Car Camping: Three Essentials

Car Camping: Three Essentials

Big Agnes King Creek 6 Tent

Big Agnes King Creek 6 Tent
Writer Doug Schnitzspahn dubbed the Big Agnes King Creek 6 as the best damn base-camping/car-camping tent on the market when he tested ‘em in 2011—and that description largely holds true today. Better yet, you can find this massive tent for up to 50% off the $450 MSRP across the interwebs. If anything, this six-person three-season cave is almost too big, so if you’re not a multi-sport family with lots of gear, the space may be overkill.

GSI Outdoor Halulite MicroDualist Cook Set
GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Cook Set
With the tent, we suggest you go big. But with your kitchen kit, go small—less dishes to wash. We like the GSI Outdoors kits, especially the Halulite MicroDualist, which ranked an impress 92 points in our field tests. The set is pretty rugged, and the sack doubles a portable sink (though it does take a while to dry). The only thing our tester found issue with? The included sporks don’t feel durable, so you may have to supplement them with your own cutlery. And if the backpack-friendly weight and overall compactness doesn’t appeal (or if the minimalist includes don’t satisfy the demands of the hungry mouths joining you), check out GSI Outdoors’ other cook sets. Our testing indicates that they make some pretty solid stuff.

Nemo Nocturne 15 Sleeping Bag
Nemo Nocturne 15 Sleeping Bag
During our field testing this bag pulled high ratings for its overall comfort and ability to sleep in pretty much any position. And the knocks against it—its bulkiness and heavy weight when compared to other bags in its class—don’t matter as much when you’re car camping. Water-resistant 700-fill DownTek should keep you warm even in damp conditions, with insulation that’s rated into the mid 20s.
—Nathan Borchelt

Check out some of our other picks to make car camping a truly luxe experience.