"Car" Camping Checklist

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Car camping means that everything and the kitchen sink could make the list—after all, it's the perfect synch between comfort and the outdoors. That said, the trick is to bring enough items that stand in for traditional home-bound amenities while still reinforcing the pleasures of being outdoors. To assure that, bring enough outdoor toys (soccer balls, footballs, Frisbees—the list is endless), never let anyone retreat to the mini-van DVD player, and, most important, take a page from the backpacker's philosophy: Leave No Trace; pack out what you pack in, keep the trash far away from the fires, and leave the place the way you found it. Not only is that the environmentally savvy thing to do, but it also bestows the right message to your young ones.

And when it comes to food—plan by meal based on your schedule, then aim for one- or two-pot meals like pancakes or stew, and be sure to pack enough fruit and other snack items to stave off hunger between meals.

Shelter and Sleeping

The Camp Kitchen

Food Items

Handy Campsite Tools

Light Sources


Family Medical Kit

Clothing for All

Play Equipment

Kid Stuff

Baby Gear

*Indicates optional/depending on climate and geography

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