Looking for an adventure but don’t have the money to spend on a getaway? If you’re a lover of the outdoors, or even a nature admirer, then you need to consider car camping.
Gone are the days of carrying your tent on your back to sleep under the stars and eating only what you can hike with. With car camping, you’re exploring the great outdoors in style.
Instead of backpacking, you want thick camping mattresses to make nights more comfortable and lightweight grills to roast real food on. Your weekends will never be boring ever again when you car camp.
But where should you start? If you’re stepping into the world of car camping for the first time, it can be confusing or overwhelming. There are so many things to bring and so many things to do!
Use this quick guide to car camping to help you navigate through your new weekend staycation plans.
Planning Your Car Camping Trip
Every style of camping is a little different. To be able to plan well for your trip, you need to narrow down what kind of camping you’re going to do.
For car camping, you’ll need much different supplies than you would for backpacking. You’ll also need to pick out a different location, since some camps can only be reached on foot.
With this in mind, let’s talk about car camping!
Car camping is one of the most popular ways to camp, since it’s good for both beginners and camping experts alike. Having your car nearby to sleep in and access your supplies gives you a sense of security and stability.
When you’re car camping, you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy things up a hiking trail. Instead, you can hike up to see the sights and then come back down for dinner over the fire.
So how do you plan a car camping trip?
First, pick a good location. Make sure wherever you choose to stay is accessible by car and has some sights you want to see.
Some campsites do not allow cars, so be careful when doing your research!
If you don’t want to worry about campsites, try checking into the free public land around your areas. While they still have rules and restrictions, you may find these sites a little quieter and more to your liking if you’re a camping connoisseur.
Preparing Car Camping Essentials
So what kind of gear do you need to go car camping? Some people might tell you that as long as you’ve got a car and some canned goods, you’ll be good to go.
But there are a couple of essentials that you need to bring or plan for if you want your car camping getaway to run smoothly.
First, make sure to fill up on gas! This might seem silly, but when you’re car camping, you don’t want to run out of fuel.
You’ll need lots of water—and not just for drinking. If you aren’t camping out by a lake or a river, you can use bottled water to rinse off any cooking utensils and to wash up after a day out in the sun.
For sleeping, it’s recommended to bring a large tent to make camp with. Having a good camping sleep system is vital so you can get the rest you need to explore the outdoors. Car camping makes it easy, since you don’t need to worry about overpacking.
Be sure to bring a first aid kit in case of injuries or accidents. Having a car to camp with means you can store a large first aid kit in the back or under the seats so you can avoid a quick hospital trip.
Don’t forget to bring lights! When you’re away from the city, things get dark. Make sure to have plenty of flashlights and lanterns when you’re car camping.
Maximize Your Car Camping Luxuries
Those are the essentials, but when you’re car camping, you can afford to make your outdoor staycation into something a bit more luxurious.
Even if luxury is just a good camping sleep system and a better way to make your meals, then here are all the tips you need!
If you want to make the most of your weekend spent car camping, then you need to find a way to get a restful night of sleep. Uncomfortable tents or uneven ground can mean missing out on sweet dreams.
But if you have a good camping sleep system in place, you won’t need to worry about waking up grumpy and without enough energy to hike.
Investing in a good, thick camping mattress will make for a dreamy sleep under the stars. Make sure to get something that can fit in your car, whether it be an inflatable mattress or something that sits in the back of your vehicle.
In terms of cookware, car camping allows you to bring more utensils and more food so you can enjoy better meals. You can buy charcoal grills or hook up propane gas stoves to cook fresh produce on.
Plus, you don’t need to worry about packing food. Your groceries can stay safely in your car while you camp out.
You may also want to bring tables and chairs or other furniture with you, like hammocks, to make your getaway even more enjoyable!
Part of the car camping experience is being a good, responsible camper. That means cleaning up after yourself and being sure to leave no trace, especially on public land.
Be sure to throw out all your garbage or take it with you to dispose of. You want to especially make sure that all food is cleaned up so that wild animals don’t get ahold of it.
If you see any other trash, even if it doesn’t belong to you, try and pick it up too. Be the better person and take care of these campsites so that others can enjoy them.
And remember to say thanks to any park rangers or campsite center staff that you see!
Car camping is one of the best ways to spend a weekend outdoors and under the stars while still getting a luxury experience.
Whether you’re just starting out with car camping or you’re a seasoned camper, this guide will help you plan, pack, and enjoy your weekend trip.
When you’re well-equipped with a perfect camping spot, a thick camping mattress, and a gas-burner stove, a simple camping trip is transformed into an indulgent staycation.