top of page

Mountain Car Camping Pack List - 2017 Ed.

Well howdy, fellow campers! If it ever stops raining and snowing here in Colorado it will be camp season again and in the spirit of such I’ve updated the original car camping pack list with a few additions and changes. Details follow, but if you just want the pack list, it's at the bottom of this post.

After our 2016 camp season I re-evaluated what worked great, and what needed improvement. This year it’s all about condensing our camp supplies so we have less items to pack into the Jeeps, thereby enabling better last-minute camping experiences! Here are some items we’ve changed for 2017 -

Roof-top Tent: the biggest upgrade this year was our roof-top tent. See my RTT post for details on that.

Storage: I have love/hate feelings about our new storage chests which we procured from a local Army surplus store. I like that they’re large enough to hold the majority of our camp supplies (as opposed to a plastic tote plus all the sleeping bags, tent, and other supplies that we had to load individually the last couple years). Also, these chests are bear-proof given the many sturdy latches and can double as camp seating or tables. Snacks that don’t require refrigeration can be kept in one of these chests, which frees up space in the cooler for cold items (and helps keep those cold items at the appropriate temp since we aren’t opening the cooler frequently throughout the day to get snacks). The drawback to these chests is that they’re HEAVY and I can’t lift them into the Jeep by myself, and they add a lot of weight to our already loaded rigs. Plus I have to sit on these chests in order to get them latched, and occasionally I have to use a hammer to get them open because they are well used. So... we'll see how they perform through the season.

Pillows: in the past we’ve used regular old pillows which we liked better than all the inflatable options out there (yep, even the inflatables with a “memory foam” topper). None of the inflatables were all that comfy, and the regular pillows, while certainly softer, were large and either too bulky or not fluffy enough after a few nights’ sleep. This year I found these shredded memory foam beauties that we’ve already tried and love! Comfortable and packable, these are great! Tip: buy these well before a camp trip so you can fluff them in the dryer on ultra-low for a couple of hours, plus leave them out in the sun for a few days to air out (the memory foam smell needs to be given a chance to dissipate before the first use). These new pillows compress into provided stuff sacks for transport, and expand when taken out, then conform nicely to the head/neck for a better nights’ sleep.

Dishes/silverware: in the past we used paper bowls plus a variety of old silverware, plus metal mugs. The paper bowls, while convenient to throw in the fire after use (assuming fires are permitted), are wasteful and initially take up lots of space. We never ended up using most of the silverware so why take it all? The metal mugs also took up a great deal of space in the tote, and were super hot to drink from during morning coffee time. So, I splurged on one each of these items per person – one collapsible large bowl, one collapsible mug, and one titanium spork. Packable, lightweight, and useful – love it!

Towels: I’ve always brought along a hand towel and a bath-size towel and kept them in a ziploc stored in the camp tote. And I never. Used. Them. Ever! But it’s good to have one or two towels just in case so I upgraded to a couple of these camp towels that take up virtually NO space, are there if we need them, and are more absorbent and quick-drying than the regular terry towels I was bringing along anyway!

Pack List:

Note – this pack list is specifically for the mountain climate where weather can vary on any given day, year-round, from near 100 degrees F to below freezing temps with snow. Layers and warmth-boosting items (warm sleeping bags, warm clothes for pets, body warmers, etc.) are critical. And, don’t wear cotton in the mountains! (Read more on why “cotton kills”). If your preferred camping spots are on the beach or the plains, you’ll pack differently so use this list as a starting point and adjust as needed.

You'll see that, especially in one of the crates ("Camp Gear"), I group similar items in ziplocs or mini totes inside the crate. This allows for ease of use (all fire starting items are in one ziploc, for example) and keeps things organized rather than having one chest full of all the camp stuff mixed together. Do what works for you, but I've used this system for a couple years and like it.

The LibreOffice Writer program was used for this pack list. Click the following link, save to your computer, then Open With your word processing program of choice.

Do you have a favorite pack list? Or any items not on this list, that you can’t live without at camp? Or, do I have too much stuff on this list? (Better to have it and not need it though). Thanks for reading, and have a great camp season 2017!

bottom of page