Best Gear for Car Camping
If I could do anything for the rest of my life it would be go to Summer Camp. I realize that’s not really an option but the closest thing I get is camping on the weekends. Every chance we get, Cody and I try to sleep outside and almost always try to convince some friends to come along. Car camping is a favorite of ours because it’s super convenient. You’re not as limited by how much you can bring and we definitely like to include some of the conveniences of home. Yes, it’s still camping even if it’s comfortable! Read more for our favorite camping gear.
REI Half Dome 2+ Tent
We snagged this tent at an REI Garage sale a few years ago and it’s served us so well! It’s a lightweight, 3-season tent and combines a little bit of luxury with a lot of function. REI doesn’t make this exact model anymore but the new one has all the original features and more. My favorite features include:
- The poles and tent & rain fly are color coded for super easy set up
- It comfortably fits an entire queen-sized air mattress
- It holds up REALLY well in pretty intense and rain and 30-mile an hour winds
- Small & lightweight enough for backpacking
- There are so many pockets for stashing headlamps and such
Wal-Mart Propane 2-Burner Stove
While I am a die-hard REI fan, Wal-Mart can be a gold mine for deals. Their brand Ozark Trail has some really good stuff and at pretty low price point, it’s always worth considering over some other better known (re: more expensive) brand names. We purchased this camp stove this season and it has been super handy! It was nearly half the price as the Coleman version and works just fine (despite some reviews that it’s leaky). We use camping and tailgating for concerts at Red Rocks and have cooked some amazing meals! Sidenote: Target has the best price on propane in my area at $6.39 for 2 cans.
It seems like Yeti is the it brand in recreation right now. From beer can koozies to giant fishing coolers, Yeti is there to keep you cool. Cody got a Yeti Roadie as a Christmas gift a few years back and it has been one of our most used pieces of gear. As long as it’s full and everything is cold going in, it’ll stay cold for almost 48 hours – ice will melt but it still stays very cold. We have the Roadie 20 and it is a bit small for a full weekend of camping, but if we plan ahead and only put the stuff that NEEDS to stay cold we have plenty of room (Beer goes in an old-school Coleman). A competitor, Rtic, makes a similar model at a lower price point.
For a while, REI had a lifestyle brand called Evrgrn. They made some super cool, yet slightly impractical products. My all time favorite piece of camping equipment is the Evrgrn Campfire Rocker. It’s easy to set up and so comfortable. You could seriously sit in this chair for hours around a campfire. In fact, we like them so much that we kept a few set up in our living room! It’s kind of big & bulky so definitely for a picnic or car camping. Unfortunately, REI doesn’t make this particular chair anymore but there are some similar options on the market – but none that look as cool.
The following pieces aren’t quite gear, but just some things that make camping, well just better.
The Target Effect is very real and that’s how this purchase came about. I bought these copper wire LED lights on a whim and decided to bring them camping. They were in the patio section and made for the outdoors. They are actually quite bright and are battery powered so you can put them anywhere. I like to wrap them around tent poles for some external light. It’s helpful when you’re by the campfire and ready to tuck in for the night and mosey back to the tent. Plus, they’re just pretty.
Air Mattress & Memory Foam Topper
Some might say it’s not an authentic camping experience without restlessly sleeping on the ground but how are you supposed to have a full day of outdoor adventure without a good night’s sleep? That’s exactly why we bring both an air mattress and memory foam mattress topper in the tent! You probably already have them at home so why not throw them in the tent? Seriously. It makes sleeping in a tent so much more comfortable than a thin sleeping pad. The air mattress-memory foam combo is warm and comfortable. Call me soft, but I sleep great!
Big Old Camp Bin
The final piece of “equipment” to make your camping experience is storage. We have this big old bin to store EVERYTHING in. This keeps everything organized at home and at the campsite, makes packing & traveling a breeze and most importantly, makes sure you don’t forget anything. If you keep all the necessities in the bin, you won’t ever leave home without your tent poles or flashlight again. It’s also some extra table space for cooking or eating and is a great place to collect some stickers from your travels.