Car Camping Essentials: 5 Items to Always Bring

Car Camping Essentials: 5 Items to Always Bring

Packing for a camping trip can be challenging.

You’ve got limited space but the potential for limitless activities. 

You also have to pack enough food to sustain you for the duration of your trip. 

And when you factor car tent camping into the equation, you need a whole different set of items to  add to your must-pack list. 

If you have a car tent camping trip coming up on the calendar, we want to help you get perfectly prepared. 

In this blog, we share the five items every car camper must bring on their next adventure. 

Read on to learn what tops our must-pack list. 

What is Car Tent Camping?

While the term care tent camping may conjure images of squished backseat sleeping, this phrase actually refers to using a roof top tent as your camping homebase. Roof tents easily secure to your vehicle via your car’s roof racks or roof bars. 

These tents can be either hard or soft, depending on your specific needs for your tent. Arguably the best part of car tent camping is that these tents usually come equipped with a foam mattress on the bottom of the tent that make this option inherently more comfortable than the ground. 

What Car Camping Essentials Should I Bring?

Whether you’re heading to the mountains or the valley, there are a few universal items you should bring with you on your next car tent camping trip.  While it may seem tempting to leave behind the classic camping needs like headlamp and first-aid kit since you have your car on hand, you still want to be prepared for every and any scenario. 

Head Lamp(s)

While camping above your car may feel much less rugged than camping on the ground, you still want to ensure you can see your surroundings. And, if disaster strikes and your car battery does, a headlamp can be a literal life saver. 

Mattress Repair Kit 

We mentioned that your car tent camping setup probably comes with a foam mattress in the base of the tent. If it doesn’t or you opt for additional support with an air mattress,  ensure that your sleeping arrangements are as comfortable as possible by packing a mattress repair kit. 


Regardless of destination, you’re going to want to eat while you’re camping. In fact, a camp stove is a real joy to use. Be sure to pack yours and all the necessary accessories, like fuel, skillet, and utensils. 

Water Bottles

Any seasoned camper knows the importance of having an adequate amount of potable water on hand. Be sure to pack enough water bottles to fill ahead of time and to scout a water refill location before embarking on your car tent camping adventure. 

First-Aid Kit 

Emergencies happen and you want to be prepared for anything and everything. Even though you may feel entirely secure since you're bringing your car, don’t skimp on addii=ng a first-aid kit to your to-pack list. 

Car Camping Essentials Conclusion

Regardless of where you’re headed, this car camping essentials to-pack list can help wherever you roam. 

As a roof rack tent camper, you may feel inclined to forego the typical campings essentials due to the availability of your car. However, we encourage all campers to pack the necessities, regardless of how they camp. 

And if you’re in need (or in want!) of a new rooftop tent, don’t forget to shop our incredible inventory. 

Check out our collection of roof rack tents!