Best Car Camping Tips

No I’m not talking about living in your car. I’m talking about utilizing your vehicle to enhance your camping experience. And there are several ways to do this. Inexpensive ways I might add. So I wanted to write an article and list the best car camping tips to help you enjoy your next trip even more. So let’s get started…

What is Car Camping Anyway?

car camping


There are two different types of car camping. The first one is basically tent camping except you lay out an air mattress and sleeping bag in your car, not a tent. You still can cook on your camping stove and make a fire (depending on where you’re camping), but you sleep in your car rather than a tent.

Another type of car camping is finding a legit camping spot that you drive your car right on up to, get out and make your camp site right there. In other words your not hiking for miles to your camp site. And there are definitely some benefits to this.

And if you look online you can find thousands of camping tips that will help you. I went ahead and picked 10 of the best tips that are sure to be the most beneficial for any camper; whether you’re a beginner or expert.

1. Keep Supplies Organized with Storage Bins

If you have an SUV with a hatchback or a pick up truck, just back on up to the campsite. Get you some storage bins to store different camping supplies in. Keep your food in one bin. (bottled water, canned tuna, granola bars, etc.) In another bin store your campsite cooking gear. (two burner stove, pots, utensils for cooking and for eating) Then take another storage bin and fill it with other misc. items. (toilet paper, matches, flash light, extra batteries, etc.)

Then just keep the bins all together at the back of your car to where you can just open the door and get whatever you need. Believe me if you have everything organized, you will be able to enjoy your camping trip so much more.

2. No More Leaking Bags of Melted Ice

Instead of buying a bunch of bags of ice, take some large Gatorade or water bottles and fill them with water. If you freeze them they will stay frozen much longer than the ice you buy at the convenience store. Use as many as you need in your ice chest to keep your goods nice and cold. And when the water in the bottles melt, you have plenty of water to drink.

3. Good Hygiene is Important

Maybe you’re next car camping spot isn’t in a state park or a camping ground with a bath house. No worries at all. Do some research of the surrounding area. If you have a gym membership with multiple locations, and one of the locations isn’t far from where you’re camping, you can just use their shower. Or you can get one of these inexpensive shower bags that work like a charm.

4. Camping Stove for Cooking and Keeping Warm

camping stove

Not only can you cook an excellent meal with a Coleman two burner camping stove, but those things put off some heat too. If for whatever reason you can’t have a campfire where you are, be sure and bring a good quality camping stove to gather around and keep warm.

And on those REAL cold nights you can boil water and pour it into a heat-safe water bottle, then keep the water bottle down by your feet in your sleeping bag.

5. Bring a Foldable Table and Chairs

Sometimes you luck out and get a camp site with a picnic table. But if not, it never hurts to have a table to set up to prepare food and eat on. And of course you have to have a good comfy chair to sit in.

6. Solar is The Way To Go

You definitely don’t want to drain your car battery charging up your phone or ipad. A portable solar panel charger is worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to car camping. And you can find a nice one online for not that much money at all.

And speaking of a dead car battery, chances are you will be in and out of the car more than usual. So it definitely wouldn’t hurt to pack a portable car battery jump starter.

7. Pack a Head Lamp

head lamp

Again, as not to drain the car battery, keep the interior lights turned off and just use your flash light or head lamp to light things up when getting what you need out of the car. I LOVE my head lamp. I probably use it more than a regular flash light because my hands are completely free to work on whatever task i’ve got going on. They really are great!

8. Pack Smart

One of the main perks of car camping is not having to worry about packing light because you don’t have to hike for miles to the camp site. You pull up, set up and camp. That being said you still want your gear to fit into your vehicle for the drive to and from the camp site. So the smaller the gear, the better.

9. Keep The Mosquitos Away


One of the absolute worst buzz kills are those pesky mosquitoes! Living in Louisiana, I know how much of a pain these little blood suckers can be. If you’re going car camping in the summer definitely don’t forget the bug spray. I recommend the Cutter Deep Woods. And if it’s a spot where the mosquitoes are really bad, these mosquito repellent wrist bands actually work really well.

10. Camp Wherever and Whenever

car rooftop tent

I’m talking about a Car Rooftop Tent! It’s a tent that actually mount to the top of your vehicle and is only accessible by extension ladder. These can be a bit pricey but they really are cool. You’re up off the ground so you won’t have to worry about any unwanted guests slithering into your tent while you sleep. And it’s a much nicer view than traditional tent camping on the ground.


Check out some more helpful camping tips HERE.

I sincerely hope that you can use any of these tips for your next adventure. If you have any car camping tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below. Have fun and be safe out there.

See you on the trail!


  1. Car camping seems so much easier, less walking, lol, although I do like to hike. But a car makes things a lot easier. The tip about the frozen gatorade bottles is great, I will remember that 🙂 Do you know if there are any good small sized car refrigerators and are they expensive? I was just wondering about that. I’ve also seen the shower bags you mentioned in your article. They are really great and they can heat up in the sun, thus providing warm water. Where do you buy them? Do hardware stores usually offer them?

    Great tips! Many thanks!

    • Hey Christine! Thank you for reading my post and commenting! I haven’t seen any shower bags in hardware stores. Wal Mart may have them since they have everything. Lol But to answer your question about the compact camping fridge, check out this Coleman Cooler on Amazon. It’s an iceless electric cooler that plugs right into your car outlet. They say they’re perfect for camping or long road trips. Thanks again for commenting and if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!  

  2. I have a question. Most of the time when people are camping, they do it outside, usually in forests. Wild forests. Those tend to have a lot of hungry animals, like bears for instance, who would love to have a piece of your food storage bin. How would you deal with those? Does car camping make it easier to deal with the critters than with conventional camping? There are a lot of funny videos of bears breaking into cars on the internet. My favorite one is where the bear takes out the trash.

    • Hey Mikhail! Yes, bears are very smart (especially when it comes to food). Car camping definitely has it’s advantages when it comes to keeping your food safe from critters because it offers one more obstacle for the animal to have to go through. But in the case of a hungry bear, I would get in my car and drive off if possible. And if the bear doesn’t move on, call the local authorities. But I’ve never had any problems with them when camping in Tennessee. In fact whenever I see them, they’re usually rummaging through someone’s trash or just minding their own business. They really are fun to watch, from a safe distance. 

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