The Complete Guide To Car Camping-Panergy

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The Complete Guide To Car Camping-Panergy

The Pros and Cons of Car Camping

Like I said earlier, car camping is really any type of camping where you are able to drive your car right up to the campsite, park your car and set up camp.

This makes camping easier because you don’t have to consider the weight of each item you’re packing. You only have to consider how much you can fit in your car.

When my family of 7 (now 9 after our twin boys were born!) went car camping to the Black Hills in 2016, we pulled a 6×8 aluminum trailer full of our gear. And we used every inch of space!!

The Pros of Car Camping

You Can Bring Luxuries

When I’m backpacking, bike camping, or canoe camping I have to think carefully about every piece of gear I bring.

However, when we’re car camping, I can bring items that I would normally not ever consider. Camping chairs, grills, rugs, and large coolers are all regulars when I go car camping.

You Don’t Have To Unload Your Gear

When you’re car camping, you don’t necessarily have to unload all of your gear from your can into your tent either. You can keep your camping gear organized in your car and get to it when you need it.

You’re Always Close To Your Car

Having your car close by can be incredibly convenient. We’ve cut camping trips short due to weather. We were able to pack the car right up and head out rather than deal with a storm.

I’ve jumped in the car and driven to Walmart for supplies. When kids forget a jacket, you can drive off and get a cheap one.

I’ve even left the campground to go and buy pizza!

You Don’t Have To Be In Great Shape

If you’re looking for a relaxing lazy time enjoying nature, then you don’t want to hike 20 miles carrying 50 lbs. You want to drive in, set up and chill out.

The Cons of Car Camping

While I am mostly in complete favor of car camping, it does have a few drawbacks.

You Will Usually Have Visible Neighbors (you’re not very secluded)

This can be considered a pro or con depending on your personality. Some campgrounds can tend to feel like a parking lot. They give you a small strip to set up camp right in between other campers.

Many state and national parks do a bit better and carve out relatively private spots for car campers.

The Real Gems Require Tavel By Foot Or Water

Ok, maybe not 100% true, but many of those truly unique campsites are not accessible by car but rather by hiking (backpacking), canoe or boat. Of course, there are still many amazing campgrounds that you can drive right up to.

Check out our lists of favorite campgrounds in each state here for amazing campgrounds for car camping in each state.

What To Pack For Car Camping

The beauty of car camping vs other types of camping is that you can be quite generous with your camping gear.

If you want to pack a grill, pack a grill (although I recommend a good camping grill). If you want to pack a big heavy tent, do it. You can also throw in a screened tent, cooking gear, bikes, and anything you can fit in.

We’ve put together a complete car camping packing list (arguably the most thorough on the internet!). Check it out and use it when packing for your trip.

Buying The Right Gear For Car Camping

What Weather Will You Be Camping In?

If you plan on camping in different climates, then you are going to need a wider range of gear.

Thankfully when you are car camping, if surprise weather strikes, you always have the option to pack up or wait it out in your car if you are unprepared.

Standard summer camping (60+ degrees) doesn’t require any special gear. But if you plan on camping in the cold weather, you’ll need to do your research.

Summer essential equipment:

Camping fan recommendation:



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