Car Camping Gear Bag

What to pack in your Hele Box/Gear Bag

In the last article 7 Car Camping Essentials we mentioned our ‘Gear Box’ - a tote or bag full of miscellaneous items that come in handy when car camping, overlanding, van-lifing, etc.. 

After posting the article we had a handful of readers ask us to demystify the contents of our gear bag so they can see what we bring with us on our car camping trips. 

Timing couldn’t be more perfect, as I just loaded ours up for a 4 night/5 day overland expedition through Wyoming and Montana. 

Our ‘gear box’ is technically a compartmentalized bag (Hele Box) - having compartments makes organizing a breeze. Just think of every compartment as a category: cooking/eating, 1st aid/repellents, relaxing/lounging, clothing/jackets, etc.. 

Here’s our list of 3 compartments and the content inside: 

Compartment 1: Cooking & cleaning

  • Reusable bowls & cutlery 
  • Metal coffee cups 
  • Large ziplock bag
    • Trashbags 
    • Sponge 
    • Dish Soap 
    • Microfiber cloths 
  • Waterless soap 
  • Dehydrated emergency meals (2) 
  • Cutting board 
  • Fire starter 
  • Toilet paper 
  • Salt & pepper 
  • Foldable Kettle 
  • Foldable coffee pour over 
  • Small knife 

Compartment 2: Electronics & Safety

  • Safety/medical kit
  • Bluetooth speaker 
  • Iphone gimbal 
  • Gopro 
  • Insect repellent
  • Lantern (rechargeable) 
  • 2 headlamps (rechargeable) 
  • Reading light (rechargeable) 

Compartment 3: Bulky Items 

  • Insulated Parka 
  • Rain Coat 
  • Bear Spray & Holsters (2)
  • Hunting knife 

The key to a good gear box is being able to easily access gear within it. I recommend a box that is shallow/longer vs deep/shorter. 

I’ve used large totes in the past, but it seemed that whenever I needed something it was at the very  bottom of the bin and you are left with a disaster once you finally reach it. 

Shallower/longer boxes are also a lot less top heavy and require less effort to tie down if your car camping/overlanding adventures take you down roads less traveled. 

If you are in the market for a compartmentalized gear box - check out the Hele Box! Once the sleeping platform is set up, its carrying case doubles as compartmentalized storage. 

Car Camping with Hele Box - Storage Case

The compartments are adjustable so you can set the perfect pockets for your gear needs & it slides right under the sleeping platform for easy access to your gear. 

Bonus! You can easily slide aside the Hele Boxes sleeping platform to access things on either ends of your compartments. 

At the end of the day, a ‘gear box’ can be filled with anything that your heart desires. On trips closer to home I’ve found myself loading compartments up with snacks & goodies! 

Is there anything we missed? What do you load your gear box up with?! Please let us know in the comments section.

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