How to have the ultimate car camping experience

Welcome back, car campers from all over the world! Last week here on Apache Pine we started to talk about car camping and how to have the ultimate car camping experience.

When it comes to mastering the art of any outdoor activity, tips, tricks and ideas are gold, as there’s always some new hack to learn from everyone, old or new. So regardless whether you are a beginner or an expert, here are some more tips and tricks to car camp like a pro.

Prevent condensation

The perfect car camping setup involves keeping condensation away. In other words, you want to keep the vehicle dry and ventilated, avoiding the sauna effect and making sure your experience keeps water away from the car and the rest of your gear.

The solution is to leave your car windows or sunroof slightly open. Of course, this is not enough. In order to prevent condensation while car camping, you should create a system for which air enters, but air only, or bugs and other unwanted visitors might become your new problem.

So the first step is to open the window enough, but not so that an animal (or a person) could enter. Then get some mesh, cut it wider than the opening and place it right there, so that air and air only can pass. You can use some tape or some pins to keep it in place.

In case you don’t like this option, you can always use some product to get rid of the moisture, like a small dehumidifier or some moisture absorber powder.

Also, keep an eye on what you have in the car with you: if your clothes are wet, leave them outside, as well as shoes and anything else that could release moisture inside the vehicle.

car camping tips

Give yourself privacy

Just because you choose to sleep in your car instead of any other camping place, it doesn’t mean that everyone should be able to see inside your "bedroom", or that you cannot have any privacy. Au contraire.

Privacy is very important for many reasons: first of all, so that you can keep indiscreet eyes away. Second, to protect your belongings when you are gone. Third, more privacy also means less light in the morning. So you can sleep a bit longer and take all the time you need to idle a bit if you wish to. Indeed, who says that adventure always has to be 4 am wake up call and zero relax?

Of course, there are different ways to assure yourself some privacy when car camping and they also depend a lot on the kind of car you have.

The first and most used method is to obscure car windows with some sunshades. The best ones are those with suction cups that keep them attached to the glass: very practical. Another great trick, which will also help to keep the car warm and condensation free are insulating sunshades. They are normally made of silver, reflecting material and they will keep both light and cold away.

Another option is to use actual curtains. By creating a structure with some cordage, you can hang curtains or a blanket on your car windows and make sure to block the light and the view.

This will allow you to keep the back door open while relaxing during the daytime, without necessarily having unwanted eyes to peek in your vehicle and see you. In general, it allows you more freedom to do as you please in the total safety of your privacy, without renouncing to sleep in a car or park it in crowded places.

Let there be silence

Another hard thing to keep away when you sleep in a car is noise. Some insulating material on your car window can help, that’s for sure, but you want to really make sure that noise is not going to wake you up.

So make sure that among your car camping essentials there also are some good earplugs, that can help you to sleep better and rest as you wish. Of course, don’t isolate yourself completely and make sure you can still have a margin for hearing what’s going on around you. However, to have them handy can be a very good choice.

Keep a record

Your memory is not endless and flawless, so do not depend on it all the time. First of all, we suggest making a car camping checklist that you can refer to every time you set off for an adventure. You can keep it in your car exactly and you can update it according to your new gear or new tricks. Every time, before leaving, use it to make sure you have everything with you.

Then make sure to keep a record of the places where you can park your car safely. Many times you could end up forgetting the spot, or you might think you won’t need to find that place again anymore, so you just wander off without keeping a record of where you were. The moment you need it again, you wish you had it marked down somewhere. Whether it’s on a physical map, or on your phone, pin down all the parking spots you end finding and eventual notes you want to remember about that place. In this way, you will have the ultimate archive for car camping and you will always know where to look for the right spot where to park your car.

In general, keep a record of your thoughts and your travel preferences, like a small journal, just to make sure you never miss an opportunity...you will end up mastering the art of car camping

car camping ideas

Take care of your car

Many people forget about this little, yet fundamental detail. When you go in the outdoors, possibly driving your car on white streets and in general on uneven and not necessarily easy to ride terrain, or maybe having it parked for many days in a rather cold and moisture place, you don’t want your car to abandon you.

Indeed, the first piece of gear when it comes to car camping is the car itself. Make sure your engines are good and running without any problem. If something is old, then consider replacing it. Take care of your tires and in general, make sure the vehicle is in the right conditions to take you on an adventure.

In other words, maintenance is key. You can use the same travel journal to keep a record of the revisions and changes you do to your vehicle, so you always have everything under control and you will never risk a dead battery or a broken engine in the middle of nowhere, which is never fun. Ever.

Be ready for emergency

Last but not least: safety, ladies and gentleman. The best adventure is a safe one, where you can face all your endeavours without risking serious problems, injuries or life even. A first aid kit is absolutely fundamental in all occasions.

Also, make sure to have with you a single bladed knife, a compass and a map, in case technology fails you, or you need a strong tool to count on to cut, (un)screw things or build other tools.

Also, before setting off, inform someone of where you intend to park your car or where you are headed in general. Keep them informed about your moves and about any change of plan. This way, they will know where to look for you if something doesn’t go as expected, or if you end up having a problem.

Try to think ahead and be prepared in case something happens. Otherwise, something that could be solved in a split second could take forever and your adventure could be ruined once and for all.

campfire

Keep it clean

Last but not least, car camping implies you won’t necessarily have access to a shower. Hygiene conditions, in general, might not be the best. So in addition to a first aid kit, also have with you a toiletry one to keep yourself and the vehicle clean. Ventilate your car and your gear as often as possible and don’t pile up dirt and random stuff in your car. Keep it tidy and organized. This way, it will be much easier to keep it clean and protected.