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Car camping 101: tips for your next road trip

July 06, 2017

Are you planning to hit the road this summer for an outdoor adventure? No tent? No problem!

Car camping has become one of the top ways for us outdoor enthusiasts to pack up, take off and enjoy a nature-focused adventure. For anyone who loves to camp, anyone who loves a road trip and even for those of us who love the outdoors but want our excursions to be easy peasy, car camping is totally for you! Camping usually requires some hefty gear essentials, but car camping gives you the awesome gift of requiring one less thing to worry about packing-- a tent! Your car can double as your transportation AND your shelter, making it easy to set up camp wherever you want, whenever you want (where it’s legal of course😜).

So you’ve got a car and a plan, but before setting out on your next car camping adventure, there’s some essential gear you’ll want to bring along. Here’s the ultimate car camping 101 for your next road trip...and all other adventures to follow!

Kitchen and Cooking Supplies

Whether you are setting out to chase some waves on the coast or explore the nearest national park,  you can’t always count on accommodations that include a stove or proper cooking facility. If you’re anything like us, you actually seek out the secret outdoor spots that put you right into nature, and away from the hubbub of the city. Wonderful? Yes. Accommodating? No.

That’s why it’s handy to bring a camp stove with you. Roasting sticks are another essential item to have packed in your cooking gear bin, in case you feel like roasting some hot dogs or marshmallows over an open fire. Aside from these essential cooking items, a pot and pan, cutlery, and your new DrinkTank 16 oz. Vessel  for hot and cold beverages, will keep you and your crew fed and happy throughout the car camping expedition😊.

Gear Tip: Before using your DrinkTank for an an evening beer after previously using it for coffee, make sure you throw a Hydropak Bottle Bright Tablet in there to flush out that coffee flavor so it doesn’t taint the flavor of your IPA. The only thing worse than a warm beer, is a beer that tastes like leftover coffee👎🏼.

First Aid Kit

When is it not a good idea to have a first aid kit? Seriously! Car camping may get you off the grid (and we hope it does!), but we also want you to be prepared in case of emergency. Bee sting, poison ivy, cut hand, sprained ankle, etc...whatever the unexpected injury, you’ll be glad you have a first aid kit with you to hold you over until you can get more help.

Plenty of Food and Water

This goes without saying for some, but you’d be surprised how often bringing enough edible and drinkable supplies gets overlooked. Friends don’t let friends set out for exploration without the basics! If you're planning to be out exploring for two days or less, still pack enough food for four days--just in case your trip gets extended. With your dinner menu, make sure to bring some snack food that’s packed with good stuff and won’t go bad right away. We’re big fans of the ReGrained Sustainable Supergrain Bars that were included in our June collection! These delicious, sustainable snacks will be a lifesaver in a hunger pinch, and are chalked full of flavor and nutritious ingredients harvested from the grains of craft beer. For all you chocolate lovers out there, make sure to throw in some Treehouse Drinking Chocolate in for a delicious beverage at the end your day, or to start off your day--we’re not opposed to chocolate in the morning!😉

Water--bring lots of it, always! It’s the one thing you do NOT want to run out of on your trip. Plan to pack enough water to drink for the duration of the journey, because you can’t count on finding fresh drinking water wherever you go. You’ll need it to cook, drink, and bathe (that is if you’re into keeping good hygiene up while camping--just an option 😜).

Sleeping Bag, Pad and Pillows

Although you won’t need a tent if you’re car camping, you’ll still want a sleeping bag and pad. Your car is not insulated like a house, so when temperatures drop, it is is going to get cold. Check the weather before you go so you know just how cold it may be at night, that way you can pack the right sleeping bag and enough layers to avoid freezing your you-know-what off at night. Another item that will make a huge difference in your overall car camping experience is a sleeping pad and or pillow. Cars are normally comfortable to ride in, but when you fold down the seat cushions to sleep for the night, you’re going to be thankful to have a little extra padding. Everyone is more fun when they’ve gotten good night’s rest!

Of course, you can always bring more gear, but as long as you have these essentials, your weekend car camping trip will be a success. Now it’s time to pull out a map and start planning your next adventure!

Where are you planning to go car camping this summer? Share with us on Facebook and Instagram!


The Cairn Crew
The Cairn Crew

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