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December 5, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Car Camping: Tips, Gear, and Essentials

nCamp Gear

Car camping is an adventure that combines the freedom of the great outdoors with the convenience of your vehicle. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner looking to explore the wilderness from the comfort of your car, this guide will help you prepare for your next car camping trip.

What is Car Camping?

Car camping refers to camping where you can drive your vehicle right up to your campsite – meaning you can bring along more gear and supplies than you could on a backpacking trip. It’s an excellent way for families, beginners, and those who like a little extra comfort to enjoy camping.

Choosing the Right Campsite

When planning your car camping trip, look for campsites that are accessible by car and offer the amenities you desire, such as fire pits, picnic tables, and bathroom facilities. Websites like ReserveAmerica or can help you find campsites in national parks, state parks, and other scenic locations.

Car Camping Essentials

Packing the right gear is crucial for a successful car camping trip. Here’s a checklist of car camping essentials:

  • Tent: Opt for a car camping tent that is spacious and easy to set up. Tents designed for car camping are often larger and more feature-packed than backpacking tents.
  • Sleeping Bag and Pad: Choose a sleeping bag suitable for the season and a comfortable sleeping pad or air mattress.
  • Cooking Gear: A portable stove, cooking utensils, and a cooler for food storage are must-haves. nCamp offers compact and efficient stoves perfect for car camping.
  • Lighting: Headlamps, lanterns, and flashlights will keep your campsite well-lit after dark.
  • Camping Chairs and Table: Bring along camping chairs for comfort and a table for meal prep if your campsite doesn’t have one.
  • Personal Items: Clothing, toiletries, and a first aid kit should be on your packing list.

Tips for Car Camping Beginners

  • Test Your Gear: Before you head out, test all your gear to ensure everything works and you know how to use it.
  • Arrive Early: Get to your campsite early to have plenty of time to set up and explore the area.
  • Plan Your Meals: Pre-plan and prep your meals for convenience and to avoid packing unnecessary items.
  • Follow Campsite Rules: Respect campsite rules, including noise levels, fire regulations, and wildlife precautions.

Best Gear for Car Camping

Investing in high-quality gear can make your car camping experience more enjoyable. Here are some top gear recommendations:

  • nCamp Wood Burning Stove: Compact and collapsible, this stove is perfect for cooking and can use wood found around the campsite.
  • Thick Air Mattress: Ensure a good night’s sleep with a durable and comfortable air mattress.
  • High-Quality Cooler: Keep your food fresh longer with a cooler that offers excellent ice retention.
  • Durable Water Containers: Stay hydrated with large water containers that are easy to use and refill.


Car camping is a fantastic way to enjoy nature without forgoing all the comforts of home. With the right preparation and gear, you can create memorable experiences in the great outdoors. Remember to leave no trace and always camp responsibly to preserve the beauty of nature for others to enjoy.

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