So you want to go on an adventure, but don’t want to deal with the hassle setting up all your camping gear. Well, who needs a tent when you have a car? #VanLife, #CarCamper, call it whatever you’d like...but while car camping doesn’t necessarily mean ‘glamping’, there are a few tips and tricks we’ve picked up over the years that will help you get the most out of your experience.
Choose your location wisely
First things first: location. One of the best things about car camping - “home is where you park it.” This means the possibilities are endless, but there are a some things to keep in mind when picking a place to set up for the night. Try to find a quiet and out of the way spot, because whether it’s a pull-off on a highway or a sleepy back road, there’s nothing worse than constantly being woken up by loud cars, people, or lights. BLM land is another great option since camping anywhere is fair game. In addition to your location, parking on level ground will help enormously with your quality of sleep. If it’s not possible to find an even spot, at least make sure your head is above your feet.
Organization is essential
With all your belongings stored in one small space, it’s important to stay organized. Make sure everything has its own place in the car and keep things compartmentalized in terms of food, gear, and clothes. I recommend using plastic bins to store camping and non perishable food items. That way, if there’s not enough room when you’re going to bed, you can always stash gear (not food!) outside while keeping it safe and dry.
Set the mood...or just light the way
Climbing into your car when it’s dark and trying to locate the keys or socks, or phone is bound to be frustrating. Battery-powered string lights are a great way to light up the whole car, or luci lights are a good option since you can hang them above you from your car handles. To avoid the problem aforementioned above, it’s always smart to get your sleeping arrangement dialed in before it gets dark.
Comfort is King
One of the best parts of car camping is there’s usually room for a few extra items. I recommend bringing a thick sleeping pad or an air mattress to sleep on, plus a warm sleeping bag or, heck, throw in your down comforter for some serious home-away-from-home luxury. If you're in the market for a sleeping pad, I highly recommend checking out Luno Life, their air mattresses are specifically designed to fit in your car. Set up is a breeze and it really just takes your car camping game to the next level. Another one of my go-to camping hacks is to stuff soft clothes or a down jacket in a pillowcase and use that as my pillow, but if you’re going the fancy duvet route, you might as well throw in a nice feather pillow too.
Don’t overthink it
The best part about sleeping in your car is that no matter what, you have a (somewhat) warm, dry place to sleep. Don’t worry too much about having all the right gear or the picture-perfect campsite. Sure, sometimes you stumble across that epic, remote spot next to a babbling creek, but other times you’re on the road and just have to pull into the nearest neighborhood and make the best of it. At the end of the day, what really matters is the fact that you're on an adventure, getting outside, and making memories!