Gear for the perfect car-camping trip and tips from Sunset staffers

Sunset

Towels

Quarters (for the shower)

Headlamp

Deck of cards

Waterproof tablecloth

Tablecloth clips

Something to cover wet benches

Bungee cords

Ice blocks (last longer than cubes)

Utility knife

Nylon tarps

Ground cloth or tarp (for under the tent)

Bear barrels (if in bear country)

Corkscrew

Whisk broom (for tent)

Comfortable, collapsible chairs

Firewood (in case supply is limited where you are going)

Kindling

Extra batteries

Sticks for s'mores (many parks don't allow gathering)

DEET-free botanical insect repellent

Dr. Bronner's soap (environmentally friendly; use it foreverything)

Cast-iron skillet (virtually indestructible; cook anything init)

Roll-up plastic cutting board

Plastic French coffee press

Barbecue grill grate (place it over the campfire for cookingsteaks or veggies) Hammock

Favorite fireside cordial

Sunset's staff says ... | Top

"I keep my camping gear packed and in one place so it's easy tothrow into the car on a moment's notice." ― Julie Chai, Fact checker

Hang a whistle around your kids' necks in case they wander fromcamp. You can use walkie-talkies, but the whistle is simpler." ― Lora J. Finnegan, Senior writer

Make a spice kit! Fill very small plastic containers with salt,pepper, cumin, basil, Lawry's seasoned salt, garlic powder, chilipowder, sugar, olive oil, and cinnamon. I keep mine in a littlemesh bag along with a bottle of Tabasco. You can make anybare-bones camping meal taste yummy." ― Alison Aves, Copy editor

The La-Z-Boy-lovin' side of me enjoys putting a waffle foammattress pad under the sleeping bag. Sure softens those pineconesand god-knows-what-else under the tent." ― Paul Donald, Creative director

Keep leftover packets of catsup, mayo, mustard, soy sauce, saladdressing, jam and jelly, sugar, creamer, and salt and pepper fromfast-food forays in a zip-lock plastic bag. There will always besomething in there you need." ― Lorraine Reno, Editorial Services manager

Put your money into the things that will add comfort ― thebest sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and boots you can afford. If itlooks like rain, remember to think about runoff underneath as wellas coverage overhead." ― Lisa Taggart, Travel writer

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