Car Camping: Is It Doable?

When you think of camping, your mind usually wanders to the scene of hikers spending the whole day trekking to the perfect site and then setting up with the minimal supplies they have in their backpack. Car camping flips this entire notion on its head and makes things a little easier with the addition of your vehicle.

The most common type of car camping is when you’re able to drive your car directly to the site, and often use it as part of your camping setup. However, there are some who camp strictly in their car and don’t bother setting up a tent, taking this style of camping to the extreme.

Setting Up For Car Camping

Whichever method you’re going to try, you need to be sure you’re prepared. Just because you’ll have your trusty car with you, it doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to check off your car camping checklist, so find out the details with this simple guide.

Things To Know About Car Camping

Car camping does differ quite a bit to regular camping, and there are still rules and guidelines you’ll need to follow to do it right. Most importantly, you’ll have to check in with the area you plan on visiting to be sure there are no restrictions on vehicles and what the rules are in regards to camping overnight with your car.

There are some apps available that can help you check out potential sites, including Hipcamp and AllStays which show you where it’s safe and okay to camp with your vehicle. There are a number of free spots in the country so don’t assume you’ll have to pay, you just need to do your research first.

Look for a spot that’s flat and shaded to park your car and set up the tent. You might choose to sleep in your car and have your preferred type of sleeping pad and bag in the back, or you could bring a tent along for a more outdoors camping experience. Whichever way is fine, and there are no rules that make one less authentic than the other.

The Car Camping Essentials

Ticking off your car camping checklist will largely involve making sure you have the right supplies. If you’re new to camping, it’s better to overpack when you have your car to help you out, rather than reach your destination and find you’re missing some essentials. These are just some of the basics you’ll want for your next outdoor adventure, with the option and space to add more if you need.

Sleeping Pad

A sleeping pad is essential whether you’re camping on the ground or sleeping in the car. Most quality brands are inflatable so it won’t take up any room when it’s not in use.

Sleeping Bag

Get yourself a comfortable bag that’s designed to meet the weather conditions. Be sure to check in for the overnight temperature as this can drop quite a bit in some places.


For those who would prefer not to sleep in their car and still get to experience camping in the great outdoors, a quality tent is needed.

Blue Tent


A small two burner stove can be a lifesaver when you’re camping and since you don’t have to carry it for yourself this is the perfect time to take it along.

Food And Drink

The best thing about having your car handy is that you can take a little more along in terms of food and drink. Bring a few coolers and plastic buckets full of food and make use of that extra space .

Camping Supplies

This is all of your regular camping supplies with a touch of luxury that you’ll need to stay safe in the outdoors. Medical kit, extra water, sunscreen, clothing, and anything else you plan on using for fishing, hiking, or other activities.

Benefits Of Car Camping

So, why would anyone choose to bring their car along on a camping trip? It’s pretty easy to see when you consider all of the benefits that car camping has, especially for those who don’t want to rough it.


Rather than purchasing lots of fancy camping gear, you can get away with just the basics like a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a tent if you plan on setting one up outdoors.

Greater Access

Having a car means you can reach some places that other campers might not be able to. You also have the option to park somewhere and hike a little further, giving you the best of both worlds.

More Room

Most campers will have to fit everything they need in a backpack but when you bring your vehicle along you have loads more room to pack more than just the basics.

Less Effort

If the thought of hiking to your camping spot or carrying all of your supplies with you sounds like a chore, this might be the style of camping for you.

regular camping supplies

Stay On The Grid

Some people might feel uncomfortable in the middle of nowhere without any means of contact or transport, and car camping takes care of all of this for you.

A Simpler Way To Enjoy The Great Outdoors

Camping used to be something that required a lot of work and meant you were lugging your belongings for miles before you found the perfect spot. Although some purists will tell you otherwise, it’s perfectly doable to bring your car along if it’s going to improve your camping experience.

Just like any other style of camping, you will need to have the right gear. However, the beauty of having your vehicle handy means you can overpack for safety and have a bit more of a luxurious experience in nature.