Car Camping Tips

Have you ever wanted to go car camping but didn’t know what to do or what to bring with you on your trip? Here are a few car camping tips to help you along safely.

Here are a few key factors to take note of:

  1. Car camping makes use of a motor vehicle to travel to a campsite, which means hiking or backpacking won’t be wont be your mode of transport.
  2. It lets you load more gear and equipment and bring them to your preferred camping site.
  3. It can be referred to as “base camping.”
  4. It is cheaper than buying an RV or renting a hotel room to stay in for the duration.

As such, some people might take car camping quite literally. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a person should camp in their car. Depending on what type of car you have it be a terribly tight fit, not to mention extremely uncomfortable!

Some larger cars and suv setups today are incredibly comfortable with all sorts of accessories to make your adventure heaps more comfortable.

Car camping in this instance is simply taking what you already have, like a car, and innovating it for something better, like camping! Think of it as the best of both worlds.

You don’t have to wear yourself out by dragging all your equipment by hand, and you can still enjoy the warmth of a fireplace within your campsite.

However, car camping isn’t just mindlessly packing all your favorite things into the backseat of your car and driving to a secluded spot in the middle of the forest.

While others may say that the best adventures are often the most spontaneous ones, they always help to be prepared! If you want to make the best out of your trip, then you should plan everything out.

In this article, we will share some helpful and frankly, crucial tips in ensuring that you have the best car camping experience ever!

Let’s get started! In this list, you’ll find some interesting car camping tips to help prepare you for your next outdoor trip if you are not sleeping in your car:

person sitting in front of a blue tent

Bring a good shelter

This is the starting point of all outdoor camping, a shelter that will protect you from the elements is the first priority if you intend to overnight outdoors in the open.

We are not made to be exposed at night without some sort of shelter or protection so don’t get caught out, bring a good quality and reliable tent to keep your family safe.

Bring the appropiate bedding.

What’s the point of car camping if you’re not comfortable? Most people may want to minimize any clutter or effort by sleeping inside their cars. However, this might not be the best option, especially if you don’t like tight and hot spaces.

Therefore, it’s important to bring the essentials for a comfortable sleeping set-up. The inside of a car won’t provide you with the fresh air you need! So set up sleeping pads, tie a hammock to the nearest tree, or set up your cots.

These options are better than being cramped up in a car and waking up with aches all over your body by the time morning comes. So make sure the sleeping arrangements for you and your family are comfortable warm and dry.

Bedding should be preferably off the ground as sleeping on the hard ground is definitely not the most comfortable place in any weather. The entire purpose of camping is to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Bring a trash bin.

Camping, just like being at home, a typical day will result in an amount of trash that needs to be disposed of, you can expect trash or unnecessary packaging the moment you set up camp.

Just because you’re bringing your car with you doesn’t necessarily mean that you can just dump everything in the backseat.

There needs to be planning and organization involved when preparing yourself for your trip, especially if you want to enjoy the outdoors for longer than just a day.

A trash bin is an answer to your storage or organizational needs for litter. It can come in many forms, such as reusable stasher bags or even a trash bin. Moreover, you can choose what to use these bins for, such as for laundry, garbage, or even for your leftovers.

This comes in handy during and after the trip. After all, you don’t want to confuse the places where you keep your laundry with your rubbish.

cars in a campground

Make sure to fill your gas tank up.

If you’re bringing your car anywhere, don’t forget to fill up the tank! The last thing you want to happen on your weekend getaway is to be trapped in the middle of nowhere.

While this tip might seem extremely obvious for some of you, you can never be too careful with making sure that a full tank of gas has been checked off the list!

Don’t let yourself be bored!

For some of you, a day outside can bring in new adventures for you to lock away in your memories and tell your grandchildren later in life.

However, many of you might not enjoy the thought of sitting outside in the heat with no signal or even electricity to charge your phone.

Understandably, boredom is a dreadful thing but this can easily be countered, especially when you’re in the great outdoors!

To fight off boredom, you can bring a book, sketch the landscape, play cards with your family or friends, and do normal, mundane things that you haven’t been able to do inside the four walls of your house.

Just imagine sitting around a campfire, making smores, or listening to someone play the guitar. When people take off to do some camping, they do it because they want some time away from the hectic lifestyle they have.

If you want to follow through with the same thing, then bring some hobbies that you’ve always wanted to pick up or listen to an audiobook that you’ve always wanted to listen to! Car camping allows you to sit back and relax. So don’t let it go to waste!

Pack a first-aid kit.

A first-aid kit should be near the very top of your list to bring to car camping. You’ll never know what can happen during the trip so it’s best to stay prepared!

Inside your first-aid kit, you should have the essentials: safety pins, tweezers, plasters available in different shapes and sizes, triangular bandages, at least two sterile eye dressings, gauze dressings of different sizes, sticky tape, alcohol, scissors, and some common medicines.  

Prepare the perfect playlist.

The right song can set the perfect mood for camping, so before you leave for your trip, make sure you’ve downloaded your favorite songs or that you’ve prepared the perfect Spotify playlist to fill in the silence and lighten up the mood.

You can even bring your guitar with you if you want to practice during your free time! A singalong around a campfire covers a lot of missed notes if you are a bigginer.

Always have a charged phone for emergencies.

As we’ve stated before, you never know what will happen while you’re on your trip. If you’re planning to be away for more than just a day, then you should always have one phone catered for emergencies only.

Avoid using this phone so that it won’t run out of battery or accidentally break. This ensures that you’ll always have a lifeline to the outside world and if you’re ever in trouble, you’re just one call away! Obviously, if you have signal.

Pack lots of food and water.

It’s important to bring enough food and water on your trips, especially if you’re not planning to set up a camp that is miles away from the nearest store.

In this case, it’s better to have a surplus of supplies than to wake up on the second day of camping and realize that there isn’t any food left. Unless you have some experience in hunting, you might want to pack in extra beans for the trip ahead!

Here’s another pro-tip you can use when it comes to your food: make sure to hang them up at night. This prevents any animals or even people to raid your food while you’re blissfully asleep.

You might’ve been planning to keep them safe inside your car but this isn’t recommended unless you prefer the interior of your car to smell like last night’s dinner. If that’s the case, then you do you!

people hiking over a hill

Enjoy the outdoors!

Lastly, but most importantly, the best tip we can give you when you’re planning on car camping is to simply enjoy the outdoors. With your car, it becomes easier to bring your gear and equipment with you.

Additionally, it makes clean-up that much faster as well since all you have to do is load everything back in the car. Since there is less time and effort spent on getting everything on the camping site, then you can spend more time enjoying the beauty of nature outside!

Be safe and have fun during your next car camping trip, If you have any more questions about these Car Camping Tips, I’d love to hear them and I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.     

You may also like to read my post titled Family Camping Vacations for further information tips and places to visit.

Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.


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