Car Camping “Essentials”
Bring your cake, and eat it, tooby Alex Sepulveda
If I’m schlepping a backpack up and down steep terrain at altitude, I want it to weigh as little as possible. Alternatively, if I’m going car camping, I want my car to weigh as much as possible. Car camping affords you the opportunity to bring everything you require to make your experience as plush as you want it to be.
We pooled our favorite must-have’s to create this list of things to take for super plush car camping. Print it out, save it, and consult it next time you drive to that special spot. (We threw in a convenient recipe for Mountain Pasta at the end.)
Spacious, comfy tent– Check out The North Face Airfloor 33 with an inflatable air mattress built right in.
Pillow– You’ll kick yourself if you forget one. Just snag one off your bed.
Cush sleeping bag– Like the Kelty Cloudloft bags with a roomy shape and soft cotton/poly liner.
one that packs beer.
Large coolers– Gourmet food, libations galore, snacks for an army. For keeping food cold for multiple days, use block ice which lasts longer than ice cubes.
Two burner stove– AND your backpacking stove for cooking side dishes and boiling water for tea or coffee. Ditch the camper’s cookset, and bring your pots and pans from home.
Large water storage vessel– Just makes it easy to have one centralized source.
No-wash hand sanitizer– This stuff kills germs and doesn’t require water.
Starter log– To get the campfire going; or bring newspaper to use as kindling. Don’t forget a lighter!
Insect repellent– Spare yourself a week’s worth of itchiness.
Toilet paper– Go for the bio-degradable kind.
tent with a doggy door!)
You can really get gourmet when car camping, but think strategically when packing food before you venture out. Try to prepare ingredients as much as possible at home. For example, burritos are something you can prepare at the house, wrap in tinfoil, and conveniently heat on the campfire. Recipes like the one below also require minimal packing space, and are easy to make.
Mountain Top Pasta
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 c chopped broccoli
1½ c chopped shitake mushrooms
Pasta (penne, ziti, bow ties, etc.)
Spices (pepper, garlic powder, red chilies, basil, etc.)
Chop sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms prior to leaving. Keep sun-dried tomatoes in jar with oil, and pack other ingredients in plastic bags. On site, pour oil from tomatoes in frying pan, and sauté mushrooms. Add spices and tomatoes. Meanwhile boil water, and add pasta. Right before it’s finished, add broccoli to water to steam. Drain, and add mushrooms and tomatoes. Toss together, and top with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!