Car Camping Kitchen: The Gear List


My car camping setup is ever-changing. Gear-wise though, these are my basics.

The flexibility car camping allows makes for a much more luxurious experience.

Because of all the extra space in my trunk, I can bring bigger items (like a two burner stove) that I couldn’t take on a backpacking trip.

I split this guide into two parts:

The first part is about what cooking supplies you’ll need before you even buy the food.

Part two covers my go-to grocery list and meal plan when camping out of my car.



Medium-sized cooler

Small enough to slide behind a seat in the car. Big enough to fit your food and some supplies.

Small bin with a handle

I store the tiny items that I don’t want to dig through my cooler for in a small container. Things like spices, coffee grounds, eating utensils, etc. One with a handle is preferable for convenience-sake.


Cutting board

Though I prep most of my food pre-trip, I keep a cutting board small enough to slide against the wall of my cooler.

I’ll chop up vegetables on it, but it also serves as a hard surface to make a sandwich on, to eat off of, or to lay out ingredients.


A simple, yet crucial tool—you’re gonna need a knife to chop. Don’t forget the knife.


Coleman two-burner camp stove

Two-burner stoves let you multitask. In the morning, I boil water for my French press while stirring my oatmeal. For dinner, I bust out hearty, healthy meals much faster.

Let’s say I wanna make tacos. I just sauté my pre-chopped veggies on one burner, then heat the tortillas on the other burner.  


This depends on your stove. Keep an extra as well. Nothing’s worse than waking up to an empty tank, cold breakfast and no coffee.

Deep pan & lid

The bigger and deeper, the better. I bought mine at Good Will!

Why deep is best: You can cram in a bunch of vegetables to steam without it overflowing.

Why big is best: You can cook two separate items spread out on different sides.

Tin Mug and/or a small pot

If I’m making oatmeal in the morning, I heat it in a small pot and use it as my bowl.

The tin mug is for boiling water and I drink my coffee out of it after.



What a beautiful invention.

You can find a titanium or plastic version at Walmart, REI, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc. 


I don’t always bring a bowl. But if you can spare the space, they’re nice to have along.

To avoid another dirty dish, I either eat out of a pan, pot, mug, or off the cutting board. If you plan on sharing food though, a bowl may be a better choice.


Microfiber washcloth

Microfiber is life-changing. They’re great for cleaning out dishes once the food is rinsed out.

I love them because you’re never left with a sopping wet dish towel to hang dry afterward.


SO. You got your gear. Now—it’s time to eat! Don’t sacrifice that full-belly satisfaction just because you’re out here roughin’ it.

Check out Car Camping Kitchen: The Food List, a guide covering what food (my favorite part) to bring on your next car camping adventure.

If I missed any cooking gear necessities that you always toss in the trunk for your car camping trips, let me know in the comments :-)