A woman sits on top of her car with forested hills behind her as the wind blows her hair freely into her face.

Car Camping Isn’t as Bad as It Sounds

You may draw up some negative images when you think of the idea of car camping. However, it can be a rather incredible way to experience the great outdoors and isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Many have jumped on the trend to embrace this camping style during their adventures. So is car camping for you? Let’s look and see.

A woman sits on top of her car with forested hills behind her as the wind blows her hair freely into her face.

What Is Car Camping?

The widely-accepted definition for car camping is when you camp anywhere you can drive your car. However, many people debate whether you actually have to sleep in your car to consider it car camping. 

One side of the argument says you can haul all your stuff with your vehicle to the location and use your car for storage. However, the other side believes you must use your car for sleeping. 

Check out Emily’s car camping set up in her Toyota RAV4.

Is Car Camping Dangerous? 

Car camping can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. You should always be aware of your surroundings and any potential hazards. This includes weather conditions and any wildlife that could threaten you and your fellow campers.

If you choose to camp in an area with dangerous wildlife like bears, take all the necessary precautions to avoid attracting them to your site. How you store and cook your food is very important.

However, it’s not just big furry animals that can pose a threat. You also have to consider any potential issues with snakes, spiders, and others. 

Car camping in remote locations can be dangerous as well. You could be a considerable distance from help or have limited cell phone service in an emergency. You must always communicate where you’ll camp and your timeline with others.

Is RVing as a solo female traveler safe?

Is Car Camping Safer Than Tent?

Car camping can be safer than tent camping. You can typically make a quick exit to get to safety in an emergency. You also won’t have to worry about the effects of wind and rain as much when car camping.

High winds and rain are a tent’s enemy, especially if you didn’t invest in a high-quality tent. A leaking or damaged tent can quickly ruin your entire adventure.

Car camping also makes it very easy to secure your belongings. By locking your car, you’ll know everything is safe and sound. You won’t have to worry about things disappearing quite as easily too.

A man sits in the back hatch of his car overlooking snowcapped mountains as the sun stains the sky pink as it sets.

What Are the Benefits of Car Camping?

Car camping provides a tremendous amount of freedom when it comes to where you camp. You can stay at thousands of campsites on public-use lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service.

Many of these campsites provide plenty of space and privacy, and you can often easily access them with most cars. 

If you’re tired of camping in a crowded campground or struggling to get reservations, car camping may be a great option to consider. You may enjoy the deafening silence in some of these remote locations.

Car campers love that they bring just about anything they could need with them on their adventures. Depending on your car, you can have plenty of space to pack in the necessary gear to enhance your car camping experience.

A women with wavy blonde hair steps out of her car to watch the sun set over a field.

What Are the Disadvantages of Car Camping?

One of the biggest disadvantages of car camping is that you can only go where your car can take you. If you don’t camp in an established campground, getting in or out of some campsites can change based on the weather conditions. You’ll need to stay aware of the weather to avoid any issues.

Another disadvantage is that car camping can provide little to no privacy. This is especially true if you camp in a state park or local campground where the sites are close together.

Sleeping in a tent or your vehicle will provide a minimal barrier between you and your fellow campers, which may bother some people.

Is Car Camping Comfortable?

Car camping can be as comfortable as you make it. You’ll need to invest in some camping gear, but you can easily build up your supplies the longer you participate in car camping. A high-quality sleeping bag and sleeping pad are essential to get a good night’s sleep. 

Depending on where you camp, you may find you spend very little time actually at the campsite. Time flies when adventuring, and your campsite may only serve as a place to prepare your meals and rest your head.

Sleeping bags and flat surfaces set up in the back of a car for camping in the woods.

Do You Need to Crack a Window When Sleeping in a Car? 

It is not necessary to crack a window while sleeping in a car. Typically, you’ll have plenty of air inside your vehicle, so you won’t have to worry about safety.

However, it can make it more comfortable to help circulate air or keep the temperature down inside the vehicle.

If you do crack your window, avoid opening it too much. You don’t want bugs or rain to get inside your vehicle while you sleep. Waking up covered in mosquito bites will have you quickly packing up and heading for home.  

Can You Sleep in Your Car at Walmart?

Some Walmart locations allow overnight parking. However, while Walmart parking lots were previously the go-to spots for those looking for a quick overnight place to sleep, it’s becoming increasingly difficult.

Overnight campers have abused Walmart’s generosity by leaving trash and other waste behind when they leave. If you want to sleep in your car at Walmart, ask permission. Speak to a manager and get their approval.

Additionally, just because you don’t see signs prohibiting overnight stays doesn’t mean there’s no local ordinance. The manager will let you know if you can stay or not.

Walmart vs Truck Stops: Who has better overnight parking?

Is Car Camping Worth It?

Car camping can be a great way to go on pretty epic adventures. As long as you have a car, you can slowly acquire items to make your experience more comfortable and exciting.

You can challenge yourself and your fellow adventurers to find unique places to stay. Have you ever done car camping during your adventures?

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