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

To have a stress-free adventure I personally would recommend bringing the following gear:

  1. Map and compass - when you’re going to a location that is foreign or new to you
  2. First-aid kit - camping outside can present some unwanted dangers
  3. Waterproof gear - when the weather is not favorable for the occasion
    Here you can find a complete camping checklist with a printable, that we’ve created recently: https://grizzlytarps.com/blog/ultimate-camping-checklist-free-printable/
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Hammock. Can sit up or laydown to relax. Best of both worlds. Any they don’t take up much room and can be affordable if you pick the right brand.

Pine Creek Adventures

Chocolate is a critical necessity!

a book, hiking trails, and some solitude is all I’m looking for

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A swiss knife and a lighter.

Oh, and coffee. Definitely coffee.

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Wife (of course), dominoes, fire poker, wine & dark chocolate.

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Various types of chocolate, and the dog.

Last summer I bought cast iron cookware that has replaced just about everything else (I cook over the fire most of the time). The Lodge Cook-It-All is as good as the marketing says it is; and where it excels is camp pizza. I can’t get my home oven as hot as a commercial/restaurant oven, but this thing on a fire is darn close. Makes a crispy crust and the toppings are cooked at the same time. Beyond pizza, the set can be used as a griddle and a dutch oven too, so it really does cook it all. I love it.


Regardless of what kind of camping I am doing, I always bring a book… actually reading it on the other hand is a different story lol

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Some food, campfire stuff and a book

I would definitely say quick drying shorts and a multi-tool.

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12v power pack. Not exactly a Jackery, but I have a home brewed job, and an air mattress. I have a bad back, and am on CPAP therapy so they are kind of necessary…

Beer: because, well c’mon
Coffee: massive headache ensues if not

While I compiled a personal ‘checklist’ of everything that might be needed when going tent camping, my mandatories (I would never leave home in the first place - or turn around and get them if I had forgotten them!) include:

  1. credit cards & ID - whatever I have forgotten, I can buy
  2. Backgammon set
  3. cast iron skillet
  4. hiking boots and flip flops
  5. Spotify / or iPod + Bluetooth speaker
  6. marshmallows, chocolate + graham crackers
  7. inner tubes / inflatables
  8. a good book (Hemingway and Fitzgerald preferred)
  9. an appreciation for nature
  10. Zacapa rum, Fever Tree tonic / or / ginger beer + limes

Happy Camping!

Must have is kind of hard… when I find something that I don’t use regularly I, usually, remove it from the kit.
My always gonna have camping list not including things that I carry every day every where;
Tent with ground tarp,
toilet paper & either an e-tool (one in each vehicle) for cat holes or a porta-pottie,
food, munchies, potable water, soda and beer,
a canteen (typically 1 of 3)
a cooler with ice, or the portable fridge,
either paper or non-disposeable plates,
the collapsible trash can with bags
Grubbin’ tools (stainless knife, fork, spoon, can opener, bottle opener),
cot w/pad, head board, pillow, stocking cap, and sleeping bag,
spare clothing,a jacket, and rain jacket,
a chair (for me) and a spare for a visitor (typically 2 of 3),
A deep discharge, 12 volt, tent battery, inverter and LED ceiling light (with cord),
a folding camp table (typically 1 of 3),
personal cleanliness items (tooth brush & paste, soap, wash cloth, razor, wash basin, towel, comb),
fire starter, usually a BIC lighter (typically 1 of 4)
there is a trauma capable first aid kit in each vehicle, & the condition of my knees prevents me from going far…
a long lasting flashlight,

I have probably forgotten some things, but I think that covers most of the stuff.
I don’t cook much anymore so I don’t bring many tools for it (or cleaning up afterward).
There are a few things like the door bell and solar porch lights that don’t matter much but can be conversation items, packed in the cases…
If the trip is going to be longer than a week, solar panels to recharge the tent battery are usually included.


The Coleman camping quad chair can be an excellent addition to your essential stuff for an enjoyable trip into nature.

Here’s my lineup:

  1. Coleman Camping Stove
  2. KingCamp Hammock
  3. Skillet
  4. RinseKit PRO portable shower
  5. Box of Kombucha!

We like it brcause it is easy to use!

  1. My SetPower 12V Portable Fridge
  2. Ecoflow Power Station
  3. Water
  4. Food
  5. Roof Tent
  6. Ferrero Chocolate
  7. Smartele Portable Fan
  8. Booze

My list definitely shares items from above:

  • chocolate + marshmallows + graham crackers
    ** my child will devour me if I don’t bring it
  • coffee
  • cook stove
  • non-stick cookware
    ** we often camp in drought afflicted areas, so rarely cook on fire. Dumping the cast iron gave me so much time back in cleaning it was a revelation
  • Rovr cooler
    ** we’ve never done more than 3 days/2 nights, but I still have blocks of ice when I get home, and suspect we could go another 1-2 days without worrying
    ** plus the massive wheels on that thing would make some monster trucks jealous
  • tent
    ** because I value my marriage
  • lanterns