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CostHelper > Sports & Fitness  > Car Camping Equipment

Car Camping Equipment Cost


How Much Does Car Camping Equipment Cost?

 
low costIce Chest: $15-$400average costSleeping Bag and Pad: $25-$100 per personhigh costTent: $45-$1,200

Also called family camping, base camping or tent camping, car camping can be a relaxing, fun and affordable way to vacation in the great outdoors without sacrificing too many creature comforts.

Typical costs:

  • Basic equipment for car camping includes a tent, sleeping bags with pads/cots, a stove, a lantern and/or flashlight, and an ice chest. With careful shopping, a family of four can buy the basics for $300-$500 -- but it's also possible to spend that much (or more) on just a tent, and the total cost could be $1,000-$2,500 or more for high-end camping equipment. Some campgrounds have water and electric hook-ups, but in most cases people car camp without electricity, generators or electronic equipment such as a television.
  • Expect to pay $45-$180 for a high-quality, entry-level tent, depending on size and materials; anywhere from $200-$500 for a more spacious and comfortable family or cabin tent, and it can go as high as $500-$1,200 for a "camping palace" that sleeps up to 12 people. For details on the types of tents in these price ranges, see How Much Does a Camping Tent Cost.
  • Allow a minimum of $25-$100 per person for both a basic rectangular sleeping bag and pad. The price can increase depending on size, quality of materials and comfort rating . Bags with synthetic insulation are usually less expensive than those with goose down, but not as effective as goose down in cold, harsh weather conditions. The basic Coleman Palmetto Sleeping Bag[1] sells for about $25, is comfortable to 30 degrees, and is designed so two bags can easily zip together to make one large bed. Sleeping pads range from air mattresses ($10 to $150 or more) to foam pads ($15-$30), inflating foam pads ($50-$80) or a folding cot ($30-$150 or more). The Stansport Weekender Folding Cot[2] sells for $70-$130.
  • Propane (or sometimes butane) canisters are the easiest fuel for car camping. One-burner propane stoves start about $20-$45 but aren't good for large meals. Basic two-burner models average $30-$100, while for big groups more elaborate three- and four-burner stoves with grills, griddles, stands (legs) or other options can be $100-$300 or more. For more details, see How Much Does a Camp Stove Cost.
  • An ice chest or cooler keeps perishable food from spoiling. Many experts recommend taking two ice chests for camping -- one for beverages (this chest gets opened more often) and one for food items like milk and butter. For two to four people, get at least a 30-70-quart capacity cooler, and up to 150 quarts for more than four people. Ice chests start around $15-$50 for 20- to 50-quart plastic coolers such as the Igloo Family 36[3] ($30-$35). For easier movement, a wheeled, large-capacity, plastic ice chest can cost $50-$150 depending on size and construction, such as the Igloo Ice Cube Maxcold 70-qt Roller[4] ($80-$110). Metal ice chests can be $100-$400 or more, such as the 54-Qt. Coleman 6155 ($190-$220). A dependable flashlight can cost $10-$40 or more with batteries (LED flashlights are in the higher end of the price range), and propane canister lanterns are around $20-$60. Folding camp chairs can be $10-$80. Incidental items such as specialized cooking gadgets, games, battery-operated fans or a hammock can add another $50-$200.
Related articles: Tent, Camp Stove, Backpacking Equipment

What should be included:
  • Gorp.com provides a sample packing list[5] . CampingEarth.com suggests 17 things people think they need but don't[6] .
Additional costs:
  • Campground fees can cost $8-$50 a night, depending on location and what's provided. Some campgrounds include flush toilets, a single cold water faucet to hot showers, options like electricity hookups in each site and community facilities such as a swimming pool or coin-operated laundry room. There can be additional fees of $5-$25 for parking more than one vehicle in a campsite.
Discounts:
  • Many sporting goods stores, including chains such as REI[7] , rent basic camping gear (although selection can be limited). Rental prices vary by location, the length of the rental and the quality of the equipment. LowerGear.com[8] rents camping gear online and ships it to the renter -- tents run $35-$55 for a week, a two-burner propane stove is $15 weekly; and sleeping bags are $21-$39 weekly, plus UPS shipping costs from Arizona.
Shopping for car camping equipment:
  • Two major camping equipment manufacturers are Coleman[9] and The North Face[10] . Camping equipment is available from big box stores like Walmart[11] and Target[12] to specialty stores like Dick's Sporting Goods[13] .
  • REI provides guidelines for buying a tent[14] , sleeping bag[15] , sleeping pad[16] , flashlight[17] and lantern[18] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.coleman.com/product/2000004418
  2.  www.stansport.com
  3.  www.igloocoolers.com/Coolers-Family/36-Quart-Family
  4.  www.igloocoolers.com/MaxCold/70-Quart-MaxCold
  5.  www.gorp.com/camping-guide/travel-ta-family-camping-scenic-drives-sidwcmdev_058999...
  6.  www.campingearth.com/thingsyouneed/
  7.  www.rei.com/stores/rentals.html
  8.  www.lowergear.com/product.php
  9.  www.coleman.com/products
  10.  www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/equipment.html
  11.  www.walmart.com/cp/Camping/4128?catNavId=4125&fromPageCatId=4125
  12.  www.target.com/
  13.  www.dickssportinggoods.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=2277089
  14.  www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/family-base-camping-tent.html
  15.  www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/sleeping-bag.html
  16.  www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/right-sleeping-pad.html
  17.  www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/flashlight.html
  18.  www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/lantern.html
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