Benefits of Car Camping

There are various types of camping such as car camping, tent camping, RV camping, backpacking, over landing, etc. However, car camping is the most convenient and cheapest camping option.

There are many benefits of car camping. Here are the key advantages.

The key benefits of car camping include better safety, the ability to sleep almost anywhere, lower cost, better weather protection, convenience, and time savings.

Sleep Anywhere

A car gives the most incognito camping experience than others. One can park their vehicle anywhere, whether in the city, urban area, Walmart parking lots, or rest area; a car camper can park and sleep wherever and whenever they like.

An RV camper or tent camper must find a campground first to camp overnight. However, a car camper doesn’t need to look for a campground actively. A car camper can sleep in the rest stops or the truck stops during a cross-country road trip. 

Less Limitation

Many places have put restrictions on tent or RV camping. However, only a handful of locations make it unlawful to sleep in a car. Every Rest Stop in this country forbids tent camping, but we haven’t found any rest stops where overnight sleeping in a vehicle is not permitted.

Moreover, an RV or trailer can’t be driven everywhere. There are many roads in national parks, forests, or state roads that are unsuitable for RVs and trailers. These roads sometimes are too twisty for RVs. There are also roads that are unpaved.

However, car camping in these areas is very easy as a car can go where an RV would fail to go—thus, fewer people and more freedom.

Related: Very Helpful Cross Country Road Trip Tips and Tricks

It’s Safe

Car camping is safer than sleeping in a Tent. Even though most campgrounds are secure, while we are taking a road trip or in the city, sleeping in a car is much safer than sleeping in a tent, especially for women.

Black bears, insects, ticks, and snakes could pose some risks in tent camping, depending on the region. However, in these areas, car camping is much safer.

It’s Cheap

RV camping is very expensive compared to car camping. Most RVs run on diesel; thus, the cost of fuel is exorbitant. Moreover, RVs and trucks have very poor gas mileage due to the RV and trailer’s weight. A typical RV would require 4x to 5x the fuel cost of a car.

Moreover, RV camping spots typically cost more than car camping spots. 

Parking is Always Available

RVs and trailers can’t be parked anywhere. RVs must park in the 18-wheeler truck lane at a Rest Stop. However, it’s nearly impossible to get a parking spot at the Rest Stop if you drive an RV at night. It’s because, at night, all the truckers stop their truck for overnight rest.

Whereas, in the Rest Stops, the car parking area remains empty because only a handful of people take a long road trip. Therefore, a car camper will never face any parking problems.

Moreover, not all campgrounds can fit all types of RVs and trailers. Every campground has a limitation on RV length. But no campground has any restrictions on cars.

It’s More Convenient 

Car camping is more convenient than tent or RV camping. After getting to a destination, a tent or RV camper must prepare the tent or RV for an overnight stay.

To prepare the tent, one person must need 20-30 minutes. One has to spend another 20-30 minutes packing everything up the following day. For RVs and trailers, this process is more involved and takes more time.

However, car campers don’t need to fiddle around too much. As the bed is always ready in the back of the car, one can park and sleep in the bed. In the morning, a car camper also doesn’t need to do much as everything stays in the back of the car.

Therefore, car camping saves time and makes everything convenient.

Better Weather Protection

A car gives weather protection in all types of weather, such as rain, snow, wind, or sun. 

For sleeping in a tent, one needs an insulation pad under the sleeping pad. Without it, the ground will absorb body heat. However, in a car camping, one doesn’t need to worry about it as the car camper sleeps off the ground.

On a chilly or snowy night, sleeping in a tent is challenging as the tent works only as a wind or snow guard but lets cool air come in. But a car is almost airtight and gives better protection from cold.

Moreover, on a rainy day, tent camping is very inconvenient. The water makes almost everything wet, but it also makes the tent muddy. 

Better Comfort

Sleeping in a car is more comfortable than a tent and cheaper than RVs.

On a hot day, one can keep their vehicle’s AC running to cool the car interior (provided the campground allows vehicle sound). On a cold day, one can keep the heat on. 

For RVers, it’s very costly to cool or heat the entire RV. But for car campers, it’s very cheap.

Even though car camping has a lot of benefits over tent camping, backpacking, or RV camping, it has some drawbacks. Here are a few of them:

Congested Area

As a car camper, the car is a sleeping space and a storage space. Depending on vehicle make and model, the car could seem very congested. There are many who are claustrophobic. Therefore, sleeping in a vehicle for them isn’t ideal.

The car length is also crucial. Sometimes, some vehicle length isn’t enough to sleep comfortably. 

We have seen many car campers who have removed passenger seats or back seats to make space. However, not everyone is comfortable gutting their vehicle interior to make more storage room.

Shower and Restroom:

One of the key benefits for RV campers is that they have a place in their trailers to take a shower. Most RVs also have a bathroom with a water connection. Therefore, RV campers don’t have to worry about showers or bathrooms.

While on a road trip, a daily shower is necessary. However, while car camping, getting a place to take a shower isn’t always easy. Even though most campgrounds and truck stops have shower facilities, many national park campgrounds don’t have shower facilities.

RV campers can boondock anywhere they like (provided it’s allowed). They don’t have to worry about shower or bathroom facilities. However, boondocking becomes tough while car camping if there are no bathroom facilities. 

Local Limitation

There are places where local municipalities don’t allow sleeping in a car. Moreover, many campgrounds don’t permit it. 


There are many benefits of car camping. There are some drawbacks too. However, the benefits of car camping outweigh its disadvantages.