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The Most Important Pieces of Gear You Need for Car Camping

Car camping makes getting away easy as pie. These items make it even tastier.

moon moonshade
Moonshade

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.

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Limestone Tent
Courtesy
Marmot

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. 

SlimShady Awning
Courtesy
Yakima

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.

FFG3 Hero Grill System
Courtesy
Fire & Flavor

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. 

The Muncher Multi-Tool Utensil
Courtesy
Full Windsor

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.

MoonShade
Courtesy

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.

Hopper M30 Cooler
Courtesy
YETI

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.  

Air Mattress 2.0
Courtesy
Luno

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.

The Down Blanket — Outdoor Down Camping Blanket
Courtesy
Rumpl
Now 25% off

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. 

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Gear Patrol

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Kindle Paperwhite — Waterproof
Courtesy
Amazon

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. 

ALPS Mountaineering Escape Camp Chair
Now 10% off

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? 

AeroPress Coffee / Espresso Maker
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AeroPress

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.  

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the view from inside a tent of a group of people sitting around a stone fire pit
Wellax

Camping essentials like a tent and sleeping bag may cost well over $100, but the rest shouldn’t have to.

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SingleNest Hammock
Courtesy
Eagles Nest Outfitters

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.

Solar Shower Bag
Courtesy
KIPIDA
Now 15% off

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.

Dura-Beam Pillow Rest Air Mattress
Courtesy
Intex

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.

Rechargeable AGM Jump Starter with Air Compressor
Courtesy
Schumacher

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. 

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yakima skybox 12 roof box on car
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