TWO RIVERS, WI – When it comes to car camping, I’m a rookie, I don’t know what I’m doing… yet!  Thanks to YouTube, I was able to learn a lot about how to setup your car for car camping and for the most part, I THINK I did OK.

My car camping setup centers around my 2013 Subaru Crosstrek, which I love as a car and learning to love as a camping vehicle.  Two things stood out right away when I was looking into all of this:

  • First, I had to figure out how to sleep comfortably in my car
  • Second, since I was staying in a state park, I picked a site near the bath house because I know me, in the middle of the night I was going to have to get up and go to the bathroom and I didn’t want to walk all over the place

In both cases, I think I did alright. This is a learning process right?  So as I grade on the curve for this first trip, I think I’d give myself a C+ / B-. Without a doubt I’ll be even more prepared the next time I go out. 

I stayed at “Point Beach State Forest,” for my first trip and while I probably overpacked, here are the basics of what my setup was like:

  • Trifold 4 inch mattress
  • 3 covers, including one down blanket
  • 2 small coolers
  • 1 large bin to hold most of my cooking gear
  • 1 Coleman two burner stove
  • A collapsible 5 gallon water judge
  • 1 collapsible solar light
  • 1 head lamp

One of the things I learned, quick, fast and in a hurry is that I have to be even more organized when packing. Part of the reason why is because I think I packed too much with me. The trip was a short 2 night stay and I probably packed like I was going out for a week.

Now it did get cold, in the 30s while I was there, however my blankets did a decent, not a great job of keeping me warm and that 3am walk to the bathroom, wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it sure did make me long for my RV.

All in all, it was a good first time out. I’m going to keep working on getting MY right setup, so that next time I’m out and about it will be even more comfortable.

If you car camp, what’s your one must have item with you? Drop a note in the comments below, I’d love to know!


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