The Ultimate Guide to Car Camping Gear

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Sia,September 18, 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Car Camping Gear

Something you need to know about car camping

Coachella car camping

Coachella is not theoretically is not a part of car camping, but, considering that it is so well known that many people were first introduced to car camping through it, it means more to car camping indeed than most car camping gears.

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Coachella began in 1999 and is held every year on the second and third weekend of April in Indio, California, about a three-hour drive from Los Angeles. As a music festival held in the desert, it offers three types of accommodation for travelers, car camping, tent camping, or the more luxurious Lake Eldorado. Countless people have traveled to California specifically for it, and in turn be exposed to car camping. Although Coachella has been postponed for two years due to the epidemic and finally restarted this year, its influence remains undiminished. “Coachella car camping” still ranks number one in recent searches about car camping, from which you can see how hot it is. Many people start their first car camping because of Coachella, that's why I list it at the top of the article.

Then What is car camping?

Many of you may have experienced car camping, but out of respect for all readers, including those who don't know anything about it, I'd like to introduce what car camping is.

What is car camping? To a certain extent, car camping is like a fully autonomous driving tour, where participants bring up various car camping gears and daily necessities, such as tents, sleeping bags, mats, and food items, for self-driving tours, wilderness accommodation, and meals. Without being limited by the schedule of the train or flight, travelers can drive between multiple tourist attractions as they wish, and rest on the way impromptu. Travelers can also get rid of the heavy shoulder bag filled with travel necessities, while the car is loaded with them.

Advanced attempts —— long term car camping road trips

As for car camping enthusiasts, some will begin to extend their car camping road trips, even from the east coast to the west, crossing the entire United States. At this stage, with the improvement of camping and driving experience, the car camping gear does not constitute a problem for participants, and their focus starts to shift from camping to traveling. Through long-distance driving, they can experience the dramatic changes in the landscape from the green eastern coast to the desert west of the entire continental United States. During this journey, participants can not only witness the wilderness of the desert, but also experience the customs of western cowboy towns. This is an unparalleled achievement because it is a comprehensive test of driving skills, language skills and the ability to cope with issues under unexpected situations.

New trend of Generation Z —— “glamping”

Conversely, if, as car camping experience and budget increase, you begin to focus more on camping rather than traveling, then “glamping” is a good option for you. “Glamping”, a compound of “glamorous” and “camping”, refers to a more sophisticated and comfortable outdoor camping lifestyle. The popularity of glamping stems from its success in capturing the attention of Generation Z. Glampers are always with sufficient budgets. To create a better camping life, “glampers” bring mattresses, heating equipment, inflatable sofas, and other luxury car camping gears to the wilderness tent, and then carefully place them to build a cozy “home” in the wilderness. So, if you have enough budget and want to enhance your car camping experience, then “glamping” can give you a cozier environment and a more comfortable sleep.

 

How to make a comfortable car camping

However, long term car camping road trips and Glamping are either demanding in experience or budget. For most preliminary enthusiasts, we can start with a simple but comfortable car camping trip. So how to start? You may consider the following aspects.

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Choose a suitable destination

Camping always means more than itself because beautiful scenery and friendly companions also enhance our happiness. A destination with a pleasant climate and beautiful scenery can often make the entire trip easier and more enjoyable. Although it's more awesome to visit random sights along the road, for most people, especially less experienced participants, a definite destination can make itinerary organization easier. It doesn't mean that you must make a complete plan, on the contrary, a definite destination and a rough route will suffice. The purpose of doing so is just to avoid being at a loss in many destinations available. And if you really don't know where to go, it is OK to consider national parks or well-known scenic areas.

Make a schedule in advance

Making a schedule in advance has two benefits, avoiding peak highway times and ensuring that the camping area is in the right climate.

On the one hand, the highways can be very busy during holidays and weekends when the driving experience can be disastrous.

On the other hand, the climate varies from season to season, which can directly affect camping. If you decide to go car camping outside of the summer season, be sure to research the weather and nighttime temperatures at your destination during the camping period. It can help you decide whether to spend the night in a tent. For example, nighttime temperatures in the desert can drop below freezing in the winter, making camping at these temperatures almost impossible. What is more, there are extra requirements for tents in terms of ventilation in summertime, and the needs of other car camping gear may also differ depending on the season.

Equip with top car camping gears

There is always an endless variety of car camping equipment available for purchase. So, it is crucial to distinguish which car camping gear is necessary. At the same time, there are also some pieces of them that are not essential but effectively useful. This part will be expanded in detail in the following sections. car camping gear is not a luxury, and usually you can get what you pay for. Thus top car camping gear can truly help you manage a comfortable car camping.

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These car camping gears are needed

Irreplaceable gears —— tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag

We have captured some high frequency questions online about car camping, such as, " What is a list of essential camping gear? " and "What items do you find most useful for car camping? ". For car camping, there is no more important issue than how to sleep comfortably. In this regard, tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag are three pieces of essential equipment.

The choice of tent and sleeping bag needs to consider climate and weather factors.

As previously stated, there are extra requirements for tents in terms of ventilation in summertime. If you ignore it, your sleep quality in the tent during summer could be disastrous. In addition to temperature, precipitation will also affect the choice of tent. If the probability of precipitation is not high, thin rainflies which can withstand about only 1-3 hours of light rain can be useful. But, during the rainy season, you need to choose a double-layer tent equipped with thicker rainfly, which can withstand heavy rain for a long time. In addition, if there are strong winds, do not buy very cheap tents to save money. Cheap tents are usually only equipped with lower strength tent poles and stakes; therefore, their wind resistance will be poor. Furthermore, buying tents one size larger may make camping more comfortable. Those tents designed for 4 people are usually barely enough for 4 people to squeeze into, and other sizes are the same. So, if you plan to travel in pairs, you can buy a camping tent for 4. If it is a family trip, you can buy a camping tent for 8.

In the same way, sleeping bags also need to choose different materials according to the weather and climate. Common sleeping bag materials include down, acrylic cotton, woven thread, etc. The basic principle is to choose a cool material at high temperatures and a warm material at low temperatures. Relatively speaking, the choice of sleeping bags is simpler than tents.

And the choice of sleeping mat usually does not need to be considered so much. If the quality of the sleeping mat is not a problem, then it just needs to make you feel comfortable lying on it.

Other useful gears

In addition to the above three pieces of camping core gear, there are also some gears that are also important to enhance your camping experience.

If with little experience about car camping, you can rely on fast food to solve your dietary needs, such as canned food, bread, instant noodles, and cookies. At least it can help you stay away from hunger. But if you can cook soup, noodles, and other foods on your own, a three-piece cooking set —— stove, set of pots and pans, and fuel —— will come in handy. Of course, lighters should be brought also. And, usually, family camping will have a greater demand for cooking, thus the need for a set of pots and pans will be greater. Without them, it will take a long time to cook.

In addition, there are some other gears worth mentioning. First aid medicine is the first. Don't think you won't be sick. If you are, these items will be able to play a role in turning danger into peace. Secondly, considering that the campground is usually some distance away from the water source, water bags are also important. In addition, a knife can help you cope with a lot of emergencies, whether it is to open the road in the jungle, cut things, or defend yourself. Of course, a camp light used inside the tent, a flashlight for backup lighting, a trekking pole that can save about 20% walking energy, and a shovel that can help you tent faster are also useful.

Other gears not mentioned may still be important, such as compass, mosquito repellent, water filters, binoculars, and barbecue grill. If you need, you can bring these things to get a better camping experience. However, please always remember to bring that more essential equipment mentioned above first.

Best cars for camping

Car camping isn't only about camping, it's also about the car. Therefore, choosing the best car for camping available is equally important. Considering the complex terrain in the wilderness, SUV is usually considered the most suitable vehicle for car camping, especially the SUV with four-wheel drive systems, which have better off-road capabilities.

And there are a few extra details of SUV that need to be paid attention to.

First, it needs to have a large passenger capacity and ideally have six or more seats. Many times, there are more than four participants in a family camping trip, so a four-seat SUV sometimes will be out of place.

Secondly, it needs to have a specially designed trunk. On the one hand, a larger trunk can provide more storage space. On the other hand, special-designed trunks of some SUVs can provide an extra flat space of more than 2 meters in diameter. Because when the rear seats are turned down, an inflatable mattress can be placed, and the rear part of the car can be transformed into sleeping space. This design could provide an extra option if something wrong happened during the journey, resulting in the tent not being able to be pitched successfully.

In addition, some special-designed SUVs equipped with external special sockets can provide power up to 2 kw of external discharge function. With this feature, you will be able to use electrical devices such as hot water kettles and small cookers while camping, which will obviously reduce the difficulty of car camping.

Alternative solutions —— car camper conversion

But, if your SUV is not the kind of special-designed mentioned above, you can also make it more suitable for car camping by car camper conversion.

If your SUV has enough trunk space, by removing the rear seats, it still has a chance to accommodate an inflatable mattress.

Then, the roof can be fitted with a luggage rack, which can provide extra storage space.

Furthermore, some inconspicuous camping car accessories, such as the dash cam, can also help you. The recording videos provided by the dash cam sometime can help you a lot. When you try to find something missing near the car, or when you want to watch a review on pitching the tent, the recording videos provided by the dash cam can be available and helpful.

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Our exclusive help on camping car accessories

We, REDTIGER, as a professional dash cam manufacturer, can provide some of the most advanced dash cams in our industry, such as the T27 Front and Rearview Mirror Dash Cam, our best product. Our dash cams, equipped with the dedicated hardware kit, can automatically monitor the surrounding environment. When the built-in G-sensor detects a sudden shock or collision, the camera will automatically lock video.

What is more, REDTIGER dash cams are also equipped with our exclusive 24/7 Hours Parking Mode. 24/7 Hours Parking Mode enables the security for car while parked to record continuously for 24 hours at parking mode with the parked car security camera, plus with the time-lapse function which saves memory space and provides your car a safer parking environment.

All these features are exclusive, while other basic features offered by other manufacturers can also be provided by us. In short, you will never regret choosing REDTIGER, once you have experienced our advanced dash cams.

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