1. Plans on plans on plansWe’re all for spontaneity, but never at the expense of safety. Even if you don’t have a set trip itinerary, you should always have a secondary plan that covers the most basic points just in case of an emergency. Always, always let someone know where you’re headed just in case they need to get a hold of you. And check the four W’s before any trip! It’s good to make it a habit to review the weather, wildlife warnings, and waste regulations for your destination.
2. Know your water sourceEvery great model knows their best angles and every smart car camper knows their nearest water source. Being aware of where you can get clean, drinkable water at a moment’s notice can be a literal lifesaver. A good rule of thumb is to have 1 liter of emergency supply water per person per day. It’s also advised that you carry a portable filtration system or water sanitation drops in your car just in case you’re not able to travel to a hydration station.
3. Stay chargedOnly a fool tempts fate when it comes to power sources. Double-check that you’ve got a power bank, spare batteries, or maybe even a solar panel on deck. It’s better to be safe than sorry (and stuck in the dark) with a little extra energy stored away. You can also avoid a dead car battery by bringing independent light sources, such as headlamps and Luno Camping String Lights, that don’t require your car as a power source to light the night.
4. Do your researchThere are tons of great websites to help you find legal overnight camping spots. Sites like freecampsites.net and publiclands.org have review and comment sections that cover everything from location to cell service. Limited connectivity when exploring unincorporated areas can make navigating a bit tricky, so having a paper map or written directions is good to ensure that you can always find your way back home.
5. Fuel every fireWhat do firewood and carbo loading have in common? Both serve as an important heat source when outdoors! Beat the chilly nights by packing matches or a lighter, fire starter, and plenty of wood to get your campfire going before the sun sets. Just as wood fuels a fire, carbs fuel your internal furnace to keep you warm. Your body generates energy as it burns calories so eating highly caloric snacks is a great way to be proactive with your body heat. Additionally, eating right before bed is a great way to ensure that you’ll stay toasty throughout the night.
6. Bring extra...Propane, water, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and layers! Channel your inner lasagna and layer it up. Fun fact: wool stays warm even when it’s wet, making it the best option for socks and blankets. Speaking of blankets, an extra blanket or two will help you bravely battle that early morning chill.
7. Stay organizedThis one’s a toughie. Asking for an organized backseat is a tall request on even our best days, much less when we’ve got camping gear and provisions jammed up the trunk. It can be easy to lose things in the shuffle when you’ve got all that party packed in the back, but staying organized will help you keep your cookware and your sanity intact. As an organizational rule of thumb, embrace the buddy system! Keeping like items together makes car camping trips way more organized... and provides more time to search for sunsets instead of screwdrivers.
8. Make worthy investmentsOne of the perks of car camping is the luxury that it affords. You don’t have to schlep around with your bed buckled beneath your backpack when you’ve got wheels to roam. A good bed and sleeping bag are two things that we never skimp on when outfitting for the weekend. If you plan on car camping even just a couple of times a year, investing in the right camping air mattress bed is absolutely worth it. Make it a good one!
9. Outfit your carMake sure you’ve got a first aid kit, spare tire, and jumper cables stowed away in case of an emergency. But don’t just talk the talk—make sure you know how to use both the spare and cables so you can walk the walk if the need arises.
10. Have a positive attitudeIn the words of Winston Churchill, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Things may not always go exactly as you plan when car camping. Factors outside of your control such as weather or closed roads can throw a wrench in the best-laid plans. It’s in these times of unexpected obstacles that the detour may be more fun than the destination! Choose to focus on the positives and roll on.
Well, there you have it! All of the tips and tricks you need to set yourself up for car camping success. We can’t wait to hear about your ride on the road!