Home Camping How to Shower When Car Camping?

How to Shower When Car Camping?

Car Camping
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Sometimes, going outside requires getting up early. You can save time and be more flexible by sleeping in your car near a trailhead instead of setting up a tent. This is especially true if there’s no room for tents or if you just don’t want to set up a tent. You can also get some extra protection from the weather if you spend the night in your rig.

Here are some tips and tricks to make your next car trip more comfortable, organized, and fun. We talk about where to park, what to bring, creative ways to improve, and more. Make sure to follow the Leave No Trace and common sense safety rules on how to shower when car camping. Never sleep in a car with the engine running.

What is camping in a car?

Most people agree on two definitions of car camping. Most people agree that car camping means sleeping in a place where you can drive your car. Some people think that sleeping in your car when you go car camping is a literal thing. People often think that sleeping in their car is safer and more comfortable than sleeping in a tent.

People don’t realize that a good tent can handle light to heavy rain and will be waterproof. A good sleeping bag and pad are better than sleeping in your car and can keep you warm down to 0°F. When you car camp, you pack everything you need for your trip into your car, drive to your campsite, and set up your tent in a certain spot.

Some people also call it “tent camping” or “base camping.” The great thing about car camping is that your tent site is easy to get to. Since your tent site is so close to your car, there’s no reason to save money on “luxury” items that make camping more fun.

You probably don’t want to backpack to a campsite with a cast iron dutch oven, a propane stove, and a 10lb tent. All of these options are available when you go car camping, and they can make the experience more fun for people who have never camped before.

Where Should You Go? 

Think about what kind of amenities you need. Do you need places to sit down and use the bathroom? You’ll want to go to a campground that has been built up. Most of the time, you need to book those in advance.

Most campgrounds on federal and state land can be booked through Reserve America. The big exception is most national parks, where you have to book directly with the National Park Service. HipCamp has recently put together an impressive list of places to camp on private land, mostly in the west. That’s a great place to start if you want to go glamping in California.

It’s as easy to use one of the above tools as it is to book a hotel room. Most of the time, you can just type the name of the campground into Google Maps and get there the same way you would get to your hotel. They are fun and easy ways to spend a weekend under the stars, but if you go to a developed campground, you will be around other people. Also, you can’t really let your dog run free in a campground.

What kind of weather do you plan to camp in?

If you want to camp in a variety of weather conditions, you will need a wider range of gear. If you are car camping and unexpected bad weather comes up, you can always pack up and wait it out in your car if you aren’t ready.

When camping in the summer when it’s 60 degrees or higher, you don’t need any special gear. But if you want to camp in the winter, you’ll need to plan ahead.

Here are some useful guides for camping gear for cold weather:

  1. The Best Winter Tents
  2. The best bags to sleep in when it’s cold
  3. Winter Hiking Boots
  4. Gear for camping in cold weather

What Do You Need to Bring? 

Let’s go over the basics and find the cheapest way to get there, as well as some reasonable ways to upgrade that might make the trip a little more comfortable.


  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow


  • Raincoats
  • Swimwear
  • Hiking boots
  • Sandals
  • Long underwear
  • Layers of heat
  • Hat

Camp Kitchen:

  • Stove
  • Fuel
  • Lighter
  • Firewood
  • Water
  • Food makes it cooler
  • Plates, bowls, cups & utensils


  • Games
  • Books
  • Hammocks
  • Instruments


  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection
  • Map & compass


  • Headlamp
  • Extra batteries


  • Brush and paste for your teeth
  • Wipes for yourself
  • Medications

For more experienced car campers, it can be hard to stop thinking like a backpacker. When you go backpacking, you carry everything you need on your back, so it’s important to save space and weight.

But you don’t have to rough it when you go car camping. It’s okay to bring things, and it’s important to know that your ultra-light backpacking gear is not the best choice for camping. Why not treat yourself and bring that extra pillow? All the work is being done by your car.

6 Places to Go Camping in Your Car

Set up your campsite

After finding a place where you can park overnight and camp, set up your tent in a flat, shady spot. When it’s time to unload the car, try not to crowd other campers who are staying nearby for the night. Check out our camping essentials list to get an idea of what to bring, like a folding table, camp chairs, and a camp stove, which can help you set up in a more comfortable way. And if this is your first time camping, our article “Camping for Beginners” will tell you what you need to know.

Sleep with your head toward the front of the car

Flat spots are better, but they aren’t always easy to find on winding Forest Service roads or in remote areas. If the car is tilted, make sure to move it so that your head is above your feet. Since most cars have wheel wells in the back that take up valuable space, sleeping with your head toward the front of the car will also give you more elbow room. Still not enough comfort? Check out these camping tips from members and employees of REI Co-op.

Keep your electronics charged

On the road, it can be hard to keep electronics charged. You can plug things in while the car is running, but you can’t do that overnight. Use a solar panel on the dashboard or a portable power device to keep your phone, tablet, camera, and any other battery-powered items alive and well for the whole trip. Not sure which one you should choose? Find out more about how to choose portable power and solar chargers.

Open a window enough to ventilate

If you sleep in a car all night, you’ll fog up the windows and get moisture where you don’t want it. Airflow is important. Just open your sunroof or window enough so that a person or an animal can’t get in.

Get some cheap mesh and cut it 2–3 inches wider than the hole. Stuff the edges around the hole to keep bugs out, and there’s no more water. Before you go to bed, try to dry your wet clothes as much as possible. Keep a squeegee in your car just in case you need to clean the windows in the morning.

Build your own shower

After a long hike or bike ride, a warm shower feels great. Build your own camp shower to bring that feeling with you on the road. Want more tips about camping? From “How to Set Up a Tent” to “How to Build a Campfire,” our Expert Advice articles are full of useful information.

Bring a headlamp or hang lanterns

Even if you’re getting ready for bed, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to sleep right away. You can hang lanterns or headlamps from the car handle to light up the inside so you can read, get things in order, or cuddle with your adventure dog. Why else should you bring a headlamp with you when you drive? It can help you find your way when you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night or want to go hiking at dawn or dusk.

Is Camping Safe and Responsible?

The 19 deaths keep going up, even though states are giving confusing and often contradictory advice on how to get our economy going again. So, it is up to us, regular people, to do everything we can to stop the disease from spreading.

Minimize your contact with places like gas stations and grocery stores that could be sources of infection. Don’t get together in large groups, and take the right steps to keep yourself from other people. If you are camping with people who aren’t part of your own quarantine program, masks may help keep the virus from spreading within your group.

Remember that this is about more than just your own health. It’s important for the health of people who are weak and for the health of our whole country. Camp in a good way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to Shower When Car Camping?

What does “car camping” mean?

Most people agree that car camping means sleeping in a place where you can drive your car. Some people think that sleeping in your car when you go car camping is a literal thing. People often think that sleeping in their car is safer and more comfortable than sleeping in a tent.

What is a tent for car camping?

Car camping just means that you bring everything you need for your trip in your car, drive to your campsite, and set up your tent on a tent pad. This can also be called “base camping,” even if it’s right next to your car and not, say, a few thousand feet below Mt. Everest.

Should you stay in your car at night?

Car camping is a great way to get outside and have an adventure, whether it’s your first time camping or you’ve been doing it for years. Car camping is easy to get to and gives you more room to make mistakes than backcountry camping. It’s fun, easy to do, and a great thing for the whole family to do together.

Is camping in a car safe?

When you go car camping, parking lots and truck stops are usually less safe than campgrounds and public lands. Truck stops are places where a lot of people stop, and the parking lots are often full and dark. Truck stops are less quiet than campgrounds and public lands.

If you turn off the car’s engine, can you sleep in it?

MoH says that sleeping in your car is never a good idea, even if the windows are up or down. This is because carbon monoxide (CO) gas builds up in the “closed air circulation” of a car cabin.

When camping, how do you keep your car warm?

Put a thick, reflective sun shield in your front windshield and cut insets for your other windows out of Reflectix wrap, which you can find at most hardware stores. Put the window inserts in place before you get ready for bed. If you want to camp in your car in the winter, you must insulate the windows.

At a campground, can I sleep in my car?

Bottom Line. Many campgrounds let you sleep in your car or van, but you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you have a place to stay when you get there. Most campgrounds will charge a fee and require reservations.

Can I sleep in my car while the air conditioner is on?

The answer was given by. Even though it makes sense to want to turn on the air conditioner during a trip to the Southwest, studies show that sleeping in your car with the air conditioner on can make you sick from carbon monoxide. This can make you go to the hospital or even kill you.

Is it warmer to camp in a car than in a tent?

Car, without a doubt. The insulation under you has a higher R-value than any camping pad, and even with the windows cracked and heat escaping through the glass, it’s still warmer inside than outside.

How cold is it before you can’t sleep in a car?

If it’s below -30 degrees, you shouldn’t try to sleep in and shouldn’t even try.

Do you have to open the window if you’re going to sleep in the car?

You don’t have to leave a window cracked in your car while you sleep. Air is always moving through the car, and there is usually enough air inside to keep someone alive for a long time.

How much warmer is the car’s interior than the outside?

In the first 30 minutes, the temperature rises by more than one degree per minute, on average. On a 90-degree day, if you park your car and go into a store for 30 minutes, when you come back your car will be over 120 degrees. After an hour, the temperature inside the average car is 43 degrees higher than the temperature outside.

Why you shouldn’t sleep in your car?

If you leave your car’s engine running while you sleep, carbon monoxide-filled exhaust fumes could get into the car. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell and no color. It is released by the exhaust system and can quickly build up to dangerous levels in small spaces.

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How to Shower When Camping?