Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Conscious by Chloé is a sustainable lifestyle blog focused on Zero Waste, Slow Living and Ethical Fashion written by Chloé Lepeltier.

Our Car-Camping Checklist

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Tonight, Octave and I are headed out for what will probably be our last road trip of the summer together. After a one-week trip across the State of Washington, we're headed to Eastern Oregon until the end of the week (I am FINALLY going to see the Painted Hills!).

For the past year and a half, we've been hitting the roads of most of the 13 Western States with Charlie, a 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser Octave refurbished when we first moved to Oregon.

After many car-camping adventures, I think I pretty much nailed the whole packing thing and can confidently share our checklist with you.

Some of the products mentioned are really Charlie-specific (tent, shower), but for the most part, this is a simple packing-list for a road trip, big or small (I'm actually planning a car-camping trip to the coast with my little car in 2-weeks).

I hope you'll find this packing-list useful and that it will inspire you to hit the road - no matter the size of your car (remember our trip to Iceland?).

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Bedroom

Lately, I've been bringing the pillows and duvet we have at home instead of our camping gear.

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Kitchen

We go grocery shopping the day before our trip and store everything we shop in bulk in... Ziploc bags. While this seems wasteful, it is actually the best solution for us so far. While we'd love to bring Mason Jars on trips, the roads and paths we use with the Land Cruiser can be VERY bumpy. Ziploc bags are reusable, lightweight, sealable (we've all seen the videos or bears breaking into cars).

  • Dish soap in a GoToob + Dish sponge + Dish towel
  • Colander

Filter your washing up water with the colander and throw whatever remains in it in a cathole (more on that in the bathroom section).

  • Garbage bag

Even though we aim to produce no waste, we always carry a trash bag with us, at least to pick up the trash left by previous campers.

When we feel lazy or when we're in a rush, we'll stop by a coffee shop in town in the morning and get a caffeinated drink to go.

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Bathroom

  • Shower (or this portable shower)
  • Flip-Flops (to shower in the dirt)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste (DIY: coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil mixed together)
  • Soap
  • Solid Shampoo
  • Dry Shampoo (DIY: arrowroot and cocoa powder)
  • Microfiber towel (I personally love my microfiber robe)
  • Washcloth (for the times when it's way too cold to take a shower but you still want to feel clean)
  • Toilet paper
  • Shovel (check out this article to learn how to dig a cathole)

I also recently started using a GoToob filled with water as my travel bidet!

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Safety

Chose the right product according to the region you visit. Are you in bear country? In a humid area? Etc.

Power

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

Extras

You can make your campsite as comfy and pretty as you want it to be. It just depends on how much space you have in your vehicle.

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

  • Paper Maps (always useful, you do not want to rely on electronics only)
  • Satellite Communicator (only if you travel to remote areas)
  • Washington Discover Pass
    For access to Washington state parks & other state recreation lands in Washington.
  • America the Beautiful
    For access to all National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands in the USA.
  • Northwest Forest Pass (day use)
    For access to all Forest Service operated recreation sites in Washington and Oregon where a day use fee is required (unless you already have the America the Beautiful pass).
  • Oregon State Park Permit (day-use)
    If you're camping at a state park, you don't need a day-use parking permit. Just display your current state park camping receipt on your dashboard.

I have to admit that it takes a while to process all this information. So don't forget to check a map as you plan your trip, to know which areas you'll be covering, and don't hesitate to check out the state website or stop by the first ranger station on your itinerary. We've always had the best experience there and met the most knowledgeable people about the regions we visited!

Car Camping with Charlie the Land Cruiser Overlander for Conscious by Chloé

In conclusion

Getting all this equipment is not cheap. I'm aware of it, believe me! As Octave uses this rig for his filming business, it made sense for him to outfit it with the best gear. And this is pretty much the only way we travel now (except when we go visit our families in Europe), so it's an investment made for many, many trips to come.

After this initial investment, all our holidays cost us is food & gas. (and the occasional treat).

Spending time in nature is the best way to disconnect, recharge your batteries, get away from the daily hustle. And it's so much fun to "play house" in a different way, where your only preoccupation is to be safe and warm.

Camping on public land is free, you guys! Get a good map and hit the road.

So load up your car (or beg a motorized friend to go on an adventure with you) and hit the road, you won't regret it.

Be safe, protect your land, and report back! I want to know all about your camping adventures!


Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

A Glamping Retreat in Southern Oregon

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

The week after my birthday, Octave took me for the most relaxing retreat in Southern Oregon. As a field scout, he was offered to stay at a brand new glamping resort at a stone's throw from Smith Rock State Park.

The timing could not have been more perfect as I had been sick for a couple weeks now and all I needed was sun, nature and rest.

We left on a Thursday morning and headed South for a sunny break, but still found tons of snow at Government Camp when we stopped for coffee, a last taste of winter before spring settles down...

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Packing is really not a fun activity for me. I tend to freak out the night before a trip. But this time, I decided to take the "more is more" approach, meaning that I pretty much reached for all the little things that would make our stay as relaxing as possible.

I packed everything I needed to feel at home such as blankets, candles (not sure they were allowed in the tent!), and many little accessories to relax, relax, relax like an aromatherapy eye mask, essential oil roll-ons... and books!

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

After we settled down in the tent and contemplated on taking a shower in the middle of nature (it was still a little chilly for that), we took a nap during a particularly windy afternoon and went for a stroll as the sun was starting its descent.

We followed nature paths, walked through the meditation labyrinth (!) and stopped at the edge of the cliff where we watched the sun set. It had been a while since we last spent time in nature, with no one in sight (we were the only ones staying in the resort on that day). It reminded us of our last road trip the previous summer, where we slept in deserts and forests, and woke up at sunrise.

Winter has been pretty long here in Oregon and we could not wait until we would be able to sleep outside again. This little escape in the middle of the week was a perfect taste of what's to come, except that it was way more luxurious than what we're used to (I mean, a gas fireplace in the tent?!).

Later, we drove to the city to have a quick dinner, came back in the dark night to gaze at the stars, far from the light pollution of civilization.

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

Tillak Goods for Conscious by Chloé

Tillak Goods for Conscious by Chloé

The next morning, we packed our stuff and took one last stroll around the resort. We went to get a late breakfast/an early lunch (can you call that brunch if it's in the middle of the week?) in town, stocked up on snacks at a health food store and finally headed to Smith Rock State Park for a quick mountain bike ride.

I had been wanting to visit Smith Rock for a long time now and so I was really, really happy to be able to cross it off my list! The sun was hot, but the breeze kept us cool. On the way down, we stopped by the river for a snack and to watch the birds and ducks frolicking.

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

We then drove back to Portland early enough to beat rush hour and made one last stop at our favorite frozen yogurt parlor to make this short escapade last a little longer.

Glamping at Panacea at the Canyon by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp

A Glamping Retreat in Southern Oregon

Eat

Dinner at Terrebonne Depot

Brunch at One Street Down Cafe

Shop

Cornucopia Natural Foods

Stay

Panacea at the Canyon

Visit

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park by Conscious by Chloé


Photographs by Octave Zangs for Hipcamp.

Leave no trace

Lake Twenty-two in the Snoqualmie National Forest WA by Conscious by Chloé

So Octave and I have this thing were we try to go sleep outside whenever we can, either because we need to slow down and disconnect or just because the opportunity arises, like a couple weeks ago, when we had to go to Seattle for an interesting partnership I'll share with you soon.

Spending time in nature is something that we love to do together: #couplegoals.

As some of you might have seen on Instagram, we car-camped in the Snoqualmie National Forest and chose to do something more before leaving, rather than just spending the night and taking off for our hike right away.

Camping in the Snoqualmie National Forest WA by Conscious by Chloé

We channeled our inner Baden-Powell and decided to clean our campsite from waste that was there before we arrived.

We usually have no use for a trash bag since we try to apply the zero-waste principle to our trips (the only waste we produced were banana peels which we put in the mason jar our soup was in to compost them back home), but I always bring one along just in case.

And I’m so glad I did. Aluminium cans, glass bottles, plastic jugs… condoms (!) were scattered all around. Don’t worry, the picture doesn’t show it but we protected our hands from all this nasty stuff.

Our bag was quickly filled up and we disposed of it in the appropriate bins at a parking area we stopped at on the way to our next hike.

Snoqualmie National Forest WA clean up by Conscious by Chloé

It’s a little thing to do, it took us less than 10-minutes, but it totally boosted our morale for the rest of the day.

Of course, we decided to focus on the positive side of our action and not the fact that careless and disrespectful people go up in the woods and throw stuff away or that more people will come and trash this place after us.

Snoqualmie National Forest WA clean up by Conscious by Chloé

The title of this article was inspired by The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics whose Seven Principles are the following:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Leave What You Find

  • Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Respect Wildlife

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

I strongly encourage you to read them in details on the Leave No Trace website.


What’s your opinion on the matter of clean-ups? Pointless? Encouraging? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.