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Must-Have Car Camping Gear for an Adventurous Summer

We are all slowly coming out of our quarantine caves and looking to get out into the great outdoors. With so many things up in the air this year, the one thing we are excited about here at Outdoor Prolink is car camping. This list of must-have camping gear takes your car camping adventure to the next level.

From a lineup of amazingly cozy camp mattresses to the ultimate in camp cooking technology, we are bringing you the best camping gear of the season.

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Set Up the Best Base Camp with Big Agnes

What isn’t to love about Big Agnes? From their incredibly awesome Mica Camp Chair (that doubles as backpacking chair, talk about luxury) to their adventure-ready lineup of tents, it’s hard to choose just one product. So we didn’t.

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However, if you’re looking for a new tent, then stop your search with Big Agnes. Their new Salt Creek SL offers up the best of both worlds: At under four pounds, it’s light enough for the backcountry and big enough for the front country. With three doors, you’ll never have to crawl over your dog, kid, or partner again.

For families who love to camp, check out the Bunk House 4. This 4-person tent gives you plenty of room to move around. The large vestibule not only gives you outside storage but provides some privacy too.

Overland with Tepui

If you live for rugged roads, then Tepui’s lineup of rooftop tents might be the perfect camping solution for you. Choose from a variety of different layouts from the compact Hybox to the 4-person Autana.

Virtually any vehicle with a roof rack can handle a Tepui set up. With expandable options and add-ons, there’s a lot to get excited about. Change the way you camp with a rooftop tent system this season.

Sleep Sound with EXPED

EXPED has long been the leader in camp comfort. Their lineup of incredibly comfortable car camping sleeping pads continues to wow us season after season. Self-inflating technology, combined with a Mini Pump (comes with the pad) these must-have camping mattresses make you feel as if you’re on a cloud.

The MegaMat series is an incredible lineup of top-notch comfort suitable for any camping king or queen. We love the MegaMat Duo is actually built with the back of your vehicle in mind. For all the car sleepers, this item is a must-have.

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The MegaMat Max 15 takes comfort to a whole new level with nearly 4 inches of foam-tastic comfort. Perfect for the solo camper, or someone who has a little less room to work with, this plush sleeping pad offers the ultimate in luxury.

Snuggle Up with Sierra Designs

Sierra Designs has always wowed us with its unique lineup of sleep systems. One of the best parts about car camping is bringing your pillow from home, so why not complete the setup with a backcountry quilt perfect for two?

The Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed Duo is a snuggle-friendly sleep system that’s designed to feel just like home. The Dridown fill keeps you cozy to 20-degrees, but there’s no uncomfortable mummy shape.

Instead, this 2-person sleeping bag looks and feels just like a quilted bed. The top comes out so you can breathe when you need it and still let your partner get cozy. Perfect for the adventuring couple that loves to camp together.

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Cooked to Perfection with Primus

Primus sets the bar for top-notch camping stoves that everyone loves. As some of the best camping gear of the season, we love to cook up delicious meals with Primus. There’s a wide variety to choose from, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favorites.

The newly updated Kuchoma Grill is light enough to be easily carried in one hand and ready for any backcountry BBQ. With horizontal burners, it cooks efficiently and evenly. The non-stick grill grate, wooden handle, deep hood, and handy legs make this a great grill for all of your favorite fixings.

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If you prefer a traditional burner system then the Tupike Stove is a solid piece of car camping gear. Here is a review by one of our Pros at Outdoor Prolink. The two-burner setup has a versatile setup which allows you to use pots, pans, and griddles for cooking up delicious camp meals. The newly-designed locking mechanisms, steel legs, and windscreens give this stove a secure feel.

Carry Your Toys with Yakima Racks

Got a lot to pack? Let Yakima help you out. As the leading innovator in bike racks, kayak carry, and roof-top storage, their innovative rack systems help you haul.

The Yakima Bike Bar is a great idea for truck owners who love some single-track. While the Holdup model gives you added clearance for a hitch-mounted bike rack.

The Showdown lets you store multiple bikes and kayaks on top of your vehicle. Even the tiniest SUVs can haul it all with the Showdown. The fold, store, flip, and go process means you’ll be able to get even the heaviest objects secured and on the roof in a jiffy.

Perfect for your next camping adventure, the Skybox 12 Carbonlite is a lightweight rooftop storage solution that lets you keep all the essentials packed up safe.

Pack Perfectly with Cotopaxi

We’ve always loved the bright, brilliant colors of Cotopaxi gear, but the function of their travel bags is perfect for any adventure.

As one of our favorite pieces of car camping gear, the Cotopaxi Allpa 42L Travel Pack can do anything, and we mean anything. With both a shoulder strap and backpack straps, this grab-and-go travel pack offers excellent durability and comfort.

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A waterproof coating keeps your belongings dry when the weather isn’t. We also love the bag design, allowing you to maximize storage and minimize clutter. Say goodbye to rifling through a suitcase ever again. Perfect for overseas adventures and a quick trip to your favorite local camping hideaway, the Allpa is a must-have piece of car camping gear.


This year’s lineup of the best camping gear is one for the record books. With so many unique and exciting ways to enhance your basecamp, this year is sure to be one of the best years for camping. So pack your (Cotopaxi) bag and pitch your Big Agnes tent under the stars this season.

Words by Meg Atteberry
Photos by Roxy Harbitter and Outdoor Prolink gear testers

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro

Meg Atteberry is a full-time freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Her mission is to empower others to get outside and have an adventure. She loves a sunny crag and delicious trail snacks. When she’s not wordsmithing you can find her hiking, climbing, and mountaineering all over the world with her fiancé and adventure pup, Nina. To learn more about Meg, check out her blog Fox in the Forest. She’d rather be dirty than done up.

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