Firstly, let’s take a minute to remember how great car camping really is. Picture this: it’s a Friday afternoon and the car is packed and you’ve managed to book a campsite. You leave work at 5 o’clock on the dot and hit the road, hurtling down the motorway in the inside lane towards the coast or the mountains. Your friends are already at the campsite when you get there, half set up with kids running around causing chaos. You unload the car and set up your tent in the (tiny) spot they saved for you, cracking a cold beer from your cooler at the same time. Once the tents are up and the fire is lit, you sit back and admire your hard work with your close friends and, just for a moment, enjoy the tranquillity of being outside.
Can you tell we miss it?
Unlike the backpacking feature, this post will consist of a list of our favourite products spanning a variety of categories, from tents to cookware, to accessories and everything else you can think of in between. And without the need to be lightweight or to pack down to the size of a match box, the products in this non-exhaustive list will have a focus on design, quality and aesthetic.
The Cave is Heimplanet’s OG design and has actually been around for years but it’s a classic and we love it. The 2-3 person geodesic shelter (on the small side for car camping) is made from high quality materials which will stand up to all weather conditions. And given that it’s an inflatable frame, you can pump it up in less than a minute. Inside the tent there are loads of storage compartments and a large vestibule to store luggage or other bulky items.
The Japanese know how to go camping. Every little detail is meticulously planned and considered, turning a basic camp set up into a studio worthy setting. Snowpeak is a brand right at the heart of this design-led outdoor living movement and the Vault tent is a classic example. Built for four people, it’s an ideal size for a small family with an internal sleeping compartment and a spacious living space with a large front door or a smaller side door.
For those of you that don’t enjoy setting up a tent, the new 2 Second Tent from French giants, Decathlon might be perfect. Developed over four painstaking years in the French mountains, this tent can be set up in a matter of seconds by the simple pull of a ripcord. The same cord is then pulled to dismantle the tent in equally speedy fashion.
Cooking at camp can sometimes be an ugly affiar with the bright colours often used in traditional camping stoves. The Tupike from Primus is anything but ugly with its sleek silhoutte and elegant wooden trim which we’ve come to expect from the Swedish cookware brand. With two burners and Piezo ignition, you’re free to create any meal you want from wherever you choose.
Since 1913 Stanley have been keeping our hot drinks warm in their vacuum flasks, and for good reason. No car camping setup is complete without a good flask for those long beach walks or mountain top sandwich breaks.
Keeping things cold is just as important so you’ll want a decent chiller to throw all your fresh food and beers in. The Teti Tundra 35 is a super spacious, well made cooler box with three inches of Permaforst insulation and a rugged, adventure ready construction. It also looks amazing in the dark blue.
All of the products in the Helinox range are expertly crafted and well thought out. The side table is just one example of this impeccable design process with its tripod, press fit leg system. Super easy to set up and easy on the eyes.
Good coffee is a must, whether you’re at home or at a campsite. Possibly even more so at a camp site.So, this is where the Aeropress comes in. Brew cafe quality coffee from the comfort of your camp chair in this sturdy, plastic press.
And you’ll need something for your freshly brewed coffee to go in which is where this titanium mug from Snow Peak comes in. Again, extremely well made from the highest quality materials, this mug is a joy to drink from.
This headtorch is the most powerful in Petzl’s compact range, offering a staggering 900 lumens in only 100g. It also uses reactive lighting tech to analyse the ambient light and adjust the lamps brightness accordingly. It’s one of the few products on this list that could cross over to the backcountry list too.
Other Handy Hacks
Planning a camping trip around the weather is a skill, and all too many trips have been scuppered by a lack of foresight. With the Windy App you can track the weather in an easy-to-use visual map which shows you what the weather is doing in real time. We’ve use the App all over the world and it works great.
Free on the App store
Have you ever found yourself searching for campsites and thought there should be an easier way? Thankfully, CampInn are here to help you book sites all over Europe. You can filter by region or by facilities and then choose your perfect site. Think of it like a Booking.com for campers – ideal!
So there you have it – our favourite camping gear for 2021. Let us know what your favourite piece of kit is in the comments!