GoCampingAmerica.com | Posted May 3rd, 2022

Car Camping 101: What to Know, What to Bring

Happy Camper Blog

Want to experience the fun of camping but you don’t own a tent or RV? No problem. Car camping may be just what you’re looking for. It’s exactly like the name implies—you pack what you need in your car, truck or SUV, drive to your destination and your vehicle becomes your “home base” where you sleep. Here are a few tips:

Safety first. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is where to park for the night. Obviously, you’ll want to stay safe, so an established campground can offer you the security you’re looking for as well as the facilities (like clean restrooms) you need.


Pack wisely. Remember, if you pack your vehicle to the gills, you won’t have much room to sleep. So start by making a list of essentials (comfortable sleeping bag, pad or mattress; pillow(s), cook stove and utensils, cooler with your food, and clothing appropriate for the weather). Don’t overpack. Take a good look at all of the spaces inside your vehicle and use bins, bags and/or backpacks that will fit easily into those spaces to make the most of them. Also, put any toiletries you’ll need into a zip lock bag that will be easy to grab when you need it.


Charge your devices in advance. To avoid running down your battery while you’re camping, charge your electronic devices as you’re driving to your destination or invest in a solar phone charger.


Light up the night. Bring flashlights, lanterns and/or head lamps to light your way at night when you venture away from your campsite. You can even make your camping space more festive by stringing up some battery-operated string lights inside your vehicle.


Ensure sweet dreams. First of all, try to park on the flattest area of your campsite—it can make a big difference when you lay down to go to sleep. If you’re a light sleeper, you may want to bring an eye mask and/or ear plugs to help minimize any distracting sights and sounds. You may also want to rig up some curtains to block out any natural or artificial light that’s coming in through your windows.


Keep condensation at bay. Since you’ll be sleeping in your car, condensation will likely form on your windows overnight. So if you don’t think the weather will allow you to crack open the windows to improve airflow, head to your local big box store before you leave home and pick up a container of moisture absorber.

Also, before you leave on your car camping adventure, consider doing a “dry run.” Pack everything you think you’ll need into your vehicle and see how it fits. If you’ll have to flip seats down so you can sleep, make sure you’re very familiar with how the mechanisms work. The last thing you want to do is to have to figure them out in the dark at your campsite. Also, lay down your bedding and try it out so you’ll have time to make any adjustments necessary so you can sleep comfortably.

Ready to get started? Go to GoCampingAmerica.com and enter your destination to find the ideal campground for your first car camping trip. Enjoy your adventure!