17 Car Camping Hacks for First Timers

Do you like camping in nature but dislike carrying heavy bags into the woods just to spend the night? You can avoid that by trying…

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Do you like camping in nature but dislike carrying heavy bags into the woods just to spend the night? You can avoid that by trying car camping instead of going on long hikes.

Car camping involves driving directly to the campsite instead of hiking towards the destination. You can take your car and go camping without the hassle of lifting anything heavy, and there’s room to bring a lot more stuff to make your stay comfortable.

Here are some easy hacks to make your first time as a car camper enjoyable.

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1. Fill Your Tank With Gas

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Nothing’s worse than being stranded in the middle of nowhere with all your important things in the car but no fuel to run it. To avoid it, prepare for the trip by filling your tank with gas.

Aim for a full gas tank before your trip. For extra peace of mind, consider bringing a jerry can to ensure you have everything you need.

2. Bring an Air Mattress

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While sleeping outside the house, you don’t have to settle for uncomfortable bedding. Choose a high-quality air mattress that is perfect for you and can fit in your car. 

Air mattresses work well for car camping, considering their lightweight structure and easy installation. Remember to bring your inflator or vehicle pump to set it up easily. Check the instruction booklet for the pump’s compatibility with the plug. 

3. Prepare All Permits for the Campsite

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Before you go on the trip, prepare all the necessary permits to park in approved areas. Check out the Bureau of Land Management website for camps you can use. Use apps like Hipcamp to look into campsites you can consider. 

You can choose between free and paid campsites, whichever you prefer. Affordable sites cost $10 to $50 per night, while more expensive campsites cost $25 to $100, depending on the amenities offered, such as electrical hookups, bathrooms, showers, and Wi-Fi. 

4. Bring Lots of Water

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Make sure you bring lots of water, especially if you go to the car camp with your family or friends. Women need roughly 11 cups of water daily while men need 16 cups per day

Bring large bottles filled with potable water to keep you and your companions hydrated at all times. If you’re planning to cook onsite, bring extra water to clean up afterward. 

5. Stay Organized and Clean

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When you go car camping, stay organized and keep the car as clean as possible. Store your things in sections to avoid wasting time looking for things inside. 

Staying organized also helps you save time setting up. Instead of wasting time turning your car inside out, you get to spend more time in nature and appreciate what you came for. 

6. Store Your Food Properly

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When camping, you have two options for food: cook in the camp or bring prepared meals over. Whichever you choose, store your food properly to avoid attracting wildlife, from small critters to large grizzlies. 

If offered at the campsite you chose, you can use animal-proof food lockers. If not, bear bags and canisters work well, too. For further protection, keep your food inside the cooler and then in the car. 

7. Practice “Leave No Trace” for Waste Disposal

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Hiking and camping mean you have to follow the Leave No Trace practice, which requires leaving the site in the condition it was in when you first saw it. Leave the area in an even better condition where you can. 

Pick up all the trash and pack it into its respective trash bins. If you can’t find the bins to place your trash in, just bring it home and properly dispose of it there. 

8. Bring Lanterns and Hands-Free Headlamps

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When camping, you need lanterns, headlamps, and flashlights to provide light at night. Rather than using the light in your car and exhausting your battery, these lighting tools can help. 

Lanterns offer general lighting in your campsite at night. Use headlamps if you need lighting while on the move, as you wear them on your head and leave your hands free.

9. Set up Your Campsite Properly

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Learn how to set up your tent rather than driving to the campsite and just figuring things out then and there. Read through the instruction manual for your tent and try setting it up at home first.

Once you reach the campsite, choose an area with dry, flat ground. A shaded area also works well, especially when it’s still daytime.

10. Be Aware of Campsites With Animals

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Research the wildlife in your chosen campsite. Some campsites have specific rules regarding animals. 

Be careful when cooking in the camp. The smell of food might attract animals such as mice and bears, so it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid any unwanted encounters.

11. Share Your Updated Locations With Family and Friends

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Never share your location with a stranger, whether alone or with friends. Just for precaution, keep your family at home updated on your current location. 

Use your phone to your advantage. Turn your location on from your device. Ask family and friends to download useful apps like Find My Friends. 

If You Decide to Sleep Inside Your Car

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Some car campers prefer sleeping in their cars at night. It makes them feel safer and comfortable rather than pitching a tent and sleeping outdoors. If you’re one of these car campers, here are tips to remember.

12. Ventilate Your Car

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Keep your car ventilated to avoid collecting moisture and fogging it up. Crack a window or open your sunroof just enough to let the air in and animals out. 

Use mesh on that small gap in your cracked window to keep the bugs out. If you see moisture, use a squeegee to wipe down your windows. 

13. Make the Necessary Safety Precautions

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Keep all of your valuables in compartments or underneath seats, where they are hidden and out of sight. Turn your car light off so no one can see anything outside. 

 Always lock your car doors when you leave. However, ensure you always have your keys to avoid locking yourself out. You won’t be the first one that locks their car while their keys are still inside.

14. Turn the Lights off Inside the Car

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Frequent car access during setup or pack-up can drain your battery. To save power, turn off the dome lights. Dome lights automatically activate when you open the car door. Conserve battery life by turning them off manually.

Just in case, bring jumper cables for assistance in case your car battery dies.

15. Turn Your Car Off

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Turn your car’s engine off as soon as you choose a parking spot. Doing this will help you save your car battery and avoid getting stranded on the campsite. 

If you’re sleeping in your car, turn the engine off to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If you feel hot, crack the window open and prepare a mesh window cover to allow air to come in while preventing bugs from entering. 

16. Sleep Facing the Car’s Front

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If you have a hatchback or an SUV with plenty of legroom, a comfy mattress lets you sleep comfortably in the car. If a mattress doesn’t fit, you can still maximize your space by sleeping with your head facing the front of the car.

Facing the front offers more space for your elbows and feet. When reclining your car seat to sleep, keep your head positioned higher than your feet. It helps with circulation and prevents that uncomfortable feeling of having your head lower than the rest of your body.

17. Use Curtains and Sunshades

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You can go inside your tent to change clothes or just for privacy. If you don’t have a tent, just use your car instead. 

Dark-tinted windows help. But if you don’t have them, use curtains and sunshades to protect your privacy. More than just keeping you out of sight from outsiders, you can also block the sun from your car.

The Ultimate 52 Summer Bucket List Ideas In The World

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Who doesn’t love summer? Most kids wait the whole year for this special time when they feel free. Even adults look forward to this season and visit their favorite vacation spots. And what better way to make all your summer plans a reality than by starting with a summer bucket list?

Whether you aim to explore new destinations, indulge in thrilling adventures, or simply savor the joys of relaxation, a well-crafted bucket list can infuse your summer with excitement and purpose.

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