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Essential Gear You Need to Start Car Camping | Outside


(mellow electronic music) – Hey, guys. Bryan Rogala here for Outside, and today we’re gonna talk a
little bit about car camping. I’ve got a column on this which you can read on Outsideonline.com. But basically the idea here is we’re gonna walk through
some of the essential pieces of gear that I take with
me when I go car camping, and I’m gonna show you my setup and how I keep things
organized and ready to go. Now these plastic bins that
I mentioned in the column are pretty much the backbone
of my whole car camping setup. I basically keep things organized
in three separate groups. This is sort of my
cookware and cooking bin, and in it I will keep things
like a two-burner stove, fuel for said stove. I’ve got pots and pans in here. Pretty much anything I need to cook a meal lives right here in this bin. And the reason I do that is because I know where it
sits in my garage on the shelf. That way I’m aware of everything
and I know where it is so that on a moment’s notice
I can just go grab the bin, throw it in the back of the
car, and I’m ready to go. Now, next, I’ve got my food bin. So, pretty self-explanatory, but, as you can see, this
is all of my camp food. This has backpacking food in it too. I keep these meals ready to go. But it’s got everything
from olive oil and spices to pancake mix, some
dried stuff like pasta. Pretty much whatever I need
to go camping or backpacking lives right in here. And that way, if I am going
on a backpacking trip, again, I know where it is. I can just grab a couple of meals and go. Or I just grab this whole bin and it’s usually got everything
I need for the most part for a weekend of camping. The third part of my three-bin system is all of my sleeping
stuff stays right in here. When I am car camping
I will use a down quilt instead of a sleeping bag. I don’t bother with a a mummy bag because I wanna be comfortable
when I’m car camping. A down quilt or a big
rectangular sleeping bag, double sleeping bag, something like that, even a quilt from home, is gonna keep ya a little more comfortable than a restricting mummy
bag when you’re car camping. Now, the other thing I have
is a full-on air mattress. This is a smaller one that I’ll use right here
in the back of the truck. If I have the tent set up and
I’ve got more than one person, my wife is with me, I will
use either a full-size or queen-size air mattress
which fits in the tent that I usually bring when I’m car camping. I do this because it’s more comfortable. That’s what it comes down to. And if I am out for a weekend
of fishing or mountain biking, I want to sleep well at night, so that allows me to do it. So I’ve got the down quilt, like I said. I keep other stuff in here. Lantern, which is really nice
in the middle of the night. Obviously, I’m not gonna take something
like this backpacking, but lanterns, especially
these little Luci lights, which I talk about in the column, but they’re inflatable
and they’re solar powered, so you don’t have to worry
about batteries for ’em. You don’t have to charge ’em. And what I will do is just
hang a couple from the truck, hang a couple from the tent, or string ’em up in a tree, and it’s just kinda nice. It lights the campground up. You don’t have to wear
a headlamp all the time. You can kinda see where you’re going, and it just adds a little ambiance. It’s kinda nice. So, that is how my three-bin system works. And, obviously, I’ve got
room to bring all this stuff, because I have a truck. But one thing I will do, if
I’m going with someone else, or I need to pare things down, I just bring smaller bins. So I will move some of
this stuff into a bin size or whatever size I have laying around. Might seem overboard, but I truly believe
that I have camped more because of this system, because I know where things are. I know what to pack. It’s all already pretty much packed and all I have to do is
throw it in the car and go. Okay, so you’ve seen my bin system here. Now what I’m gonna do is walk you through some of the
stuff I go over in my column which are the essentials. I’ve talked about some of ’em already, but I will show you what
I usually take with me when I’m going out for a
weekend of car camping. (mellow electronic music) This is my car-camping tent. Now, it’s huge. I get that. It’s a six-person tent. It’s a little overkill, obviously, if you’re going solo or
just with two people. But here’s what I like about it. I don’t have to worry about space. I don’t have to worry about
carrying this thing very far, and it gives me a ton of living space. This is the REI Kingdom Six and that’s an expensive tent. If you buy it new it’s like
400 bucks, something like that. I found this thing at an
REI garage sale for $50. I’m not telling you to
go out and buy this tent, I’m just saying buy a big tent. Buy something spacious
that you’re not cramped in, and that’s just gonna make
it more comfortable for you. (mellow electronic music) Okay, now, obviously, I have not staked this thing out fully, haven’t put the fly
on, anything like that, which I probably should
because it’s starting to rain. But, I just wanted to show you what I mean when I say a big tent. This thing I can walk inside. I’m six-three and I can stand up in here which is pretty cool. It just makes a lot of difference when you’re spending a lot of
time camping out of your car. Okay, that pretty much does it for my car-camping essentials. Like I said, gotta thick
sleeping pad or an air mattress. You’ve got a big, oversized tent. You got a regular,
rectangular sleeping bag, or, even better, a quilt. We’ve got our cooler here, a big one that you can cook on. We have a two-burner stove, which is great for
cooking in the mornings. You can put two cast-iron
skillets on there, pot of water, whatever you need. Make breakfast, make dinner,
makes it really simple. We’ve got our Luci lanterns, or some other sort of
light or lantern situation. I like these ones, like I said, because they’re inflatable
and they’re solar powered, so you don’t have to worry about
swapping out the batteries. And, finally, my last
essential is plastic bins. Those plastic bins are probably
the most important piece of this whole thing because
they keep things organized, and they let me get out
at a moment’s notice, so I’m always ready to go. If somebody calls me up last minute and said, hey, we’re going
on this car camping trip. Do you wanna come? Yeah, I can do it. I know where all my stuff is. I’m ready to go. And it just keeps things
really simple and approachable, and helps me get outside more.

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