The Ultimate Car Camping Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Car Camping2021-08-05T11:54:26-04:00

The Ultimate Car Camping Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Car Camping

what is car camping answer
Car camping is quickly becoming a go-to alternative to RV or Van Life.

For some people, car camping is literally to put all of your stuff in your car and park up somewhere to sleep in your car.

Others see it as simply loading your car up with your camping equipment and driving to a campsite.

For this post, we are looking at the more literal definition of car camping, which is sleeping in your car or camping out in your car with basic necessities.

What is Car Camping?

Bring The Essentials

When you are loading up your car camping essentials, you want to make sure that you have everything you would usually need to camp out but for use from your car.

  • Camp stove
  • GPS/Map
  • Flashlight/Lanterns
  • Storage Bins
  • Toiletries
  • Privacy Curtains
  • Bed

Pro tip: Sleep with your head towards the front of the car for more room, and if you are parked on an incline, sleep with your head higher than your feet.

Rechargeable Fan

The climate can vary from state to state, so invest in a rechargeable fan, so you don’t have to keep one plugged into your car or use your A/C with your engine running. Rechargeable spare batteries are a must too.

Rechargeable Shower

Rechargeable showers can be charged using your car battery, laptop or phone via a USB, and for those who need a daily morning shower, this can be a great alternative. All you need to do is make sure you have charged your shower, hang the showerhead above head height and make sure the pipe is located in a suitable water source.

Portable Power Station

Portable power stations, sometimes known as inverter generators fueled by batteries. They’re essentially huge rechargeable batteries the size of a countertop microwave oven that you plug into a standard 110-volt socket to charge.

Food/Water Storage

A cool box is ideal for keeping your food and drinks cold, as containers can avoid spoilage or damage to your supplies when driving out for long periods. Ice blocks are great ways to pre-cool your cooler box for perishables before you store food in them too. Don’t forget your dinnerware and utensils too.

Find Legal and Safe Spots to Park

Contrary to popular belief, you can not just pull up anywhere and sleep in your car overnight. There are many safe and legal spots around the US where you can legally park overnight for camping, such as;

  • Select Walmart Car Parking Lots
  • Campgrounds
  • Highway Rest Stops
  • Public Lands

Some US Forest Service roads are available to camp on as long you do so respectfully and aren’t blocking access. When parking up overnight, make sure to keep your car locked, and a window cracked to allow for fresh air.

Plan For Costs Ahead

Depending on the length of your trip, there could be some unexpected costs you might not have considered. These include things such as spoiled food, car repairs or damage, cleaning supplies, charges for stopping at camping grounds, or suitable stops. Always have a contingency fund to account for any issues that arise.

Check Out This Video To Learn More About Car Camping


With careful planning and attention to detail, there is no reason why you can’t explore and have a great camping car experience. For those who love van life, truck camping, and more, car camping essentials will be familiar and a great experience.