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Car Camping Gear


Hiking stuff

Day pack
Trekking poles
Altimeter watch
Hydration system I use a Camelbak, which I'm pretty happy with. Bring extra bite valves for long trips, just in case.
First aid kit
hiking boots
Lip balm
accessory cord
Small quick-drying towel
Pocket knife
Map of area
small Swiss army knife
FRS/GMRS radio (w/ batteries)


Photography Gear

Camera body I use a Konica Minolta Maxxum 7 Digital. They've sold their camera business to Sony, which has released a related camera, the Alpha 100
Extra battery for camera
Extra film or memory cards
Flash w/ batteries
Remote cord
Camera lens tissue
Blower for blowing dust off lenses
Assortment of lenses
compact digital camera for movies I carry both a digital SLR, as well as a compact digital camera for taking movies. I use a Canon PowerShot A630 which I'm happy with for this purpose.
filters (polarizer, graduated neutral density filter)
Portable hard drive If you are using a digital camera, consider bring a portable hard drive to store images to free up space on your card. You can use an iPod for this purpose, with a camera connector (about $30) and USB cable. Alternatively, you could bring a laptop if you're not concerned about having it stolen.


Tent, sleeping stuff

Tent rain fly
Tent poles
Tent ground cover
Tent stakes
Tent itself
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad I use a Therm-a-rest DreamTime which I am very happy with. It is very expensive, but it was worth it considering how many years of use I'll get out of it. Your back will thank you for it.
Extra ground cover for vestibule
Hammer For pounding in tent stakes
Small broom For sweeping out tent


Kitchen stuff

Stove I have a Coleman 2-Burner Fold 'N Go stove which I'm happy with. It is very compact but provides two stable burners. My only (minor) complaint is the lack of a wind shield. In case you are going someplace where it might get windy, you might consider making sure you have something to block the wind.
Stove fuel
Pots/pans, plus external handle if there isn't one
Washing suds/scrub pad
Tub for washing dishes I recently got a collapsible tub from REI, which saves on cargo space in the car.
Utensils (spoons, fork, knife)
garbage bags
Paper towels
Large water containers For carrying water from water faucet to your camp. I use two 96 ounce collapsible Nalgene containers. I am considering getting something bigger to avoid having to refill all the time.
squirt bottle a great help for dishwashing
Thermos Boil water the night before, and have it ready in the morning.
Extra ziploc bags Can be used to store food, carry tissues, or for garbage. Bring various sizes.
Picnic table cover



Toilet paper The toilet paper in most camps is horrible, and hard to roll as well. Bring your own.
Wet wipes
Towel Consider a quick-drying towel so you can easily reuse it each day
Quarters If the camp has showers, they usually only take quarters.



Outer jacket
Fleece top
wind breaker
long underwear pants
long underwear top
convertible pants
hiking socks
hiking liner socks
short-sleeve synthetic shirt
hiking hat
hiking shorts
waterproof socks
fleece pants
Garbage bag for dirty clothes
Extra cord For hanging clothes to dry
Clothes pins


First Aid Kit

ace bandage
sting eze For bug bites.
ibuprofen For aches, pains, reducing swelling.
Benadryl For food allergies
Claritin For hay fever
Epinephrine If anyone in your party has severe food allergies (for example, peanut allergies).
insect repellent
Neosporin To disinfect cuts
moleskin For blisters



Clear plastic containers (large tupperware) for food



playing cards


Other Camp Gear

LED lantern + extra set of batteries
Mosquito coils and/or citronella candles
Alarm watch
Battery recharger + adapter
Trowel (useful for putting out fires)
Notebook, pens
kleenex box
Head light + extra batteries



hand creme
Newspaper and/or other kindling
Axe for chopping firewood.


For the Kids

Wet wipes
Changing pad
Diaper cream
Baby carrier
Portable crib For those with young children. After about 18 months, we just used a sleeping bag instead.
Portable clip-on chair If you have a 2-year old (or younger), bring a clip-on chair, one that you can attach to the edge of a picnic table.
Plastic buckets and shovels
Frisbee, ball
Bubble blowing stuff
Extra blankets In case it gets cold
Milk Before leaving, see if your child likes milk that doesn't need refrigeration before opening, such as soy milk, rice milk, or those small Horizon single-serving boxes you can find at Costco or Whole Foods.
Medicine for children Children's Tylenol, etc.

Note: we didn't go camping with our first child until he was almost 2 years old, but we didn't waste any time with the second one. We went camping when he was only 5 months old. He was perfectly happy. You just might consider picking a warmer climate when camping with babies.

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