Upgrade Your Car-Camping Experience on a Budget in 2024

Camping is a joy for everyone, not just those with deep pockets. While sipping my coffee, I stumbled upon an article claiming to enhance my car camping with six new gear items. However, the jaw-dropping total cost of $1,157 before tax and shipping left me in disbelief.

Weathertight Storage Containers – $129.99/6 Pack

The Front Runner Outfitters Wolf Pack storage box featured in the article may have been $59 each, but for something not even marketed as weathertight, it didn’t impress. These 30.6 qt weathertight storage boxes from Iris, at a lower cost, stack easily, conserve space, and come in various sizes to match your car’s cargo dimensions.

A Chef’s Knife for Your Camping Adventures – $14.95

Spending $300 on a chef’s knife for a campsite is ludicrous. Enter the GSI Outdoors Santoku 6″ Chef Knife. Durable with a rubber handle and stainless steel blade, it’s lightweight, includes a sheath, and costs less than a steak, all backed by a full manufacturer’s warranty.

Folding Table – $63.99

While many campsites provide sturdy picnic tables, some remote ones don’t. This folding table, compact and complete with a carrying bag and a mesh basket for gear, is ideal for standalone use at the camp.

Cast Iron Cookware – $88.89

Lodge offers an affordable 8qt dutch oven, rivaling pricier alternatives. My personal go-to is a $3 skillet from Goodwill, reconditioned to perfection. Quality camping cookware doesn’t have to break the bank.

A Camp Axe – $31.55

For car camping, the 14” Fiskars axe, with a protective sheath, efficiently splits wood. It comes razor-sharp and can be easily sharpened with Fiskars’ available sharpener.

Ratchet Straps – $34.90 for a 4-Pack

Inexpensive Rhino ratchet straps with a 1,823lb Guaranteed Max Break Strength serve multiple purposes, from securing gear to rooftop adventures to aiding in nighttime organization with their bright green color.

Gas Stove – $23.23

In fire-restricted areas, a gas stove is indispensable. Opt for a single burner to save space and money, ensuring a delightful camp dinner without the need for a roaring fire.

For just $362.10 before tax, you can have all the gear mentioned in that pricey article, plus a gas stove. Swap out the costly dutch oven for a thrifty skillet and utilize existing picnic tables, and you’re under $210. Remember, many of these items can be found at secondhand shops for even less. Camping is for everyone, and with gradual gear building, you can create a memorable outdoor setup without breaking the bank.