What are your "must haves" when you're car camping?

What do you absolutely need when you’re camping except for the obvious tent and sleeping bag. I always bring beer and a book.

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I think that a good camp chair is always useful when car camping.

I own a REI Flexlite Macro which is a collapsable pod shaped chair. The Macro version is a little larger than the basic REI Flexlite chair. The pod shape kinda hugs one’s body which makes it very cozy. It folds up into its carrying case and is about as large as 1.5 Nalgene bottles.

I recently acquired a GCI Outdoors Pod Rocker chair and it is outrageous. It is pod shaped chair too, so it is very comfy. It is large, so it is super spacious. And it rocks, like a rocking chair, so it is super chill. When folded up it is somewhat large, about the double the size of the cheap folding chairs. However, if comfort and fun out rank weight and space, this is the most comfortable and chill camping chair in which I’ve ever sat. I not only use this while camping, but also in the backyard and on the front porch.


I am weird so my list is always a bit different than most. I like to camp in some pretty remote places that I can drive to so I always try to keep a small folding table (just the size of a TV tray style table). This allows me a space should I need it to prep my food without it being on the ground. Depending on how long I am going to be out I also typically carry a solar shower with me because this serves as an additional storage for water, provides obviously a shower and also can heat water. Otherwise the essentials, camping gear, stove, Chair etc

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If it is for a longer camp I would have to say my Cabelas cooler. It holds ice for 8 days (we have tested they theory) so it saves on trips to get supplies.

My stove and plenty of quality instant coffee and chocolate. :heart_eyes: And I’m a girl, I like to have some wipes in case I need to freshen up between showers lol. I usually car camp alone now as I travel for work. But in the past I had an extra sleeping bag if someone wanted to join me.

I finally broke down and got a screen house last summer! It is so nice to be able to have a second spot to be if it is buggy or raining. I often have it set up in my backyard too :slight_smile:

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easy up instant shelter. I have been caught in 1 too many rain storms that forced me into a small tent for hours.

For me the key to happy car camping is organization. I’ve got a storage drawer system, and everything goes back into its place when it’s done. Makes everything much quicker and more relaxing.

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Last year was the first year I used a laminated checklist and started keeping small easy-to-forget things in a few Rubbermaid containers. My camping life is so much easier with that system! I’ll have to look into a drawer system in the future.

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I LOVE our solar shower! We mostly use it to heat water to wash dishes at the campsite rather than lugging the whole mess to an outdoor sink (if we’re in a campground that has one). At rustic/dispersed sites, we use it to wash up with a pop up privacy closet and a bamboo shower mat when we’re car camping for more than a few days.

I have recently upgraded to a small electric pump shower which I will be using to compare, you can fill a black bucket and leave it outside your camp in the sun just the same, but can actually have more of an easy spray that resembles a regular shower. I am still in the trail process of the pump so I will for sure let you know my overall thoughts after I challenge it


A firelog or even a mini firelog (I pick one up from the grocery store). They’ll get a fire going even if it’s been raining and everything is wet. I’ve even had fires survive full monsoon rains and storms with a firelog underneath. It’s a must have in my supplies.


The Hubs is the one who always whines if we’ve left the wipes at home. :wink:

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What brand/size did you get and can you set it up by yourself?

I got this mountain smith tent because it seemed like the best quality for the price AND they have a good warranty. In the buggy months last summer I left it up all the time and one of the poles got damaged from rusting out and they replaced it without any fuss. I don’t see that they have it on their site anymore (hmmm :face_with_monocle:), but it is available here https://www.gearx.com/mountainsmith-shelter-house?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI46u7hsCd6gIVhIbACh36nA05EAQYAiABEgKlc_D_BwE#491=6818

lol… a man knows what convenience he wants…lol

My wife will tent camp with me, so long as I can find a campground that has water and flush toilets.
Usually campgrounds with running water is easy to find, but it takes a lot of research digging through listings to find availability of flush toilets.
That goes for the Dyrt also! :frowning:
Anyone find/have suggestions?

Checklists are a major part of my travel experience. If not for a checklist I would forget many critical items! I could not have a successful trip without them.

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I’m with your wife! There are some great ones in California. Big Basin, Ben Reis, Samuel P. Taylor, Green Valley, June Lake, Hume Lake, Potwisha in Sequoia, Lupine near bass lake, Reversed Creek, Coldwater Campground, Los Prietos…

  • Mr Heater Portable Buddy Heater
  • Hammock
  • Wine
  • eBooks
  • Small folding table
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