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How to sleep in your car while car camping?

January 06, 2023

How to sleep in your car while car camping?

Sick of sleeping on the hard, cold ground or lugging a bulky tent and camping gear wherever you go? Switch up your outdoor adventures and try car camping instead! There's no need to give up the outdoors just because you can't fit all the supplies in your backpack—you can sleep comfortably while still enjoying nature. But if you’re not prepared, sleeping in your car can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.

Related: 10 Car Camping Essentials For Beginners

If you’re going car camping for the first time, it’s important to make sure that you have the necessary supplies and equipment—especially when it comes to sleeping. In this post, we'll give you our top tips for successfully sleeping in your car so you'll be ready for any road trip adventure! Read on to learn how to sleep comfortably and safely in your car.

#1 Choosing the Right Vehicle

how to sleep in a car while car camping

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First things first – you need the right vehicle for car camping. When it comes to sleeping in a car, the ideal car should be spacious enough to accommodate both people and gear. It should also have a comfortable ride and good fuel efficiency to ensure a smooth journey. For those looking for something more luxurious, an SUV or crossover would be ideal. They offer plenty of cargo space, good legroom, and can handle off-road terrain with ease.

When considering which SUV or crossover is right for you, look for one that has a large engine size, 4WD capability for rough terrain, and plenty of ground clearance so you can get to your campsite without worrying about scraping the underside of the vehicle. Additionally, consider buying a model that includes features like power windows, cruise control, electronic stability control, hill descent control and hill start assist—all of which will make car camping much more enjoyable.

Finally, invest in some accessories that are specifically designed for car camping such as roof racks and waterproof covers. These will help you transport your gear safely and protect it from any inclement weather during your trip. If you don’t own one of these vehicles, consider renting one for your trip. This will ensure that you have enough space for all of your gear and will also save you money on fuel costs.

Related: The 13 Best Vehicles For Car Camping

#2 Choose a Suitable Sleeping Spot

how to sleep in a car while car camping

Photo by alyssa teboda on Unsplash

Next, you need to choose a good spot to park your car for the night. A good parking spot should be flat and level, with enough room for all the campers in your group plus any equipment or luggage. It should also be away from areas that may be prone to flooding or other natural disasters, and preferably close to a restroom if possible. Additionally, it is important to consider whether the spot is well-lit at night so everyone can feel safe after dark. At the same time, make sure the area is free of any debris or sharp objects that could cause injury. Finally, it's wise to scout out potential locations during daylight hours so you can fully assess their suitability before returning at nightfall. By taking all these factors into account when choosing a camping spot you can guarantee a good nights sleep while car camping without endangering yourself or others.

Related: Top 16 Car Camping Spots With Epic Views

#3 Set Up Your Sleeping Space

tips for sleeping in car while car camping

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Once you have chosen a suitable spot for your vehicle, it’s time to start creating a comfortable sleeping space inside. If you plan on sleeping in the back of the car, invest in an inflatable mattress or air mattress—they are lightweight and easy to store when not in use. If there isn't room for an air mattress, consider getting an inflatable sleeping pad instead; they provide extra cushioning and warmth without taking up much space. And if you need extra storage space for your gear, bring along some bungee cords and straps so that everything will stay secure during the night.

Creating an effective ventilation system will ensure that your car stays cool while also dispelling any odors from cooking or eating inside the vehicle. Invest in some small fans (these are easy to find at most home improvement stores) and place them near the windows so they can circulate air around the cabin of your car. You should also crack open all windows (a few inches) before going to bed; this will help keep fresh air flowing throughout the night.

If you have limited space, you can get creative with your bed setup. For example, you can use the back seat of your car as a makeshift bed or create a platform to sleep on in the cargo area of your vehicle. Just make sure you have a sturdy and level surface to sleep on.

Related: 13 Car-Camping Essentials That Turn Any Ride Into an Escape Vehicle

#4 Bring Along Extras for Comfort

No matter how well-prepared you are for your trip, there will always be items that can make life more comfortable while car camping—especially at night! Bringing along extras like earplugs (to block out noise), eye masks (to block out light), and comfy slippers (for walking around camp) can make all the difference between having a good night's rest versus one filled with tossing and turning! Just remember: comfort is key when it comes to getting enough sleep on any kind of outdoor adventure!

#5 Stay Safe Out There

sleeping in car while car camping outdoors

Photo by Alex Gorham on Unsplash

Safety should always be your number one priority when car camping – especially if you are traveling alone or with children. Make sure that all windows are secure before going to bed at night and double check that doors are locked when leaving the vehicle unattended during daylight hours. Additionally, be mindful of parking areas where there are plenty of people around who could potentially harm you while sleeping in your vehicle (e.g., public parks). Finally, never leave valuables visible inside of your vehicle – keep them hidden away under seats or in other compartments within the car itself.


Car camping is a great way to explore nature without breaking the bank! With these tips for sleeping in your car, we hope that you're now feeling well-equipped for any upcoming road trips or outdoor adventures ahead of you this season! Remember – safety always comes first so make sure that all windows are secure before going to bed at night and double check that doors are locked when leaving the vehicle unattended during daylight hours.

Have fun out there!

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