With my teens and twenties well behind me, when I camp these days I like to be more comfy. The lovely Joanna of Cup of Jo addressed camping recently, saying that she wanted to like camping, but she never really took to it. Below are some ideas to get the non-campers in your group of family or friends on board. Of course there is always the option of finding a location that offers a place for tents and nearby lodging. You can swap campfire s'mores for hotel showers and everyone is happy.
1. Aerobed or air mattress. Make sure you have adapter so you can inflate with car outlet if there is no electricity at campsite. Speaking from past experience, make sure air mattress fits in tent. Bring bedding and pillows from home and make it cozy.
2. Coffee. Highly recommend the individual french press cup if you want something better than instant. GSI and REI both make good ones.
3. If you are going to be setting up campsite later in the day, pack a picnic so you don't have to worry about cooking and get right into the spirit of eating outdoors.
4. Chocolate & Nuts & Snacks. Nothing worse than low blood sugar when you are away from home & far from grocery stores. Granola or oatmeal and happy bowls for the morning. Pre-plan meals in advance in case you you can't find what you need close to your campsite.
5. First Aid Kit & extras like band aids, sting ease, lip balm, sunscreen & rain gear.
6. Check that your car is running well and that your spare tire is inflated before setting out.
7. Bring cruiser bikes if you have room. It's a great way to get around and explore.
8. Portable Grill & grilling supplies (check to see if camp ground provides a place to bbq if you want to leave this at home).
9. Headlamps & LED lantern for night time reading and games. Solar charger for back up cell phone charging.
10. A sense of adventure. Fun to pack camera, binoculars, star chart, wildlife & bird guides.
* Disclaimer- This is not an exhaustive packing list, it hits the main ideas of comfort & safety. Both are needed for a fun car camping outing. Remember that since you aren't backpacking, you can pack items that are not necessities.
Photo Credits: Picnic by Thomas Story via Sunset, Tent Town by Matthew Foster, Cath Kidston tee-pee by Marcus Nilsson, Big Bend Night by TJ Avery.