What is Car Camping
Car camping is a term that has different meanings for different campers. For some it might mean sleeping in your car while on a camping trip using your vehicle as a part of a much larger basecamp site, especially if there are more than one people and all of them cannot fit into the vehicle. There are many benefits of using your car as your camp. One of these is that it is relatively safer. Regardless of how you chose to use your vehicle, before going on a car camping trip, you need to make some preparations. We are listing down the best car camping tips below for you.
How to Prepare for Car Camping
Before you pack your stuff and leave for your camping trip, you need to identify the location you are heading to and find out if it is legal to park your car and make camp there. There are many car camping locations which people offer for a fee; some even offer toilets, fire pits and picnic tables. The US Forest Service permits people to park on roads that come under their jurisdiction. You just have to find a spot that does not block the road. Forest Service Lands and Bureau of Land Management permit dispersed camping for 14 consecutive days. If you are going to some other off-road or out of the ordinary location, you may want to read about it before leaving.
How to Pack for Car Camping
Once you have decided the location it’s time to start packing. The first thing you should do is take a piece of paper and a pen, list down all the things you need to take along. The four basic essentials for any camping trip or for any survival situation are food, water, fire and shelter. Make a list under each heading and jot down everything you should take along.
Car Camping Essentials
There are some gadgets and devices which should always be a part of your camping trip, regardless of where you are heading.
Your smartphone is equipped with GPS and you can always use Google Map or take along a GPS device. You can make good use of them when heading out to a camping trip but they are both dependent on a working internet connection. So if you are going to a location where you won’t have any internet connection then it is best to get acquainted with manual navigation devices and techniques if you are not familiar with them. A compass and a topographic map will be your most important companions and survival tools to a remote trip. Invest in an altimeter watch and you have the perfect combination of three very basic tools for navigation. If you or your travel partners are not familiar with them then perhaps this is the time to learn how to use them effectively. You can find countless tutorial videos on the internet which can help you learn how to use a map and compass.
You have to pack your gear according to the weather of your location. If it is going to be hot and sunny, you should take along protective gear such as a baseball cap or a cowboy hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. You may also want to invest in a portable fan or air cooler. These can be connected to your car’s battery or you can use rechargeable batteries. You can also use the air conditioner of your car but that would mean higher fuel expense. Also, you should never sleep in a running car with a running air conditioner, especially if your car is parked in an enclosed place. If you are expecting cold weather, then you should pack accordingly depending on how extreme the weather is going to be. You can buy extra warm jackets and other winter gear in order to protect you from cold.
First Aid Kit
There are many first aid kits available in the market and you can even set up your own. An ideal first aid kit should include different types and sizes of bandages such as butterfly bandages, triangular bandages and adhesive bandages. It should have different sizes of gauzes, basic ointments for cuts and bruises, pain medication, iodine pads, trauma scissors, etc. Not just this, you should also know how to use all these. Keep a first aid guide in your kit.
Personal Water Filter
Many personal water filters are available in the market. By personal we mean that one filter is enough for one person only. Get yourself a filter that uses a two or three stage process for filtering physical impurities as well as bacteria and germs such as E. coli, algae and protozoa. Some of these uses activated carbon for filtering heavy metals. These are usually very compact and can fit easily into your backpack.
Weapon for Self Defense
If you know how to use a handgun for defense then it should be your primary choice. The idea is to use it as a deterrent or if the need arises defend your loved ones and yourself. There are many handguns available with multiple safety features. You can also take along a hunting weapon if hunting is permitted in the location you are going to. It will provide you not only defense but also serve as a means to get meat and enjoy a campsite BBQ.
Keep Your Electronics Charged
It is very important to keep your gadgets charged. These include your smartphone, portable lights, GPS devices etc. Your smartphone can really make a difference if It is charged and you run into an emergency situation; you can contact the relative authorities or your friends and family in case you need their help. One way to do this is to keep a solar generator. It will not only provide you power for long but it would be easier and less expensive to recharge it.
Car Camping Food List
Dry food is the best car camping food because it has a much longer life than other food items. Your food list should include canned food, dried meat, bread, cereals, pasta, crackers, etc. It should also include a portable camping stove which you can use to heat water, make coffee and cook food. You will also need fuel for your stove and your preferred choice should be propane or butane. The camping food list must also include special camping crockery instead of disposable items. In the long run the reusable camping crockery will save your cost and prove to be more useful.
If you intend to use the back end of your car as a bedroom, you should get yourself an inflatable car mattress. They are available in different sizes and types; they can prove to be really comfortable and they are convenient to use and store. If your car is small for your or not enough for more than one person, you can use a portable awning made specially for connecting to your car. You can also buy a rooftop tent or a tent that is specifically designed for being attached to the rear end of your car. You would also need good quality sleeping bags if you intend to set up a campsite outside your vehicle.
Light Essentials You Need
Lighting up your campsite is a great idea for so many reasons including campsite safety, utility as well as appearance. It will keep away animals and also prevent your pets or family members from losing their way. Use the 20-foot Luminoodle basecamp 12 Volts to lighten up your camp. It is a flexible string of LED lights that provides a whopping 1000 lumens. You can choose from 15 colors and 10 brightness levels. Its wireless remote controller lets you do everything from a distance; it can be recharged using a 12-volt wall or a car adapter. You can wrap it in the free nylon bag it comes with and hang it like a lantern from your vehicle or a tree or use universal ties to install it anywhere. You can also power them with rechargeable batteries. They are highly water resistant so you don’t have to worry about the rain either.
Lighter for Camp Fire
Lighting a camp fire or building a fire for cooking is easier said than done, especially when the wind is strong or it is raining. Any fuel based lighter would be simply unable to help you and this is why you should spend a little money and get yourself a plasma-based lighter such as the Sparkr Wick. What is even better is that these are rechargeable lighters and they produce a high charge plasma arc which remains undeterred from rain or wind. They can be recharged with just a USB cable and one recharge will last for days. The Sparkr Wick has a long neck to make sure you don’t burn your hands when trying to build a fire. It should definitely be a part of your camping inventory and is one of the best car camping hacks.