How to Camp out of your Car

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Camping, and its sassy sister "glamping", have become increasingly popular in recent years. But if you don't fancy hiking into the middle of nowhere to enjoy the great outdoors, you can always rely on your car to be your trusty steed. Here are our top tips on camping out of your car.

1. Pick the right campsite

Some campsites are aimed at backpackers and are difficult, if not impossible, to access in a vehicle. Others offer paved parking, power points, charcoal grills and even, occasionally, fancy pre-pitched tents and temporary hotels. Plan your trip in advance to ensure that you don't end up hiking to and from the nearest car park.

2. Pack light

This might sound counter-intuitive, but it's worth sacrificing some creature comforts to make sure the car stays neat and tidy. There's nothing worse than rummaging through a pile of dirty clothes to try and find that camping stove.

3. Invest in adaptors

One of the big benefits of camping out of your car is that you have a power source with you. Basic adaptors are available for smartphones and sat navs, but if you really need to power your kit, there are converters available to turn the 12V DC cigarette lighter plug into a full 230V AC power supply.

4. Bring batteries

Of course, it pays to bring as many batteries and battery operated appliances as possible. After all, the car is the last one you want going flat.

5. Plan meals wisely

A camping stove is normally the extent of your cooking options, and although bringing the car gives you added storage solutions, it's still wise to avoid smelly foods and perishables. A cool box is an excellent addition in this regard, but make sure it's stable and watertight before loading it on board.

6. Park carefully

Your car makes an excellent windshield for your tent, but don't sacrifice your car unnecessarily. Make sure to park safely and away from hazards, as needless car insurance claims will ruin your trip faster than any rainy day.

7. Get an extension

Car awnings and annexes, available from suppliers like Caranex and Vango, are an excellent way to extend the space from your vehicle, or connect your car to your tent. Perfect for shedding wet clothes or prepping for a hike, whichever option you decide on you'll be thanking yourself for the extra space.

8. Keep it clean

Avoiding bringing muck and dirt into the car is one of the key challenges of this style of camping. Make sure to remove wet or dirty clothes and shoes before getting in. A spare groundsheet is helpful when changing beside your car, and remember to keep a clean set of clothes handy.

Don't forget to bring a brush to rub down clothes and boots before they get packed in the car. A battery-powered vacuum is always handy, especially if you're camping near a beach.

9. Keep it dry

Whether it's sweaty summers or rainy winters, keeping your car dry can be a big challenge. During hot summers, make sure to empty and air the vehicle on a regular basis. When this isn't possible, it's worth considering a portable dehumidifier, or, for a seriously budget option, a tray of clean cat litter can also help absorb any excess moisture.

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