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Car Camping Pack List

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Looking back on the history of this site, there sure are a lot of posts about packing and unpacking. I don’t really like packing very much, but it is a necessary part of life. That said, if you’re going to pack, the best way to make it low-friction is to have a quality packing list. Here’s the one we just used for a summer trip to Cape Cod.

Camping List

Site

  • ☐ UV Tent / Sun-Shelter / Bug-low oasis: Cover your meal-prep and/or picnic table with this and keep it as sealed as possible. This was a game-changer for us!
  • ☐ Warm light, high-output lantern: our lighting rig was based on LEDs that, while bright, didn’t create or exude that warm incandescent glow. This meant that the shelter in the dark was nice, but not homey
  • ☐ Tree-mounted water jug: We did a number of water-hauls to get water. One larger dispenser, mounted to a tree would have made tasks like cleanup much handier for not much more weight.
  • ☐ Bug Spray / DEET / Whatever: Keep handy for immediate application at site
  • ☐ Cortisone: For when then bug spray fails
  • ☐ Sunscreen: You’re going to be outside a lot, don’t fall risk to complacency. Apply often.

Sleeping Arrangement

  • ☐ Groundcover Tarp (should be slightly larger than the base of the tent)
  • ☐ Tent with verified rain fly
  • Lanterns
    • ☐ One for illuminating the shelter, stays in the tent
    • ☐ One for carrying between tent and elsewhere in the dark (i.e. bathroom)
  • ☐ Air Bed
  • ☐ Charged Air Bed Inflater
  • ☐ Low-attachment sheets
  • ☐ Sleeping Bag
  • ☐ Pillows
  • Optional
    • ☐ Shade tarp setup: Never done personally, but neighbors had an angled (drainage) tarp that protected tents. This means theoretically that one could doff the fly (for cooling) yet remain cool. Seems smart.
    • ☐ Large tarp
    • ☐ Rope / bungee cords

Cooking Setup

  • ☐ Propane stove
  • ☐ Propane (2 small units)
  • ☐ Scan Pan general use large pan
  • ☐ Pot
  • ☐ Potholders
  • ☐ Clothesline
  • ☐ Clothespins
  • ☐ Large Cooler
  • ☐ Camp Suds
  • ☐ Dobie sponges
  • ☐ Paper Towels
  • Camp Utensil Sets (We didn’t use these, and the sustainability impact is not something I want to repeat)
    • ☐ Bowl
    • ☐ Pan
    • ☐ Mug
    • ☐ Silverware set
  • ☐ Big sharp knife
  • ☐ Camp French press (better than a camp percolator, but produces a good output to input)

Bathing

  • ☐ Bathing towels
  • ☐ Soap / shampoo travel units
  • ☐ TP (JustInCase)
  • ☐ Bath Towel / Camp Towel: Probably shouldn’t be the same as your beach towel

Camp Entertainment

  • ☐ Dominoes
  • ☐ Uno
  • ☐ Skip-Bo!
  • ☐ Speaker for Music
  • ☐ External battery
  • ☐ Worthy Literature

Dog?

  • ☐ Dog Toy
  • ☐ Dog Treats
  • ☐ Dog Food Dish
  • ☐ Dog Water Dish
  • ☐ Dog Food

Beach Trips?

  • ☐ Day Use Cooler
  • ☐ Beach Towels
  • ☐ Beach Umbrella

Groceries

  • ☐ Pre-ground coffee in a sealed container
  • ☐ Water (depending on campsite situation)
  • ☐ Gallon-size Ziplocs (I’d like to need these less from a sustainability POV, but that’s WIP)
  • ☐ Trash bags (Depending on site, you might need biodegradable sacks instead)