8 Great Ways to use your Car for your Next Camping Trip!

One of the greatest adventures in life is to go outside and into the wilderness for some fine tuning of your survival skills! While some people might prefer to spend their summer days doing an epic portage, most will opt for something a little more relaxed, like camping! Camping tends to be a nice way to spend time outside and also offers amenities, like showers. If you're one of those regular campers you should really make use of your car for an even better outdoors experience! Here are a few ways that you can incorporate your car into your next camping trip, to be even more comfortable in the wilderness:

Collect Things

One of the greatest things about your car is that you can use it to collect whatever tools you may need during your camping trip! Never worry about running out of supplies, like matches or batteries because you can always hop in your car and drive over to the nearest store. Most of the time when you're at a site, it's pretty remote from any towns and sometimes the on-site shop is still too far away. You'll really appreciate having your car with you to get from point A to B, allowing you to carry things even if they're heavy! For instance, you'll be able to collect a lot more firewood when you've a good set of wheels to transport the load back to the site.

Sleep in it

  • You've got a car

  • Imagine that you've gotten to the campsite with your friends and it's time to go to sleep but then one of you sees a bear! Most likely everyone will be way too scared to sleep in the tent because there's zero protection against bears in there. But luckily if you've got a car, you can all safely sleep in there for the night. Although, those with sedans might only fit two to three people because any more than that and there wouldn't be enough space to comfortably sleep in the back seats.

  • You've got an SUV or Van

  • Luckily for those of you with vans or SUV's, sleeping can be almost as comfortable as if in a regular bed! Most small SUV's can fit a twin size bed, so even if you're a couple of people you can have a super reasonable sleep, just by putting down any type of mattress. Of course, you'll want to deck it out with some comfy blankets and pillows for the ultimate set up. Even if you're a little scrunched, having a sleep on a twin-sized mattress in the back of your van is likely to be a whole lot more comfy than sleeping on the ground. Plus, you'll have an actual roof over your head!

  • Privacy

  • One thing you'll want to keep in mind when it comes to sleeping in your car is that because of the windows, you might not have as much privacy as in your tent. But there is a solution! You can go to any big store with an automotive department or online and just buy some thermal, reflective window covers. Not only will these easily fit inside of your window frame, but you can also quickly roll them up when they're no longer needed. You'll especially love how they keep the car blocked from the sun and you'll wake up feeling nice and cool.

  • Fresh Air

  • One other potential problem aside from not having enough privacy when sleeping in your car is that it could feel gross and stuffy when you wake up with the windows shut! What's the point of going out into nature, if you're just going to sleep in an oxygen-deprived state in your car. If you think there's a good chance you'll sleep in your car and you still want the benefits of the fresh air you'll definitely need to keep the windows open. The main concern when doing this is that you'll most definitely get eaten alive by mosquitoes overnight without having any type of mesh netting protection. The installation of a mesh netting over your car window is luckily, very easy to do. Start by measuring the dimensions of your car window, giving extra length so that the netting extends to all the metal parts around the window frame. Once you've got the right size mesh, you just need some strong magnets to hold the netting against your car's metal frame. It takes seconds to install and it's no hassle to take down either. Keep in mind that the more magnets you use the more secure the netting will be for keeping out bugs, Also, remember that on whichever window you leave open, you probably will want to forgo installing a window cover, to maximize airflow. However, if it's cold or you really want the privacy, you can just crack your window a bit and still use both the window cover and the mesh netting.

  • No Camp Site Needed

  • By far the most exciting part about being able to sleep in your car is that you don't even need a camp site. Especially, if you own a Jeep or any car that does well off-roading! You can just drive off road and then find a spot that's totally secluded with no other campers around. You'll have the thrill of off-roading, while also being out in nature for your night of sleep. The best part is that you won't have to spend any money on accommodations for this experience. Just be sure that you have plenty of fuel and possibly even a transportable 250L jerry can depending on how far you plan to go out off-roading into the wilderness. The biggest potential drawback of sleeping overnight in your car after off-roading is that most land is privately owned and that you may not be legally allowed to sleep there. So, for most it'll be easier just to pay for a standard camp site and set up car there!


Aside from the benefit of getting to have great sleeps in your car overnight when camping, you can also benefit from your car's headlights! When you're out in nature and it starts to get dark, you really start to notice how it's a lot blacker and harder to see than in the city. There's so much less light pollution out in nature it might be nearly impossible to see what you're doing at your campsite! Flashlights are pretty helpful, just to walk to the bathroom but if you need really good lighting, the small rays of a flashlight probably won't cut it. Sometimes the best way to see well at night will be to turn your car on for a moment and to use the headlights. You can even use the high beams! Perhaps you're not even at your campsite but you're going for a late night swim and you want to see your path all the way down to the water. Well if you've got your car, you can just blast the headlights and that way you won't step on any big rocks on your run down! Just be sure that when using the car's battery, you also get the engine started up from time to time so that you don't burn out the battery. You can even keep a booster set handy just to be safe.

Keep Connected and Entertained

If you've gone out to the wilderness for camping and there are no power outlets around, your car may be the only way to power up your cell phone! While taking a big break from social media and from the world in general can be super healthy, sometimes you might just want to sneak a peek! For those moments, you'll be happy to have a charging station for your phone. Maybe by the fifth day you'll be craving a little phone time just to answer messages, play some games, or because you want to listen to your favorite YouTube playlist. It is also a good idea to have your phone fully powered in case of an emergency, so that you know you can make a call.

Let your Ride do the Portaging for You

Let's be honest, who really wants to lug around a super heavy canoe or kayak on paths just to get to the water side. If you have a car you can just install a roof rack for your boat and then let your car do all the portaging for you! You can drive as close as possible to the water so that you really minimize your work load when it comes to carrying your boat. This way, you won't be so tired from carrying your canoe long distances and you'll have more energy for fun on the water. You will also be able to use your car to transport the necessary supplies for boating, like that six-pack of beers.

Hang a Tarp

The best part about having a car for your trip is that it provides the most secure way to hang up your tarp. Without a car you'd have the hard job of finding four trees, attaching ropes to each as tightly and securely as possible and covering your tent. Not only is it hard to find well situated trees for your tarp but it is also a feat to have the ropes tied up nice and tight so that water doesn't collect over top of your tent. The most effective solution for a secure tarp is to have the first three ropes connected to trees while the forth is connected to your car! You can attach the forth rope to your car's roof rack, trailer hitch or tow hook. Make sure that everything is tied nice and tight and then just inch your car forward until the tarp has no more sag. Be careful not to overdo it by driving your car so far forward that the tarp is close to ripping. It can be a good idea to have a friend with you, watching from outside the car to tell you when the tarp is snug.

Food Storage

One thing to watch out for when camping is big grizzly bears and one of the biggest attractants for these hungry beasts is food. If you have some space in your car you should definitely use it to store the food! Bears are much less likely to catch a whiff of something that smells tasty if it's locked away in your car. Bears will also have a much tougher time breaking into your car than into your tent if they do happen to smell some food. And the last thing you would want is to be sleeping soundly, only to be woken up by a bear coming into your tent. Even though you're storing food in your car, it's still a good idea to keep it locked up tight in a freezer or an air tight jar. If you're careful not to leave your car doors and windows open too often, the food in there will also be protected from bugs and from other small animals, like racoons.

Inflates your Air Mattress

Never mind the hassle of having to spend a bunch of your energy on pumping up and down to inflate your massive queen-sized air mattress. When you have your car with you, all you need to inflate your air mattress is a little air inflator that hooks up to the cigarette lighter in your car. This way you can electrically inflate your air mattress in minutes. Especially, if you've had a long drive and you're tired and it's late, having an automated way to inflate your mattress will only bring you to sleeping sooner. That way, you can be up early and enjoy the next day!


So, the next time you plan to go camping, you should try out some of these helpful tips on how to use your car. Whether your car provides a comfy place for sleeping or a safe way to store food, there's no doubt you'll be grateful for your car on your next trip. While it's good to get away from technology when you go outdoors, you can make an exception and use your car for a better camping experience.