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The Southern California Car Camping Checklist: All of the Essential Tools You’ll Need

Southern California is known to be one of the most popular camping locations in all of the United States, with numerous camping trails and a vast expanse of land available to be at one with nature.

Of course, everyone has the ideal camping setting in their minds, and with various car camping ideas such as specialized SUV tents to help you get through the camping experience, it has become much easier to get more out of your trip for less.

However, even with that, there are specific fundamental needs you have.

In this piece, we'll be looking at some of these needs, and how you can effectively meet them.

Food choices

We all know that our choice of food depends on our preference. There's no checklist for the food items that you should bring, so feel free to take what you want. However, you should try to take a few snacks along with you these foods don't need processing, and you can just as well enjoy them while you're on the go. They're easily disposable as well.

Also, try to keep the environment in mind. The foods and snacks that you bring will most likely come in wrappers and packets, so make sure that you have a means of disposing of all of those.

Cooking utensils

When it comes to cookware, it is essential that you get very specific. This is because the perfect cookware for you will most likely be influenced by what and how- you want to cook.

For the simplest and most basic cooking, you can just get some pots, pans, and a grill grate. Whatever you want to cook or roast is done over an open fire, and you're pretty much good to go. You can even stick some cans into the open fire directly, although this will be done better with the use of a can opener.

However, if you generally feel uncomfortable with cooking over the fire directly, then you can get some grill.

Some camping grounds come with charcoal grill stands already. You might have to pay to make use of one, while some properties make them available for free.

Still, in this case, you just need to get yourself some charcoal, and you're ready to get cooking.

You might also be required to come with your camping stove, in which case you need to remember to take some fuel with you.

So generally, the essential cooking tools include:

  1. A grill grate
  2. A can opener (for canned foods, obviously)
  3. A chopping board
  4. Charcoal, or some alternative form of fuel (depending on how you're cooking)
  5. Paper towels
  6. Pots, plates, and cooking pans
  7. Serving spoons, tongs, and sorting equipment
  8. Tin foil
  9. Washing liquid

Sleeping Gear

Well, you're going to need somewhere to lay your head… unless you actually want to sleep off in your car.

Some people prefer to embrace the open air and sleep on a sleeping pad outside. However, this will most likely depend on your camping destination. Some areas are just too dangerous (wildlife-wise) for you to be left in the open.

Other people prefer to take a tent that will provide some protection and overhead cover (especially when the rain comes pouring down). There are various types of shelters, so you can quickly get one.

Unless you actually are sleeping in your car, you're going to need somewhere to sleep.

Ice and coolers

These are pretty much essentials at this point. You need to keep things like beer, raw meat, cheese, and much more in a frozen state, and you can't get a fridge out in the wild.

So, a lot of ice and a lot of coolers will be needed.

A means of starting a fire

It's a camping trip, and you'll definitely need to get a fire going or various reasons (sight, warmth in the cold, cooking, protection from animals, and much more).

To wit, consider the following ways of starting a fire:

  1. A lighter
  2. Match sticks
  3. A portable grill
  4. Firestarter equipment


Well, obviously.

Just as it is with a lot of other essentials, the amount of water that you will bring will depend on some factors, including but not limited to:

  1. How long you expect to be the camping trip
  2. What you want to use the water for; drinking, hygiene, washing dishes, cleaning the environment, etc.
  3. Whether your camping location is close to any natural source of water (streams, lakes, rivers, etc.) and whether you will be able to access these sources to help make things easier
  4. The weather. You'll need more water if the sun is scorching

Bug repellent

You might not know the importance of this until you get eaten alive by bugs and you get robbed of your precious sleep, with absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Get bug-repellent creams and sprays if you know what's right for you.

First Aid kit

Accidents happen even on the simplest of camping trips. However, while you can't predict when they might occur, you can sure prepare yourself for any eventuality.

When packing your first aid kit, make sure to have the following at least:

  1. Bandages
  2. Antiseptic creams
  3. Needles
  4. Hand sanitizers
  5. Rubbing alcohol
  6. Some gauze rolls
  7. Pain relievers

Some Light

The question of lights is a pretty subjective one. You can choose to have them hung or now. However, for simple illumination, then you'll need to at least get some lanterns and flashlights.

Also, depending on the type of flashlight you choose to get, you should make sure to have extra fuel or batteries just in case.

So, there you have it. As stated earlier, there's a lot more you can take with you to ensure that your car camping trip is more comfortable. However, these basics by will get you by easily.

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