Is Sleeping in Your Car at a Campsite Allowed: The Good News


It is the dream of every camper to be able to engage in their hobby in the least expensive manner possible without sacrificing an excellent camping experience. Wouldn’t it be fun to explore all that the world has to offer simply by shoving your sleeping bag in your car complete with your camping gear and simply be able to take off, no tent needed? Sure it would be. Having the ability to sleep in your vehicle at your campsite would be a crucial step to making travel cheaper along with it still being enjoyable. Of course, you have to make sure that it is permissible for you to sleep in your car at your campgrounds.

So, is sleeping in your car at a campsite allowed? Yes, you can. As long as you have found yourself a good camping spot and have taken care of all of the needed fees, you can sleep in your car sleep very comfortably without being nervous or having to look over your shoulder for the game warden. Most camping sites simply do not care how you go about camping at their site.

Camping spots are not all that expensive; they won’t cost you an arm and a leg. This is one of the main reasons why camping is such a popular hobby. One caveat though: if you sleep in your car in an area that isn’t a designated camping spot you might have to deal with some inconveniences. One example of this would be overzealous park rangers tapping on your door at odd hours of the night.

The Easiest Cars For Sleeping at a Campsite

What if your choice of a car to sleep in? This is important if you want to have a fun and memorable experience. Of course, 2-wheel drives can access most camping sites, but they are easier to get stuck on those dirt roads campgrounds are famous for. However, some 2-wheel drive vehicles will serve the camping purpose very well:

Station Wagon, Minivan, Sedan, and SUV

These cars will help you fulfill all of your camping tasks. Many of these cars have a lay-down seat configuration, which means there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get a good night’s sleep at your favorite campground. If the car is big, that’s more space for you to enjoy your overnight camping experience!

Camper Vans

Camper vans were specifically manufactured for camping. This is why they usually include the majority that you would need for your camping experience. They have all of the basic items! And that isn’t all. You also can add such things as convenient storage, lights, and a bed. If you think it would be too much of a challenge, you could just think about converting your normal van into a camping van too.

A Pickup Truck With a Topper

You’ve seen those pickup trucks that have toppers, right? These hard shells will fit precisely above your truck bed, and they will not cost a pretty penny either. They are great for those individuals who need to car camp on a budget.

Pickup truck beds are great because they can provide sleeping space for as many as two people. They also are excellent for providing you with an immense amount of protection from poor weather and storms.

Pickup truck camper shells also give you the option of camping anywhere you like. The fact that most trucks can handle the rough conditions of a dirt road or your campsite makes it a big plus as well.

Truck tops are manufactured according to the model of your truck. You can usually obtain them at an after-market camping and trailer merchandiser. It turns your truck bed into an instant camping bed!

Camping Trailers

If you have the know-how to tow your camper, you have access to many different options. The only thing you will need is a car that can tow your trailer and provide a connection for your hitch. If you’re not sure if your vehicle can handle the trailer and hitch, don’t fret; most camper vendors will be more than happy to advise you on what your possible next steps should be.

Car Campers

This is a new concept, but it has been gaining steam. A car camper is constructed by placing lubricated bed frames in the vehicle’s rear luggage compartment and it even has some storage space below it. It also has a double bed set up with lids that lift to help give you access to the storage area. Don’t feel like camping in your car? Well, all of this equipment is easily converted to typical campsite equipment as well.

Class A Motorhomes

These are motorhomes with a frame that is constructed on the same chassis that is designed for a truck or bus. They are known as the largest RV money can buy. They range in price from $80,000 to as high as $1 million. The $1 million is about as good as a regular brick-and-mortar home when it comes to luxury! Even the simpler models will have a water system and an LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) system so you can camp comfortably.

Class B Motorhomes

There are also after-market vendors who specialize in converting these vans into class B RVs. These Class B RVs are useful because they will drive like a regular passenger van or passenger car. They won’t be as difficult to steer on regular city streets as a full-size RV. Moreover, there are some Class B’s that have a four-wheel-drive!

Class C Motor homes

Retailers consider Class C motorhomes to be in the same category as mid-sized RVs. They have an appealing design that boasts room for sleeping quarters. They will house as many as eight people, and a Class C motorhome is also capable of having their electrical system, water system, and LPG system. Class C’s can be custom outfitted if you are a frequent traveler. They are one of the most underrated RVs on the road today.

Another added benefit to Class C Motorhomes would be that they are equipped with a slide-out, making it easier for increasing your living and sleeping space. Cooktops, fridges, and microwave ovens are common in many of these versions.

How to Stay Comfortable If You are Using Your Car to Sleep at a Campsite

As long as you do your homework, you can have a much comfortable experience sleeping in your car oversleeping in a tent. Unlike a tent, a vehicle can give you a lot more protection from the elements. Cars often have soundproof features as well.

Beds and Beddings

If you are going to camp in a car, you should consider going with one that has a flat floor or a removable back seat. If your car has a large hatchback, it will work a lot better than a car that has a regular design. Moreover, these types of cars can give you a halfway decent backseat bed, making it all the easier to camp out and enjoy nature. Sleeping bag? Be sure to stock up on pillows, mats, mattress toppers, sleeping items, and other camping essentials.


The storage box option is another perfect accessory for the under mattresses because it will be immediately configurable. The storage in one of these vehicles is also able to give you plenty of space for all of your items. Are you done using the storage option? If so, this option is quite simple to convert back to seating if you are transporting a large party.

Of course, another way to increase your storage options would be a car carrier on the roof of your car.  You can store all of your clothes and extra supplies (probably storing food would not be a good idea). They will good as long as you ensure they are sturdy enough to meet all of your basic needs. You can find one that fits your needs here. You also could consider the Useful Boxes brand because they will give you a wide array of sizes and some of the best strength options available.

Some of the best boxes to go for would be of the see-through variety because you will have a better ability to see things and it will be less likely that you will misplace your stuff.

Pests, Ventilation, and Heating

If you happen to plan out your camping trip during the summer months, you will need to include the right supplies. One item that would be a lifesaver for your winter camping would be a thermos flask with hot water in it. You should comparison shop, but one popular current product would be the Takaya Vacuum Insulated Thermos,  look for one here.

Of course, besides drinking warm liquids, another trick for staying warm during winter camping would be to wear several layers of clothes. Moreover, you actually shouldn’t wait until you get cold before you bundle up either. If you do it before getting cold, it will be much easier to stay warm. Just a hint here, but some of the most pleasant heat sources will come from an electric blanket.

Light and Privacy

LED lights are some of the best lights for camping. The best part about these lights is that you can recharge them or just leave them running. You can run them quite comfortably simply by just using a USB Adapter and a 12V socket. Another added benefit is that LED is now in the 21st Century. You have all kinds of options, including reading lights, night lights, fairy lights, and everything in between.

Some people like to pair these lights up with sunshades. They love to put their shades on windscreens, and they often get a real thrill out of using these sunshades with blackout blinds, suction pads, or fabric. Moreover, if your car is unlined, magnets are also an option. Placing tailored sunshades with Correx and Proplex will go a long way to ensure total darkness in your car when you’re camping. These items don’t use up that much space either.

Hygiene and Water

Most campsites will give you access to basic hygiene services such as showers and toilets, but you should have a plan B in case you camp at a facility that doesn’t have these amenities.

Water Supply

Make sure that you carry a portable water container and get it refilled as often as possible. Of course, there are times you will go on longer trips. When this happens, you should take advantage of the facilities in pubs, leisure centers, and other areas. This will break up the monotony of your camping stays.

Be aware that there are many different water storage options, and all you have to do is make sure they are BPA-free. Make sure you have some water-purifying tablets for the possibility that you might have to fetch some water from a water source that isn’t necessarily considered clean.


When it comes to showers, you can either depend on homemade options or look into a portable shower. Of course, you will have to be in a warm environment to consider all of these options.

One of the things that a lot of people do would be to simply use a warm bucket and a pump.

Staying Safe While Sleeping at a Car Campsite

Don’t sleep in your car at a location where you feel unsafe. If you are at a campsite and you are feeling even the least bit apprehensive or unsettled about it, then you should avoid staying there at all. Although it is unlikely you will get accosted, just the thought of it will be enough to cause you a difficult time falling asleep, if at all.

Even if you have to pay for another site at the last minute, this is much better than risking your safety. Moreover, sometimes there is strength in numbers. Sharing a site with other campers can help you stay safe and also cut costs. If the site is frequented by young people, that is all the better simply because they will be more likely to let you share the costs.

Final Thoughts

Car camping is a trendy new concept that continues to be popular with each passing day. Convenience and affordability make this a new pastime that is very cost-effective, especially in these times of economic difficulties.

A general rule-of-thumb is if the campsite allows in cars then chances are it probably doesn’t care if you sleep in the car or not. Just make sure you fully understand all of the rules of the campsite to make the experience as stress-free as possible.

All you have to do is make sure you make all of your plans in advance…As long as you plan well, you are probably in for the experience of a lifetime. Of course, the only other thing you need to worry about would be having the right car! Other than that, here’s to many years of camping fun!