Winter Camping Under the Northern Lights
Winter Camping Under the Northern Lights

The Best Gear to Up Your Car Camping Game This Winter

Camping is awesome, car camping is awesome. And, while challenging, car camping in the dead of winter can be just as awesome, assuming you have the right gear. Packing the best winter car camping gear can make spending long nights in the back of your car or SUV not only tolerable but actually comfortable. Here are four of my latest, must-have recommendations.

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Best Winter Car Camping Gear

BioLite FirePit

BioLite FirePit - Wood Charcoal Burning Camping Firepit
BioLite FirePit – Wood Charcoal Burning Camping Firepit

There’s nothing better after a long day of hiking than relaxing around a blazing campfire. This is 100 times truer in the dead of winter. BioLite’s FirePit is the perfect campfire companion for car campers.

There’s a lot to love about this clever, Swiss-Army-style gadget. First off, the fact that it runs on both wood and charcoal make it incredibly versatile so, no matter where you find yourself, you’re virtually guaranteed access to a proper campfire. Even with the FirePit at full blaze, patented airflow technology keeps it well stoked and smoke-free. You can even control the size of the flames manually or via a free Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app. The mesh design means you have a 360-degree view of your fiery handiwork. That it can double as a hibachi-style grill makes it all the better!

BioLite FirePit Outdoor Smokeless Wood & Charcoal Burning FirePit and Grill
  • A smokeless wood-burning FirePit that can go from spark-to-fire in less than 30 seconds, cook your meals, and give you a front-row seat to everything going on inside your fire. Burn charcoal or wood for a hibachi-style grilling experience.
  • Airflow system has 4 fan speeds to control the intensity of your flames. Control fan intensity from the FirePit's powerpack or from the free BioLite Energy App for Android and iOS
  • 10,400 mAh rechargeable battery powerpack with USB outputs for charging your devices
  • Enjoy the feeling of a 360-degree floating fire with the FirePit's X-Ray Mesh and up to 24 hour burn time
  • Can be utilized as a smokeless grill, or for BBQ, or just as an outdoor fire pit. It's perfect on the go, or in the backyard.

Last updated: 2019-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

LEDLenser Flashlight

Of course, being surrounded by nature’s splendor does you no good if you can’t actually see it. It goes without saying that a proper headlamp is a must-pack for any camping trip. And a legit backup flashlight (“torch” for our U.K. friends) is every bit as important. It’s ideal for those tasks where directional lighting is critical.

LEDLenser MT10 Flashlight
LEDLenser MT10 Flashlight

For this, I’ve started packing LEDLenser’s MT10. It’s compact, puts out 1,000 lumens, is USB rechargeable, and features three illumination settings plus a strobe mode. Simple and straightforward. Because it’s manufactured under a subsidiary of the legendary Leatherman brand, it’s also durable as hell. For a beefier option, the LEDLenser MT18 pushes 3,000 lumens in case, ya know, you get really lost.

Ledlenser - MT10 Rechargeable Handheld Flashlight, High Power LED, 1000 Lumens, Lanyard and Sheath, Outdoor Series, Backpacking, Hiking, Camping
  • 1000 LUMENS STRONG: A powerful, high-performance flashlight built for the outdoors; Smart Light Technology features three programmable light functions (Power, Low Power, and Defense Strobe).
  • LONG-LASTING AND RECHARGEABLE: Provides 192 hours of light on a single charge; Quick recharge to 80% in 4 hours; USB charger for convenient powering up.
  • RAPID FOCUS: For seamless, crystal clear focusing on objects far and near; Patented Advanced Focus System provides optimal light transmission.
  • SMART FEATURES: Transportation lock prevents light from being turned on accidentally; Charge and battery indicator; Temperature Control System for maximum LED beam output.
  • 5-YEAR GUARANTEE: We take pride in the craftsmanship of our products - if your purchase has a defect in material or workmanship we'll repair or replace it, at our discretion, with one of equal or greater value.

Last updated: 2019-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Outdoor Vitals Sleeping Bag

The old adage of why you should buy a decent mattress (“Because you’ll spend almost one-third of your life on it!”) is just as true for your sleeping bag. I never, ever scrimp on my bedding. When I’m car camping, I appreciate the luxury of being able to pack a little more to make my nights more enjoyable.

Outdoor Vitals StormLOFT Down MummyPod Sleeping Bag
Outdoor Vitals StormLOFT Down MummyPod Sleeping Bag

I’ve been loving Outdoor Vitals’ ultralight camp gear. Their StormLOFT Down MummyPod Sleeping Bag is everything you might need in a four-season sleeping bag. Most importantly, the 800 fill power hydrophobic down in the 15°F variety is good for all but the absolute coldest of nights (although Outdoor Vitals offers a 0°F alternative). Not only is it warm, but super soft and comfortable to boot.

I love the versatility of using it either as a traditional mummy sleeping bag or as an insulator for my camp hammock. And the YKK anti-snag zipper means you’ll never damage the sleeping bag or need to fumble with opening/closing it in the middle of the night because of a stuck zipper.

Sale
Outdoor Vitals Summit 0°F - 20°-30°F Down Sleeping Bag, 800 Fill Power, 3 Season, Mummy, Ultralight, Camping, Hiking
  • ULTRALIGHT WEIGHT: Premium selected 800 fill power (IDFL tested) down fills the bag and holds the highest warmth to weight ratio of any insulation type. We wrap the down in a baffled (not sewn threw) ultralight 20 denier ripstop shell to complete the ultralight sleeping bag!
  • WARMER FEET: We know warm feet are critical for a good night's sleep so we removed some down from underneath your back (where it is compressed and not adding warmth) and moved it to your feet, giving you warmer feet without extra weight!
  • PACK LESS: Not does down have the highest weight to warmth ratio of any insulation, but it also is the most compressible insulation available! With the FREE compression bag we include, easily compress your sleeping bag to fit in any pack or space without needing to buy it separate!
  • WATER RESISTANT PROTECTION: We coat both our down and the shell fabric with a water resistant coating giving you the added piece of mind when the weather turns bad or condensation occurs that you'll sleep warm and cozy!
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY: We work hard test our gear through torture tests and only use top quality partners ranging from certified down, top shelf fabrics and highly proven sewers! All this leads to us having the confidence to provide a lifetime warranty on your purchase. If there is a craftsmanship problem, we'll fix it!

Last updated: 2019-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Somewear Global Hotspot

Somewear Global Hotspot and Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
Somewear Global Hotspot and Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

I’ve been toying with the idea of a personal locator beacon (PLB) for a while now. Frankly, I’ve always shied away from PLBs because they’re typically expensive and often require pricey, long-term monthly/annual contracts. But, I was intrigued by Somewear.

While the unit itself is a not-unsubstantial investment at USD $349, they promise the most affordable Iridium data plans on the market. So, that takes some of the sting out of the initial purchase price. Plus, it offers global two-way texting, location sharing, weather updates, and SOS emergency services all with the touch of a few buttons. The device integrates with iOS and Android devices through a smartphone app that’s dead-simple to use. For a seamless, out-of-the-box experience, it doesn’t get much easier.

What are your recommendations for the best winter car camping gear?

Also, if you’re a travel or outdoor photographer, check out our picks for the best travel photography accessories of 2019 (so far …)!


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