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Car Camping Hacks: Different Ways To Sleep In Your Vehicle

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woman-camping-camper-car-drinking-morning | Car Camping Hacks: Different Ways To Sleep In Your Vehicle | Featured

Car camping is an economical way to explore the world. All you need is your vehicle and a good night’s sleep to maximize your day with nature. Read on to arm yourself with the best hacks when you hit the road.

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Car Camping Hacks for Your Next Adventure | 10 Tips on How You Can Sleep in Your Vehicle

1. Bring Sleeping Gear

Invest in an inflatable air mattress that would fit into your car to serve as a cushion when you sleep. You can also bring a temperature-rated sleeping pad for both protection and insulation. Be sure to pack blankets since your car can get cold at night.

Add a full-size pillow or a compact one so you’d feel as if you’re sleeping on your bed at home. Alternatively, you can use your clothes to serve as a pillow if you wish to save space. You can also rest your head on your bag to double as a pillow as well.

2. Sleep With Your Head Elevated

Raising your head a few inches while you sleep is good for your health. It would not only give you a good quality of sleep, but it would prevent you from getting sick as well.

This position would open more air pathways to avoid sleep problems. It would also lessen your risk of snoring which is helpful if you’re car camping with someone else.



If you parked your vehicle on a slope, place your head at the topmost area of your car.

3. Open and Cover Your Windows

Scroll down your windows to allow ventilation but high enough to prevent someone from entering your car. If your vehicle has a sunroof, you can also open it to avoid the buildup of moisture and fogging up of your windows.

Cover open sections with a few inches of mesh or cloth to keep insects out. This will also give you privacy as you sleep at night, and block sunlight from waking you up. You can attach binder clips to keep your DIY curtain in place.

4. Bring a Light Source

If you can’t sleep without a light, pack a lamp or flashlight for your car camping. You can also bring lanterns, and attach them to hooks or handles in your vehicle. A headlamp would be practical and convenient as well.

You can use this light source to do other activities if you can’t sleep right away. Read until you fall asleep or bring this lamp when nature calls.

Ensure to place it within reach so you can save its battery and turn it off come daytime. Pack extra batteries in case of emergency, or choose solar-powered so you won’t have to worry about batteries.

5. Use a Sleep Mask

Morning sunlight can be annoying especially when you’re in the middle of deep sleep. Additionally, those streetlights can wake you up when you’re car camping in a city.

A sleeping mask doesn’t only prevent unwanted light from disturbing you, it also offers various health benefits. It helps you sleep faster by calming your nerves and maintaining a hormonal balance.

However, don’t wear your sleep mask too tightly. This might cause a blurry vision once you wake up.

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6. Look for the Best Location to Park Your Car

Location is crucial when car camping. You’ll want an area where you can pull over or spend the night safely.

Look for places that offer a free overnight parking facility. You can try in grocery stores or campgrounds. It’s also better if you can find a site with electricity, a fire pit, and a water source.

If you don’t want someone to knock on your car and wake you up, park your vehicle out of the way. Some zones might also need permits, so do your research before you head out.

7. Wear Appropriate Clothes

Your packed wardrobe should serve multiple functions. Depending on the weather, they must either protect you from sunburn or retain body heat when it’s cold. It must also not expose your skin to hungry insects.

Wear socks and a cap or beanie to keep your feet and head warm. Ensure that your clothes are dry, comfortable, and clean. You’ll want to get a rejuvenating sleep, and sweaty and dirty clothes won’t give you that.

8. Stay Clean

People who take a bath before bedtime might fall asleep faster. However, you won’t have access to showers and sinks during car camping. Instead, bring on-the-go toiletries that don’t need water. Include wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and no-rinse shampoo in your kit.

Check within your location if there are communal bathrooms that you can use. You can also take advantage of nature by jumping on lakes, but don’t use soap as it might contaminate the water.

9. Organize Your Car

Your environment can affect how fast you fall asleep. Use bins to arrange your camping gear and a trash can to clean up your mess. Bring also a cooler to keep your food and drinks so it won’t be smelly inside your vehicle.

Use your car’s roof to store your camping essentials. Consider putting a cargo box on top of your vehicle so you’ll have space to sleep inside. Choose one with a lock to keep your gear safe and secure.

10. Try Rooftop Car Tent

If you want a room aside from your vehicle but don’t want to assemble a tent or a hammock, use a rooftop tent instead. Pop up or fold out this car tent, then attach it to your roof rack. It’ll also help you stay away from predators as you sleep.

You can put this up even on small vehicles. Don’t forget to check if your car can accommodate its load. Select an option with a flexible layout so you’d still have room for your cargo box.

You should maximize the space in your vehicle when car camping so you can have a night of cozy sleep. Watch this video by Consumer Reports to learn how to avoid overpacking your trunk:

Car camping doesn’t have to be a costly and stressful experience. You can skip a high-priced room, and turn your vehicle into a relaxing accommodation instead.

Do you have other ways to sleep in your vehicle while car camping that you’d like us to know about? Share your thoughts with other outdoor warriors in the comments section below!

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