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Essentials For Car Camping That You Cannot Go Without – Read More

Whether you’re an avid camper, or you don’t have any other options, car camping can actually be a lot of fun and a lot more comfortable than other kinds of camping. That is, if you have the right stuff. Now that it’s getting quite a bit colder out, many people are shying away from the outdoors and opting for some indoor cozy comfort. While there’s nothing wrong with hunkering down indoors (especially when it’s cold out), I hate to think that so many people find spending time in nature inaccessible in the winter. 

So, to keep our outdoor spirits alive, we can trek into the wilderness and enjoy camping from the comfort of your car with essentials that can be found online! Trust me, quite a bit of adventure awaits you when you have the means to get yourself out there! Let’s get this adventure going with these essentials for car camping!

Keeping Warm

Whenever I go camping, my biggest concern is getting cold. Pretty much every time I find myself sleeping below the stars, I wish I had done more to prepare for colder temps. So, if you’re embarking on a. car camping adventure, it’s important to understand that just because you’re in your car doesn’t mean you’re shielded from the cold and other elements of the outside world. In fact, there’s a lot of debate about whether camping in a car or a tent is warmer. Many think a car may even be the cooler option because the car windows being poor for insulation of heat within the car. Whether it’s actually colder or not, you’ll probably wish you brought these essentials to keep warm either way. 

Window Covers

Window covers offer ultimate insulation for your car. Because the windows can keep things cold in your vehicle overnight, covering them with something thick enough to keep the heat in is important. If you plan on sleeping in your car, not only are these great for keeping you warm, but these vehicle window coverings are also the perfect way to transform your vehicle into a more private space for you to sleep, rest, and enjoy car camping. When shopping for your car window coverings, though, it is important that you pay attention to the vehicles the coverings are compatible with and that you’re selecting an option that is right for your car. 

Heated Car Blanket

I am obsessed with heated blankets. Whenever the weather dips below the twenties overnight, I’m always plugging one in at home. Why not bring this awesome cozy comfort with you camping? It’ll probably help improve your experience, overall keeping you much warmer. The great thing about this heated blanket though, is it was made to be plugged into a car jack, so you don’t have to worry about fiddling with adaptors, or bringing along a heated blanket you ultimately wouldn’t even be able to plug in. Also, even if you’re turning your car off at night to catch the z’s, it’s amazing how much warmer you’ll be if you warm up your heated blanket before hitting the hay. 

Hand Warmers

Hand warmers are always a must whenever you’re spending time outdoors in the cooler seasons. I’m usually used to using the hand warmers that come in packets, that you shake to activate and hold onto until all the heat escapes them. But, we’re living in 2022 and better options exist like these Ocoopa hand warmers, which are rechargeable and are said to last way longer than traditional disposable hand warmers. Keeping these “handy” while car camping is a great idea to stay warm!

Portable Mini Space Heater

Another golden item in colder months: a space heater. But get this, one that’s perfect for car camping! This space heater is chargeable, making it portable. It’s also mini, so it can easily fit in your car among all your other camping essentials. Because you don’t need to have anything on to keep this little space heater working, it’s a great option for car camping and when you turn your engine off to get some sleep. 

Wearable Sleeping Bag

I found out about wearable sleeping bags from a vanlife TikToker I follow. I think this is one of the most genius inventions ever. Whenever I’m cold, I never want to get up and do anything. But if you’re car camping, there’s so much to see and do that you’re going to want to be warm and cozy while doing it. Enter the wearable sleeping bag. This think is incredibly warm and comfy. If you like you can even sleep in it while camping, and get up and go first thing in your wearable sleeping bag! Getting up to brush your teeth or fix up some breakfast has never been easier! I also think these are super cute! For being a wearable sleeping bag, they really aren’t ugly! So, I really think a wearable sleeping bag ought to be on everyone’s car camping checklist to keep warm and comfy.

Dining Essentials

Butane Stove

Whether you’re camping in your car or just in tents or otherwise, I feel like having a butane stove on hand is always a good idea. Fires aren’t always the most reliable way to cook food, but this surefire stove is a great pick for any kind of camping. Setting the stove up on a tabletop, the ground, etc. and getting to cooking is pretty simple with a butane stove, so I feel like it’s a great essential for car camping.

Compact Cookware

If you’re cooking while camping, you’re going to need your tools, but you may not want your tools to take up all that much room. So, compact cookware is the way to go, in my opinion. Sets like this one are curated specifically for camping, so they’re lightweight, compact, and get the job done at the end of the day. 

Folding Table

Again, the most space you can save for yourself, the better! This folding table is compact so it’ll fit into your car easily when you’re on the road, and it’s easy to take out, set up, and store cooking essentials in while camping. I love staying organized, so this is a great way to keep your things in one spot on the campsite, out of your car sleeping area. 

Road Pan

If you want an even simpler option than carrying cookware and a butane stove, using a road pan while car camping is a surefire and easy way to do some cooking. Simply plug the appliance into your charging port in your car and get to cooking! I would definitely recommend extending this appliance’s cord outside of your vehicle for the safest and most steam-free method of cooking your food, but it really doesn’t get easier than this when your’e camping!

Car Dining Tray

If you’d prefer to hunker down in your vehicle while eating your camp-made creations, a car dining tray is a great option! You can sit in the drivers’ seat and utilize surface space to eat, work, write, etc. Again, like the window covers, it is important to note that if you are going for a car dining tray, that you have found one that is compatible with your vehicle’s dimensions, etc. 

Comfort Quellers

Inflatable Mattress

Sleeping in your car often has a better base to start with compared to sleeping on the ground. However, for those of us who need a certain level of comfort in order to maintain a good nights’ rest, an inflatable car mattress is just the thing you need on your car camping packing list! This mattress works like any other inflatable mattress, but it’s created to fit nicely in the back of an SUV with the seats laying flat. The double bed inflates with a car plug-in so there’s no electricity required to make this bed! I think my favorite part about this mattress in specific are the pillows! I feel like I always forget to pack pillows when I’m camping and end up stuffing a jacket or towel beneath my head for the night. With these inflatable pillows included, you’ll never forget them! Also, when it’s time to pack up and go, you can just deflate and roll or fold up this mattress to be stored away for next time!

Camping Chairs

For eating, chilling, campfire songs, etc. You really won’t be sitting in your car the WHOLE time you’re car camping, right? The point of being out there is to, well be out there! So, in order to keep your bum comfy while you’re taking in all there is to see in nature, camping chairs are a must. I love these camping chairs because they’re compact, breathable and collapse easily. This way, you can store them away in your car with room to spare for all your other car camping needs. 


I have this exact hammock and I won’t stop recommending it to people. I love it! Again, you really won’t be using your car that much for seating while your camping with it, so you’re going to want to prepare some other options. Hammocks are great because they offer lots of ways to sit or lay and there are tons of ways to hang them up. Trees, poles, and even your car are great ways to secure your hammock and get swinging. For me, a hammock is a camping necessity– car included or not. 

Wide Sleeping Bag

Just because you’re car camping doesn’t mean you won’t get chilly throughout the night. We talked about ways to increase your car’s insulation and keep the interior warm throughout the night, but especially in colder months, you’re going to want to do whatever you can to keep warm when the sun goes down. So, this is where your sleeping bag comes in. Even if you’re car camping, I think having a sleeping bag created for the temperatures you’re going to be in is a crucial detail to note. This way, if all your other warmth options fail or falter, you at least can keep your body temperature warm throughout the evening. I like this double sleeping bag because it’s the perfect one and done option whether you’re sleeping alone or with someone else. It also is the perfect size to fit across the car inflatable mattress, so other bedding isn’t really required. 

Porta Potty

OK, this isn’t that much of an essential in my book because I don’t mind squatting in the woods as much as the average person, but for those of us who would really prefer having something more familiar for when they have to “go,” this portable toilet is perfect. With space for a bucket and bag below, this potty frame replicates a toilet on-the-go and in the woods. This would definitely make your camping number two’s a lot more enjoyable. 

Car Organization

Trunk Organizer

I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling lately, and to me, the most frustrating thing about being on the road is when I have no idea where what I need or want is. So, having some proper organization is always a good idea, especially when camping. You never know how helpful something may be, so it’s always good to know where your tools and gear reside. I think this trunk organizer is great because it has different sized sections and pockets, and came with clips to keep it in place. Not to mention, an added cooler is always a plus. 

Rack Packs

If your car has racks, a rack basket and pack is such a great idea for camping organization and storage. Anything bulky and space-consuming can get moved to the roof, saving you precious car interior real-estate. The pack is always a great idea even with a rack basket already included because it eliminates the need for strapping your stuff up excessively and it can keep things dry should weather turn sour. 

Bike Racks

If your camping routine involves lots of trail biking, you won’t want to forget to get some bike racks. These will obviously keep your bikes out of your car and secured to the back of your vehicles for a smooth transport to your camping destination. Not a must if you’re not biking, of course, but if you are, I wouldn’t sacrifice interior real estate for big clunky bikes. 

Closed food Storage

Closed food storage is a must. Whether it’s bears, raccoons, mice, bugs, etc. there is always something trying to go for your food when you are out in the wilderness. So, it’s important to keep it secure and untraceable. A Yeti cooler is a great option because they secure well and can keep food temps cool for days on end. Whatever you go for, though, just make sure your food is stored in a closed container!!!

Misc. Pouches

Again, you are going to need all the extra storage and organization room as you can get, especially if you are camping from your car. You definitely don’t want to deal with a mess while trying to relax in nature, so pouches like this behind-the seat organizer are a great idea! You can keep all your little essentials from floating around your vehicle, prone to get lost. With this system, you’re sure to have everything you need handy.

What other camping essentials do you love for camping in your car? Where is your favorite place to camp? Let us know in the comments!

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