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Step Up Your Car Camping Game

All you really need is to pick a sweet spot and pack a big tent, a thick air mattress, a two-burner stove (one for coffee, one for bacon), and a cooler of beer. But if you want to step it up a notch, bring along these items, too.

A packable hammock: The best ones, like ENO’s DoubleNest hammock, fit two people and pack down to the size of a football. There’s no better way to read a book, nap, or just watch the trees sway.

Mood lighting: Lanterns are fine, but stringing a few battery-powered lights over the picnic table and through your tent makes for a cozier, more intimate vibe.

The perfect sandals: If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking or river exploring, go with Chaco's new Z/Canyon 2s, which have a running-inspired rebound plate. If you’ll mostly just be chilling, impress your friends by customizing your own pair of Classics.

Dutch oven: If you’ve never baked a cake in a Dutch oven (we like GSI’s cast aluminum ones) over open coals, you’re missing out. It’s super easy, and your friends will be impressed.

A board game: Sitting by the fire and drinking beers is nice. Sitting by the fire and drinking beers while dominating Monopoly under the stars is sublime.

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