When traveling in the United States, for example to Oregon coast camping or Europe, there may be no campsite available and you may need to spend the night in the truck parking lot. Spending the night in the car allows you to abandon your tent – it is more economical and saves time setting and assembling your camp, which is convenient when you are traveling on a long trip and only staying for short nights.
How to make the rest in the car comfortable, using a few tricks, we want to tell you in this material! We deliberately do not consider camping in trailer trailers and motorhomes, as well as completely exotic options for tents that are deployed right on the roof of the car. We give recommendations on arranging an existing car – as the most affordable way to organize a camping holiday.
Study Your Car
Research subject – is it possible to arrange berths in the cabin? Owners of jeeps, pickups, hatchbacks and minivans usually have no problems with this. But as practice shows, you can provide enough space for sleeping in almost any car.
Check how far you can move and recline the seats, is it possible to combine the interior with the trunk space? There are a lot of examples on the network when there was enough space in a car that at first glance was unsuitable for a comfortable sleep. If you have a “transformer” salon, then when the seats are folded, a flat area is formed. If not, then follow the general approach. The front seats move and lean forward as much as possible, the rear seats unfold, and the voids between them are occupied by equipment – backpacks, bags and large plastic containers.
A folding table is also suitable for leveling the sleeping area, but be careful – you can push or break the tabletop. Now it is enough to lay a mattress or self-inflating rugs on top and the sleeping surface will be quite flat.
If the dimensions of the car allow, and you often travel by road, then you should take care of creating a high collapsible platform for sleeping, as is practiced by auto campers around the world. Usually, thick plywood or wood board is used for it, which is cut to the size of the berth in the cabin and installed on legs or stands. The method is time consuming and requires preparation before the trip, but this way you will get perfectly flat sleeping places, and the voids under the platform can be filled with equipment.
Take an Extra Trunk
To free up the maximum space in the car, it is worth buying a roof rack. The most convenient ones are those that open in both directions – you don’t think about how to put the car and what to put on which side. If you have a tall car, use a folding ladder to make loading and unloading the trunk easier.
Please note that the standard roof rack lock can be easily opened by intruders. Therefore, if you plan to leave your car in parking lots unattended, then provide additional protection. Well, or at least do not store valuables there.
Organize Your Bed
If there is a lot of storage space in the car or you have made a sleeping platform, then you can use ordinary home mattresses and soft pillows. If every morning the sleeping places in the cabin have to be assembled and the seats laid out again, then it is better to attend to more compact equipment in the package.
Camping self-inflating rugs are ideal. When rolled up, they are more compact than most ordinary and air mattresses, and due to their thickness, they are comfortable and hide irregularities well.
Second option: use double inflatable camping mats. They are even lighter and more compact than camping models, but almost equal to them in terms of comfort and size. And then they can be used on regular hikes.
Camping self-inflating mats are not cheap, but they can also be used at home and at campgrounds. They are also strong and very durable, they actually serve for decades. If you want to save space to the maximum, then folding pillows should also be taken.
Never leave inflated floor mats with closed valves inside the machine. They can get hot in the sun and the expanded air inside them can lead to hernias!
Protect Your Vehicle From Heat, Stuffiness and Insects
You cannot do without curtains if you want to secure yourself a piece of private space and close yourself from the bright morning sun. Especially with the current fines for tinted windows. There are a lot of proposals and options for curtains for car windows today, but if you don’t want to install them or you don’t have time for it, then there is a simple life hack. It is enough to take wide cuts of loose fabric or even ordinary sheets and fix them with clerical clips at the joints of the roof upholstery with the interior plastic.
If the car is dark in color, then be sure to take a cape made of light fabric on it. Otherwise, it will be very hot in the car in the sun. Reflective mats on the windshield, which are now sold at gas stations and in any auto department of a large supermarket, will also help fight the heat.
Open the windows slightly so that the air circulates normally in the car, it is not stuffy and the windows do not fog up. And so that midges, mosquitoes and flies do not fly inside, fix mosquito nets on the windows. Even a couple of these “neighbors” can ruin your sleep.
On sale there are quick-detachable nets specifically for car windows. It is cheaper and easier to buy a large mesh with magnets and cut it to fit the windows. But the owners of “golden hands” may be confused by more reliable designs.
How To Get Rid of Condensation?
So that the car is not stuffy and humid at night, and condensation does not flow on the windows in the morning – slightly open the windows before going to bed. It is enough just to lower the windows at the diagonally opposite windows, then an effective draft of air through the entire interior is formed. And to further reduce the humidity inside the machine, you can lay out bags with a desiccant inside it.
Use Plastic Containers
They are the easiest way to package and distribute food, clothing and equipment. Large containers will also be needed if you are having trouble creating a level sleeping area – they will help fill in the voids between the folded seats.
Depending on the size, it is convenient to pack anything in such containers – from sleeping bags and rugs to toiletries and a first aid kit. You can also wash dishes, wash yourself and wash in them. If you do not save money and take the containers more firmly, depending on their size, they can be used as a table or stools. You can buy these in any large store with goods for home, construction and repair.
Plastic boxes are very versatile in the parking lot and allow you to neatly organize the space in the car
In addition to the boxes, it is advisable to take at least one bucket with you to carry water, pick berries or mushrooms. To save space, you can take a foldable one.
Use Compression Bags And Vacuum Bag Pump
Ordinary bedding is just as comfortable as wide sleeping bags and rugs, but it takes up too much space. To compactly place mattresses, blankets and bed linen inside the machine, you can use large compression bags, from which air is evacuated using a pump. In the morning you collect all the bedding, throw it into the bag, pump out the air and – voila! – save maximum space in the trunk.
Take a Large Awning with You
If you want to save money and not eat at roadside hotels and cafes, then keep in mind that it is inconvenient to dine and cook inside the car. You will have to do this outside. In order not to depend on the weather, take a large tent with you. It will provide shade from the sun and protect from rain.
In order not to be fooled with the installation of an awning, use a simple life hack. You can very quickly fix one side of the tarpaulin directly to the car using elastic fastening cords with hooks, and then it remains to stretch the other side on the racks or just on the pegs. There are a lot of options for installation!
There are also more “civilized” solutions. Some manufacturers offer spacious and easy-to-install marquees that stretch over the car’s body. They are often equipped with mosquito nets, which create a mosquito-free recreation area.
Take Your Bikes with You!
They can be transported on special mounts on the roof or on the towbar of the car. Bicycles are useful not only for interesting rides. If during a trip you plan to stay somewhere for a couple of nights, then the car settles in and remains in the parking lot, and you can ride bicycles to the store or to get water. In Europe, this format of camping is quite popular.
By the way, we also have equipment for cycling tourism.
Use a Headlamp
Built-in lighting in the passenger compartment is usually too dim and energy-consuming. Many motorists have faced the problem of a discharged battery due to a forgotten light bulb. To avoid this, use an LED headlamp for illumination.
Why him? Because it is very versatile. It is convenient to read with it, dig under the hood, you can go to the toilet in the middle of the night. It is small, economical and lightweight, which means you can also take it on your hiking trips.
Plus, any headlamp can be converted into a camping lamp in one swipe! Just attach it to a transparent flask or jar of water, or better on a white matte canister. They will act as a light diffuser. This way you can get sufficiently bright and soft lighting inside the car or tent.
If you don’t feel like bothering with a headlamp, it’s best to get a full LED camping lamp. The best choice is battery models with USB charging capability. You do not have to constantly change the batteries and you can always recharge them from the cigarette lighter.
Camping can be improved endlessly with new equipment and life hacks of your own. There are no barriers to this – even, at first glance, a car unsuitable for this can be turned into a cozy home. The main thing is not to stay at home and travel! More about traveling read here.