Here’s How You Can Go Camping in Your Car.

Many Americans hit the road and go for the great outdoors each summer. They take their cellphones away, sit on the beach chairs under a meter of battery-powered Led light, and toast their marshmallows. These people are called campers. In this article, I will teach you how to do camping in your car.

How to Find Campers?

Campers are easy to identify. When you seem a full-packed car filled with sleeping bags, inflatable bed, fishing equipment, tents, coolers, grills, and battery-powered Led lights driving down the road, you’ve found the campers.

Campers pack much stuff. The problem here is that with all this stuff you need to have, you sometimes have to carry it from your car to your campsite. So, if your parking lot is distant to your campsite, then you might have to work up to haul your stuff from here to there.

But if you’re not that keen on hauling off you gears around and still want to experience nature, you can try camping in your

What is Camping in Your Car?

Camping in your car is like a driveway camping. You pull up to your preferred parking spot, set your tent next to your car, put your grill next to it, and enjoy nature.

In short, you can pack as many stuff as you want, you don’t have to carry those things around because everything is in your car already. You just enjoy nature.

The advantage of camping in your car is that you can simply park, pitch, and relax. At times, you can get up from your beach chair and stretch your legs once in a while. But, for the most part, you’ll just park, pitch, and relax.

However, the downside of camping in your car is that your neighbors are very close, so you need to use your inside voice every time. If you have kids, it’s more challenging.

Once you get the hang of camping in your car, you’ll appreciate it as a peaceful way to vacation. It’s relatively affordable, accessible, and a great way to relax in the crisp and open air. To ensure you don’t forget any essentials, you need to prepare well. This will make your trip fun and safe.

Here are some of the tips when camping in your car to get you well on your way.

Before You Pack Your Things

Before you head to the door on your next camping in your car trip, you need to prepare and perform a few tasks first. When you do car camping in your car, expect to isolate yourself from civilization. This means you need to prepare well, including bringing food, shelter, and medical supplies you might need on your trip.

1. Choose Your Destination

Pick your few favorite destinations and make your travel plans there. Having more than one option is a good idea if ever something unexpected happens, and you have to change plans.

If your choice is a popular destination, it might need a reservation, so you need to schedule that in advance.

If luxuries, such as a toiler or shower, are a need, make sure the campground you plan to go has them. However, keep in mind that it’s less likely a remote campground will have these extra amenities.

Tip: You can visit to check the campsite availability and make reservations to the popular camping in your car destinations in the US and Canada.

2. Choose the Time of Year

Deciding on when you leave is essential to how you plan, especially if you’re heading to the mountains. In these places, weather conditions change often. The roads are usually closed during winter, as there are potentially hazardous road conditions at this time.

While, during the summer, wildfires are common. This also leads to shutting down the main roads.

Tip: Keep the important contact information with you in a notebook, so you have it handy at all times. Make sure that you have the phone numbers of the park you’re visiting, the local forestry service, and local transportation agencies.

3. Check Your Vehicle for Maintenance

Car maintenance is important, especially for longer trips.

Here are the things you need to check first before camping in your car.

Change Oil

You should have your oil changed every 5,000 miles before starting a longer trip.

Flush Cooling System

Avoid having your car overheat by having your cooling system flushed.

Check Your Tires

Your car adds an extra weight when you put the essential gear on it. So, to avoid flats, make sure your tires have enough tread and pressure.

Are you planning on a vacation soon? Do you know the current condition of your car before going on a trip? If you aren’t sure about these, you can contact a mechanic to perform a thorough inspection of your car.

4. Bring Your Pets

If you have plans of bringing a pet, contact the local authorities first in the campground to know if they allow it. Also, taking your pet to the vet is a must before leaving. Make sure they are healthy and immunized. Plan your pet’s food, treats, and water for the entire trip. Pack also a leash and collar, toys and bedding, bags to pick up waste, and medication.

It would also help to bring your pet’s medical records and vaccination reports when you’re past state lines.

What to Pack When Camping in Your Car?

Camping in your car allows you to take whatever you want to make your vacation as comfortable and as luxurious as possible.

1. Lots of Water

Water is the most essential of all. You need lots of it. Though your camp may be near a lake or river, you can’t be sure if the water there is clean. So the option could be bringing your own water or purchase a water filter.

2. Food and Cooking Equipment

It’s always best to plan for your necessities, even if you’re a minimalist camper. This will ensure that you have enough food and that you won’t have much waste. Some of the staples that are easy to cook and prepare for dinner are hotdogs, hamburgers, and chili.

To learn some great camping in your car recipes, you may visit to help you decide.

Some of the more important cooking equipment you can bring include:


These include a wooden spoon, spatula, tongs, and tableware. Store them in a big plastic box to keep them organized.


Are you planning to cook a barbecue? If so, you’ll need charcoal, gas, and a camping stove. You may also need a lighter and a newspaper to light up a fire.

Prep Equipment

This includes a knife, cutting board, vegetable peeler, plates, cups, mugs, bowls, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and paper towels.

Cooking Equipment

This includes skillet, a saute pan, a pot for boiling water, skewers for hotdogs and marshmallows, and a cup for coffee or other hot drinks.


It’s best to have a cooler for meat and another one for another else. This option is recommended when you have a lot of perishable foods. Also, change the ice every other day and wrap meats to avoid cross-contamination.

On the other cooler, fill it with fruits, vegetables, milk, drinks, eggs, cheese, butter, and other fresh ingredients. Dry goods like bread, tea, coffee, cocoa, salt, pepper, cooking oil, and spices can be stored inside the heavy-duty box. Keep all the food in your car for safety purposes.

3. Choose Your Tent

You need an excellent tent to serve as protection from different elements. Your tent should be waterproof and has an ideal dimension for you.

Tip: Consider some indoor activities you can do inside the tent most, especially when it rains. You can also bring some good books to read during those circumstances.

4. Pack Sleeping Bags

Don’t underestimate the weather at night. It can get cold in higher elevations even during summer. Make sure that the sleeping bags are stored in a dry place. You can also consider purchasing affordable foam pads for added warmth and comfort.

5. Prepare a First Aid Kit

You should have medicines on hand no matter how much time you will spend on camping in your car. Make sure you have anti-itch cream, bandage, gauze, pain killers, q-tips, tape, tweezers, etc.

6. Bring Toiletries

Bring a travel-sized soap, bug spray, deodorant, sunscreen, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

7. Light

Light is essential to find your way around at night. SO make sure you have a flashlight, lantern, or headlamp with you.

8. Pack Plenty of Clothes

Make sure you have the essentials first: a hat, sunglasses, gloves, shirts, underwear, jeans, socks, and a jacket. When it’s summer, bring light clothes and swimwear when camping in your car.

Don’t forget to bring your comfortable shoes and rain gear too just in case it rains.

9. Get at Least One Map

You’ll be more confident in your surroundings for hiking if you a map in hand. This will allow you to navigate a few options once you arrived at the place.

10. Pack the Necessary Tools

Packing a few tools can help you with different tasks during the trip.

Keep it simple: A Swiss army knife, few screwdrivers, and a hatchet should provide all of the tools you need.

Tip: You can gather wood scraps for a fire much easier with the use of hatchet. You can hammer these in tent pegs.  Don’t forget to cover the blade most, especially if you have children. Keep them away from your other personal things inside the car.

General Camping in Your Car Safety Tips

Added to the preparation, you also need to observe the campground rules you’re going to. You can find the rules on the campground’s website.

1. Follow the Campground Rules

The campground personnel implements the rules and regulations to keep the campers safe. This includes telling the campers to be respectful around and avoiding disruptive actions just like yelling and playing loud music.

They also note the campers to keep an eye of their children, especially those close to wilderness areas and with swimming locations.

2. Take Care Around Animals

Another area of concern when camping in your car is the wild animals around.

Camping in your car with access to wild animals have special trash bins. This deters animals from entering areas with people. However, if your campground doesn’t have trash bins, take your trash with you.

Don’t leave your food out as this can attract animals. Keep your food items in a sealed container or inside your car. Don’t even attempt to feed the animals as it encourages them to make contact with people.

Take Away

Make sure that you prepare everything you need when camping in your car. Without proper preparation, expect to spend a long, cold, and lonely few days at the campground.

For a safe and fun time camping in your car, make sure you have enough food, shelter, and other things you need. You should also follow any rules and regulations to ensure your safety when camping in your car. This keeps potentially dangerous encounters with any wild animals to a minimum.

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