The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist For 2024

This comprehensive car camping checklist is designed to help you to prepare for your next outdoor trip.

car camping is a great way to travel in 2020

Car Camping

Even though the world has opened back up and we are able to travel freely again, there’s still something exciting about exploring top sites in our home countries.

One budget friendly way to travel locally is through car camping. The beauty of car camping is that anyone can do it. It’s an easy way to enjoy the outdoors without breaking the budget.

However, without the right equipment car camping can soon become a miserable experience. Trust me, I’ve been there!

It’s important to do some research into the items you plan to purchase. It’s possible to get many items at a reasonable price but buying the cheapest items isn’t always the way to go, especially if you want your equipment to last.

In this guide I share my complete car camping packing list, along with the best car camping gear which I have tried and tested on trips around the UK. 

It’s also the same equipment Nick and I used on our epic road trip around Ireland.

Car camping in Ireland
Wild car camping in Ireland

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps cover the cost of running this blog. Thanks for your support!

Car Camping Checklist

If you’re not interested in product reviews, jump straight in and download your ultimate car camping checklist pdf here!

For more information on the equipment I use and recommend, read on below.

Essential Items For Your Car Camping Packing List


Tent: First and foremost on this car camping list is a tent. There are a few simple things I want from a tent. I want it to be easy to assemble and capable of withstanding harsh weather. Khyam produce good quality, quick erect tents however they come at premium price.

Other companies such as Coleman Amflip and Qeedo, now also produce effective quick erect style of tents and thus provide a cheaper alternative to Khyam.

Amflip Camping Tent Automatic 3 Man Person Instant Tent Pop Up Ultralight Dome Tent 4 Seasons…
  • Pop Up Tent for Easy Use – This automatic hydraulic system allows the tent to pop open in a minute. The most advanced…
  • Durable & Waterproof & Insect Resistant – The strong fiberglass poles are designed with a windproof structure and a…
  • Enough Space for 2-3 people – External and internal tent size: 96*81*44 inches; 83*75*40 inches (LxWxH). Its space is…
  • 2-IN-1 Tent for Multiple Functions – This two-layer instant pop-up tent includes a detachable external and internal tent…

For more experienced campers and for  3 to 4 season camping I would suggest considering spending a little bit more. Brands to consider would be Terranova (very high end) or their cost effective good quality sister brand Wild Country. We have used tents from both of these and they are super.  

Wild Country Hoolie Compact 2 Person Tent
  • The Hoolie Compact 2 is a spacious 2 person tunnel tent, which is easier to carry thanks to its compact size of just 30cm long
  • Lightweight 2 person Tent with fully taped fly (4000mm) and groundsheets (6000mm) provide complete protection from the elements, whatever the weather
  • The inner is attached to the flysheet, so the tent pitches “”as one””, and it has colour-coded poles to help campers locate the poles in their sleeves
  • It uses reliable lightweight Wild Country super flex alloy poles and tried and tested Wild Country, high performance fly sheet and groundsheet fabrics
  • This is a perfect tent for Duke of Edinburgh’s award participants who should be able to pitch camp quickly at the end at the day whatever the weather

Roof Top Tent: For the ultimate in ease and packability a great option for car camping is to invest in a roof top tent. I’ve seen these used to amazing effect in Africa as well as on our current explorations of the Balkans. Roof top tents keep you off the damp ground and also out of reach of most unwanted intruders.

Overland Junction supply a good range of Rooftop tents to suit a wide variety of vehicles and budgets. Their site is also a great source of information and specialist kit for Overlanders.

TentBox Lite – Car Roof Top Tent – TentBox Car Roof Tent – Four Season Car Camping – Tent Box Roof…
  • SLEEP COMFORTABLY UNDER THE STARS: Elevate your car camping experience with TentBox car roof tent, specially designed to provide the utmost…
  • DURABLE AND WEATHER-RESISTANT: Embrace the great outdoors with confidence as our TentBox car roof tent is engineered to withstand winds up to…
  • STAY ORGANIZED AND BUG-FREE: Enhance your car camping experience with ample storage options, including small inside pockets, ensuring all your…
  • ENJOY EASY INSTALLATION: Setting up your roof tent box has never been easier! Our user-friendly installation process takes just 30 minutes,…
  • WHAT’S INCLUDED: The TentBox (of course!). 6cm high-density foam Mattress. Telescopic Ladder, with spring-loaded brackets. Mounting kit (to…

Sleeping bag: A decent sleeping bag is key to a good nights sleep and is therefore part of the essential car camping gear.

Sleeping bags are categorised in seasons, which relate to the temperature in which they are effective. For example, a 1 season sleeping bag is good for hot conditions and a 4 season sleeping bag is good for extremely cold conditions.

It is crucial to select a sleeping bag which will suit the temperatures you will be subjected too. If anything choose a warmer one as you can always unzip it if you get too warm.

I’ve had my Mountain Warehouse Everest Down sleeping bag for a few years now and I still love snuggling up in it at night. Its comfort range is -3 to -9 degrees Celsius (26 – 16 Fahrenheit), which means I’m never cold.

Mountain Warehouse Everest Down Extreme Sleeping Bag – Mummy Shape Camping Bag, Inner Pocket, Hood -…
  • Extreme Rating – can be used for extreme temperature of -36°C. This is a survival temperature only. The bag is not intended for regular use at this temperature
  • Comfort Temperature – 3°C to -9°C – The minimum temperature that a sleeping bag is designed for
  • Insulated – High quality 80/20 grey duck down filling
  • Weight – 1.76kg
  • Dimensions – 220cm x 80cm x 55cm

This bag has kept me warm on adventures in Patagonia, the Andes, Pakistan and around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. The downside is that for hot Summer nights this bag is too much. Instead on hot nights I use my sleeping bag liner.

If you’re interested in seeing what a month hiking in the Annapurnas looks like, take a look at this video!

Sleeping mattress: Along with a sleeping bag, a good mattress is another car camping essential. With car camping you can afford to be a little more luxurious with your sleeping mattress, since you have space to store it.

Normally when I’m hiking I carry a small and light Thermarest.

Thermarest Trail Lite Trooper Regular Sleeping Mat, Grey, One Size
  • The Trail Lite self-inflating mattress offers a combination of comfort, compactness and value, making it a great all-round camping mattress
  • Equipped with a reliable and robust WingLock valve, the pad inflates 3 times faster than a standard valve and features lightning-fast air deflation
  • Compact enough for backpacking without sacrificing comfort; Lightweight, die-cut foam core easily self-inflates and packs small
  • 3.2 R value means the Trail Lite delivers essential warmth and comfort for three-season camping and backpacking
  • For best performance, inflate your self-inflating pad with air by breath or in the included pump bag and leave the mattress fully inflated for 2-4 hours before first use

However, for car camping trips we use a super comfortable double bed air mattress. Our Coleman mattress also comes with a small bag for storage and its a good idea to invest in an electric pump to go with it.

Coleman Extra Durable Double Airbed – Blue, One Size
  • Inflatable air mattress for 2 people; perfect for tents, caravans or as an additional guest bed at home; more comfortable than a camping mat; the bed folds easily and compactly for storage and travel
  • Single height inflatable bed with 40 inch air coil provides more strength and strength
  • International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.

Mattress Pump: Because who needs to be blowing up a big old double air bed each time? Seriously, you have power from your car so why not use it?! 😉 (Unless you have the above mattress with a built in pump!)

Coleman 12 Volt Quick Pump – Red, 20.5 x 0 x 12.5 cm
  • Inflates and deflates airbeds very quickly
  • Can be used on 12V DC car outlets only
  • Airflow: 679 litres per minute airflow
  • Double Lock valve and Pinch valve adaptors included
  • Power cord: 285cm

Pillow: Pillows make such a difference to having a good nights sleep, so are one of the top car camping necessities. Regular pillows from home work just fine, or to save space, consider an inflatable pillow like this one.

TREKOLOGY Camping Pillows, Adults Inflatable Pillows for Camping Inflatable Pillow for Sleeping Blow…
  • Removable Cover with Versatile Utility Pocket – Our Trekology Aluft Plus camping pillows for adults has a…
  • Lightweight and Pack Down Small – This upgraded Trekology pillow, Aluft Plus inflatable camping pillow, weighs…
  • Removable Strap for Sleeping Pad Attachment – The Trekology Aluft Plus air pillow camping, comes with a…
  • Comfortable and Ergonomic – The Trekology Aluft Plus inflatable hiking pillow is designed with an ergonomic…
  • Durable and Leak-Proof – Our blow up beach pillow is made with a durable TPU bladder that prevents air leaks….

Shelter: If you’re likely to encounter rain on your trip it’s best to invest in a shelter of some sort. Trust me, it’s not much fun cooking in the rain! Tarps are cheap and take up minimal space and can work well to keep your fire pit dry. However, they only really work when surrounded by trees or something else to tie them to.

A better all around solution is a free standing shelter. Shelters are great for keeping off the rain or sun but can get battered in the wind. If you’re camping somewhere with strong winds be sure to peg it down securely!

Coleman Gazebo, Event Shelter for Garden and Camping, Sturdy Steel Poles Construction, Large Tent,…
  • Sun protection 50+: The gazebo is equipped with the certified Coleman UV guard with SPF 50+ to provide protection against both the sun’s ultraviolet rays and…
  • Sturdy design: The strong steel powder coated frame construction with secured PVC plug connections is quick and easy to set up; holes in the feet allow you to…
  • Convenient space and ventilation: The gazebo provides a shade area of 20.2 m sq with UV protection while allowing hot air to escape due to air vents at the top…
  • Coleman Event Shelters are designed for occasional use such as short camping trips, weekend garden and sporting events and should not be used as a permanent or…
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 m (15 x 15 feet); shade area 20 m²; head height centre/sides: 2.28 m/1.90 m; weight 18 kg; packing size 100 x 22 x 35 cm; carry bag, pegs…
An aerial photo of our high quality tent, which is an essential item on a car camping checklist
Top down view of our Khyam tent


Stove: The type of stove you buy will depend on your needs. In my case there are just two of us to cook for, so a stove with two burners works just fine.

This basic stove is easy to use as the gas bottles simply click into place. No need to worry about regulators and big propane containers. It’s also portable, which makes it ideal for festivals.

NJ SG-2 Camping Gas Stove – Double Burner Portable Butane Twin Cooker Outdoor Camp Kitchen Auto…
  • High Heat Output – Featuring 2 gas rings, you can cook up steak and boil potatoes at the same time with a massive energy output of 7,500 BTU per burner. Fast boil – 1 Liter of water in 5 minutes.
  • Heat Control – equipped with 2 independently adjustable burners. Regulate the flame power of each burner easily and precisely to get the exact temperature you’re after. Heat range from simmer to boil.
  • Stand-alone Usage – Equipped with a cartridge system, a standard butane canister is simply plugged into the left and/or right compartment. Safety locking and incorrect cartridge placement prevention.
  • Easy to Start – includes an automatic piezo ignition system, which means no more fumbling with matches! With the instant ignition, there is no need for a lighter as the burner ignites automatically.

More recently I discovered this stove, which has a built-in grill. It’s very handy and has become one of my best camping essentials!. Great if you like toast in the mornings.

Note that this one requires a regulator so be sure to get the right one. On Amazon this is often sold as a bundle, along with the gas.

Campingaz Chef Folding Double Burner Stove and Grill, compact gas cooker for camping or festivals,…
  • Powerful: Two high-performance, fully adjustable 1.5 kW stainless steel burners + 1.5 kW downward burner (with toast rack and tray, ideal for gratinating/toasting)
  • Compact and practical: Easy to use gas cooker with push and turn piezo ignition for convenient lighting (match free); folds up compact – sturdy steel lid with metal handle
  • Enhanced design: The lid covers the cook top for protection and works as a wind deflecting shield when it is open
  • Worldwide availability: Runs on Campingaz gas cylinders R907/R904 (runtime: 14/8 hours), high availability in over 50 countries; dealer overview on finder
  • Size (open/closed): 60 x 40 x 35 / 59.5 x 32.5 x 8.5 cm, gas consumption: 327 g/h; weight: 4 kg; stove for outdoor use only

Fuel: Buying multipacks of propane often works out cheaper. Be sure to check compatibility when buying Stove and gas combinations.

Campingaz 12 pack CP 250 Valve Gas Cartridge, for Camp Bistro and Festivo Camping Stoves, Compact…
  • High Performance and Quality: 12 pack of valve cartridges with high-performance isobutane gas
  • Hassle Free Installation: With a self-sealing safety valve – simply push and turn the device onto the cartridge until you hear a click for a secure and tight connection
  • Safe Removal: The cartridge can be removed and re-attached, even if not yet empty – an ideal solution if you need to operate multiple devices or transport your cartridge between uses
  • Compatibility and Availability: The gas cartridge fits only Campingaz Camp Bistro and Festivio stoves; worldwide availability in more than 50 countries

Dutch oven: If you love to cook on the campfire like we do then a Dutch oven is a must! For an in depth review of the best Dutch ovens for camping, take a look at this handy guide.

Overmont Overmont 8.8L/ 9Quart All-Round Dutch Oven Dual Function Lid Griddle with Lid Lifter…
  • All-round Dutch Oven. The integral legs on both pot and lid allows the oven sit perfectly over the campfire, also make the lid a great griddle to fry meals. Moreover, cast iron pots are not…
  • Well Known as a Lifetime Pot. Compared with pots of other materials, Overmont dutch ovens are made of cast iron, will last a lifetime (or more) if cared for properly. It can be a family pot also…
  • Energy-saving and Environmental Protection. Heat is evenly distributed and held, making it great for deep frying, searing, and baking. It also has the advantages of heat insulation and better…
  • Intimate Lid Lifter. Considering the great weight of cast iron, Overmont equips a lid lifter for each of the dutch oven. Besides, the durable handle allows you to hang it over the open fire. We…

Table: A recent addition to our car camping gear list, is a table. This is perfect for cooking since not all camp sites have benches available. They’re also handy when wild camping.

Vango Cypress Folding Table, French Oak, Standard
  • Table work surface – Lightweight and easy to clean
  • Aluminium frame – Lightweight and strong
  • Foldable to compact size – Easy storage and transport
  • Granite effect table top design gives a modern look and is extremely resilient
  • Maximum loading weight: 30kg/4st 10lbs

Cool Box: This is an absolute must for car camping in order to prevent all of your yummy food from perishing. When it comes to cool boxes, you get what you pay for so it’s worth spending a little extra here. Coleman make a wide range of good options see below.

You can get cool boxes that charge from your lighter port which means you don’t have to worry about ice. This does drain your car battery though so just be aware of how much you use it when the car isn’t running!

Coleman Rigid 16 QT High Performance Insulated Cool Box, 15 L Capacity, Keeps Cool For Up To 1 Day
  • Lightweight portable cooler with performance insulation to keep contents fresh for up to 1 day maximum when food/beverages are refrigerated with ice cubes or freezing blocks.
  • Handle for one-handed transport. Ideal for long journeys, camping, sporting events, and transporting food and drinks.
  • Despite the thin walls, which creates more room for cooling goods, it has excellent stability. Keeps cold for 1 day.
  • For your safety, the inside of the cooler is BPA free and can therefore transport food, cold drinks and fruits safely (according to EN 12456).
  • Dimensions (ext./int.): 39 x 31 x 27 / 32 x 25 x 21 cm. Weight 2.5 kg. Material (ext./in.): High-density polyethylene (HDPE), BPA Free, insulated polyurethane (PU) foam. Capacity 15 litres. Ice…

Ice blocks: Essential for keeping the cool box cold, especially in hot conditions.

Thermos 3402186 Freeze Boards, 1 x 800 g/2 x 400 g, Pack of 3, Blue
  • Perfect for maximising the potential of your cooler
  • Use in coolers, lunch bags and cool boxes
  • Tough polypropylene exterior
  • Contains non-toxic aqueous liquid
  • Packaging may vary

Storage containers: Keep all of your kitchen gear organised with containers that fit comfortably in your car. Without containers your gear will end up all over the place!

Really Useful Plastic Storage Box Bonus Pack 3×35 Litre Clear
  • Stack them to make use of space and banish the clutter, ideal size to use in the office, bedroom, playroom, garage or shed
  • Set of 3 x 35 Litre Really Useful boxes
  • Comes complete with lid and secure clip handles to ensure contents are safe from dust and dirt
  • Clear plastic for easy visibility of content
  • 100 Percent Polyproplene

Water jerrycan: Water storage for use with cooking and cleaning. This particular container also comes with a handy drinking tap.

25 Litre 25L Jerry Can Water Container Storage Tank Drum Bottle – Food Grade (Natural)
  • 25 Litre 25L Jerry Can Water Container Storage Tank Drum Bottle Food Grade Natural
  • product type: LIQUID FUEL CONTAINER
  • Brand: Nexus Packaging

Pots, pans, kettle: All the essentials to make the magic happen in the kitchen.

Fire-Maple Feast 4 Camping Cooking Set | Outdoor Cookware Kit with Ultralight Pot Kettle Pan for 4…
  • ✅12 PC COOKWARE SET – Includes 2 pot w lid (Size: 2.5L & 1.5L), 1 kettle w lid (Size: 0.8L), 1 Frypan (Size: 0.9L), 2 PP bowls, 1 tea infuser, 1 cooking…
  • ✅DURABLE CONSTRUCTION – With hard anodized aluminum and stainless steel construction, allowing for quick, easy clean up after your favorite campsite meals….
  • ✅SAVE SPACE & EASY TO CARRY – The pots and frypan feature with foldable locking handle design, all items are designed to fit within one another to store and…
  • ✅WIDE VERSATILITY – Cooking set is perfect for backpacking trips, camping, fishing and cooking on the beach. Heat, Boil, or Fry your favorite veggies, water,…
  • ✅MUST HAVE CAMPING COOKING SET- Cook healthy camping meals just like your favorite at-home cookware set. Lightweight aluminum and hard anodized finish make…

Cutlery: This awesome set is portable and contains a few essentials for the finer things in life ie. wine glasses and a cheese knife!

VonShef Picnic Backpack, 2 Person Grey Picnic Bag with Full Dining & Cutlery Set, Insulated Cooler…
  • PICNIC WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS: Take your picnics to new heights with the VonShef 2 person picnic backpack, perfect for alfresco dining with a…
  • ALL YOU NEED: Your picnic rucksack contains all the essentials, including 2 dining sets with plates and cutlery, 2 cotton napkins, and much…
  • STAY CHILLED: With a spacious insulated cooler section and large blanket, your cool bag covers all your on-the-go needs so you can settle…
  • STYLISH YET PRACTICAL: Finished in a grey colourway with contemporary faux leather straps, your picnic bag benefits from a waterproof layer…
  • THE VONSHEF PROMISE: All our products are backed by a minimum 2 years warranty, so you can be safe in the knowledge that if anything happens…

Utensils and cutlery: It’s not necessary to buy these pre-made kits and packages. Just be sure to have the following:

  • Cups
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Knives
  • Forks
  • Spoons
  • Spatular
  • Cooking spoon
  • Chopping board
  • Chopping knives
  • Bottle opener/can opener/corkscrew

Coffee press: Are you a coffee person? Then I guess this is for you! Personally I’m a tea girl, but for Nick this is a car camping essential and at the top of his car camping list!

Coffee Llama™ French Press | 1 Litre | 8 Cups Cafetiere Doubled Walled Portable Stainless Steel…

Washing up bowl with detergent and sponges: This bowl is collapsable, which helps with storage.

Water purification tablets: Essential for purifying water if you’re wild camping.

Basic herb and spice selection

Trash bags

Aluminium foil

If you need inspiration for some great meals to cook while you’re camping, check out this post!

A photo of a fire pit in front of our tent. A good kitchen setup is essential on a car camping checklist

Car Camping Accessories

Camping chairs: These are quite easy to pick up and even the cheap ones are pretty durable these days. If you want to avoid sitting on the ground, these are camping essentials!

SUNMER Padded Folding Garden Chairs Set of 2 with Side Pocket, Holds up to 120kg, Lightweight 4kg…
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE: Weighing just 4KG per…
  • STRONG AND STABLE: The chairs are constructed from…
  • PRACTICAL DESIGN: As well as being fully padded…

Head torch: I’ve had a few head torches over the years but I really like my current Petzl. It has different brightnesses as well as the red light option to avoid blinding everyone around you!

Petzl Actik, Compact Multifunction Front Lamp, Gray, U, Unisex-Adult, Grey
  • Power: 450 lumen (ANSI/PLATO FL 1)
  • Weight: 86 g
  • Type of light beam: large or mixed
  • Power supply: 3 AAA/LR03 batteries (supplied) or Core rechargeable battery (available as an accessory)
  • Waterproof: IPX4 (unrehemous resistant)

Camp lantern: Head torches are great but it’s also handy to have a lantern around camp. Theres plenty to choose from but this nifty lantern charges from USB and has 2 detachable torches.

LE 3 in 1 Camping Lantern with 2 Detachable Torches, 600 Lumen, Camping Light Rechargeable or…
  • 【Two Detachable torches】 LE camping lantern is made of the main lantern and two detachable torches, brightness up to 600 Lumen. The torch is very handy for the kids on late…
  • 【Two Ways of Power Supply】 The main lantern can be charged via USB cable, you can charge it up in the car on the way to the campsite by using LE car charger(included), or it…
  • 【Sufficient Brightness】 The overall brightness of this lantern is 600 lumen with a 360-degree beam angle. Bright enough to light up a whole tent.
  • 【Various Lighting Modes】 First press to the button to only turn on the main lantern, second press to turn on the side light of the torches as well, press again to turn off….
  • 【Water Resistant】 Work well in light rains or snowy days, especially suitable as a work light, searchlight and emergency light with IPX4 water resistant rating.

First Aid Kit: This kit is compact and every section is labelled which makes it fast and easy to use.

Lifesystems Adventurer First Aid Kit, CE Certified Contents, Specifically Designed for Outdoor and…
  • DESIGNED FOR HIKING, OUTDOOR & TRAVEL. This is a mid-level, medium-sized first aid kit to cater for most injuries when in the great outdoors. Comprehensive but compact enough
  • QUICK-FIND SYSTEM: Includes a fold-out bag with labelled and separated compartments that enables the user to find the contents quickly and easily, when needed the most
  • COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN: For maximum efficiency and portability, this comprehensive first aid kit weighs only 395 grams and is ideal for sports, outdoor, home, car or garden. Includes an…
  • HIGH QUALITY CE APPROVED CONTENTS: 1 x White Open Woven Bandage 7.5cm x 5m, 1 x Crepe Bandage 5cm x 4.5m, 1 x Triangular Calico Bandage 90 x 127cm, 6 x Hygienic Cleansing Wipes, 1 x Micropore Tape…

Basic tools for around camp:

  • Mallet
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Shovel
  • Duct tape
  • Lighter
  • Multi-tool
  • Chargers
A tent is an essential item on your car camping checklist
Car camping in the picturesque Lake District in England

Clothing for a car camping packing list

Base layers: These are the things that will keep you warm in the evenings around camp and also throughout the night. These items are car camping necessities, if you plan to visit colder locations.

It’s worth spending money on Merino wool as it has antibacterial properties, which means you don’t have to wash it so often. Bonus!

Mountain Warehouse Merino Womens Thermal Baselayer Top – Long Sleeves Ladies Thermal T-Shirt, Zip…
  • Merino – Very warm high quality wool, naturally antibacterial properties to keep you fresher for longer
  • Half Zip – Opens at the neck for more comfort, extra ventilation and a great look
  • Lightweight – Great for travelling, comfortable to wear and easy to pack
  • Breathable – The fabric allows perspiration to pass out of the garment, keeping you cool and comfortable
  • Antibacterial – Stay fresh & odour free for longer while walking and running

Wool socks: To keep those feet warm around camp.

No products found.

Buff: This can double up as a beanie to mask unruly camping hair!

Gloves: I find gloves really handy for packing away the tent on cold mornings.

Puffy jacket: A good puffy jacket can be a lifesaver in so many different situations, so mine is never far away.

Highlander Women’s Barra Insulated Jacket Black
  • Lightweight, compact and highly breathable jacket. Wind resistant construction
  • Fitted design to keep an optimal heat. Hood with elasticated rim for protection in harsh weather conditions
  • Full front zipper with glove friendly zip pull and chin guard. Two large zippered hand pockets for accessories
  • Elasticated cuffs to guarantee a comfort of wearing. Rounded hem at the back of the jacket
  • Shell material: 100% 380T Nylon. Filling: Tecloft Hybrid

Rain jacket or poncho: A high quality poncho can be as good as rain jacket and is perfect for around camp. 

Opret Waterproof Rain Poncho for Adults, Lightweight Raincoat 3-in-1 Multifunctional Rain Cape with…
  • ✔ SECURITY & ECO-FRIENDLY- Made of 100% EVA, an enviromentally friendly material, rain poncho is non-toxic, no smell and harmless, compared to the PVC one

Midge/fly/mosquito net: If you’re planning a camping trip in northern England or Scotland you’ll want one of these. The midges are horrendous. Or maybe your camping trip is taking you to Alaska where the mosquitoes are huge.

2 Pack Mosquito Head Net Midge Net Head Cover for Outdoor Hiking Fishing Camping Green and Grey
  • High Quality Material: made of quality nylon mesh. The durable and non-toxic fabric will keep your face and neck safe. The package included 2 pack mosquito mesh nets and 2 storage…
  • Ideal Size: the size (Height: 18.1 inch/46 cm) fits most head wear well. It is designed especially for wide, all-around brim hats, but still fits other styles well. And the length…
  • Good Performance: the fine mesh stops the annoying mosquito insects from your face and ears, you can enjoy the outdoors activities like fishing, hiking, camping, cycling.
  • Fine Mesh: the high-visibility mesh allows you to have a clear sight of whatever you are working on. It also ensures comfort. The tiny holes will let air in, which will prevent you…
  • Adjustable Drawstring: the drawstring at the bottom allows you to adjust freely and clinch it around your neck.

Buy one of these – you can thank me later!

Top tip: Get the lighter coloured net, as I discovered with mine, it’s difficult to see out of the one!

We learnt about midges on our camping trip in the Lake District where we planned to hike one of the Lakes’ iconic walks. Read about my Helvellyn adventure in this post.

Camp footwear: This very much depends on the climate of your camping. In hot conditions I love to relax in my flip flops but in wetter conditions wellington boots are more appropriate! A top brand for wellies are Hunter though I do like my Dunlop fur lined wellies which keep my feet toastie in Winter!

DUNLOP Unisex Fully Insulated Winter Wellington Boots, Tested to -15c
  • 100% waterproof winter wellingtons
  • Padded collar with drawstring tie (Supplied Bagged)


When it comes to car camping toiletries, I like to keep to the basics.

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Chap stick
  • Face wipes – these Earth friendly wet wipes are biodegradable.
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Toilet paper
  • Ear-plugs
  • Towel
  • Hair brush

Sunscreen: The Sunscreen Below is free from nasty chemicals

ThinkSport Sunscreen 50 SPF 89ml (3oz) – Safer Zinc Oxide Mineral Formulation – Ideal for all Sport…

Bug Spray: We use this as its Deet free ie not so harsh on the skin (doesn’t melt plastic)

Pyramid Trek Insect Repellent Spray for Sensitive Skin – 100ML DEET Free Mosquito Repellent w/…

Face wipes: These Earth friendly wet wipes are biodegradeable

Earth Friendly Baby Gentle Aloe Vera Baby Wipes – Pack of 72

Car Camping List Optional extras

The following items are by no means essential but often accompany me on a car camping trip. Hiking is usually involved in my camping adventures so I make sure I am equipped for those.

  • My Sony A6400 is compact and light which makes it perfect for hiking. Paired with the 18-135 lens makes it an ideal travel camera capable of amazing results.
Sony Alpha 6400 | APS-C Mirrorless Camera with Sony 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens
  • FAST AND PRECISE AUTOFOCUS: rely on 0.02s AF, Real Time tracking and Eye AF (human/animal) to keep your subject sharp in any situation
  • PERFECT FOR VIDEO CREATORS: High resolution 4K HDR movie recording and Full HD slow motion feature (120p) with autofocus
  • NEVER MISS A MOMENT: Up to 11fps with Autofocus
  • CAPTURE CREATIVE ANGLES: easily frame up your subject when shooting from low or high angles with the tilting touch monitor
  • IDEAL FOR: starters and advanced users who want a compact travel lens with more zoom

This Anker portable speaker is waterproof, dustproof and spillproof, which makes it invaluable for camping holidays.

Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker with 12W Stereo Sound, BassUp, IPX7 Waterproof, 24-Hour…
  • Unbelievable Sound: 12W of pure audio power with enhanced bass thunders from dual neodymium drivers. An advanced Digital Signal Processor ensures pounding bass and zero distortion at any volume.
  • Bluetooth Speaker with Intense Bass: Exclusive BassUp technology and a patented spiral bass port boost low-end frequencies to make the beats hit even harder.
  • Outdoor-Proof: IPX7 protection safeguards the Bluetooth speaker against rain, dust, snow, and spills. Get incredible sound at home, in the yard, or anywhere else imaginable.
  • 24H Non-Stop Music: Anker’s world-renowned technology and a 5,200mAh battery deliver a full day of sublime sound.

The DJI Mini 2 SE is on the cheaper end of DJI’s range. It weighs under 250grams which means it doesn’t need to be registered in many countries, has a 30 minute flight time and fits in the palm of your hand. All this make it ideal for camping and hiking.

DJI Mini 2 SE Fly More Combo, Lightweight and Foldable Mini Camera Drone with 2.7K Video,…
  • 𝗟𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 – The drone is lightweight and compact, weighing 𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝟮𝟰𝟵…
  • 𝗘𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗙𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲 – The combo offers two additional Intelligent Flight Batteries (three in total) for 𝘂𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝟵𝟯…
  • 𝗝𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗮 𝗙𝗲𝘄 𝗧𝗮𝗽𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗘𝗽𝗶𝗰 𝗜𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 – The DJI Fly app has easy-to-use shooting templates that allow the drone to…
  • 𝗔𝗱𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗥𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 – Get a 𝟭𝟬𝗸𝗺 𝗺𝗮𝘅 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻…
  • 𝟯𝟴𝗸𝗽𝗵 (𝗟𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 𝟱) 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 – DJI Mini 2 SE flies with reliable stability even in winds up to 38kph, letting you fly and…

These Nikon Binoculars are high quality binoculars that don’t break the bank.

Nikon Aculon A211 10 x 50 Binocular – Black
  • New sleek design
  • Aspherical eyepiece lens eliminates image distortion even at the lens periphery (except zoom models)
  • Multilayer-coated lenses for brighter images
  • Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups facilitate easy positioning of eyes at the correct eyepoint (except zoom models)
  • Rubber armour for shock-resistance and a firm, comfortable grip

Although this Lowepro bag isn’t the cheapest, I’ve been using it for several years now and still love it. And more importantly it still works perfectly, demonstrating you get what you pay for.

Lowepro PhotoSport BP 15L AW III, Hiking Camera Backpack with Side Access, Removable Camera Insert…
  • DESIGNED FOR ADVENTURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Toploading compartment provides enough storage space for all your journey’s outdoor essentials, with attachment points for tripod and hiking poles
  • MADE OF SUSTAINABLE FABRICS: 75% of all fabric is recycled. Some materials are a blend of recycled and virgin yarns while others are fully recycled, also lightweight and resistant
  • REMOVABLE CAMERA INSERT: Integrated with the side access, holds a crop-sensor CSC (e.g. compatible with Sony α6000 series) with lens attached plus 1-2 small lenses or small drone
  • MODULAR EQUIPMENT CARRY: The simple set of straps included with the backpacks offers multiple carrying configurations for phone, camera and GearUp boxes
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMFORTABLE: Extra light and weather-resistant; Hike, trek or travel with ease and mobility in the ActivZone harness system – built to provide targeted comfort

Trekking poles are great for looking after my knees when out hiking, 

TheFitLife Collapsible Trekking Poles for Hiking – Lightweight Folding Walking Sticks for Men and…
  • ▲This Trekking Pole is Suitable for Height 5’55”-6’2” (166-192cm)! Please Double Check Before Placing the Order!
  • ▲There are Detailed Assembly Videos and Explanations on the Product Page, We Recommend that you Check Them before using the Poles.
  • Details Matter in Success: Extended ergonomic EVA foam handle precisely accommodates your palm, absorbs sweat, anti-slip, and keeps your hands comfortable throughout your hike. It offers you more…
  • Compact & Easy to Carry: TheFitLife trekking poles with their collapsible design, connected by a wear-resistant polyethylene fiber cable, the pole can be folded into 3 parts to a length of only 36 cm…

These Hanwag boots are the most comfortable boots I’ve owned and since they’re Gortex, they are waterproof and breathable. Nick recently bought the mens version and he loves his too!

Hanwag Women’s Alta Bunion II GTX Shoes, grey, UK 4
  • Boot Types: Walking Boots
  • Material – Upper: Leather (nubuck)
  • Material – Upper: Suede

I’ve recently upgraded to an Iphone XS and love the quality of photos it takes.(Refurbished to a high standard offers great value)

Apple iPhone XS, 256GB, Space Grey – (Renewed)
  • 5.8-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1125 pixels by 2436 pixels at a PPI of 458 pixels per inch.
  • Powered by Apple A12 Bionic processor.
  • Dual 12-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 7-megapixel front camera.
  • 64/256/512GB of internal storage (expandable with iCloud).
  • Battery Average Life: Endurance rating- 72 hours.

I always try and have a physical map of the place I’m hiking just in case the technology fails.

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa Map | Weatherproof | Conwy Valley / Dyffryn Conwy | Ordnance Survey | OS…
  • Ordnance Survey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1 Page – 02/25/2019 (Publication Date) – Ordnance Survey (Publisher)

For the last year I have been using this water bottle with an incorporated filter. This way I can refill my water anywhere I go. To learn more about the best filtered water bottles, click here.

WATER TO GO Active BPA-free reusable water purifier sports bottle with leakproof filter – perfect…
  • PURIFIES WATER: water filter bottle transforms dirty water to pure water in seconds. Ideal for cyclists. mountain bikers and athletes
  • NEW LEAK-PROOF LID: new 2020 lid design is guaranteed not to leak, comes with a money-back guarantee
  • ELIMINATES UP TO 99.9999% OF CONTAMINANTS: including viruses, bacteria, parasitic protozoa, chemicals, heavy metals and microplastics
  • SINGLE HAND USE: Squeeze bottle with one-hand flip-cap action for fast drinking water on the go
  • SIMPLE AND FAST: Just scoop, replace lid and drink. Pure water in seconds. No waiting. No plunging. No iodine. No chemicals. No batteries or UV light

Most of my camping trips usually incorporate day hikes, which accounts for many of the items above. For a full list of everything I typically take on a day hike, click here.

Final Thoughts on this Checklist for Car Camping 

Car camping is a budget friendly way to explore the best of what your own country has to offer, providing the ultimate in freedom and flexibility. 

In this guide I have provided a free printable camping list for all the items you will need on a car camping holiday. With this list you will hopefully never leave anything at home.

With some basic car camping essentials and good organisation, you can soon be on your way to an awesome outdoor adventure!

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In this guide I provide useful car camping product reviews and a free, printable car camping checklist. This checklist is designed to help you prepare for your next outdoor trip.

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Louise is an Adventure Tour Guide, Snowboard Instructor & Mountain Leader from South Wales. Through working as a tour guide and snowboard instructor, she has spent the last 15 years travelling Asia, Africa and the Americas. Louise is a published photographer and currently guides mountain trips in the UK.

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