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From Backpacking to Car Camping

My husband and I started our camping adventures 4 years ago backpacking. We’ve been consistently backpacking during these years but are starting to incorporate some car camping with friends. I’m curious, what changes to your gear have you made and or largest additions that are most beneficial? Let’s hear it!

3 Replies

My husband and I also enjoy both backpacking and car camping; I especially like having rectangular organizational totes. It’s great for keeping the cooking stuff separate from extra clothing, etc. We also got thick foam sleeping pads for a bit of luxury while car camping. Car camping also gives us extra space for journals, our larger camera, and binoculars. 🙂


That's so interesting, I think most people (myself included) may have gone the other way, where car camping was the norm but wanting to get to more remote places leads you down the backpacking route.  While there's certainly a good deal of overlap in my gear, I would say that car camping gives you the luxury of not needing to necessarily spend top dollar on everything because weight isn't nearly as strong a consideration.  You probably have a few choice pieces of equipment that you could purchase "car camping" versions of to reduce the wear and tear on your ultralight gear.  For example, I have a sleeping bag that I love but won't take car camping because it's reserved for backpacking trips only.  

I think the most obvious place this shows up is around mealtime.  I love to cook so car camping allows me to plan and prep meals that would be impractical if not impossible while backpacking.  Take a dutch oven and stick it right in the hot coals of your fire pit to cook chili or spaghetti sauce.  Sit in a larger, more comfortable camp chair.  Take a musical instrument or two!  


I love the novelty of bringing super heavy and super bulky items car-camping that I'd never bring backpacking!

- Watermelon!

- Bottle(s) of wine

- My real pillow (from my bed!)

- Cooler with cold beverages, yogurt for breakfast

- SLR camera

- Bluetooth speaker for enjoying some tunes