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How to Pack Car Camping Gear

When you car camp, pack gear that will ensure safe and fun camping. Fit in as many of your home's amenities as you can without spoiling the pleasures of being in the great outdoors.


  • Step 1: Bring extra propane for a portable cook stove, or choose to rough it and create a pit fire with matches the old fashioned way. Tell stories and stargaze.
  • Step 2: Get extra batteries if you brought a lantern. Don't read by the interior car lights and risk draining the battery. The car is basically your supply wagon, unless weather forces you to turn it into a very small camper.
  • FACT: Joseph Cunningham and his wife Elizabeth opened the first campsite in 1894 on the Isle of Man.
  • Step 3: Add a shelter besides your tent, like a lightweight screen house or a tarp with mosquito netting, to enjoy some bug-free wilderness air.
  • TIP: State and national parks often require that food be kept in strong, lightweight, bear-proof containers, especially above the treeline.
  • Step 4: Put a first-aid kit together with repellent, bandages, poison ivy treatments, and aspirin. Even if you plan to sleep in the car, have soap, shampoo, toothpaste, razor, deodorant, for the occasional shower.
  • Step 5: Supply yourself with canned and dry goods and fluids. Lock them in the trunk to keep critters away.
  • Step 6: Stock the car with camp side tools, emergency lights, clothesline, and duct tape, so that once you are in the wild, you will be able to get out. Add a hand broom, to sweep the tent.

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