wild camping 1 - Why should you try camping in your car and where to camp in the US?

Why should you try camping in your car and where to camp in the US?


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Camping in your car can be a fun and budget-friendly way to experience the great outdoors. The main thing it offers is freedom – you go where you want, when you want and can take all your equipment with you. It can also offer a number of benefits over traditional tent camping or staying in a recreational vehicle (RV). Here are some of the top benefits of camping in your car:

  1. Convenience: One of the biggest advantages of car camping is the convenience factor. You don’t need to spend time setting up a tent or worrying about packing all of your gear. Simply load up your car with all of your supplies, drive to your campsite, and you’re ready to go.
  2. Cost-effective: Camping in your car can also be more cost-effective than staying in an RV or renting a cabin. You’ll save money on gas by not having to tow a trailer or drive a larger vehicle, and you won’t have to worry about the added expenses of RV maintenance and campsite fees.
  3. Versatility: Camping in your car allows you to be flexible with your plans. If you don’t like the campsite you’re at, you can simply pack up and move to a new location. This is especially useful if you’re traveling and want to explore different areas.
  4. Comfort: While tent camping can be a fun and adventurous experience, it can also be uncomfortable, especially if the weather isn’t cooperating. Camping in your car offers a bit more comfort, as you’ll have a roof over your head and a place to escape from the elements.
  5. Safety: Car camping can also be a safer option, especially for solo travelers or those with young children. You’ll have the security of being in a closed and locked vehicle, and you won’t have to worry about wild animals or other potential hazards.

Overall, car camping can be a great way to experience the outdoors while still having the convenience and comfort of your own vehicle. So next time you’re planning a camping trip, consider giving car camping a try!

How to sleep in an everyday car?

  1. Sleep in the boot – The easiest thing you can do is fold the rear seats down and if they form a flat surface, just put a good sleeping mat or cushion down and you’re good to go! This is a handy & cheap way to test car camping – without having to spend any money on it. The longer the boot, the more comfortable you’ll be. It is also possible to sleep in the front seats if you lower them down completely – but that’s less comfortable and more a one-off emergency solution. Although we slept like that for a week in Greece and Mallorca and enjoyed the trip anyways!
sleeping in fiat 500 - Why should you try camping in your car and where to camp in the US?
Fiat 500 – sleeping on the front seats
  1. Throw in blankets and pillows: To make your sleeping setup more comfortable, bring along some blankets and pillows to help you get a good night’s rest. They don’t have to be any special outdoor lightweight type but any standard everyday blankets and pillows are fine as your car carries them for you. Make it feel homely – take your favourite bedding. 🙂
  2. Park in a safe location: When selecting a place to sleep in your car, make sure to choose a safe location. Avoid parking in areas close to the city/town/village that are poorly lit or have a lot of foot traffic, and try to find a spot that is somewhat secluded. The fewer eyes see you, the safer you will be. If wild camping, make sure you are not trespassing on private land or in a protected area. And – as on any camping trip – ensure you leave nothing behind (maybe some tyre tracks, can’t avoid that!) and respect nature – stick to the Leave No Trace principles.
  3. Keep the windows cracked: In order to keep the air circulating and prevent condensation, it’s a good idea to keep the windows cracked while you sleep. If wild camping, you might want to have a net covering your window to keep the mosquitoes out – find some window net suggestions + more useful camping gear to take with you here.

By following these tips, you should be able to sleep comfortably in your car. For more detailed tips, see Just remember to be mindful of any local laws or regulations regarding overnight parking and make sure to be respectful of any campsites or private property you may be staying on.

Where do people go camping in their cars in the US?

wild camping in the us - Why should you try camping in your car and where to camp in the US?
Image source: odysseycamper.com

Car camping is a popular activity all around the world, and there are many different places that people go when car camping. Some popular destinations in the United States for car camping include:

  1. National and state parks: Many national and state parks offer car camping facilities, such as campsites with designated parking areas and amenities like picnic tables and fire pits. These parks are often located in scenic areas and offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and birdwatching. Some of the most popular national and state parks for car camping in the United States include Yosemite National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Acadia National Park.
  2. Beach campsites: Many beach campsites offer car camping options, allowing visitors to park their vehicles near their campsites and enjoy the beach. These campsites are often located in coastal areas and offer a range of activities, such as swimming, surfing, and beachcombing. Some popular beach campsites for car camping include Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina, Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, and Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina.
  3. Private campsites: There are many privately-owned campsites that offer car camping options, including RV parks and other types of campgrounds. These campsites may offer a variety of amenities, such as showers, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Some popular private campsites for car camping include KOA (Kampgrounds of America) campgrounds, which are located throughout the United States and Canada, and Thousand Trails campgrounds, which are located in a number of states in the U.S.
  4. Wilderness areas: Some people enjoy car camping in more remote wilderness areas, where they can park their vehicles and set up a campsite in a natural setting. These types of car camping trips often involve activities like backpacking, climbing, and fishing. Some popular wilderness areas for car camping include the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, the Adirondack Mountains in New York, and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

In addition to these destinations, car camping can also be a great way to explore other parts of the world. Many countries have national parks or other protected areas that offer car camping facilities, and car camping is a popular way to see the sights while on a road trip.

When planning a car camping trip, it’s important to research the specific location you’ll be visiting and be prepared for the conditions you may encounter. This may involve bringing appropriate clothing and gear, such as warm layers for cold weather or rain gear for wet conditions. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with any local laws or regulations, such as fire restrictions or permit requirements, and to follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment.

Overall, the places that people go when car camping vary widely and can be anywhere from well-developed campsites with many amenities to more rugged and remote wilderness areas. No matter where you go, car camping can be a fun and budget-friendly way to experience the great outdoors and create lasting memories with friends and family.

What are the best wilderness camping spots accessible with a car in the US?

There are many beautiful and secluded wild camping spots in the United States that are accessible by car. Here are a few of the best wild camping spots in the US:

  1. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota: This beautiful wilderness area is home to thousands of lakes and streams, and offers a range of car camping options, including designated campsites and backcountry camping areas.
  2. The Adirondack Mountains in New York: The Adirondacks are home to a number of state parks and wilderness areas that offer car camping opportunities, as well as backcountry camping for those who want a more rugged experience.
  3. The Olympic Peninsula in Washington: The Olympic Peninsula is home to Olympic National Park, which offers a variety of car camping options, including campsites in the rainforest, along the coastline, and in the mountains.
  4. The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a range of car camping options, including campsites in the mountains, along rivers and streams, and in the valleys.
  5. The Yosemite Valley in California: Yosemite National Park is home to a number of car camping options, including campsites in the valley, along the Merced River, and in the high country.
Hoh Rain Forest Olympic National Park Washington State 1992 1 - Why should you try camping in your car and where to camp in the US?
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington

These are just a few examples of the many wild camping spots in the US that are accessible by car. No matter where you go, it’s important to follow Leave No Trace principles and be mindful of the environment to help preserve these beautiful areas for future generations.

Is wild camping allowed in the US?

Wild camping, also known as dispersed camping or backcountry camping, is generally allowed in many public lands in the United States, including national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, and some state and local park lands. However, there are some restrictions and regulations in place, and it’s important to check the specific policies of the area you’ll be visiting before setting out on a wild camping trip. More info on wild camping in the US, Canada and EU here.

Post author:


Founder of NimbleCamper.com, avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast. Car camping and microcamping allows me to keep traveling and exploring with a much greater level of freedom & privacy – to go anywhere and sleep anywhere. I didn’t have 30K to buy a VW Multivan, so found my way to the world of everyday car camping conversions. Here I share my experiences and what I learn.

Check out my thoughts on a balanced life: sensimism.com

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