Car Camping: Can You Sleep in Your Car While Camping?

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Whether it is the holiday season or a beautiful weekend to enjoy, car camping can be the best on your list. Hitting the road and camping outdoor can be fun and delightful, plus you get to refresh your soul from the tiredness of daily activities and enjoy alone or with your friends and family.

When car camping, you can have all the adventures of your life. You can take your car to scenic and exotic places, spending each night under a different starry sky. It is easy on the pocket and lets you adventure everything, from hiking trails to other outdoor activities.

Are you a beginner or looking for ways to make your car camping trip an ever-lasting experience? Worry no more. We present you with the ultimate guide for car camping in 2022. From packing to planning and everything in between, we got you covered. So get ready to have your own car camping experience this season!

Here’s everything you need to know about an excellent car camping trip:

Can You Sleep in Your Car While Camping

Planning A Car Camping Trip

Coming up with a plan for your camping trip is always a good idea. This lets you mentally prepare everything you need and do on your car camping trip. Planning a trip usually takes a short time and kickstart the epic car camping plan. If this is your first time going on such a trip, it might take a while to get things in full swing, but after a few similar trips, you will become a pro at it.

Here’s what you need to include in your plan:

Deciding On The Days And Time You Want To Travel

The most important part of planning a trip is deciding the days you want to camp. Check for your schedule and convenience and plan accordingly. A two/three-day trip would be great; however, you can extend your camping days. Consider a few dates you think would be suitable for car camping.

Checking The Weather

After considering a few dates, look for weather predictions. If you are new to car camping, it is better to look for days when the weather is clear. You don’t want to camp in rough or harsh weather. Don’t only look for the weather on the decided dates but also for a few days ahead.

This is because the predictions might take back a few days. For example, the rain expected three days after your trip might come earlier, during your trip. Hence, checking the weather trends proves to be ideal when planning your trip.

Picking A Campsite

You don’t want to waste your time choosing a place to stay after hitting the road. Instead, it is better to consider a few campsites that you think would make an excellent spot for car camping. Some grounds only have tent-based camping, while others have enough space for large vehicles such as an SUV or RV to camp in.

The best way to start is to search on Google and look up popular campsites worth visiting. You need to make sure these campsites accommodate car camping facilities too. There are two types of campsites you can go to:

Paid Campsites

Paid campsites are built at campgrounds owned by the state, land agencies, or private owners. Thus, these places require a registration fee for you to camp in. Paying a fee doesn’t sound bad when you can avail of camp amenities.

Most paid campsites have pit toilets, hot showers, picnic tables, fire pits, dishwashing facilities, etc. Paying a fee for car camping at these sites doesn’t sound a bad idea, especially when this is your first-time car camping. It provides you with on-hand experience on what the trip looks like, so the next time you travel to a wilder place, you know how to manage the journey.

Free Campsites

Also referred to as dispersed campsites, free campsites are areas of public land. Consider these suitable for camping as people have camped there before and are common sites for camping. These campsites won’t provide you with many facilities like the paid campsites do hence you need to prepare for everything. You will need to put your fire, pick out the trash and bring a toilet.

As difficult as it sounds, the dispersed campsites are fun to Camp at. There are usually fewer or no people at these places, and you find a more private space to enjoy. The area is exotic too, and you get to experience it like never before.

Since this is a car camping trip, it is ideal to choose more than one spot to Camp. You can easily take your car to the next campsite and enjoy the view there.

What To Pack For Car Camping

What To Pack For Car Camping?

Before starting the camping trip, one of the most troubling things is to decide what to pack. You’ll need many essentials, but you also need to plan things according to the space you have in your car. Hence, an RV, jeep, or Chevy is perfect for such trips. There are a few must-haves that you don’t want to forget on the trip:

Car Camping Shelter

It would help if you had a shelter or place to sleep during the night on your camping trip. Thus, you might need these few shelter and sleeping gear depending on the car you’re taking.

If you take an RV camping, you might not need a tent to keep your travel gear in or a bed for sleep. However, a jeep or a smaller vehicle would require the following, only fitting the packing gear.

It would be best to have a tent to shelter you from outdoor elements. If you wish to sleep in the back of your car, you can put your travel gear and food essentials inside the tent to prevent any damage and make space in the car. Or you can set up a tent beside your vehicle, enjoy food and sleep in it.

Sleeping Beds/Bags

You will also need sleeping bags or sleeping beds for the car camping trip. If you want to sleep inside the jeep, you can make a comfortable sleeping space by placing sleeping beds and fairy lights, but sleeping beds might take a lot of space with other travel gear.

Another thing you can do is carry sleeping bags. You can use the sleeping bag and lie next to the car or even on the roof of your vehicle and enjoy the starry sky until you sleep.

Camping Chairs

You don’t want to spend your time sitting in your car. Instead, take foldable camping chairs with you on your car camping trip. They are lightweight and have a high comfort to rest your back on. These are best to sit while cooking, having your meal, or enjoying beside the fire during cold days.

Cooking And Kitchen Essentials

Without proper cooking and meal essentials, camping trips become difficult. Preparing a checklist for what you need makes it easier to ensure everything is on board. Make a cooking kit where you can keep all your outdoor cooking essentials, and these might include:

  • Cutting Board
  • Tupperware
  • Tongs
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Tongs/Spatula
  • A cooking pot
  • A gas stove
  • Paper towel and Trashbag

These are the basic things you will need to cook meals on the car camping trip. If you wish to make a top-notch camping experience, you can also take the following:

  • Cooler: To keep your meat fresh and drinks cool
  • Coffee Maker: Getting a hot coffee at a camp is necessary on cold winter evenings.

What Foods Can You Take On Your Car Camping Trip?

For beginners, I recommend processed and non-perishable food. You can take processed food that makes a great meal when heated, such as instant noodles. However, if you wish to cook from scratch at the Camp, you need to look upon a few easy-to-prepare meals for camping.

For example, you can make roasted meat with seasoning or even make soup, but you need to keep your ingredients in a safe, dry place so they don’t rot or draw in moisture. Nonetheless, keep snacks on the go to fulfill your cravings at the Camp.

Travel Gear Essentials

Travel Gear Essentials

You can’t go car camping without travel gear, and you can skip any at home. Therefore, making a travel gear checklist will keep all your things aligned. Listed below are the items that you must have on every car camping trip:

  • Extra fuel: You never know when you can run out of fuel. Many campsites are located in such areas where the gas stations are located at great distances. So it is always better to keep extra fuel in your car to save you from trouble.
  • First Aid Kit: Travelling in the wild calls for keeping a first-aid kit with you at all times.
  • Torchlight or Lamps: Not all campsites are well lit during the night; keeping a torch or lamp becomes essential at such times.
  • Extra Water: Always keep water more than you need. It can help you in different instances.
  • Self Defense Tools: Keep a taser or a pocket knife with you during your camp trip. Having self-defense tools can be useful in dangerous situations and give you a sense of relief.
  • Spare batteries and Portable charger: Always keep a spare battery or a portable charger so you don’t get stuck when your phone’s battery dies.
  • Extra Clothing: Always keep extra pairs of clothing when camping.

Now that you have everything you must have on your car camping trip, let’s look at the list of things you can take along to make your trip more fun. Always check the space in your vehicle before deciding upon things. You don’t want to fill up the car with unnecessary stuff. Setting the travel essentials and gear in an organized manner in the car helps you quickly unpack once you reach the campsite. Here are a few things you can consider taking at the Camp:

  • Speakers: If you’re a music lover, take along speakers and enjoy playing music at the campsite.
  • Hammock: Going on a campsite with trees? Tie a hammock and enjoy the cool breeze or read a book.
  • Glow in the dark tapes or balls: You can enjoy with your friends or kids using glow in the dark balls and tapes, making patterns, and playing games in the dark.
  • Board Games: On a car camping trip with friends? Bring along board games and enjoy playing beside the campfire.
  • Fishing Rope: If you’re camping beside a lake, take your fishing rope and enjoy fishing.

Clothes To Wear During Camping

Choosing the right clothes to wear at camping is equally essential. It is recommended that you wear comfortable moisture-wicking activewear. Clothes that are breathable and stretchable are ideal for wearing while camping. You can go hiking, lounging, and anything you wish to do in these clothes. In addition, wear a pair of sturdy shoes or boots so you can walk on rocky or muddy land.

Keep a pair of gloves, socks, and jackets during colder days as the nights can get extremely cold at campsites. Before packing clothes, always look at the weather trends; it will help you decide the must-have clothing for your trip.

If you’re new to car camping and don’t know what clothes are ideal for camping, always check the internet. Here you will find suggestions on the best clothes and activewear for camping.

What To Do On A Car Camping Trip

What To Do On A Car Camping Trip?

Going on a car camping trip is one of the best ways to start an ultimate outdoor adventure. From your home to the campsite, you will see some scenic places. Take a camera along and capture all the beautiful places you visit. Creating a memory log of your trip is a fun activity to do at your camping trip.

Here’s what you can do when you reach the Camp:

  • Hike and discover nearby places.
  • Bring along a guitar/ukulele and sing while watching the sunset.
  • Light up a campfire and enjoy making s’mores with your friends. Do storytelling round where everyone makes up a story and tells each other.
  • Read books and journals while soaking under the lovely sun.
  • Bring a map and a compass and mark the places where you go.
  • If you love cooking, you will have a fun time preparing meals in the open.
  • Download a constellation app and analyze the star constellations at night.
  • Go swimming! Take a swimming suit on the trip and enjoy swimming with your friends.
  • Explore nature; look for different pants, birds, and insects around.
  • Meditate under the rising sun while you’re on a camp.

You can do many activities to make your camping trip fun and memorable. After you’ve decided the campsites you want to visit and finalized the travel gear, plan on the activities you wish to do at the Camp. You can make a to-do camping list too! This way, you will always have something to do off the list and won’t have a boring camping trip.

Coming Back From Camp

After you’ve had an amazing car camping trip and are ready to head back home, you need to follow the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics principles.

These guidelines ensure that you leave the campsite clean for future campers. First, keep your things aligned in the camping vehicle, so it is easy to unpack when you reach home. Next, look for any trash around. Place it all in trash bags. You can search for ways to reduce trashing while at Camp.

Finally, when you leave, ensure that it looks the same way as when you arrived. The seven Leave No Trace principles are set so that recreational places such as campsites remain clean for other campers. These are as follows:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare: As discussed earlier, planning a camping trip is of great significance.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Look for lands that are established campsites or are safe to Camp on.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly: You can bury the biodegradable waste or use trash bags to dispose of waste.
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts: Don’t create a huge campfire that harms the surrounding.
  • Respect Wildlife: Don’t hurt any wildlife during your trip.

All Set To Go On a Car Camping Trip

As much as camping trips are fun, there is a lot you need to know to plan out a perfect car camping trip.

The first step is to plan out your trip. You can decide upon days according to your convenience and weather conditions. The next step is to look for places you can camp at. Since you are car camping, you can select multiple locations for adventure. Now get to packing, make a list to organize the process. Keep all travel gear, cooking, and safety essentials. Finally, make a camping activities list to make your camping trip more fun.

With these tips, you will have the best time car camping. So look out for a holiday or a good weekend and plan your car camping trip today!