How To Safely Go Car Camping

Car camping is fun. 

You get to have your freedom. You can carry tons of stuff in a car, which you can not otherwise. 

It is inexpensive and gives you the freedom to reach wherever you wish.

You have fewer requirements for stuff when you are car camping. For example, You can skip tents if you want to. 

However, it can be dangerous. After all, you are relying on a machine in the wilderness. And generally, you do not have backup options if that machine decides to be uncooperative with you. 

Cars can also get into accidents. They can break down. They can have other small or large issues ranging from flat tires to dead batteries. 

Car camping is all about preparation and planning for everything expected or unexpected.

Few things you can do to safely go car camping are:

  • Research about the place you are camping in
  • Reach the place in daylight
  • Learn at least a bit of self Defense
  • Learn basic car repair
  • Sleeping safely
  • Keep your devices charged

We have lots to unpack here. Let us dive in. 

1. Research About The Surroundings

Research the place thoroughly once you have decided on your car camping site. Camping sites have different rules and regulations. And any overnight car camper has to follow those.

Most places allow overnight stay, but each follows different time limits for car parking. Some do not allow overnight stays at several spots.

While car camping, you cannot abruptly park your vehicle anywhere. Otherwise, you will find someone knocking on the window at midnight.

So, check the parking spot availability and parking ticket requirements. 

You can search online for free car camping spots. These places do not charge you anything for car parking and staying overnight.

If you want to experience wild car camping, you can also stay at open green camping sites. If you are first-time car camping, stay close to the known places.

By this, you can rush to security whenever you need. Some of the key points to remember while researching car camping are:

  • Be aware of the surroundings
  • Read the rules and regulations
  • Check about the privacy you will have
  • Take coupon/tickets if any
Research the surroundings
Research about the surroundings

2. Avoid Driving At Night

It is a vital safety point while going on any camping trip. According to national highway traffic reports, more accidents occur at night.

The visibility reduces at night, and it is more likely that you get hit or hit something. 

If your car is stuck or breaks at night, you will have to manage the repair in the dark. It is also difficult to find help in such a situation. 

Plan to reach the car campsite in daylight. By this, you will assure the safety of yourself and others too. 

3. Check The Surrounding

Always be aware of the area you are car camping:

  • Avoid getting out of the car at night
  • Make sure no one has followed you to the car camping location
  • Be ready to leave if you feel something off about the area
  • Do not open the trunk of the car if there are several groups around

All these things will help you to stay safe while car camping.

4. Share Your Location

You may be an adult but share your location with your family or friends whenever heading to any wild car camping spot.

It is not only for your safety but for the satisfaction of your family as well. 

Sharing the location will also help you get out of any emergencies. If you are out of your phone batteries, your family can track you with your last known location.

5. Learn Self Defense

You do not need to have a black belt in karate or be well-versed in MMA, but knowing some basics can help you in a pinch. 

Additionally, carrying a taser or pepper spray is always a good option. 

During hiking or camping, you are exposed to the wildness. Animals are usually known to break into cars for food, so make preparations to deal with such situations.

Below are some self-defense gadgets you can use while car camping:

  • Stun gun flashlight
  • Emergency hyperwhistle
  • Pepper spray
  • Biker whip
  • Tactical pen
  • Credit card knife
  • Key chains knuckles
  • Safety horn
  • Door stop alarm
Learn self defense
Learn self-defense

6. Car Knowledge

Some basic car repair knowledge will help you stay safe while car camping. 

Your car is everything when you are car camping. You will travel, prepare food, sleep do everything in your car. 

And if anything goes wrong with it, you’ll be in trouble. 

The solution is simple. Get some basic knowledge about car maintenance from your local mechanic or some youtube videos. 

Here are some of the common problems and their solutions that come in a car:

  • Tire deflating or puncture: have a portable air pump. Learn to change the tires
  • Battery discharging or dying: Jump starting a battery or charging a battery
  • Engine overheating: Very rare in cars these days. Take a break from your journey to cool it off. 

Keep the towing company or local mechanics’ number handy.

However, the best course of action is to get the car services properly before any trip. It will ensure that majority of the problems that you can face will go away beforehand. 

7. Safety While Sleeping

Sleep and rest are essential components for any trip. 

Choosing a reliable and safe sleeping space is very important while car camping. Here are a few tips that will help you:

  • Choose legal car parking areas
  • Avoid parking in the neighborhood
  • Use pull-offs marked for overnight camping

Another resting place you can choose is your car itself. However, it can get a bit uncomfortable. Here are a few things you can do to make it comfortable:

  • Use padded mattresses for sleeping in your car 
  • Use proper insulation to stay warm
  • Close the doors properly
  • Leave half an inch of the window open to help with ventilation
  • Fold sets to fit in properly

8. Keep Your Electronics Charged

Electronics, especially your mobile phone, are the most useful items on your trip. They will help you stay safe, find your way, call for help, and look for solutions on the internet when required. 

So, keep them charged and safe at all times. 

Keep them protected from moisture and damage. You can use a sturdy hard-case cover or wrap your gadgets in bubble wrap. 

Additionally, charged gadgets will also keep you entertained during the trip. 

9. A Checklist Of Items For Car Camping

Here is the list of items that are useful on any car camping trip:

  1. Air mattress, camping pad, pillow, blankets, sleeping bag
  2. A camp stove
  3. Portable fridge
  4. Flashlights or headlamps
  5. An atlas
  6. Toiletries
  7. Bins
  8. Power inverter to charge your gadgets
  9. Jump starter in case your car is out of battery
  10. Car manuals, to know everything about the car

10. Other Tips To Stay Safe

  1. Roadside assistance
  2. Service the car
  3. Fill the tank up frequently
  4. Be ready to move if anything suspicious
  5. Keep your car tidy
  6. Avoid parking on the roadside or on residential
  7. Keep your car keys handy
  8. Blow the emergency alarm if you find someone messing up with your vehicle
  9. To ensure the privacy, opt to put on the curtains


Car camping is generally safe and much more comfortable than any other camping. However, the breakpoint is the car itself. 

If you have a well-maintained car and some items to keep you safe and comfortable, you will have a good time camping in the car. 

The best part is the freedom and options the car provides while camping. 

Happy camping!


1 thought on “How To Safely Go Car Camping”

Leave a Comment