Why do people go car camping?

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Whether you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned pro, car camping is a great way to get outside and have an adventure. Vehicle camping gives you easier access to the outdoors and more leeway than backcountry camping. It’s entertaining, easy to learn, and a fantastic pastime for the whole family. Let’s take a look at how to camp in your car from what you should pack to the the activities you’ll want to plan!

Can I Sleep in My Car at a Campground?

Several campsites, such as KOAs, will allow people who choose to sleep in their vehicle at a campsite. It’s always  good idea to call ahead so that you ensure you’re reserving the right type of site for you car camping adventure.

Why Go Car Camping?

Vehicle camping is fantastic because it allows individuals of all ages and abilities to go outside. It’s also a perfect activity to use as a stepping stone to get your toes wet before taking on serious backcountry camping or other multi-day wilderness adventures.

When severe weather is forecasted or you wish to carry additional gear for activities, car camping might be a terrific choice. Whatever your reason for pursuing car camping, a few helpful tips and tricks will go a long way in ensuring you have a fun and memorable trip.

How to Prepare

The secret to successful automobile camping is to be well organized. Lists are your friend — and not the mental kind, but instead the kind you write down on a piece of actual paper with an actual pen. It’s simpler than you think to forget anything essential, like as a sleeping bag or drinking water. Here’s a simple checklist to get you started:


  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow


  • Rain gear
  • Swim wear
  • Hiking boots
  • Sandals
  • Long underwear
  • Warm layers
  • Hat

Camp Kitchen

  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Lighter
  • Firewood
  • Water
  • Cooler with food
  • Plates, bowls, cups & utensils


  • Games
  • Books
  • Hammocks
  • Instruments


  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection
  • Map & compass



  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Personal wipes
  • Medications

For more seasoned campers, one hurdle is to let go of the backpacker attitude. When you’re backpacking, you’re (obviously) carrying everything you need on your back, so saving space and weight is important.

But when you’re car camping, you really don’t have to rough it. It’s okay to bring stuff and important to know that your ultra light backpacking gear is not the best choice for camping. Why not be extravagant and pack an extra pillow? Your automobile does all of the work for you.


Many first-time vehicle campers choose to stay at a well-maintained campsite, such as a state park. These places have facilities like drinking water, picnic tables, and bathrooms that can make the planning process for car camping easier and more forgiving.

As you gain expertise, progress to camping along forest service roads, where you’ll need to pack all of your own drinking water, toiletries, and other necessities. Unsupported vehicle camping provides a more secluded wilderness experience than a campground, where sites are sometimes crammed together like sardines in a can. Each choice has advantages and disadvantages, and you will be able to determine what is ideal for you based on your objectives and circumstances.

Setting Up Camp

When you get at your location, the first thing you will most likely do is set up camp. Give everyone in your party a job so the job gets done faster and so everyone feels helpful.

First and foremost, switch off your car’s dome light. Since you’ll be leaving doors and trunks open to pull your gear out, it’s a good idea to turn off that dome light so the battery doesn’t wear down. Additionally, keep your keys in a secure location. It only takes one time locking your keys in the car when your tent is still inside to make you designate a special place for your keys.

Another consideration is to make sure you have a full tank of gas before you head down any long dirt roads. You don’t want to get stranded a few miles in with your tank empty.

Car camping gives you a safe way to get familiar with your gear and develop systems that work for you with a safety net to fall back on if you can’t get your tent up properly, for example. You’ll have your camp set-up procedure down pat after a few automobile camping trips.

Car Camping Activities

One of the best parts about car camping is deciding what you’re going to do while you’re away. Maybe you’re setting up camp before embarking on a lengthy day trek. Maybe you’ll get out your instruments and make music around the campfire when you get back to camp in the evening.

Maybe you like playing cards and board games. If there’s a lake or other body of water nearby, maybe you’ll head out for a sunrise canoe, take an afternoon swim, or simply sit on the dock with a cup of camp coffee and enjoy the view.

The point is, car camping makes it easy to get away from the trappings of every day life and enjoy an activity of your choosing surrounded by the peacefulness of nature. Whatever you choose to do with your time, it will undoubtedly be memorable since you will be doing it in an unusual setting.

Everyone is welcome to go automobile camping. It’s a simple, straightforward, and family-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors. With a little planning, education, and a mindset for fun, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience enjoying the outdoors.

Related Questions

  • What is the point of car camping?

    When you car camp, you load up all of your gear for the trip in your car, pull into your campsite, and set up your tent in a designated area. Car camping is also known as “base camping” or “tent camping” by others. The convenience of your tent location is one of the benefits of automobile camping.

  • Is car camping safer than tent?

    Sleeping in a car is safer than sleeping in a tent since you may lock yourself in your vehicle at night. This makes it much harder for dangerous people to get to you during the night.

  • Is car camping comfortable?

    Vehicle camping provides considerably more comfort than you may anticipate. You may bring all of your home comforts! You don’t have to pick and choose carefully what you bring on this camping trip, as opposed to backpacking, where you need to factor in the weight and size of every single item you carry.

  • Is car camping colder than tent camping?

    Car, hands down. The substance underneath you has a greater R-value than any camping pad, and even with the windows broken and heat loss through the glass, it stays significantly warmer than outdoors.

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