There’s no better way to enjoy summer than with a camping trip. Whether you like to go deep into the backcountry or love the convenience of car camping, your vehicle is a vital piece of equipment when it comes to outdoor recreation.
Before you strike out on your next camping adventure, we’ve got some tips to make sure your vehicle is ready to go. From storage solutions to functional upgrades, you’ll be on the road to a successful camping trip in no time.
First Things First
First and foremost, it’s essential to make sure your vehicle is up to the camping challenge. Check all fluid levels, tire condition, and consider having a tune-up performed before heading out. This will help reduce the chance of breakdowns in remote areas and keep you safe on the road.
It’s also vital to be familiar with the weather conditions at your destination as well as the places you’ll be traveling through to get there - this will help you avoid bad road conditions and know what to pack to stay comfortable.
What To Bring
This will vary widely based on your vehicle and the type of camping you’re trying to do. If you’re planning on sleeping in your ride, many products exist to make the night more restful. Truck, van, and SUV owners might find an inflatable mattress helpful to get a good night's sleep. If you’re not hiking to a camp spot, bring pillows from home to maximize comfort.
Tent camping with your vehicle allows you to bring many comforts from home while still having plenty of room. Inflatable mattresses or pads will help keep you comfortable sleeping on the ground. Consider using the extra space to bring a camp stove or grill to make cooking more convenient.
Water is often overlooked when preparing for camping. Many people forget and end up buying cases of bottles, creating a lot of trash and taking up space. Most outdoor recreation destinations have cheap places to get water in bulk. Consider purchasing a five-gallon water jug to have plenty of fresh water for the trip.
How To Pack
If you’re sleeping in your vehicle, you’ll have to get more creative with storage and packing. Try to avoid loading the roof of your car to increase gas mileage on the drive. You can easily use your roof to store items when you’re parked and need more space on the interior.
Staying organized will also make your trip more enjoyable. Designate a spot for each item, and be sure to put it back in the same place when you’re finished with it. This will help keep a smaller space feel less cluttered and will eliminate lost items.
It’s also essential to think ahead about disposing of waste created in the wild. Invest in a car trash can, or make sure to pack trash bags to pack out everything you’ve brought in. Smaller trash bags can be tossed in trash cans at gas stations or supermarkets or can be thrown out when you get home.
Smarter Car Camping
There are some proactive measures to make your car camping experience more enjoyable. When you arrive at your spot, disable your interior lights while doors are open - this will help save battery capacity and keep bugs from swarming your interior.
Many vehicle upgrades exist to make camping more comfortable and enjoyable. Rooftop tents are a popular accessory to get campers off the ground at night. Vehicle-specific awnings and tents also exist, so check online for an option that fits your ride.
Car camping is the ultimate in summer freedom. Instead of being limited to popular areas full of RVs and vans, you can escape to more remote areas and find solitude few others can access. Follow this guide to get your vehicle ready for summer and all of the adventures it will bring!