Over one million new households started camping each year since 2014.

Camping can be one of the cheapest vacation trips. It’s no wonder why so many people go. Plus, going car camping can make your trip even more cost-efficient.

Sometimes it can be hard to know what to bring (and what not to bring). That’s why we provided you with 10 car camping hacks to make sure you’re an expert. Read on to find out more:

Have a Place to Keep Outside Gear

Outdoor activities like hiking or kayaking can get your clothes and equipment dirty. Having a place to keep these materials is a must, especially when you’re car camping.

Your car is already going to be full of all your other camping items. Invest in drying racks, or put your shoes on the front of your car and let them dry. Think about investing in a tank sprayer.

Tank sprayers can be filled with water and used to spray off your gear before laying it out to dry. They can also be used to shower if your campground has long shower lines.

Keep Wet Stuff Out

When car camping, you’re going to want to keep the inside of your car as clean as possible. That’s even more important if you’re going sleep in it.

Keep wet items and clothes out of your car as they can create an unpleasant smell and attract mold.

Better yet, buy a drying rack.

Get Sleep Essentials

Sleeping in your car during your camping trip? There are some things you need to be comfortable. Sleeping bags are okay, but consider getting a sleeping pad to lay down in your car.

These can help you sleep more comfortably as they’ll cushion the spots between seats. If you will want to bring a sleeping bag, place it on top of this cushion.

Another alternative to sleeping bags is buying an inflatable mattress. The best choices for car camping would be a twin size inflatable mattress.

Organize Your Car

Take steps to make sure your car is well organized for a camping trip. Don’t just throw items in the trunk as they can be difficult to find later on. Consider making a checklist before you go so you won’t forget anything on the way.

Label boxes and containers with what they are for to make unloading a lot faster.

Buy storage containers that will be practical at a campsite. Look for models with shelving to easily separate items depending on your needs.

Items like shoe organizers are great for storing things to grab on the go, so pack those too.

Safety First

Being out in the wilderness often means you won’t have access to many things. This is why you’ll want to prepare some safety items in case of emergency.

Since you’ll be car camping, you want to take some jumper cables with you. If you leave your car running accidentally, it will keep you from getting stranded. Also, consider taking some extra gas in a safe container.

Bring along some bungee cords to hold items down in the car and outside. If you have a tarp, this can keep it in place.

Use weights to hold these items down in case you camp on a windy day. Remember to bring a basic first aid kit with you as well.

Car Camping Privacy

When the campground is crowded, it can be tough to find some privacy for yourself if you don’t have a tent. But turning your car into your own private space won’t be too hard!

Invest in some car curtains to cover up the windows in your car. You can even make your own if you’d like.

Buy a windshield reflector to give you some extra privacy by covering up the windshield as well. This item will also keep your car from getting too hot because of the sun.

Expand your space and privacy by adding a tarp to the side of your car. Campsmart sells a sunscreen that will also provide you with some space away from the rain.


Providing your campsite with some light is an absolute must. Explore different types of lighting depending on your need.

There are various kinds of campfires you can organize.

There’s a one-log fire you can make for cooking, and log fires in the form of a teepee for more warmth. Keep matches and sandpaper in a safe place where you can quickly grab them.

If fires aren’t your thing, no worries! Bring Christmas lights with you, and hang them around the campsite.

In case you don’t have a traditional lantern, strap a headlamp onto a milk jug for trips to the bathroom.

Bathroom Necessities

Going to the bathroom is not the most comfortable thing while camping.

The bathroom is already going to be crowded in most campgrounds. Bring along an alternative for handwashing so you can get out of bathrooms quicker.

Use a spray bottle for washing your hands. Try mixing the water inside with soap to speed up the process.

Won’t have access to a bathroom? Prepare bathroom kits for people to take with them while going in the woods. Include a bit of toilet water and wet wipes.

Use empty coffee containers to hold your toilet paper. This will keep it away from dirt and dust if you need to bring your own to the bathroom.

Easy Cooking

Cooking in the wilderness doesn’t come easily to everyone.

Bring along a propane stove if you must cook food the old fashion way. This will heat up water will help when making coffee, tea, or cups of noodles.

Invest in cast iron cookware. They are great to cook over a fire with. Pack spices in plastic bags or small containers to season your cooking with.

Keep the Bugs Away

Bugs can ruin your car camping trip if you don’t prepare ahead. Don’t forget to bring along bug spray on your trip.

If you don’t like the regular bug spray, pick up some essential oils to help keep them away.

Peppermint oil can ward off mosquitoes and gnats. Put some water and peppermint oil in a spray bottle, and diffuse around your campsite to repel them.

Check out Our Blog for More Advice

Little tips here and there can help you save time so you can spend on the things that really matter. And finding the little things to make your life easier is what we’re all about.

Eager to learn more? Check out our blog for helpful advice!