Simplified Car Camping For The Solo Adventurer!

I am obsessed with car camping, and I get a lot questions about how to do so.  To be completely honest, I am still learning, so we can learn together!

When it comes to setting up my camp, I of course want the items available that I am going to need/want.  For me, the next important thing issimplicity!  I do not want my camp set up, or time spent at camp, to be a lot of work.  I also do not want the loading and unloading of the car to be a complete PIA.  My goal is not to set up a camp that is Pinterest worthy!  My camp site is simply a tool, just like my backpack, which I use to make it possible to go on adventures and explore the world around me. - Consistently the Lowest Price!

When I started really looking at how I could simplify my camp time, I realized that, especially being alone, setting up a tent was a large percentage of my setting up and breaking down time.  After the tent was set up, more time was spent getting the inside of the tent organized.  Time was spent zipping and unzipping repeatedly, when getting in and out of the tent.  There was also the issue of the dogs possibly tearing the tent. There was the issue of inclement weather.  What was a possible alternative to the tent?  Yep!  The car.

While my system is not yet perfectly perfected, I have made great progress in making my camp set up and break down time so much more doable.  Eliminating the tent has significantly cut down on the work and time of going solo camping.

When I use my tent, I also use foam puzzle pieces for the flooring, to protect it, and make it more comfortable.  That big box stays home now.  Cleaning dirt, sand, dog hair out of the tent? None of that now.  Yes, the dogs get a little more dirt in my car,  but I am going to have to clean that out whether I take the tent or not, so it does not add anymore work to that job.

I am still working on how I want to pad the back of the car for sleeping.  I took a queen sized, battery operated, blow up mattress on my last outing.  While this seemed like it was going to be a perfect solution, it was not!  It was, however, hilarious!  For starters, I have a Subaru Outback, The Ru, and the queen mattress was too big.  When the mattress was inflated all the way, I could only stand outside of the car and laugh.  So, I decided to let air out just enough that Hen and I could actually get into the car and lay down.  Hen looked at me like I was crazy when I told him to jump in, but he did.  I followed him and the mattress tried to eat us!  After I stopped laughing hysterically, I sent Hen back out of the car, and I again followed.  The padding that night was simply a sleeping bag.  I will be modifying that for the next outing.  I have some ideas but feel free to add yours below!

Being just me and the dogs most of the time, I believe this system of car camping is going to be perfected to a well oiled machine.  Another question I get asked a lot is, “Do you get scared?”  I feel so much safer in my car, with locked doors!

More posts will follow this one, as I continue the perfecting!  I also have a lot more suggestions on how to make car camping almost effortless!!  Stay tuned!

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5 thoughts on “Simplified Car Camping For The Solo Adventurer!”

  1. I too, am adventuring out in my Outback. At 60, the small tent w/ air mattress hurt too much, so this year, it’s the car. I got a 4″ memory foam topper from Walmart and cut a foot off the length and width. Perfect to allow a row of medium size tubs for stuff. I also got the seat extender which covers the space between the top of the folded down backseat and the rear of the front seats. Perfect! I purchased a Tail Veil for those warm nights, easy to set up when I want it and I’m in an actual campground. So excited to get going! Now, just a teeny bit warmer at night…..

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Yay for Outback camping! I am definitely looking into the foam pad option! I usually use the floor behind the front seats. One side is for clean clothes and the other is for food, so critters don’t get to it. Is the Tailveil easy to set up/take down? It would definitely be nice to leave the tailgate open on summer nights!

  2. Hi! I have 4 love seat cushions-which are about 8″thick-I use with full size fitted sheets, and a queen sized down comforter. It’s luxury at its finest! I’ve slept in 25° very comfortably. Where do you camp? Campsites? Parking lots? And do you hang up visors or anything so no one knows you’re alone? I’ve always camped solo at our cabin, so I felt 100%safe, but I’m teething to venture out for my 42 birthday and I’m wondering about logistics good luck!


    1. Howdy! Thanks for your comment!

      I am just getting started on my car camping journey, so be sure and continue following along. I love the idea of the love seat cushions! I bet that is very comfortable. As for where I camp? So far, campsites. The reason I am camping, usually, is to hike and explore a particular area, and I love being that close when I first wake up in the morning, so I can get right to the adventure part! As for hanging things up on the windows, so far no. Being in a campground, it is expected that people are sleeping there, so not trying to be stealthy. And I just love having the windows cracked and the sun roof open, to hear the wilderness, and feel the breeze!
      Hope you do something super fun and adventurous for your birthday!!

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