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YOUR LIST OF CAR CAMPING EQUIPMENT can be as short or as long as you like, but there are a few items that are essential. First up is a good quality tent with a rain fly—a waterproof tarp that goes over the tent—and a ground sheet to act as a barrier between your tent and the ground. Sleeping bags, pillows and a sleeping pad or air maress are also necessities. If you're tempted to forgo the air maress or pad, don't. It's worth making room for it in the car. Picture the gear you'll need at the campground at different times of the day. For instance, during setup you might need a hammer for tent pegs or possibly a Swiss Army knife. Toss in a tarp and some rope in case you're plagued by rain—you can always use it to rig a makeshi shelter. Think carefully about what you'll need to cook. It's always best to prep as much of your food at home as possible, but you'll still need dishes, cutlery, cups and/or mugs, tinfoil, roasting sticks, a cuing board, a pot or two and a portable cookstove with fuel (or a fire grate, if you're more adventurous). With dirty dishes comes cleanup, so bring a plastic dishpan, some biodegradable dish soap, a dishcloth and a tea towel. A plastic, flannel-backed tablecloth and clips to hold it in place are highly recommended for your campsite's picnic table. It provides a clean surface for eating as well as for washing dishes. Know What to Bring Having all the right gear makes such a difference, especially if it's your first time sleeping outdoors 34 | CAA MAGAZINE Pro tip Avoid overcrowding in the tent by planning to accommodate one person fewer than its advertised capacity. This means a four- person tent will really house three campers and their gear comfortably. C AMPING FOR BEGINNERS

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