How to Stay Warm When Car Camping

How to Stay Warm When Car Camping

Camping doesn’t only entail carefully stashing everything you need in a backpack and hiking to an isolated spot. That’s one option, but car camping is another possibility that gives you more flexibility.

A couple and their dog snuggle up inside a converted van while viewing the morning skyline from their vehicle.

It’s great if you’re camping with multiple people because your vehicle provides ample space for everything you can’t leave home without. Plus, if you forget something, there’s usually the option of jumping in your car and making a beeline to the nearest store. However, staying warm is a primary consideration for car camping. Here’s how to do it.

Get a Great Sleeping Bag

Your sleeping bag is a staple for every car-camping trip. The more restfully you slumber, the better your mood will be in the morning and you’ll feel ready for a full day of exploring. Our Celsius sleeping bags give the versatility and comfort needed to sleep soundly and comfortably. Choose a temperature rating from -25 to 20 Fahrenheit, depending on your preferences and the typical weather where you plan to camp.

A man smiles at the camera while snuggled up in a TETON Sports Celsius XXL Sleeping Bag.

Enjoy thoughtful features like mummy-style hoods, double-layer construction and two-way zippers. Our 20-Fahrenheit bag even comes in a junior size, making it ideal for encouraging your kids to get acquainted with camping from an early age.

Alternatively, find plenty of options among our canvas sleeping bags assortment. You’ll love settling against their softness after a long day of nature-filled adventures. The durable shell withstands years of use.

Two women snuggled up in a TETON Sports canvas mammoth sleeping bag.

Choose Accompanying Accessories

Many people find car camping most enjoyable when they can recreate the experience of sleeping at home as closely as possible. Using a sleeping pad is an excellent way to do that. It provides extra cushioning and a barrier between you and the ground. Insulated versions work especially well for increasing warmth during cold-weather car camping.

Alternatively, consider a self-inflating option that lets you leave the air pump at home. Just open the valves and wait for the pad to fill with air. When it’s time to go home, you’ll appreciate how the sleeping pad packs down small.

It’s also a good idea to think of what other items could keep you comfier during car camping. If you often wake up with a stiff neck, think about bringing a camping pillow to give extra support.

Sleeping bag liners are also great for adding about 10 degrees of warmth to your sleeping bag’s temperature rating.

Create a Pleasant Experience

People love car camping because it doesn’t require them to make as many sacrifices about what to bring as they would if carrying everything on their back instead of in a car trunk. With that in mind, think about the essentials that will make car camping better for you and everyone you’re with.

An outdoor camp stove that includes a coffeepot.

Some people suggest using hand-warmers in sleeping bags for targeted comfort. They’re usually very portable, and you can even recharge some of them. A camp stove is also an excellent addition to any car-camping packing list. There’s nothing quite coming back from an action-packed day outdoors to enjoy a hot meal.

Maybe your six-year-old is going on his first car-camping excursion and has trouble falling asleep without snuggling up against a favorite stuffed toy. Using your vehicle for camping means you should have enough room to bring it along, making bedtime more enjoyable for everyone.

Bring Automotive Essentials

Car camping can quickly become a frigid experience if your vehicle leaves you stranded. Consider taking a spare tire and jumper cables as a start. Keeping a tool kit in your car also increases convenience and safety.

If you drive an electric vehicle, set your sights on one of the national parks that have on-site charging stations. That way, if you need to charge up before leaving for home, it’s easy to do.

Finally, don’t forget at least one thick, roomy blanket. That way, you’ll at least stay warm while waiting for help on the side of the road after a car mishap. It’s also good for keeping your knees dry if you need to kneel and inspect a tire or something underneath the vehicle.

A Volkswagen van traveling through red rocky mountains.

Go Car Camping With Confidence

Car camping lets you drive to your destination rather than hiking to it. That’s a major perk for many people who are new to sleeping outdoors or otherwise want to make things a bit easier. Planning a winter trip requires some specific considerations, but these tips will prepare you for an exciting experience you’ll be eager to repeat.