Car Camping Tent Best Camp Chair

Campgrounds and Car Camping

  By True Places Magazine Staff Writers


Driving up to the campground and pitching a tent next to your vehicle? Or truly car camping by sleeping inside your car? Either way it’s one of our favorite quick getaways with family or friends. Here’s a quick guide for both first time and experienced car campers alike. Whether you’re folding down the rows in your SUV, reimagining the flatbed of your truck, or hitting the road in the comfort of an adventure van or RV, these tips are sure to make your next car camping trip a success. 


Planning Ahead

  • The essentials: Beyond the obvious packing items such as sleeping bags & pads, and tents (if needed), remember to bring a first-aid kit, plenty of reusable water bottles, and non-perishable food.
  • Organize!: Bringing some bins or baskets from around the house will help you keep your car clutter-free, and ensure items are easily accessible (that is, before they’re buried in the cracks of the backseat)
  • Plan your route: Spend time researching campsites in the months or weeks ahead of time, paying close attention to the amenities, location, and of course reservation requirements.


Comfort is King

  • Splurge on a comfortable sleeping pad: tomorrow-morning-you will thank you! On flatbeds, car trunks, or the ground, a good pad will help insulate you from the cold and improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Window treatment: If sleeping in your car rather than a tent, be sure to keep your windows cracked for ventilation and consider mesh window covers to keep out the bugs. Also, blackout curtains are a great way to keep the early morning sun from disturbing your sleep.
  • Comfortable seating: Even if you do spend a little more on the sleeping pad, the nights won’t be as comfortable as your bed at home. So when you’re awake, sit in comfort as if you were hanging out on your back patio. Old camp chairs simply won’t cut it. Consider proper portable chairs for the hours and hours spent sitting around a campfire or portable dining table.



Fun & Games- You chose a camping trip, so you might want to go for hike, try a little fishing (if allowed), and just sit back and enjoy the scenery. But in the downtime, below are a few ideas for additional fun. Mention these early in the car ride so that friends and/or family can come up with others.

  • Pinecone Bowling: Lay out any empty cans or bottles to use as the pins, and grab some pinecones to knock them down. You’d be amazed how long you can play! 
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Scavenger Hunt: Remember to bring some glow sticks and hide them around the campsite before nighttime. Once it’s dark, have everyone find them within a time limit.
  • Campground Minute to Win: The options are endless for this one: stacking sticks, sitting in your camping chairs throwing rocks into cups at a distance, balancing a hiking pole or pinecone on your nose, etc.


Enjoy it out there! Let us know if you come up with a new campground game that turns into an instant classic. Regardless, send us a pic or two from your camping roadtrip so we can live vicariously.

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