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Recently, you have probably seen a lot of people traveling in camper vans, converting their car to a camper, and posting about car camping. While most people probably can’t afford a full camper van, converting your car to a camper is pretty easy, especially with our DIY Guide to a Car to Camper Conversion.
Do you really want to camp in your car though?
Well, if you love the outdoors and want to visit national parks but hate camping—or simply don’t have camping equipment—camping in your car is a fantastic idea!
You might be skeptical of car camping at first, but it’s something you should definitely try! These 7 reasons you need to go car camping will have you ready to convert your car to a camper and get out and explore!
1. It’s Affordable
Compared to building out a full camper van, doing a car to camper conversion is a relatively easy process, or at least it can be.
You’ve probably seen decked out videos and photos on social media of top of the line camper vans, RVs, or even school buses converted for camping. While these are incredible and a dream of ours to own one day, they are completely out of our price range right now and for the foreseeable future.
If they are for you too, keep reading! If not, buy one and make us jealous!
Converting your car for camping can have a vast price range too, but you can do it for pretty cheap with a few simple items.
You’ll need a simple mattress or foam, sleeping bag, and a plywood platform. You could even skip the wooden platform for sleeping and just sleep on the floor of your car if your seats fold down flat or can be removed.
Obviously, there are things that you can do to make the experience of camping in your car more luxurious, like window screens, storage, or solar panels for electricity.
Whichever design you choose for converting your car to a camper, it can probably fit in your price range, making it an affordable camping option!
We converted our Honda Fit for car camping for about $200. It wasn’t glamorous, but was very comfortable and had a few extra bells and whistles that really made the experience of camping in a car better.
2. You Don’t Have to Buy Camping Equipment
Taking out the cost of the car itself, camping in your car can be as cheap or expensive as you want depending on your setup.
If you don’t have camping equipment, it can seem like quite an investment to buy all the right stuff, like a tent, cooking equipment, sleeping bag, and all the things you need to go camping.
If you don’t plan on camping all that often or don’t even know if you will go again, consider car camping. Then you won’t have to waste the money on all that camping gear or go through the effort of selling it all after you use it.
Setting up your car for camping will be cheaper and easier than buying camping equipment you might only use a few times.
3. It’s Easy to Set Up
Once you figure out your design for your car camper, you can make it and put it all together. Generally, getting your car ready for car camping is a fairly simple process from start to finish.
Our car camping setup is designed to be put in when we’re using it and taken out when we’re at home because we need our car for daily life. However, there are more permanent options out there for people camping in their cars long-term.
If long-term car camping isn’t in your plans, don’t worry because the setup process is really easy and won’t take much time or work at all.
It’s basically folding down your seats and putting your mattress and platform, if you have one. From there, you just load in all your gear for camping and hiking.
Now that you have your car all setup for car camping, you can head out for the great outdoors and find a place to camp! Don’t forget your US National Parks Pass though!
4. It’s Convenient
When you get to a campsite and are ready to get in your car to sleep for the night, you simply move your gear off the bed, close the doors, and get tucked in for the night.
When you’re ready to move onto the next destination, get the driver’s seat cleared off and start driving.
The process of moving from one location to the next while car camping is so much easier and less tedious than when camping with a tent. There is virtually no setup or takedown.
5. Sleeping is Comfortable
Car camping can be extremely comfortable, especially for sleeping. You just have to get the right mattress or the right amount of padding for your bed.
Sleeping directly on the floor of your car with a sleeping bag might cut it for some people, but for others, it sounds downright miserable.
If it sounds terrible to you, get a decent amount of foam or an inflatable car mattress to keep your car camping experience as comfortable as possible.
A real lifesaver—and what we consider to be a car camping essential—is window screens. These allow airflow through your car while keeping bugs out. This made camping in our car so much more comfortable, especially in hot climates.
6. You’re Protected from Elements
One of the biggest reasons people hate regular camping is that a tent only protects you from the elements so much. Wind, cold, and particularly rain can turn a promising camping trip into a nightmare for some.
When car camping, you won’t have to really deal with this as your car protects you from the elements of mother nature!
You will only have to worry about weather when car camping in severe cold, heat, or other more severe types of weather. However, you’d still have to worry about those in a tent too.
7. You Can Do It Anywhere!
Chances are that you’ll be car camping in or near a national park or in some type of outdoor venue where you could also camp in a tent, and 99.9% of people reading this post will be doing the same.
However, an advantage of car camping is that you could also camp in other areas where a tent wouldn’t work out so well, like a city.
Converting your car to a camper is perfect for exploring all the great things nature has to offer and getting a little off the grid, but you could also sleep in your car while exploring some cities assuming you find it safe and can find a place to park.
While it’s not about car campers, Parked in Paradise details everything you need to know about living in a camper van in a city.
There are tons of reasons to go car camping, and these are just some of them!
The most important reason to try car camping is that it’s a fantastic way to get out and explore this beautiful, amazing world we live in! So why not try it?!