13 Best Car Camping Hacks


Are you planning to go on a car camping trip?

We understand it– as statistically, road trips are pretty popular in the traveling world, particularly on the West Coast!

If you want to convert your whole van or some parts, we will give you the best car camping hacks we’ve used and cherished!

We took a converted van for our 10-days trip and slept in it in fascinating spots. We also traveled in our own Mazda CX-5 to the American Southwest, and these car camping hacks made our trip in the van comfortable and convenient.

In this article, we’ll give you the best resting and sleeping tips, cooking tips, and other car camping hacks to make your road trip fun and worthwhile!

Best Car Camping Hacks

Bring a camp bin

bring a camp bin

This year, when we planned to visit Craters of the Moon in Idaho, we went to Lowe’s and purchased a large-sized bin to store all our outdoor camping gear.

There are several things you require for these kinds of trips – a large spacious bin to toss everything in will help you keep everything in order. It’s ideal for unplanned road trips – we throw it in our vehicle and go!

Pack tiny toiletries

This hack is most convenient that you will find everything you need for this at your home!

Like our camping bin above, we have a reasonable plastic container at home to gather all the samples, lodging treats, and tiny bottles we get during our traveling trips.

Here are a few tips for making your own travel-size set:

  • Make a bin just for storing all the little containers and samples you’ve collected in your previous travels.
  • Go on the web and find promotional offers. I generally search for Clinique when I have to purchase something as they quite often come with free little extra treats. They’re an ideal size!
  • Purchase reusable travel-sized bottles to fill them with your products at home. 

Don’t forget to bring some cash

bring some cash

Cash is the best for small towns and emergency reservations. Many outdoor camping spots in Pacific Northwest will have an officer station board at the entrance of a campsite. If they make reservations on a first-come-first basis, you can fill the required info, put your cash in an envelope, and drop it in the payment box for pick-up in the morning.

Bring multi-purpose gear

If you plan to sleep in your car, you will need to cuddle up close to everything you have stuffed. So pack your gear smartly and find multi-purpose camping gear.

It would be great if you have a Swiss armed force blade with a spoon, corkscrew, fork, and other different things because it will spare you a great deal of room.

Another simple car camping hack is to save space by bringing things that pack small – like pots and containers that fit into each other.

DIY curtains for privacy

diy curtains

This one is likely the most significant car camping hacks. Some campervans already have privacy windows, but still, most of them don’t have it.

If you don’t have time to make your privacy curtain and need an easy alternative, you can cover your car with a rainfly while staking it down. Make sure to line up your car door and rainfly zipper.

Pack inflatable sleeping pads

It is better to sleep in a car than to sleep outside and to sleep more comfortably, you can use inflatable sleeping pads.

Using a sleeping pad will help you even out bumps and lopsided floor caused by the folding car seats. Except if you don’t mind sleeping on a safety belt (which you generally end up having one under your back), a sleeping pad will allow you to have a lot more comfortable sleep.

Bring lots of extra water

bring lots of extra water

Water always proves to be useful in different manners. You can utilize it for staying hydrated, and also for cooking, cleaning, and cooling down your vehicle.

If you don’t want to have a large amount of waste material, you should buy a large bottle of water rather than small individual bottles. Or you can refill your bottle with fresh water from corner stores, campsite, recreational offices, etc.

Carry a heat source

A heat source can be anything from Coleman camping stove to a Jet boil (don’t ever use them in a car!!!). It’s essential to have a heat source for cooking and to keep yourself warm at night.

On cold nights, we boil water, pour it in our hot water bottles, and then place it by our feet in our sleeping bags.

If you are trying to limit your gear, we recommend going with a Jet boil and cooking, use your campfire when you can.

Pack folding chairs and supper table

folding chairs

You can find folding chairs in all sizes at REI. Bring folding chairs that are small enough to fit between your car seats.

You can use these chairs for sitting around the campfire or supper table.

Purchase a light source

Pick your preferred brand for buying headlamps, flashlights, and tent lights to be able to see properly in the dark. Don’t forget to pack additional batteries or bring reusable ones with a charger.

You can also use solar-powered options that will save you from stressing over.

Bring a tent or hammock

Bring a tent

Sleeping in your car is comfortable and safe, however eventually, it will get old (or it may very well get too darn hot in there). So, bring additional alternatives like a car camping tent or a hammock.

Bring a cargo box for your car top

Bring a cargo box to transfer your stuff from your sleeping area to the cargo box at the rooftop of your car. This cargo box will help you keep your camping gear safe (and most cargo boxes have locks, as well).

Tell someone your travel destination and route

Always tell someone from your family or friend your trip destination and tell them the exact route because accidents happen. And if you ever find yourself in an accident, this friend or family will be able to come to your help.

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