When most people go camping, they don’t want to do it in their car or truck. However, they should try out this activity. Car camping provides a lot of great benefits for anyone who likes to spend a couple of nights in the great outdoors. This pastime is also beneficial for individuals that might have to spend a night outside for any reason. Keep reading to discover how car camping works and how it can benefit you.
Basic Rules for Sleeping in your Car
Honestly, most people frown on people who habitually sleep in their cars. They automatically relate this behavior to homelessness. People refer to this type of behavior as “vehicular homelessness” and/or “living behind the wheel”. Truthfully, many homeless individuals that do have a car often use it as a means of housing until they can find a place. This type of activity happens more often than we would care to believe.
Most counties, cities, and communities have general laws about sleeping in vehicles. These laws will vary in each place where a person lives or visit. Understand the laws in your area before you decide to sleep in your vehicle. Many cities have designated areas for people to sleep in vehicles. You should check to see if your region has an allocated place for that purpose.
Finally, if you decide to sleep out in the woods, forest, or open country; check with local law officials and park rangers before sleeping in your car. This can save you from being hassled in the middle night by law officials who do not permit this activity.
Do you need a tent to camp in your car?
Technically, camping overnight does involve the use of a tent. However, you don’t need a tent to camp in your car. When you’re in the woods or the open country; you should hook your tent up to your vehicle. Some manufactures do make tents that can be attached to your car, truck, or SUV. If you decide to use your vehicle for car camping, then consider purchasing one of these products. Still, you don’t need a tent to camp in your ride. Camping in your car can also be defined as sleeping overnight in your vehicle.
Should you camp in your car during the coronavirus pandemic?
The coronavirus pandemic is going to be with us for a while. Many health, government, and law officials want people inside of closed shelters. So, these different groups of people might not be too happy about people camping (or sleeping) in their vehicles. They honestly believe that the more time people spend outdoors; this will increase their exposure to the virus. While this view isn’t wrong; it might not be right in all cases. The bottom line is that you must evaluate the risk of trying to car camp while there is a pandemic. If you decide that the risk is minimal, then you should camp in your vehicle.
Car Camping in Public Park Areas
Many of the national and state parks across the country have some provisions for car campers. Park rangers and officials do allow people to sleep overnight in their vehicles when visiting the area. They typically designate certain spots within the park area for this purpose. If you plan on car camping in a particular park, make sure to talk to the park’s officials ahead of time. You can also ask to check with other campers to get a good idea about places to go camping in a vehicle.
Are there any risks to car camping?
There are plenty of risks when you sleep out in your car overnight. The most important thing that you must do is to make sure you’re not breaking the law. Secondly, you will have to be mindful of your surroundings. For example, if you decide to pull your car over to camp in a bad neighborhood; you increase your chances of something bad happening to you.
Remember, car-related crimes become a problem when you decide to utilize this type of activity. Carjackings (stealing) and vandalism are two issues that you will face when you camp outdoors. Other problems could include harassment by people passing through the area where your vehicle is located. Some people like to harass and bother individuals who sleep in their cars. They do this for different reasons. That is another problem that might take place when you sleep in your vehicle.
You will also have to frequently check the weather whenever you car camp. The reason being is that the weather frequently changes. You don’t want to be caught outside in a bad storm, blizzard, or tornado. Also, you don’t want elevated heat to roast you while you sleep or the cold to freeze you during the winter months. Don’t forget to constantly check the weather and make adjustments according to the temperature and expected conditions.
Car camping in the woods can also bring you into contact with wild animals such as bears or wolves. These creatures can smell you or your food and decide they want it. This could easily lead to problems. The bottom line is that you should use good judgment and common sense when selecting a location or place to car camp overnight.
Things to Consider when you go Car Camping
Car camping is an easy thing to do but it is also deceptive. What I mean is that most people don’t properly prepare for their car camping. They forget about things such as going to the bathroom, being able to wash up, or even cook a meal. All car campers need to know how to plan for their overnight excursion in the woods.
There aren’t any toilets in the woods. If you can park in a place that has port-a-potties you are truly fortunate. However, most car camping locations don’t have this type of amenity. Yes, a port-a-potty is an amenity when people don’t easily have access to a regular bathroom. Remember, using the bathroom outdoors is an age-old habit and this practice continues in some parts of the world.
Still, you should bring a small portable toilet unit (or even a bedpan) so you can properly eliminate your waste. If don’t have a portable toilet a simple large-sized mop bucket will do. The small will be foul and the mess you leave in the bucket will be unsightly, but you can clean that crap up. Simply dump and clean out the bucket. Car campers that do not take a waste disposal unit out into the woods should at least take toilet paper. Having a roll around will help to eliminate the waste better than leaves and grass.
It is strongly recommended that you take at least a gallon of water and a washrag for hygiene purposes. Your body odor will become very bad in a short amount of time when you camp in your car. Just make sure you have a rag and some water to wipe yourself down. You can also use baby wipes since they work well. Hand sanitizer is another extremely useful product when you sleep outdoors.
You should also think about taking a portable heating plate for preparing food. You can also get a small generator that you can place in the back of your vehicle to provide light and heat. Don’t forget to take simple things such as an air mattress if you want to sleep outside of your car. Pickup truck, SUV and van owners might have enough room in the back part of their vehicles set up their air mattress.
Bring food that doesn’t require a lot of preparation, refrigeration, or that is perishable. A cooler will keep things cold at least a day or two. You will have to frequently restock it with ice. Don’t forget a pillow for extra comfort because car seats might be uncomfortable for sleeping. Remember car seats were designed for temporary seating not as beds.
Other Great Hacks for Car Campers
All car campers must be mindful of bugs when sleeping outdoors. You will probably have to roll up windows when camping during the nighttime hours in the summer. Mosquitos, flies, and other night roaming insects will invade your camping area while you’re sleeping. You should consider getting some mesh window covers so you can roll down your windows and not be too hot.
Take portable flashlights, lanterns, and lights so you don’t wear your car’s battery down by frequently turning on the lights. You should also think about getting a solar battery charger to ensure that your batteries stay charged. Make sure you have a smartphone that can provide you with coverage in remote areas. Carry walkie-talkies or have some other type of communication device set up in your car in case your phone doesn’t work.
Make sure that you double-check your camping area before you park and camp. Put your parking brake on as an extra means of protection. Make sure you frequently clean your vehicle if you plan on car camping a lot. This will help to keep the wear and tear you put on your car to a minimum. Finally, just have a good time car camping. Once you figure out the best way to carry out this activity; it will become a great way for you to enjoy the great outdoors.