you’ll need to take a hike to get away. And for this instance, you’ll need a solid pair of shoes, a rucksack for all the gear, and a great water bottle (or growler) to wet your whistle. Here’s a 64oz Wide Mouth Growler from Hydro Flask that designed for the beer lover and camping enthusiast. It keeps cold for up to 24 hours and hot for 6, comes with a lifetime warranty, and made from stainless steel.
Yeti Tundra 50 Cooler
Perishable food needs to be kept cold. This is obvious. And since we all know beer sometimes takes precedent over other items, it’s best to pick up a cooler you know will be reliable, keep cold and host plenty of space for those cold ones. The Tundra 50 by Yeti has you covered in this department, boasting space for up to 32 cans of beer, which should be enough for at least one night of fun.
Braven BRV-X Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
What’s camping without some tunes to liven things up a bit? As long as everyone shares a tasteful sense of music this Braven BRV-X Wireless Bluetooth Speaker will certainly not disappoint. It boasts an IPX7 waterproof and shockproof exterior and a built-in 5200 mAh portable power bank to charge smartphones and other devices as well. Whether sitting in the sun or the rain this Bluetooth speaker will continue to rock the campsite for hours on end and your neighbors will love you for it.
TETON Sports Mammoth Queen Size Sleeping Bag
This is car camping. So why not bring the queen-sized bed with your for enhanced comfort in the tent? The TETON is made from 100% Polyester and features SuperLoft Elite 4-channel hollow fiber insulation for increased warmth on those cool nights. Comfort is king at the campsite and with the TETON you’ll certainly sleep like a queen.