The popularity of car camping in Malaysia has risen in recent years and for good reason. Instead of lugging heavy camping gear on foot and tiring yourself out, it involves you driving your car right up to your campsite with all the gear you need.
Compared to traditional camping in the jungle, car camping offers a more easy-going camping experience that’s great for the whole family. If you’ve been thinking about going car camping in Malaysia, here’s a list of essential camping supplies and top camping spots you can visit in the country.
What is Car Camping?
Car camping doesn’t necessarily mean you camp in your car. Instead, it involves carrying all your camping supplies in the car and driving right up to your campsite, and working out of your car, so you can grab the items you need when you need them.
Since you don’t really have to limit how much you carry, car camping is a lot more comfortable than traditional camping – you can pack everything you need from fresh ingredients in cooler boxes to comfy pillows and blankets. With the convenience of car camping, you can focus on enjoying your time relaxing, cooking, and hiking with your friends. In fact, if you choose the right campsite, you can even camp with your children and senior parents.
Car Camping Essentials List
When going car camping in Malaysia, you can bring almost everything you can think of along with you. However, you’re still limited by how much you can carry in your vehicle, be it a hatchback, sedan, or multipurpose vehicle (MPV). To help you prepare for your next car camping excursion, here’s a list of the essential supplies you should prepare.
While you could sleep in your vehicle if you really wanted to, getting a good tent can ensure that you remain as comfortable as possible while camping. Choose a tent that’s easy to set up and waterproof to shelter you from rain. Be sure to note the size of your tent as it will depend on the number of people that will sleep in it.
Besides the usual camping tent, you can even get a rooftop tent or a car tent that attaches to the boot opening at the rear. When shopping for a car tent, make sure that it’s compatible with your vehicle as some tents may be designed for larger vehicles like sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and MPVs instead of sedans and hatchbacks.
Here’s what a rooftop car tent looks like
2. Sleeping Bag, Pillow & Blanket
Whether you decide to sleep in your car or in a tent, you need some sleeping gear to stay comfortable. When you camp outdoors, the temperature at night and in the early morning can be too cold. Therefore, it’s important to pack an inflatable mattress, pillows, and a blanket.
That said, if you want to carry a lighter load, you can just pack a sleeping bag since it takes up very little space and can double up as a mattress and blanket. While some sleeping bags have foldable hoods that you can use as a pillow, it’s a good idea to bring a compact camping pillow for extra comfort. You should also pack some foldable mats that you can lay on the ground to get the picnic feel during meals.
3. Cooking Supplies
Part of the fun of going car camping in Malaysia is cooking with your group. And since you can pack more in your vehicle, you should bring enough cooking supplies if you plan on cooking a decent feast. The most crucial cooking supply would be a camping stove. Be sure to select the right stove depending on the size of your group. If you have a larger group, you can consider a double-burner gas stove. Here are the important cooking supplies you’ll need while camping:
- Camping stove and camping grill;
- Outdoor cookware – pans, pots, spatulas, kitchen tongs, etc.;
- Gas stove refill canister;
- Aluminum foil to wrap your food during grilling;
- Dishwashing soap, sponge, and a pail to do the dishes;
- Garbage bag to throw your food waste;
- Instant foods and drinks such as instant noodles, coffee, etc.
4. Eating Utensils
Of course, you also need utensils to eat the feast you prepare. Pack enough utensils for your group and maybe a few extra items just in case. Since camping is all about enjoying and appreciating nature, avoid bringing disposable utensils if you can help it. Also, stick to plastic or stainless steel plates and cups to avoid breaking any. Essential utensils you shouldn’t miss include:
- Spoons, forks, and ladles;
- Plates and cups;
- Containers to eat your meal out of. You can also use these to serve the food and pack them if you have leftovers.
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5. Cooler Box
Since most car camping sites are easily accessible, it’s easier to bring more ingredients to cook. A cooler box allows you to store fresh ingredients such as meats and vegetables without them spoiling. You can also store cool drinks and ice cubes which you’ll definitely need after returning from hiking or playing in the river. However, don’t forget to pack dry foods that you can quickly whip up into a meal such as bread, butter, biscuits, nuts, and dried fruits.
6. Lightweight Clothes
Being in a tropical country, it’s recommended that you pack lightweight clothes when camping. Also, pack clothes according to the activities that you have planned for your trip. For instance, if you plan on going hiking, be sure to pack proper hiking shoes, socks, and pants that sufficiently protect your legs from the elements.
If you only plan to hang out at your campsite and go down to the beach or river (if any), some lightweight clothes, slippers, and extra towels will do you good. Of course, don’t forget to bring a sweater or jacket for when the night gets cold, and a waterproof parka in case it rains.
7. Fire Starter
Being able to start a fire is crucial to enjoying your time camping. You’ll need it to cook, to start a campfire, and to warm you up at night. To ensure that you can start a fire without fail, you’ll need a firestarter. A firestarter is a block of material that burns very easily which you use to start a campfire. Firewood that’s left outside can become damp as a result of coming in contact with morning dew or rain, which makes a firestarter an essential camping supply.
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8. Large Water Bottle
Some car camping spots in Malaysia provide basic necessities including running water, shower stalls, electricity, and may even sell mineral water bottles. However, you should still bring along enough water to stay hydrated. You can also pack a portable water filter to use in emergencies or when you run out of drinking water.
Keeping good hygiene is important when you go camping as you’ll be outdoors and doing physical activities during your stay. To help you keep clean and feeling fresh, pack sufficient toiletries including soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, wet wipes, deodorant, and anything else that you need. It’s also a good idea to pack insect repellent and sunscreen as you’ll be outdoors most of the time.
10. First Aid Kit
It always pays to be prepared, so be sure to pack a first aid kit when camping. While a basic first aid kit is usually enough, you can choose to bring a larger, better-equipped kit when car camping since you’ll have the space. Camping outdoors can expose you and your group to unexpected risks such as minor cuts, bruises, and insect bites, so it’s a good idea to learn how to treat these injuries.
Remember that a first aid kit is supposed to be a first response measure in an emergency. In case of more serious injuries such as a burn or fracture, bring the patient to the clinic or hospital after the first aid treatment.
11. Outdoor Camping Survival Kit
An outdoor survival kit can prove helpful in a number of situations from helping you fix a broken tent to building an emergency shelter in the woods. A decent survival kit can range in price from under RM100 to over RM200 depending on its size and quality, but you can typically get a lot out of a RM100 kit.
Important items that a kit should have include scissors, a knife, compass, tactical pen, flashlight, paracord, and whistle. Other helpful items you should consider packing for your car camping trip include:
- Duct tape;
- Safety pins;
- Machete or axe;
12. Flashlight or Headlamp
Since the lighting at most camping spots will most likely be limited, bring along a flashlight or headlamp to help you see in the dark. You can use it to see better when you need to grab supplies out of your car or when you go hiking at predawn hours. For lighting up your campsite, you can leave an electric camping lantern by your table or sitting area.
13. Other Helpful Accessories
Besides the camping essentials listed above, there are other items you can bring to improve your car camping experience. Here are some accessories you can consider:
- Camping chair: While you could sit on a mat or a log, a camping chair is just more comfortable. Plus, sitting on an actual chair is easier on the joints.
- Boot organizer: A boot organizer is extremely useful to keep your boot organized when you have many small items in your car. You can organize your toiletries, electronics, food, and anything else you’re bringing.
- Board games: These can keep you occupied when you’re not doing any physical activity, such as after dinner. Games are also a great way to entertain kids.
- Portable speaker or instruments: Having some music on your camping trip can lift everyone’s spirits and bring people closer together. Or, you can bring a guitar and have a mini concert or camp sing-along.
- Waterproof bag: Unless you have someone taking care of your items when you go hiking or have any water activity, you’ll need to bring your electronics and valuables with you. To keep them dry, store them in a waterproof bag and bring them along when you’re out and about.
- Portable power supply: A power bank or portable generator is important especially if your campsite doesn’t have electricity. With a power bank, you can charge your phone, lamp, speakers, and portable fan.
Top Car Camping Spots in Malaysia
There are a lot of camping spots in Malaysia that are friendly to beginners and families with kids, which make these spots perfect for car camping. Here are some popular campsites you can check out for your next car camping trip.
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We hope this list of car camping spots and essentials can help you better plan your next car camping trip. If you’re looking for a quality car to bring to your next camping destination, check out CARSOME.
All CARSOME Certified cars undergo a strict 175-point inspection to rule out major accident and flood damage. We also professionally refurbish each car to ensure its safety and comfort besides giving it refurbished aesthetics. Furthermore, each car comes with a fixed price and no hidden fees, a one-year warranty, and a five-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked.
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Devan is a long-time writer who has dabbled in different fields from media to marketing. He enjoys some virtual driving on Forza Horizon and likes reading about various topics including cars.