Luxury Car Camping Gear

car camping gear

Throughout the fall, we spent lots of time car camping, whether it was up at Crater Lake in order to ride the rim, or weekends spent in Tahoe so Lola could swim. The nice thing about car camping is that since you don’t really have to worry about weight or space, you can bring all the extra luxuries. Here are ten items that have been some of our favorites this fall and would make a great gift for the camping enthusiast on your holiday list.

  1. Intex Super-Tough Air Bed ($59.99): My philosophy is that car camping should be almost as comfortable as sleeping at home in your own bed. The Intex air beds feature thousands of high-strength polyester fibers that don’t stretch over time, making the mattresses last longer and stay firm through the night. The Super-Tough version also uses a built-in battery pump so you don’t have to worry about bringing one with you or worse yet, forgetting it at home. I use the air bed in the back of the Subaru if it is just me camping on a road trip or we will use two in a tent covered with a fitted sheet to make a king size comfy platform.
  2. Rumpl Queen Puffy ($199): You don’t need to be confined to a sleeping bag when car camping. Instead, use one or two Rumpl blankets to create a warm, bed-like environment. Filled with synthetic insulation, the outer shell is made from a DWR treated nylon fabric that repels moisture, stains, and odors. When not in your tent, wrap yourself in the blanket to keep cozy warm by the fire. The Rumpl blankets come in a variety of sizes and styles–the newest being fleece.
  3. Nemo Fillo Luxury Pillow ($49.95): You don’t really want to bring your own pillow outdoors but the luxury pillow from Nemo is the next best thing–a combination of inflatable baffles and memory foam lets you dial in the fit, while the super soft microsuede pillow cover is soft against your face. The pillow packs down small enough that it can serve double duty on your backpacking adventures.
  4. REI Evrgrn Stary Night 2P Tent ($199): At almost 9 pounds, this is not a backpacking tent. But you are car camping so that doesn’t matter. Using three poles, the tent is quick to set up and stable in windy weather. The top rainfly can be rolled halfway back or all the way to take advantage of the seamless mesh moonroof for star gazing. Two doors mean you never have to climb over each other to get in and out of the tent.
  5. Luminoodle ($19): I tend to ditch the headlamps when car camping in favor of more ambient lighting. Shipping soon, this 5-foot silicone strip of LEDs is waterproof and produces 180 lumens of light. The light rope comes with 3 different ways to attach to various objects and a small nylon bag that doubles as a lantern. You can also pre-order a 10-foot Luminoodle version for $35.
  6. Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Lantern ($39.95): These small lanterns can be hung around camp for extra lighting or inside your tent to read and get organized. The magnetic hook clip makes the lantern easy to hook to almost anything and the candle-flicker mode is super fun for adding ambience, even at home.
  7. Leki Breeze ($99.95): You don’t have to wrestle with this folding chair to get it put together and the stable leg platform is made from the same lightweight aluminum as the company’s poles. Bonus–an accessories pouch Velcros on beneath the seat. Throw in some ice and you have an instant personal beer cooler.
  8. GSI Dutch Oven ($140): As most campsites come with a fire pit, we have been experimenting with dutch oven cooking. There is something primally satisfying about cooking over an open fire and how can you say no to fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning and berry crumble at night? This dutch oven from GSI Outdoors is not as heavy as the toe buster your mom used when you were a kid and the anodized coating delivers non-stick performance and doesn’t need to be seasoned like cast iron.
  9. Vapur Wandervino ($20): I enjoy sitting by the campfire with a nice glass of wine at the end of a day outside. Leaving all the glass at home doesn’t mean you are stuck with boxed wine and solo cups. We decant a couple of our favorite Sonoma wines into the Vapur Vintage Wine Carrier and sip out of the included Govino “go anywhere” glasses. The wine pourer attachment not only makes it easy to pour in the glasses, but also to fill the carrier before you head out. The screw top lets you squeeze excess air out then seal so the wine will stay fresh throughout the weekend.
  10. Yeti Tundra 50 Cooler ($379.99): Forget freeze-dried meals when car camping, gourmet food is the only way to go. Throw some ice in the Yeti cooler and it will keep meat, milk, beverages, and other fresh food cold throughout the entire weekend. We still had ice in the cooler after returning from a few days up at Crater Lake. The Tundra comes in a variety of sizes, from 35 liters to a whopping 420 liters, and doubles as a camp seat when not in use.
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