Sometimes you want to go camping and either don’t have a tent or don’t want to deal with the hassle – that is where car camping comes in. Cars that allow you to put down the back row to lay level and are large enough for you to lay comfortably in are going to be more ideal for this setup. The great thing about car camping (aside from minimal setup) is that you’re less exposed to the elements and can bring just about anything you may need with you. The downside, of course, is that you cannot camp in more remote areas, but for many this likely isn’t a deal breaker.
I could make a list that runs a mile long with what I recommend you bring with you for car camping, but here are the most important things:
- Bed platform – If you don’t have a platform, I recommend bringing some blankets or materials to help level out your sleeping space. There is nothing more uncomfortable than sleeping on an uneven surface.
- Sleeping bag and pillow – Seems like a no brainer, but I’ve forgotten one or the other on more than one occasion. Even though you’ll be in your car, this doesn’t make you immune to the elements and it can still get very cold and uncomfortable during the night.
- Sheets to block out your windows – These will offer you some privacy if you’re in a busy area and can help block out the morning light.
- Food and a bear canister to store it – Depending on where you’re camping, bears can be a big problem and they won’t let a car stop them from getting to your food. Most recreational camp sites have bear boxes to store your food, but if you’re going off the beaten path I definitely recommend you invest in a bear cannister/box.
After a couple trial runs car camping, I quickly learned that my stuff can become a heaping mess when I’m sleeping, changing, and eating in the same area. Grabbing some storage bins to organize your items can go a long way especially in a smaller vehicle. I also recently added a small shower which has greatly improved my camping experience. The shower holds about 5 gallons of water and is secured to the top of my vehicle so that the water heats up during the day and you can use and extendable spray nozzle to take a quick shower, rinse your dishes, or just spray stuff off before storing. There are plenty of other types of camp showers out there though so I recommend doing your research to find what will work best for you.
There are so many ways you can car camp which makes it a great way to get started because it allows you to figure out what you like best. In addition to this, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a lot of gear so it lets you test out the waters before buying into it. I know I only skimmed the surface of car camping so I’m interested to hear if you have any tips or items that you recommend. Leave me a comment below with any other recommendations you may have!