Exploring the great outdoors is a popular pastime. And you can plow a lot of money into that with a custom camper van or premium off-road camping trailer. But if you're flying solo and aren't too particular about your amenities or sleeping arrangements, car camping could be a compelling option. Camping out of your vehicle is relatively easy — no towing or awkward parking required — and accessible. And hey, who wants to lug around gear in a huge pack when your Toyota Tacoma can carry it far more easily?
Below, we've pulled together some great car camping accessories that'll help make that next journey more enjoyable.
Part of the appeal of car camping is having ample space. This six-person, three-season tent offers an excellent place to stretch out and relax after a long day's drive.
Climate control doesn't need to be a high tech affair. This awning will keep you cool and dry, and only takes up six inches of space on your roof rack.
Carrying around propane is a pain. So is cooking over an open fire. Fire & Flavor's portable Hero Grill is easy to use, easy to clean — and stows away nicely, thanks to a minimal footprint.
Sure, you could pack an entire cutlery set. Or you could get one tool to rule them all, one that can serve as a knife, fork, spoon, bottle opener — even a firestarter.
Sometimes, you want some car-side shade but don't want something permanently affixed to your ride. The MoonShade offers a 9'-by-7' space to keep you away from rain or shine, but stows down into an eight-pound bag that all but disappears into your trunk when not in use.
One of the best parts of car camping? No worrying about the weight of the drinks you want to bring along. This sturdy, 30-liter soft-sided Yeti can hold enough beers to keep you going for a whole weekend – and keep them cold the whole time, too.
If part of the appeal of car camping for you is having a rolling shelter that's much more secure than your average tent, this air mattress designed for cars — made with durable 300-denier fabric and capable of supporting up to 600 pounds — is just what you need.
This blanket uses lightweight, eco-friendly NanoLoft insulation that mimics down. It's machine-washable, easy to store and can easily make the transition from the campsite to everyday life.
A great portable home away from home can make all the difference on big outdoor adventures.
Reading and camping go together like peanut butter and chocolate, but lugging a bunch of books around is rarely ideal. Instead, load up a Kindle before you leave Wi-Fi.
You have all that room in your car — why settle for a camp chair that doesn't offer the added stretch-out space of an ottoman?
No matter how far off the grid you get, coffee is non-negotiable. The AeroPress can make coffee or espresso quickly, with minimal cleanup required.
Camping essentials like a tent and sleeping bag may cost well over $100, but the rest shouldn’t have to.
The point of getting away from it all is to relax — and it's hard to get more relaxing than laying in a hammock. This one sets up in seconds, packs down to the size of a honeydew when not needed and can hold up to 400 pounds.
This shower bag holds up to five gallons of water. It comes with a temperature indicator and an adjustable shower head, and it can heat water to 113°F in three hours.
If you prefer tent life, car camping means you have the space to bring along an air mattress instead of a sleeping pad. This one comes in twin and queen sizes, handles up to 600 pounds and offers a built-in pillow-like structure to hold your head up. It even packs a built-in pump.
Two of the biggest worries when car camping are running down the battery (leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere) and getting a flat tire (same result). Pack insurance against both with this air compressor / jump starter.
Rooftop storage can get pricey, but it's much more cost-effective than leveling up to a bigger vehicle.