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Car Camping Essentials

SUN COMPANY | June 10, 2019

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Take your 4-wheeled explorations to a new level by embarking on a car camping adventure with the whole family! Packing can be the most stressful part of a family trip, but with The Ultimate Car Camping Checklist you’ll be on the road in no time.

A paper map, compass and GPS beacon:
Depending on where your adventure takes you, there may not be cell phone service. Having a paper map and a compass on hand will help keep you on the right track, even when you’re in a remote area! In case of emergency, bring a GPS beacon to call for assistance if you don’t have service.

A water jug:
No matter where you go, water will always be a top priority. Whether you want to refill water bottles or just need to wash your hands, keeping a large water jug in your car will keep you comfortable and hydrated.

Imagine having to search for an item in your car at night when it’s packed full of gear, or wandering out of the tent to use the bathroom in the dark. Sound frustrating? A headlamp will make your experience much more enjoyable, and simplify many necessary tasks. Grab a headlamp for each member of your family so everyone is prepared.

First-Aid Kit:
If anyone in the family has important medications, keep them all in one place with your first-aid kit. Make sure to store it in an easily accessible place so that you’re prepared for any emergency situations, and check it before you leave home to make sure everything is stocked and in good condition.

Reusable Water Bottles:
Save the planet while you save money! Provide each member of your family with a reusable water bottle that is durable refillable. This will reduce the waste from single-use plastic bottles and save room in the car for other important gear. Bring a few reusable mugs for coffee and tea, or for whatever you prefer to drink on the road!


Car Operation Manual:
When you’re out of cell service, having a document that details the inner workings of your car can make dealing with car issues much less stressful. If you have the manual within reach, issues can be figured out in minutes and get you back on the road quickly!

Spare Tire:
Keep a spare tire in the car in case of emergencies, and make sure that the tire is pumped up properly before you leave so you don’t end up driving on a flat replacement tire. If you’ve never changed a tire before, do a practice run before you leave home so you are fully prepared if you have to do it on the road.

Most campgrounds only take cash, so you’ll want to have some on hand to ensure you can get a spot without having to run to the bank. You can also use extra cash to buy firewood or other camp essentials you might need!

Solar Panel Charger:
Though you should always bring USB chargers in the car, having a small solar panel charging station is great for camping and can come in handy if your car battery dies. Out of space on the car USB slots? Just open the solar panel charging station on the dashboard and re-charge electronics while you drive.


A Cook Set:
Simplify meal prep on your adventures by keeping all your cooking items in one designated container. Depending on how many family members you have, bring a plate, bowl, insulated mug, and some silverware for each person. Keep a full set of cooking necessities in the box for quick meals, so you can get back on the road fast.

Packing cubes:
During your trip, your car is your home, and will be chock-full of camping supplies and personal items. Stay organized and easily find everything you’re looking for in the chaos with lightweight packing cubes! For extra space, use roll-up space saver bags. This has the added benefit of protecting your items from the elements.

The Perfect Road Trip Entertainment:
Before you set out on your epic family adventure, download your favorite playlists and podcasts to stay alert and entertained on the drive. Allow each member of the family to pick their favorites and switch it up, so everyone is happy!


There are so many beautiful places to explore on the road, but sometimes things happen that we can’t predict. No matter where your journey takes you, this checklist will help to prepare you for anything that comes your way!

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