Supercar Camping Gear Guide: 12 Must-Have Pieces of Equipment for an Illogical Adventure
If you ever find yourself planning a week-long camping trip in a Lamborghini…check out these items.
Camping out of a supercar, as your humble author found out recently during a cross-California jaunt in a Lamborghini Huracan Performante, isn't the smartest concept in the world—fun though it may be. But equip yourself wisely, and it becomes—well, if not a bright idea, at least a brighter one. After all, it's not like the camping industry hasn't spent decades on a Colin Chapman-esque quest to make lighter gear for backpackers and bike-campers alike; these days, it's possible to carry everything you need for days or weeks outdoors on a backpack or in saddle bags.
But one of the advantages of car camping—even if you're doing it out of a Lambo—is that it allows you to haul weightier gear with you that you might otherwise. You can take bigger drinking vessels, extra sleeping gear, or bags that aren't ideally suited for toting deep into the backcountry. Plus, cars double as handy (if somewhat inefficient) generators, providing a source of power for any goods that need electricity. And on top of all that, they make for great shelter in the event of a sudden storm or unplanned bear visit.
So should you be about to embarking on a supercar camping adventure of your own—or really, any car camping trip in a vehicle designed for no more than two adults—consider socking any or all of these particular items in your compact vehicle of choice. After six days living in close quarters with them (with one exception, as you'll see at the end), I can heartily say each and every one gets the job like a champ.
Big Agnes Frying Pan SL3 tent
Unless you enjoy sleeping half-upright in the seat of a Lamborghini or something like it, a tent is one of the most critical pieces of supercar camping gear you can pack. Big Agnes's Frying Pan tent comes in two- or three-person sizes (though having used the larger one solo, I can't imagine cramming two adults into a smaller version), and is easy to set up solo. Plus, it has two doors, in case you find one exit blocked by...say, a bear. $249.95, bigagnes.com.
Therm-A-Rest DreamTime sleeping pad
Admittedly, the DreamTime's bulk made wrangling it one of the bigger headaches of the supercar camping experience. But the same internal foam core that made rolling it up and stowing it in the Lamborghini a pain made it a pleasure come bedtime, when the thick pad and inflatable air bladder team up to insulate you from the ground's lumps and chills alike. $199.95, thermarest.com.
Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt
Sleeping bags are cozy, but sometimes—like, for example, when you're camping 75 miles from the Mexican border in May—you don't want something quite so shrink-wrapped around yourself. Enter the Revelation, a super-light down hiking quilt which can be left open like a blanket in toastier weather, or be cinched tight around you when things get nippy. A bonus for anyone who loves online car configurators: Enlightened Equipment lets you spec your gear as you like, so you can build out your dream quilt online the way you would your favorite Porsche. $270, enlightenedequipment.com.
Big Agnes Wiley SL 30º sleeping bag
Still, when the temperatures drop and all that's between you and the outdoor air is a thin tent, few things are more reassuring than being snuggled inside a sleeping bag. Big Agnes's Wiley SL 30º is designed not only to keep you toasty even in below-freezing temps, but it's also made to keep the zipper from getting (ever-so-frustratingly) snagged on the fabric should you need to unzip or re-zip in a hurry. Plus, it's suuuuuuper-soft. $259.95 for regular model for people 6' and shorter, $279.95 for long model for people up to 6'6"; bigagnes.com.
Victorinox Vx Touring laptop backpack
Hopefully, you won't be forced to bring your laptop with you on your outdoorsy trip. If you do, though, this backpack has a nest for even the largest fold-up computers. (Mine's become my new go-to work bag as a result.) But this tough backpack works well for hiking and camping, too; its 24-liter capacity proved enough for more clothes than I wound up needing over six days in the quasi-wilderness, its nooks and crannies were perfect for tucking away smaller items like cell phones, charging cables, and dental supplies, and it's still small enough to slide into an overhead bin (or a Lamborghini's frunk) with ease. $190, swissarmy.com.
5.11 Tactical Rush LBD Xray duffel bag
Specced out in army green like my tester was, this 5.11 Tactical duffel bag looks every bit as mil-spec as the company's name would suggest; one park ranger asked if I was in the service after noticing it, never mind the fact that I was driving an Italian rocket as expensive as a house. Considering the closest I've ever come to active service is reading a Jack Reacher novel on a treadmill, I can't say how well the Rush LBD XRay would serve actual soldiers, but its 6,510-cubic-inch capacity served me incredibly well during my trip, easily accomodating all my bulky camping gear with room to spare. Also, the zippers are described as "self-healing," which seems like technology we should be using in every garment by now. $139.99, 511tactical.com
Stanley Classic Vacuum Growler
Nature-lovers of the more health-minded persuasion will inform us that hiking and alcohol shouldn't mix, due to potentially-lethal factors like dehydration and increased risk of accident. These people are morons. Put together responsibly, booze and camping are two of life's great pleasure that only amplify each others' strengths. Stanley's growler combines 64 ounces of fluid storage potential with a double-walled, vacuum-insulated thermal management system that'll keep craft beer chilly for a claimed 24 hours. (You can also use it as a rather effective water bottle, should you forget a traditional one the way somebody may have.) $55, stanley.com.
Full Windsor Muncher multi-utensil
If "multi-utensil" sounds like a pretentious way of saying "spork," well, yeah, it kind of is. But Full Windsor's titanium eating tool merges far more than spoon and fork. It also includes (deep breath): a serrated knife, a flathead screwdriver/prybar, a box cutter, a can opener, a bottle opener, a cord-cutting tool, a potato peeler—and, with the help of the little cylinder slotted into its leather carrying case, it can even start a fire. All this in a tool that weighs less than an ounce. It feels a mite odd in the hand—using the spork end means gripping it around the knife blade—but it's hard to argue with its versatility. $49.99, full-windsor.com.
Victorinox Huntsman Wood Swiss Army Knife
A good pocket knife is one of life's great simple pleasures—a reliable companion always at your beck and call to help with any task, mundane or urgent alike. And perhaps no brand epitomizes the ubiquity and versatility of a pocket knife as well as Victorinox's Swiss Army tools, which have been folding knives and other tools into oval-shaped bodes since 1891. While Swiss Army knives traditionally come wearing red Cellidor skins, the walnut-bodied Huntsman adds a bit of class, while also feeling warmer and more comfortable in the hand. And the 13 tools baked inside—including two blades, a teeny saw, scissors, and a corkscrew—mean there are few jobs this multi-tool can't help with. $54.99, swissarmy.com
Escort Max 360c radar detector
Sure, the Ned and Maude Flanders types of the world may argue that using a radar detector is a tacit admission of criminal behavior. But unless you're the type who digs unflavored ice milk, odds are good you probably enjoy the rush of driving fast at least every so often—in which case, using a radar detector is just smart. (Don't believe me? Ask Alex Roy.) And if you're gonna spring for something designed to help you skirt the law, don't skimp, because you'll probably wind up paying for it another way later. The Escort Max 360c isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for: An extremely advanced radar and laser detector that can use a car's wi-fi connection to keep its database of speed traps and speed/red light cameras up-to-date. Arrows and bars indicate the direction of incoming radar bursts, and it's smart enough to filter out false bogies like blind spot detection systems while still sharp enough to pick out a cop well before you even see the cruiser. $649.95, escortradar.com.
Victorinox I.N.O.X. Titanium watch
Get out far enough in the woods, and your phone becomes little more than a glorified clock. So why noy disconnect from the digital screen altogether by slapping a classy analog timepiece on your wrist? And while The Drive's in-house horologist Josh Condon would be happy to suggest a dozen watches to suit anyone's particular taste and style, the I.N.O.X. Titanium—a simple Swiss quartz analog watch with near-Kryptonian levels of indestructibility—proved itself a valuable companion during five days of camping and road-tripping. The leather strap is flame-resistant; the titanium frame is strong enough to withstand a tank being driven over it; and the watch itself can withstand water depths of 660 feet, which is exactly 650 feet deeper than I can free-dive. $625, swissarmy.com.
Bonus Entry: Oxx Coffeeboxx portable coffee maker
Sadly, due to space and weight issues—with the flights to and from California, not the Huracan—I couldn't bring the Oxx Coffeeboxx on my supercar camping adventure. But I certainly wound up wishing I had it with me during some of those bleary-eyed mornings while struggling to pack up my gear. Clad in impact-resistant plastic that makes it tough enough to withstand brutal conditions, this machine turns any campsite, worksite, or otherwise normally java-free location into a portable coffee shop . All you need is some clean water, an outlet, and a K-cup. $229.99, oxx.com.