Home Camping Tips Car Camping 101: Don’t Knock It ‘Til You Try It
Car Camping 101: Don’t Knock It ‘Til You Try It

5 min

September 7, 2023

Hardcore backpackers may cringe at the term “car camping,” but there’s no shame in being comfortable. If you’re just getting into camping or prefer more of a hassle-free getaway, car camping could be right up your alley.

Car camping generally refers to a campsite or campground where you’re able to pull the car right into your spot and set up the tent.  This style of camping offers tons of flexibility and comfort, especially if you have kids or you’re just not into roughing it but love the outdoors.

Here are 6 tips for car camping and why it deserves more credit than it actually gets.

Go Ahead and Pack That Enormous Tent

Do you like to have plenty of space to spread out? Feel free to bring along that huge tent that’s been sitting in your garage. Not only can it fit more people, but it offers more than enough room for all of your creature comforts. It doesn’t hurt if you can stand up inside of it, and if you’re bringing the dog, he can have his own room.

Get the Comfiest Air Mattress You Can Find

Whether you’re into plush sleeping pads or queen-sized air mattresses, there will be plenty of space in you huge tent to get comfortable. If you’re not into sleeping on the ground, there’s no point in waking up with a backache if you don’t have to. If you’re camping with that special someone, there’s nothing wrong with making your sleeping space as cozy as possible. This includes a nice blanket, quilt, or sleeping bag as well as your favorite pillows. In addition, the better you sleep, the more energy you will have for getting outside and enjoying whatever activities you set out to do.

Bring Your Big Stove and All the Food

Yes, roasting marshmallows or hotdogs over the campfire can be fun, but cooking a full blown meal over the flames isn’t for everyone. If you’re car camping, you will have more than enough room in the car to pack that two-burner stove. Bring along your old cast iron skillet, a pot, and a few utensils and you are set to cook like a champion.

Stock Your Huge Cooler

Perhaps the greatest perk to car camping is being able to bring along your large cooler. Not only do you have more options for food, but you can pack a few extra beverages (adult or otherwise) to enjoy around the campfire. Just be sure to stock up on ice and it doesn’t hurt if there is a convenience store nearby for longer trips.

Get Organized

Because you can bring more supplies along while car camping, staying organized is imperative. Plastic bins are amazing for keeping everything in its place. Whether it’s kitchen gear, clothes, toys, or bedding, clear bins make it easy to see what’s inside and will help you stay away from a cluttered mess.

Adventure at Your Fingertips

One extra perk of car camping is that you can get up close and personal with your next adventure without a long trek that leaves you tired and worn out. Depending on your style of adventure – hiking, biking, climbing, paddling – you can often park near trailheads, rivers, or mountains for easy access. Some might call it cheating, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying good sleep and a tasty meal before setting out to explore.

Discover Your Next Car Camping Destination

Ready to start packing? Explore thousands of campgrounds across the nation on Camp Native and discover your perfect car camping destination! Best of all, you can reserve your campsite online so you can spend more time getting your gear ready and actually enjoying the outdoors.

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