Car Camping – How to Sleep Comfortably in your Car

Here’s a guide-through to let you know the basics of car camping. 

“Sleep, one of those necessities that bind up the core of human needs. Comfort, a factor that backs up such necessities in life.” 

 In today’s modern world, working, traveling, exploring, earning, rushing; all of that has become the defining factors of everyday life. No wonder you might have stuck up in certain situations, too, in which you had to allow yourself some rest in your car. You might have overworked such that you felt drowsy and wished to sleep in your vehicle.  Or, you might just want to go camping without the hassle of setting up a tent.

Car Camping vs. Tent Camping 

Car Camping

Tent camping has been one of the ways to save humans in such times. Although this archaic way has worked for generations, it can be changed. Emerging technology has brought cars and various innovative features to us, focusing on providing comfort and protection.  

Have you also been stuck up in a situation where you had to spend the night outside four cemented walls?  

Hence, why bother arranging a tent when your car can shield you like your home? 

Pros and Cons of Car Camping 

Everything has its pros and cons, and so does sleeping in your car. 

Among the advantages of car camping are as follows: 

  1. Freedom. If you have ever experienced sleeping in your car, you might have also felt the satisfaction and freedom it gives. No one is going to thwart your sleep unless and until you have parked your vehicle in a restricted parking area. You also won’t have to bother booking rooms priorly or pitching a tent at a perfect location. You also do not have to stick to any compulsion or a journey plan. You can do your thing at your time!  
  1. Cost Cutting. Without the burden over your head that you have to book and pay for your stay or lodge, you can save your money and handle your budget efficiently by sleeping in your car. You can travel anytime, anywhere you want at a lesser cost. 
  1. No hassle. It takes a lot of labor and time to set-up tents for yourself. Similarly, some efforts are invested in checking in and checking out of the hotel. You also have to search for the best hotel suiting your budget. It takes up your time and energy. However, you neither have to take the escalator nor climb through mountains if you choose to sleep in your car. You may start or end the day of your trip on your conditions.  
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While sleeping in the car can give tempting benefits, one should also consider the following disadvantages: 

  1. Safety. Although modern-day technology ensures your joyous rides and safety in all your journeys, you still can’t be sure about everything. The surroundings where you park your car are a must-check factor. To feel comfortable, you need to know that your surroundings are safe. For instance, parking your car in an over- sequestered place or over-populated areas won’t help you sleep peacefully. Instead, you can go to some rest points or in a safe parking area to ensure your and your car’s safety.  
  1. Cramped. While the cars are designed to accommodate all the travelers in the most comfortable manner, ensuring that on long road trips is challenging. When it comes to the back seat, one can’t lay down completely. The tightly packed space of a car won’t allow the sound sleep you want. A comfortable sleeping position can be hard, especially for big and tall people. 
  1. Hygiene in question. Many people have a knack for washing their cars every day or keeping their cars neat and clean as if they had never been used. However, some people who have to travel regularly, all the time, on dusty and challenging routes; do not get time to maintain their cars as they should. Some vehicles require much more maintenance than others. In such situations, maintaining hygiene is difficult. Remember the last time you took a long trip with your family, and the children spilled their cold drinks on the back seat. You couldn’t clean it thoroughly, and it was still sticky. Now imagine sleeping in such a place. Hard, right?  
  1. Weather. You may sleep comfortably in your car in the winters and even cut down the cold by using a warm blanket. However, in the scorching sunny summer heat, it is hard to say if you can survive in your car for long. You may switch on your air condition for some time, but keeping it on for too long is going to affect your pocket.  
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Car Sleeping 101 

Safety tips 

  1. Never park your car in a “No Parking” area. It is as risky as it is illegal.  
  2. Always keep at least one of your friends or family members informed about where you are. 
  3. There are various rest stops for cars, so make sure that you park your car at such spots only while you choose to sleep.  
  4. It will be great if you sleep in a spot with good lighting and security cameras to ensure your and your car’s safety. 
  5. Keep your doors locked and try to keep your windows shut or covered too.  
  6. It is recommended that you keep the car’s engine off. 
  7. Keep all your belongings and credentials unexposed.  

Must-Have Gears for Car Camping

Many people choose to camp in their cars. To ensure that your need to sleep in your vehicle is fulfilled perfectly, make sure that you have all the following gears in your car:  

  1. Sleeping Bag. A sleeping bag is going to help you to reach that level of comfort which you desire.  You may want to check out the tuphen Sleeping Bag
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  1. Sleeping Pad. Every sleeping pad is different from the other. Try to go for the ones that are neither too high nor slippery. This will enable your neck to have proper resting.  Check out the Sleepingo Sleeping Pad for Camping.
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  1. Pillow. It is recommended that you take backpacking pillows with you while going on a road trip and choosing to sleep in your car.  Check out Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow.
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Parking Spots  

  1. You may choose between several spots to park and sleep in your car.  
  2. Parking spots that allow 24 hours of parking are an excellent option. 
  3. Be sure that sleeping is not prohibited in the parking lot where you choose to sleep. 
  4. Walmart Parking Lots are a valid option too. 
  5. You can choose to park your car in rest areas. The entrances stay locked in such sites.  
  6. Never park or try to sleep by the side of the road. 
  7. Car drivers can also sleep at truck stops or their rest stops.  
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Car Camping Sleeping Hacks 

The following hacks will help you a long way: 

  1. Use shaving cream on your car windows. You would surely remember how the fog sometimes collects on the window, making driving more difficult. To prevent this hurdle, you may use shaving creams to clear off your window and avoid moisture sticking to the windows again quickly. 
  1. Put socks around the windscreen wipers. You might have noticed how sometimes the windscreen wipers get stuck to the car’s window in the cold. To avoid that, use socks and put them on the windscreen wipers.  
  1. Covering the side mirrors. Side mirrors are very important while driving. Sometimes, due to the cold of dust, when you have parked the car in a place, the side mirrors can get foggy or dirty. Hence, use a plastic bag to cover them while the car stands still in such locations. This will help you save time in cleaning them now and then. Also, arranging for the driving after that will be easier. 
  1. Use headlamp in place of car lights. You might need to use more of the light when arranging for your sleep at night in your car. So, to manage it without wasting much of your car’s battery and energy, carry a headlamp along with yourself. 
  1. Use sunshades. Sleeping in your car in broad daylight can be challenging. Hence, use your sunshades while sleeping so that it doesn’t affect you much even when the sun goes down. It blocks the sun’s rays for you and shields you from the cold. So, you can sleep for as much time as you desire.  

Closing Points 

Sleeping in a car has its share of pros and cons, but with proper preparation and by following safety guidelines, it could be a worthwhile and cost-efficient experience. 

With all things considered, you can now enjoy the next time you sleep in your car. 

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Donald Miller

Hi, I am Donald Miller. I love spending time outdoors backpacking and camping with my family and friends. I enjoy writing about my experiences and sharing them with others through my blog at It's great to meet you!