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If you’re planning a trip to a beautiful national or state park, camping is an incredible and cost effective way to enjoy the experience to the fullest! Take a look at my tried and tested car camping checklist for everything you need to be prepared for your trip!

 


One Week Car Camping Checklist


 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

While I’m not the type of traveler that feels comfortable sleeping in the backcountry, I do enjoy the occasional camping trip from the convenience of my vehicle.

 

 

What is car camping?

 

To clarify, car camping is either when you plan to stay at a campsite and either sleep inside your vehicle or inside of a tent close to your vehicle.

 

 

What do I need to bring for car camping?

 

Aside from your belongings, there are three things that take up the most space in your vehicle:

  • Camping Gear
  • Cooking Supplies
  • Food

 

Just because you’re traveling in a carm doesn’t mean you’ll have all the space in the world – even without airplane baggage limitations! So you want to avoid overpacking a bunch of items you won’t use.

The type of vehicle you bring, where you plan to sleep, and what you want to eat impacts how much or how little gear and supplies you’ll need. 

 

 

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Jucy Camper Rental on my 10-Day Utah Road Trip

 

If you’re traveling with a campervan or RV:

 

One of the benefits of using a campervan or RV when camping is that they have space dedicated to fitting the majority of your essentials. 

For example, when I drove a Jucy Campervan on my first 10-day trip through Utah, it was very convenient because it was my first time doing a national park camping trip and I didn’t have to do much preparation and worry about bringing things such as cooking gear or tents. Their RVs come fully equipped and include pretty much everything you need for a camping trip…even a kitchen sink!

This is awesome because it eliminates the need to buy or pack a tent, inflatable mattress or sleeping pad, stove top, etc.

 

Read my full Jucy Camper Rental review and10-day Utah Campervan Trip Diary!

 

 

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Jucy Campervan‘s refrigerator and interior stovetop

 

If you’re traveling in your own vehicle or rental car:

 

Even if you’re not driving an RV or campervan that already supplies most of the essentials, you still may not need a full list of camping and cooking gear even if you’re driving a  regular vehicle.

Before determining your checklist for car camping, first you need to plan the type of food you’ll be eating. If you’re sticking to basic sandwiches or simple dehydrated meals you may only need a stove top and a camping kettle. However, if you want to make full-on home cooked meals, you’ll need a lot more equipment.

When I went on another road trip to the Utah National Parks, I decided to drive my own car instead of renting a campervan or RV. I brought along so much camping and cooking equipment yet barely used anything!

I brought things suggested on other car camping checklist on YouTube and blogs, but what I didn;’t realize is that people were recommending things that applied to their type of travels and eating habits, not mine.

Unlike some camping pros who shared recommendations based on car camping for several days at a single location, I was moving quite quickly on my road trip and didn’t have time to make full meals so I didn’t need half the equipment they listed as essentials. 

 

You can read my complete National Park 2-week Trip Diary!

 

 

To help you avoid overpacking all the things you don’t need to bring for car camping, I’ve broken the checklist below into different categories:

 

  • Car Camping Checklist: SLEEPING
  • Car Camping Checklist: COOKING
  • Car Camping Checklist: ADDITIONAL
  • Car Camping Checklist: ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS

 

 

car-camping-checklist-for-a-week-in-the-national-parks-in-utah

 

Car Camping Checklist: SLEEPING

 

IF YOU’RE SLEEPING IN A TENT 

 

 

 

IF YOU’RE SLEEPING IN A CAR

 

 

Tip: bring a fitted sheet to throw over your inflatable mattress to help protect it and you don’t have to sleep directly on it.

 

 

IF YOU’RE SLEEPING IN AN RV OR CAMPERVAN

 

 

 

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Car Camping Checklist: COOKING

 

IF YOU’RE COOKING FRESH MEALS

 

  • 2-Burner Portable Stove: travelers love this Coleman stove
  • Gas for stovetop: 4 cans of Butane gas lasted us well over the 9 day trip
  • Cookware: bring a couple of basic pots and pans
  • Cooking Utensils: a basic multi-use set that’s compact 
  • Dishware: bring reusable plates that are easy to clean and won’t break
  • Cutting Board
  • Cutting Knife
  • Quality Standard Cooler or Electric Cooler
  • Paper towels: Easy to wipe down dishes and pots before washing and general cleaning
  • Dish cloth: drying plates and to act as a pot holder
  • Dishwashing liquid and scrub

 

 

IF YOU’RE COOKING BASIC MEALS

 

 

 

IF YOU’RE COOKING IN AN RV OR CAMPERVAN

 

When I’ve driven an RV or the Jucy campervan, they already had a stove top, refrigerator, cookware, dishware, utensils, and bedding. If you’re renting, find out what they include in advance. These are the extras that I brought along:

 

  • Gas for stovetop: 4 cans of Butane gas lasted us well over the 9 day trip
  • Cookware: bring a couple of basic pots and pans
  • Cooking Utensils: a basic multi-use set that’s compact 
  • Dishware: bring reusable plates that are easy to clean and won’t break
  • Cutting Board
  • Cutting Knife
  • Quality Standard Cooler or Electric Cooler
  • Paper towels: Easy to wipe down dishes and pots before washing and general cleaning
  • Dish cloth: drying plates and to act as a pot holder
  • Dishwashing liquid and scrub

 

Tip: this Compact Mess Kit has everything you need to make basic camping meals including Foldable Pans, Dishware, and Cups, and a Small Stove! Ideal for 1-2 people camping or for ultra-light backpackers.

 

Remember, unless you’re eating simple dehydrated meals, buy food as you go! There are national grocery store chains everywhere and large towns or cities will be able to cater to specific dietary needs. Don’t bring everything from home.

 

 

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Car Camping Checklist: Additional Items

 

These are additional items that you may want to consider but don’t always need. For example, you can bring your own camping chairs and table to eat anywhere, but I found many campsites and parks had picnic tables.

 

 

Tip: Car organization is absolutely everything on a road trip! Use stackable medium to large size plastic bins with lids to keep your belongings organized. Place food, camping supplies, cooking gear, and other items grouped in individual bins so it’s easy to find and put things away as needed.

In addition to organizing your clothes in your suitcase, our readers also love using packing cubes to organize their car, too. These are especially helpful when traveling with families.

 

 

jucy-camper-rental-review

 

Car Camping Checklist: Road Trip Essentials

 

In addition to cooking and camping supplies, there are a list of things that are useful for long car rides. 

 

 

Tip: Sign up for roadside assistance with AAA or your insurance company and take your car to get serviced in advance.

 

Read this post for our full road trip packing list including clothing packing tips.

 

 


Do you have any tips to add to our car camping checklist? Please share in the comments below!


 

For more tips, please read:

 


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