Gear Guide: What you Need to Live Out of Your Car for a Few Weeks


Sometimes, there’s no substitution for the open road. For many, it’s becoming a way of life rather than just a short-term trip. If endless days traversing the country on four wheels sounds appealing, we’ve put together a starter kit of gear you’ll need to stay sane and happy when you make the choice to live out of your car for a little while.

A Good Night’s Rest

Ancheer Multifunctional Car Mattress $37


There are two options here: you can make your own bed or buy an inflatable mattress that fits in your back seat. The latter fits nicely into the gap between the front and back seats and folds away when deflated for easy storage. However, it doesn’t offer the same storage capacity as a built bed frame, which you could build to store things underneath.

Now You’re Cookin’

Primus PrimeTech Stove 2.3L $124


A hot meal will be a key creature comfort while on the road. This one from Primus is a super-compact unit with one pot, integrated colander and lockable gripper. The pan is made from anodized aluminum, meaning it will stand up to long-term, daily use.

Coffee: Another Essential

GSI Outdoors 30 oz. Javapress $30


You’re going to want your daily caffeine fix. Fortunately, mobile living doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. GSI Outdoors portable Javapress condenses the French Press concept into a 30 oz. carafe that’s BPA-free and double insulated. It’s easy to clean and will stash away nicely after use.

Now You’re Cookin’ (part two)

GSI Outdoors Destination Kitchen 24-Piece Set $42


Kitchen utensils can take up a ton of precious storage space. Solve that problem with this compact set. It includes just about every essential piece of kitchen gear in a case that’s only 10 inches tall. As a bonus, it includes four sets of place settings, so you can have a mini dinner party in your new home.

Clean Up Your Act

Avalon Bay EcoWash Portable Washing Machine $45


Don’t think you need to be tethered to a laundromat to wash clothes. Consider an option like this hand-cranked model that can do five-pounds of laundry in one load. It uses minimal water and soap, while running on a soft cycle that will protect your significantly downsized closet. For everyday, solo living, it’s an ideal solution.

Storage Solutions

Mountainsmith Modular Hauler System $70


Now that you have clean clothes, where will you store them? With space at a premium, every nook and cranny matters. This four-cube set neatly molds to whatever you put in it and can break down as needed to free up additional space. The rectangular shape would fit nicely behind a back seat or on top of additional gear. This is your mobile closet in just a few compact cubes.

Throw Some Shade

CarCoo Window Shades (2-pack) $13


Privacy is one of the biggest issues when living out of your car. There are plenty of creative solutions, but one of the easiest is to purchase a series of car shades and place them on your windows for quiet time. This one from CarCoo affixes with static clean for easy removal and no mess left behind.


Flents Quiet Please (50-pack) $15


Cars can be notoriously noisy – thin metal walls are horrible insulators of sound. Invest in a quality pair (or several) of earplugs. Whether you’re parked by a noisy freeway or can’t stand to get a 5am wakeup call from the roosters on the farm, this is money well spent.

Get Outside

Yakima Slimshady $259


It’s unreasonable to be cooped up in your car at all times. Having an outdoor awning means you can enjoy sunny days under the shade and stay dry during a storm. Yakima has created a pretty slick option that simply attaches to an existing roof rack and folds away into its own case when not in use. It’s easy to set up and a quick solution for some extra, protected square footage.