You’ve gotta admit – life’s gotten too busy.
And somewhere between work, deadlines, and more work, we’ve all become hamsters on wheels, spinning away tirelessly.
A digital detox might just be the quick fix to ease our souls, and what better way to connect with Mother Nature than camping?
If you’re a habitual car camper, or a novice hoping to explore the delights of camping in your car, comfort is indeed a top priority. But to make the most of your car camping experience, it’s essential to prepare well in advance.
1. Comfortable Camping
Choosing the perfect camping destination is the first thing to check off your list.
Is your ideal spot rocky, sandy, hot, or wet?
Does it have basic amenities like a gas station or grocery store nearby?
Will you be sharing space with other campers or all alone with the stars and wildlife?
These are some key factors to consider when planning for comfort.
2. Noise Levels
Depending on your camping style, there is good noise and bad noise.
Good noise includes things you enjoy hearing that may even elevate your overall experience, like running water, crickets, or the wind blowing through the trees.
Bad noise could be noisy generators, late-night neighbors, or traffic.
While looking for the right spot, pick a more secluded campsite with space for each group to enjoy their privacy or late-night laughter without disturbing others. One helpful way to avoid unwanted noise is camping inside your car or van. Consider packing earplugs for nighttime if open-air cots, hammocks, and tents are your vibe.
3. Camp Furniture
Funnily enough, camping can involve a lot of sitting or lying around. Between activities like hiking, biking, and swimming, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit and sleep by packing the right furniture.
Some items you could bring:
- Outdoor Mat/Rug: A large waterproof mat is a good idea, especially if you’re camping on grass, which often conceals ticks and can cause allergic reactions like sneezing or rashes.
- Folding Chairs: From inflatable and foldable to loungers and hangers… choose your favorite way to chill out and bring an extra for the friend who always forgets.
- Multifunctional Cooler: Coolers can double as side tables, card tables, or cup holders.
- Plastic Folding Table: A plastic folding table is a clutch for any overnight stay outdoors. Keeping food off the ground is vital to keep pests at bay, and you can use it to organize items without having to dig around in the car.
- Umbrella or Tarp: Sunshine is the best camping weather, but it can get intense if you don’t have any relief. Pack a large umbrella to use for shade. Tarps also make for great DIY shades; just pack some rope or bungee cords, and you’ll be able to block the sun for the rest of your group.
- Inflatable Mattress: No matter your preferred mattress style – firm or soft – sleeping on the dirt is downright uncomfortable. Pack an inflatable mattress for your tent or, if you have the proper setup, the top of your car or van.
- Sleeping Pad – If an inflatable mattress is too much of a hassle, a simple sleeping pad rolls up nicely and packs well for hikeable campsites.
4. Sleep Comfort
Just about anyone can make it through a fun day of outdoor activities, but the real test comes at night. Having comfortable sleeping arrangements might be the most crucial thing you plan if you want to have a great experience.
Here are a few other tips that will make your snooze more comfortable:
- Leveling Blocks: When sleeping in your car, you want to be sure you’ve parked on a level surface, which isn’t always easy to find. Like eating on an uneven dinner table isn’t much fun, sleeping in an uneven car or RV is also frustrating. Pack leveling blocks in case one of your wheels needs a little extra lift.
- Head Lamp: Are you the type that frequently gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? You don’t want to do this in an unfamiliar place, near strangers, and in the pitch black of night, no less. Pack yourself a flashlight or headlamp for such midnight tasks.
- Tent Fan: This might seem like an accessory for posh campers, but after a night of dry heat or dripping humidity, you’ll wish you had packed a small fan to hang for circulation. Simple comforts like a tent fan can make or break the camping experience.
- Window Shades or Coverings: Car or van camping can be one of the safest and most comfortable ways to sleep outdoors, but for extra safety and comfort, you’ll want to block your windows from a nosey neighbor or the sun. (Sometimes, the moon can be really bright too).
It’s fun to get a little dirty, but sitting in dirty sweat…not so fun. Let’s not forget how you’re also sharing the campsite with flies and mosquitos.
It may seem like cleanliness is against the almighty camping rules, but a few items to keep you and your stuff clean and tidy will make your car camping experience much more comfortable, not to mention a lot less smelly and sticky:
- Water: Many campgrounds don’t have clean running water. Reduce plastic waste by packing a water cooler and filling up a reusable water bottle throughout the day.
- Outdoor Shower: If your plans include any kind of activity other than sitting, an outdoor shower could come as sweet relief at the end of the day. There are a variety of options out there, but most involve a bag you fill and hang from the top of your car or from a tree.
- Cleansing Wipes: For a quick clean, pack biodegradable wipes. It’s extremely important to use nature-safe products whenever you’re enjoying an extended stay outdoors.
- Toilet Paper: Just like cleansing wipes, having a roll of biodegradable toilet paper will be extremely helpful when you have to go on the go. For next-level camping comfort, get yourself an affordable and portable camping toilet like the Double Doodie toilet with bags and bio-gel.
- Trash Bags: Don’t leave home without packing a roll of compostable trash bags. The idea is to leave the campsite as if you were never there. No one likes a litterbug, except maybe raccoons.