Planning a car camping trip and are wondering what essential outdoor gear to pack? Don’t stress: our team at Outdoor Command has got your car camping needs covered. We often get asked: ‘What should I bring on a car camping trip?’, and though the answer differs per camper, somethings are always on our list.
That is exactly why we wanted to share our ‘Best Car Camping Gear’ tips in one, comprehensive overview. Informing about the must-haves that will make any car camping adventure easier, more comfortable, and more fun.
In this ‘Best Car Camping Gear’ overview, you’ll find our favorite products from different outdoor gear categories. For example, the best family tent to pack for a car camping trip, the best camping table that easily folds to fit in your trunk, and the best multi-tool to be prepared for any scenario on your road trip.
Use this overview to mix and match your favorites into your own ‘car camping packing list’, and hit the road knowing you’ve made a well-informed choice in the best-value outdoor gear options for car camping enthusiasts!
Discover the rest of our top-rated ‘Best Car Camping Gear’ products below:
Best Car Camping Gear – Overview
Best Car Camping Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot
- One Quad Power LED and one Double Power white LED emit 300 lumens. Max Distances : [High] 80 m; [Low] 16 m. Max Burn Time : [High] 30 H (est.); [Low] 175 H (est.)
The Black Diamond Spot emits 300 lumens and has a maximum beam distance of 260ft, which should be more than adequate power to illuminate your campsite, hiking trails, etc. The Black Diamond Spot comes with high-end functions, including a dimming setting, a flashing mode, a red light night vision, strobe mode, lock mode, and low and high lumen settings. Also great: the Black Diamond Spot features PowerTap technology. This technology enables you to adjust the brightness and switch between modes, simply by tapping your finger on the sensor located on the headlamp.
The high-quality headlamp by Black Diamond is waterproof and should continue to operate in a maximum of 1.1 meters of depth for 30 minutes, giving it an IPX7 waterproof rating. This waterproof rating also ensures the headlamp can still be used in heavy downpours and bad weather conditions: and can be used as a beacon in poor visibility.
The Black Diamond Spot is also lightweight (3oz) and comfortable to wear, thanks to its low-profile headband style. This high-quality headlamp used 3 x AAA-batteries, which are included. On a full set of new batteries, the headlamp has a run time of approximately 180 hours.
If you’re looking for a quality car camping headlamp to light the way: this is a high-quality, durable, solidly constructed choice that should last you for years.
Best Car Camping Sleeping Bag: NORSENS Ultralight 3-Season
- IDEAL FOR EXTREME WEATHER – Designed for near-freezing temperatures, fits temperature range: 32 - 68°F/0 - 20°C; Comfort in 50°F/10°C, thanks to our water-resistant/weather-proof polyester...
This sleeping bag by NORSENS is designed to keep you comfortable in a temperature range of 32° to 68° Fahrenheit. Be aware: even though it’s listed as a three-season sleeping bag, it mostly is suited for fair-weather conditions. Meaning that if you live somewhere where temperatures in fall already dip below the 30s, this could be a bit too ‘light’ for you.
The NORSENS Ultralight 3-Season Hiking Sleeping Bag is made of a durable, machine-washable ripstop polyester with a soft polyester pongee liner. The pongee liner makes it soft and cozy on the inside, whilst the ripstop fabric ensures the exterior is less prone to rips and tears. The sleeping bag comes with a full-length draft tube to help keep warmth in, whilst the special sticker tape around the top helps prevent the zippers from sliding down.
The shape of the NORSENS Ultralight 3-Season Hiking Sleeping Bag is semi-rectangular and includes a built-in hood. The hood can be cinched with an adjustable drawstring, keeping your head warm and eliminating possible cold spots. Another pro is that you can fully unzip the sleeping pad if required: adding to its car camping versatility.
One of our favorite aspects of the NORSENS Ultralight 3-Season Hiking Sleeping Bag is its weight and packing dimension. The sleeping bag only weighs 4.4 pounds when packed, making it lightweight enough to also suit backpackers and hikers. The design includes a compact, 4-straps compression carry sack. Allowing you to pack it down it to approximate 7.8 x 7.8 inches, perfect to slot in your car’s trunk or any gear storage compartments.
Whether you use it as a blanket, quilt, or sleeping bag: we’re confident you’ll get plenty of usage out of this budget-friendly product by NORSENS.
Best Car Camping Camp Stove: Coleman Camp Stove
- COOKING POWER: Up to 22,000 total BTUs
Okay, back to this camp stove. This portable gas stove from Coleman offers excellent capacity with its 22.000 BTU heat output, divided over two burners that can be independently operated. The gas camp stove comes with an instant, push-button ignition. When pressed and fired up, the camp stove uses Coleman’s special ‘PerfectFlow Heat-Distribution Technology’ to deliver the perfect amount of cooking heat to each burner, without using unnecessary fuel. Making it more of an eco-friendly option, and saving you money in the long-term as it requires less fuel.
Other perks of the Coleman Camp Stove are its adjustable wind block features, including handy side panels, to shield the stove from winds and gusts. The design has a chrome-plated grate and corrosion-proof aluminum cooktop: which are durable, and easy to scrub clean without having to use a lot of force.
The Coleman Camp Stove is also a very lightweight camp stove option. The model only weighs 10.25 pounds: meaning it won’t weigh you down, even if you have to carry it from your car over a long distance to reach your campsite. Are there any cons? Well, the Coleman Camp Stove does not come with a simmer-control option, so if you plan on cooking a campsite meal on low heat, it may be a bit too powerful for you. That said, for boiling water, frying food, or heating leftovers: it simply reigns supreme for its affordable pricing and compact packing dimensions.
Best Car Camping Table: ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table
- Aluminum X-frame specifically designed to offer you lightweight and stability
Whether you use the design’s surface as a cooking station in a makeshift camp kitchen, for family dining, or board games table: this basic yet functional design will come in handy for lots of scenarios. If you enjoy sit-down meals at a picnic table, why not bring your own on your next adventure, and invest in the ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table. It may not be an absolute car camping essential but trust us: once you’ve enjoyed the convenience of always having a camp table at hand, it’s hard to envision car camping without one.
Though it’s very light and easy to carry, the ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table is surprisingly high-quality. The aluminum frame is corrosion-proof and can withstand bad weather conditions. So, when the skies open up, you don’t have to rush this table for cover, as rust is not a risk.
The ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table features a simple yet well-balanced x-frame silhouette, which adds stability, whilst still being easy to fold. A perk of this table design is that it doesn’t need side-supports to keep stable. This means it offers plenty of space to comfortably pull p your camping chair to the table, without bumping your knee on pesky metal support bars (unfortunately, we’ve been there, and done that…)
Lightweight, foldable, and durable: the ALPS Mountaineering Dining Table may be basic in style, but it’s big on value and functionality.
Best Car Camping Hammock: Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock
- Unlike Other Hammocks ours are made of high quality heavy duty 210T parachute nylon. This extra soft yet super strong material gives you the most comfortable and relaxing experience ever.
This best selling hammock is constructed of high-quality, extra-tough materials such as 210T parachute nylon. Soft, yet sturdy, it offers comfy shelter in minutes. On Amazon, other campers rave about the style’s super easy setup. Whilst other hammocks may require lots of tools or techniques to stabilize them, this one comes ready to hang. With the Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock, tree straps and carabiners are already included. The style comes with 9ft long straps and 5 separate loops, allowing you to easily adjust the height and fit.
Another perk of the Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock is that the style is available in two sizes: regular single, or double. The SingleOwn Hammock is suited for 1-person and measures 9ft long by 4 1/2 ft wide, whilst the DoubleOwl Hammock comfortable fits two campers, and measures 10ft long by 6 1/2 ft wide. When packed, the single-person hammock is roughly the size of a grapefruit and weighs 16oz, and the double-person hammock packs down to the size of eggplant with a 26oz weight. Ideal for slotting into smaller storage spaces in your car, maximizing your packing room for other car camping gear.
Great-value, high-quality, easy to hang, easy to enjoy: the Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock is a great alternative for campers who want to enjoy a good night’s sleep, suspended instead of pitched.
Best Car Camping Water Bottle: Hydro Flask 32oz Water Bottle
- Design in mind: with it's easy-access wide mouth, the sleek design holds the same volume of liquid as other leading water bottle brands. Also, safety is top-of-mind, as the bottles are made out of...
Not only does this Hydro Flask Water Bottle offer a large 32oz capacity, ideal for long road trips without having to refill every few hours, the design is also superbly insulated. This means that the Hydro Flask 32oz Water Bottle keeps drinks hot or cold for hours on end. Whether you want to fill it with icy water or use it as a hot chocolate thermos: this double-walled design works with any kind of liquid. The bottle’s special TempShield Insulation Technology insulation keeps liquids chilled up to 24 hours, and heated up to 6 hours. The exterior of the bottle has a powder-coated finish, which makes it non-slip and comfortable to grip.
The Hydro Flask 32oz is a double-walled bottle made of high-quality stainless steel. And, unlike cheaper water bottles on the market, even the pivots on the cap and handle of this bottle are stainless-steel. Ensuring the entire design adheres to a high-quality standard, and is shatterproof and corrosion-resistant. The bottle also comes with a flexible strap that enables you to easily carry it on the go, or attach it to a backpack if desired.
There are only two minor cons: the HydroFlask is quite pricey, and it’s not dishwasher-safe. Though honestly, those are the only two negatives we can think of. And we’re not the only campers who are big fans of this style. With over 7000 positive 5-star Amazon reviews, this stylish water bottle simply reigns supreme. And with over 20 different colors to choose from, you can even match your bottle to your car, or other camping gear!
- ✅ Made of 3CR13 and 2CR13 stainless steel, compact, durable and practical.
The lightweight INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife is affordable, versatile, and lightweight (9 oz). The 11-in-1 multi-tool includes all the essentials, and more! This functional gadget contains a 2.8-inch knife, a rope cutter, a wood saw, a double-sided file, a wire cutter, a regular plier, needle nose pliers. To help you make quick camping gear repairs on the go, the INONE multi-tool also features 3 screwdrivers: a small one, a Philips one, and a flat-grooved style. This gadget also comes in handy in any camp kitchen, because a bottle opener and a can opener are also included.
Though very affordable, this car camping gadget adheres to a high-quality standard. The multitools foldable knife is made of durable 420 stainless steel, known for its great edge-retention and sharpness. Another perk is that the INONE 12-in-1 Utility Multitool includes a nylon storage pouch to keep it safe and secure in-between usage. Alternatively, the belt loop on the pouch also allows you to easily attach it to your belt, or a backpack, for access on the go.
Cheap and cheerful: as a car camper you simply can’t go wrong with this outstanding value-for-money gadget!
Best Car Camping Tent: Kelty Trail Ridge 6 Tent with Footprint
- The Trail Ridge 4 has steep walls to create a roomy interior, making this tent extra comfortable
The Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent is a spacious 10ft x 8ft tent with a 6ft peak height. Its total floor area of 80 square feet can fit up to 6 adult sleeping bags, whilst the 6ft height offers ample headroom to move around. The design comes with two equally-sized vestibules that flank the ends of the tent. Combined, they add an extra 44 square feet in gear storage capacity. Though you may not need all that space, it’s a luxury having the option. It also makes this tent a fantastic base camp for car campers. Simply transfer all your gear from the car to the vestibules, enjoy the nearby scenic roads and viewpoints, without feeling cramped by backpacks and other junk in your trunk.
The Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent also scores top-marks on quality and design. The tent is made of high-quality materials such as aluminum poles, waterproof polyester, and tear-resistant nylon. The silhouette of the tent includes 2 doors for easy access. Mesh paneling throughout the tent makes it breatheable and promotes better air circulation, whilst the special vestibule vent further boot moisture evaporation to keep you comfy and dry. The Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent is easy to assemble using a color-coded clip system and includes a footprint to offer more protection against to sharp undergrounds.
The Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent is also capable to keep you dry in bad weather conditions. The design of the tent has an ArcEdge catenary construction, which helps keep the seams off the ground, and watertight. Further protection against rain and the elements is offered by the full-coverage, quality rainfly.
It may be a bit on the expensive side, but for the comfort and quality it offers, the Kelty Trail Ridge 6-Person Tent is worth the money. It’s mid-sized 6 person space is suitable for a wide range of campers, whilst its lightweight appeal makes it easier to carry to and from a campsite if you can’t park in the direct vicinity.
Normally, this would be the part where we compare the product in our overview and pick a winner based on which product we’d recommend as ‘The Best’. However, since this is such a diverse selection of products, we’ll skip this part of the verdict. Every item on this Best Car Camping Gear list is already a winner, based on its value-for-money, convenience, and highly-rated Amazon review.
Our recommendation would be to simply mix and match your favorite camping accessories into a packing list that works best for your camping needs. If you love long road trips, essentials such as the HydroFlask water bottle and INONE multi-tool are great gadgets to keep at hand. For car campers that travel with their family, a large and easy setup tent such as the Kelty Ridge may be a perfect fit – especially as it packs down to lightweight and convenient dimensions to store in your trunk or roof rack storage boxes. If you love cooking on car camping trips, consider the Coleman Camp Stove as the perfect portable camp kitchen solution. And for car campers that want to pack light and forgo the traditional tent, a comfy hammock such as the WiseOwl one listed in this overview is a great investment.
Rest assured: every item on this Best Car Camping Overview is worth your time, money, and attention: and we’re confident any product included in this selection will make you a happy (car) camper!