The Essential Gear Checklist for Car Camping on the West Coast

The Essential Gear Checklist for Car Camping on the West Coast

With winter beginning to thaw and spring approaching, it’s starting to feel good to be outside again. No sooner does the snow start to disappear than wildlife begins to awaken, and flowers start to bloom. Soon, frosty days will give way to sweltering summers and crisp, just-slightly cold nights.

There is no better time than to plan your escape from the city. If you’ve been living through the tundra-like frost, the West Coast is beckoning.

A camping trip can get you away from crowded metropolises and into the nation's beautiful sunny backcountry. You may choose to spend a night under the stars at a local campsite or travel in a camper elsewhere. Backpacking in a new-to-you national park can make for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Every good adventure calls for good preparation. Let’s discuss. 

Car Camping Necessities For Your Commute

The journey to any summit begins with a single step. Refueling in any capacity aside from camping food and gas along the way will be difficult. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure all your car camping gear is prepared well in advance.

You’re likely to spend a lot of time traveling from point A to point B, wherever you go. In 2020, nearly half of campers took trips more than 100 miles away from home. One-fifth of the total group survey went somewhere more than 200 miles away. That makes for a massive road trip. 

To begin, start making a playlist well before you head out. Use a digital service so that you can make a collaborative playlist with your friends. You may even want to make multiple, organized by genre and setting. When you set out to your initial destination and your mood returning, the mood will likely suggest two different situations. 

Bring plenty of snacks, and if you are using a cooler, plenty of ice as well. Plan accordingly based on your storage: A styrofoam disposable cooler will store things differently than a residential camper refrigerator. 

Keep your car camping essentials close. Your snacks, charger, and anything for entertainment on the drive should be within arm's reach. If you’re going to be making a multi-day car camping trip to your destination, keep toiletries packed towards the top of things.

Consider investing in a special camping blanket. These items are usually lightweight, packable, and exceptionally good at retaining heat. 

Keep your water bottle close at hand. Over the course of however many days, your group will likely be drinking a lot of water. Consider a large water pitcher or storage device and use personal water bottles. This will reduce waste over time. 

Look for water bottles that maintain temperature, and hold enough water for long activities. The stainless steel Olivers Water Bottle boasts a 22oz carrying capacity. Being double-walled and vacuum-sealed helps maintain cold and hot drinks alike.

Day Trip Car Camping Checklist

The real test of your preparedness comes when you go on your first day trip. You likely won’t just be parking your car somewhere, setting up camp, and calling it an excursion.

Late nights spent in the company of a few close people are wonderful, but so are the days. Daylight offers ample opportunities to explore and enjoy the richness of the land around you, provided you have the supplies.

Consider these when packing your duffel bag:

You should pack recreational gear for anything you may want to do, from rock climbing to kayaking. These include water-resistant clothes as well as sports equipment and safety gear.

You should also pack plenty of safety equipment and consumables along the way. These include trail snacks rich in carbs, proteins, healthy fats, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. If you’re curious about spelunking or being active at twilight, a headlamp is essential to keep your hands free. 

Headlamps aren’t the only gadgets you’ll want to pack with you. Cell phones are great for getting you from home to the park, but their GPS isn’t perfect. Though they are rechargeable, you’ll want to preserve your battery for emergencies. Bring a compass to serve as your navigational tool on the trail and a multi-tool for its wide applicability. 

You’ll want to prepare for encounters with wildlife, as well. Most parks instruct you to remain further than 25 yards from animals and 100 yards from predators. These protect the animals from becoming too desensitized to humans and humans from being attacked. Bring binoculars for observation and cameras for photography.

Gear Essentials For Your Campsite

The next essential in camping is identifying everything you need to build your campsite. The first item to think about is sleeping arrangements. You could potentially cozy up in the camper, but that may not be to everyone’s liking. It's easy to get a little bit closer to nature with the proper campsite. 

Your most essential item is the camping tent. You may want one large one or a few smaller ones so that people can pair off. Inside, use a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, or air mattress to everyone’s preference. Some may even want to find two nearby trees and set up a hammock for added exposure. 

You may need to bring a generator or else rely on personally blowing up any inflatables. At this point, you can choose between propane or gas-powered generators and solar generators. These two remain the staple for campsite generators.

Solar generators are quieter and much better for the environment but have a slightly less powerful energy output. Comparatively, propane generators may pollute the park but can power countless items.

If energy output is a major concern, choose propane. Otherwise, we suggest treating your base camp with care with the use of a solar generator. Check each campground ahead of time for specific rules and regulations. 

Set up camp chairs around your fire pit or camp center to create a communal living space. This makes for great storytelling or simply existing as you spend your time car camping. 

Be sure to bring a stuff sack or carrying case to store anything you may be bringing with you. These can be a great way to separate large camping items from smaller personal items. 

However, each campsite needs more than good friends and good sleeping accommodations. 

Look no further than your kitchen to explore your culinary interests outdoors:

Must-Have Items For Your Camp Kitchen

Your camp kitchen is going to be less glamorous than your home one, but it should be no less delicious. A portable camp stove or hot plate can be used to cook countless items, or you can even try fire-roasting. 

Look for minimal cookware, too. A spatula, a spoon, a skillet, a pot, a pan, and a lid can collectively create most simple meals. You may even have a picnic table near your campsite to dine on or bring one yourself. 

A home espresso maker can help provide your morning that extra bit of charge. Some can get up and be their best with the sun. For the rest of us, there’s coffee. Boost your morning brew by adding your own spices or supplements. 

Car camping is a time to reconnect with nature. Reconnect with clean nutrition with home-cooked camp meals, too.

Packing Car Camping Apparel: Essentials

Car camping asks for a lot. It asks several people to be able to coordinate a time to all be available to travel. It asks for secure preparation against countless emergencies, yet the ease to live calmly and casually in the moment. It asks you to go somewhere and experience something new across warm days and chilling nights. 

You should be able to ask a lot, too. The right apparel will keep you grounded and help you perform your best during the day and be comfortable at night. Much of the West Coast is a desert, and desert nights can be incredibly chilly.

For a base-layer tee with an eco-friendly impact, choose the Surge Tee. The fabric is a blend of 50% recycled cotton, 10% organic cotton, and 40% recycled poly. Most active apparel relies on synthetic fibers whose very nature relies on chemical byproducts which are harmful to the environment. The Surge Tee makes it so that you no longer have to choose between the environment and your activewear. 

Pair it with an equally timeless performance short. The All-Over Short utilizes a fusion of fabrics to create a short that’s versatile, high-performance, and well-fitting. Moisture-wicking, water-resistance, and superb comfort among nine different colorways make it a versatile piece in any wardrobe. 

The All-Over Short’s modest silhouette is enhanced through a few embellishments, including tonal embroidery at the left thigh. Driving, setting up camp, taking a hike, going rock climbing, cooking late-night meals, and taking down camp are all doable here. Where power, performance, and style meet, Oliver is here. 

Car Camping In Your Sights

Millions of new people are camping each year, since a five-fold increase in campers from 2019 to 2020, with this trend continuing to grow. The more people enjoying the outdoors, the better. 

This increase in numbers makes effective camping information all the more important. Your checklist should contain the essentials, not just for camping but for yourself. 

It’s never too early to begin thinking about your next camping adventure. Assemble your group, your checklist, and everything else will fall in place. 


Camping: trip distance North America 2020 | Statista

7 Ways to Safely Watch Wildlife I National Park ServiceFresh Data Indicates Camping Interest 

Fresh Data Indicates Camping Interest To Remain High In 2021 I PR Newswire

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