Jan 20
(Last Updated On: August 22, 2018)



lucy gomez getwildcampingHello, my name is Lucy Gomez from Getting Camping Wild. I’m very expertise at wild and car camping.

I would like to say thank you to Family Tent Center!

That’s very kind of them when they asked me to contribute a very exciting topic about car camping. I can’t say “NO” at all.

So, I will try my best on a complete car camping checklist.

Back country hiking is a great way to get in touch with nature as well as see the wild side of the world, but it might not be possible with kids in tow.

If you love camping but have a family to take care of, you may consider car camping.

Car camping is a good way to introduce spouses and kids to the joy of camping, especially when preparing for the first adventure.

Whether you’re camping with kids or friends, you can use this detailed checklist to ensure the camping trip is fun and a successful one.

Also, make sure to bring with you enough items that can keep you and your family for the days you will be camping.

The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist Camping Gear

Shelter & Facilities & Tools


  • Camping tent(s) (make sure to carry enough tents that can accommodate everyone)
  • Camping sun shade (especially during summer)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Camping air mattress
  • Pad or mattress repair kit
  • Pump for air mattresses
  • Pillows
  • Camping knife
  • Day packs
  • Trekking poles
  • Camping chairs and tables
  • Cots
  • Hammer headlamps
  • Flashlights
  • Lanterns
  • Camping water filter
  • Fishing gear

Clothing and Footwear

Sometimes the nights might be cold so make sure to bring appropriate clothing. You can check the clothing and footwear list below:

  • Moisture wicking t-shirts
  • Moisture wicking underpants
  • Quick-drying pants or shorts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Hiking boots or trail running shoes (they should be water proof)
  • Sandals or flip-flops for public showers
  • Wool socks
  • Rain or wind jackets plus pants
  • Wool/fleece jacket or sweater (vest, if warm)
  • Bathing suits
  • Pajamas
  • Wool/fleece hat
  • Wool/fleece mittens or gloves

The Camp Kitchen

There’s nothing more enjoying than a home-cooked meal over the roaring fire. Make sure to pack these essentials in your car so that you can enjoy true campground cooking. Below you can find some of the must-have items you should bring on the camping trip.

  • Stove (make sure you test it before you set off)
  • Stove fuel (be sure to carry enough fuel that can last you for the days you will be camping)
  • Charcoal and lighter fuel (when grilling)
  • Matches or lighters
  • Cooking pans and pots
  • Enough water to keep at the site
  • Utensil set( including forks, spoons, knives, and cooking utensils like serving spoons and spatulas)
  • Mess kits ( including cups, bowls, and plates)
  • Can opener
  • Dish towels
  • Dish detergent
  • Plastic basin for washing the dishes after every meal
  • Tablecloth
  • Paper towel
  • Foil
  • Hot pads
  • Ziploc bags
  • Citronella candle
  • Sponge or scrapper

To make sure that you buy and bring right cooler, you can comment below or send me an email. I will answer as soon as I can.

Food Items

When it comes to food items, plan the meals basing on the number of days you will be camping and then aim for either one or two pot meals such as pancakes and stews in a day.

Make sure to pack enough snacks and fruits to starve off hunger between the meals. Some of the food items you are supposed to pack include:

  • Fruits
  • Snacks
  • Bread and peanut butter ( very fast and handy especially if your kids love it)
  • Condiments (salt, multi-spice, pepper and catsup/mustard when necessary)
  • Butter and cooking oil
  • Beverages such as milk and juice boxes
  • Desserts
  • Milk and sugar if needed

Personal Items

The best thing about car camping is, you can bring with you a few home comforts. Some modern campgrounds do have heated bathrooms plus electricity. Below you will find a few of the comfort as well as personal hygiene items that you should bring along with your car.

  • Toothbrush
  • Brush or comb
  • The camping can
  • Lip balm
  • Toilet paper

Safety First

No one would wish to get hurt while camping, but it’s important to be always prepared. For safety measures, here are some of the most important safety items you should not forget in your car camping checklist:

  • Bandages
  • Benadryl
  • Antibiotic ointments or wipes
  • Poison ivy treatment like CORTAID treatment kit.
  • Thermometer for taking body temperature
  • Burn ointment
  • Bug repellant
  • Moleskin
  • Tweezers (for removing ticks and splinters)
  • Aspirin

Other Items

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Camping maps (if not familiar with the site)
  • Two-way radios
  • Handheld GPS
  • Outdoor toys
  • Child’s Potty
  • Water toys/floats
  • Board games
  • Umbrella in case it rains
  • Cell phone

Final Thoughts

Car camping is one of the most exhilarating experience you should not afford to miss.

It is full of fun especially if you decide to go along with your family because you will enjoy nature and get a chance to introduce your children to the wonders of the world.

Moreover, you will have the comfort as well as the security of a campground plus help from other campers any time you need it.

If it is your first time to take your family for a car camping, make sure you pack properly as well bring along everything we have mentioned above and I guarantee you will create a new family culture with your first camping trip.

From Lucy Gomez – Get Wild Camping

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