I’ve spent many nights in cars and I love to take my family on adventures – in our car. So, this is a topic I’ve wanted to write on for some time.
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Check also our article on cars you can live in.
Top Cars to Sleep in for Camping
Minivans and Vans
Minivans and vans offer plenty of interior space for sleeping and storing camping gear. Some of the top choices include:
This popular minivan provides ample room with its fold-down seats, making it an ideal choice for camping. The Odyssey also has a reputation for reliability, which is important for long road trips.
The Ford Transit is a versatile van that can be converted into a comfortable camper for sleeping. With different sizes available, there’s a Transit to fit any camping need.
We also have the smaller “Connect” version that also sleeps two comfortably:
Other Minivans To Consider
- Chrysler Pacifica
- Chrysler Voyager
- Dodge Grand Caravan
- Honda Odyssey
- Kia Sedona
- Toyota Sienna
Station wagons offer the perfect balance between cargo space and fuel efficiency. Here are two top picks:
With generous cargo space and all-wheel drive capabilities, the Outback has been a favorite of campers for decades. Its roof weight capacity is 165 pounds, giving you ample room for gear storage on top.
Though smaller than the Outback, the Golf’s fold-down seats provide a surprisingly spacious area for sleeping. The Golf’s fuel efficiency also makes it an affordable option for road trips.
Other Station Vagons To Consider
- Volvo V90
- Audi A4 Allroad
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
- BMW 3 Series Wagon
- Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
- Volvo V60
- Jaguar XF Sportbrake
- Buick Regal TourX
SUVs and crossovers provide the high ground clearance and off-road capabilities needed for camping adventures. Consider these options:
As a pickup truck, the Tacoma has a bed that can be transformed into a sleeping area when covered. Its off-road and four-wheel drive capabilities make it a popular choice among campers.
Although it appears to be a pickup truck, the Ridgeline drives like an SUV, combining the convenience of a pick-up with the comfortable ride of a crossover vehicle. The Ridgeline’s cargo area accommodates camping gear and sleeping space with ease.
Remember to carefully assess and select the vehicle that best suits your camping needs, taking into account factors such as cargo capacity, fuel efficiency, and off-road capabilities.
Other small Pickups to consider:
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Ford Ranger
- GMC Canyon
- Jeep Gladiator
- Nissan Frontier
These pickups provide sufficient bed space and versatility for sleeping arrangements, whether it’s using a truck bed tent, a camping setup, or other creative sleeping solutions.
Keep in mind that the available space may vary depending on the truck’s bed length and configuration, so it’s advisable to check the specific dimensions and features of each model to ensure it meets your sleeping needs.
Factors to Consider for Sleeping in Cars
Space and Comfort
When choosing a car to sleep in for camping, it is essential to consider the amount of space available and the level of comfort it provides.
Even some small vehicles, like the Nissan Note, have spacious boot areas and foldable back seats, increasing space and comfort for sleeping.
Another option is the Toyota Venza, which has seats that fold down flat and can accommodate taller individuals comfortably.
Proper ventilation is crucial to maintaining a comfortable atmosphere for sleeping in a car.
Rolling down windows slightly, or cracking open opposite windows, allows for a cross breeze and helps prevent moisture build-up inside the vehicle. This is especially important after a long day of driving or outdoor activities, when a stuffy car can make it difficult to fall asleep.
Another factor to consider when sleeping in a car is temperature control. Depending on the weather outside, it is essential to find ways to maintain a comfortable sleeping environment.
One useful tip is to boil water, pour it into a heat-safe water bottle, and place it in the sleeping bag for added warmth on colder nights.
How to Prepare Your Car for Sleeping
Organizing and Storing Gear
When preparing your car for sleeping, it’s essential to keep everything organized and properly stored. Here are some tips:
- Clear out unnecessary items to make more space for sleeping and essential gear.
- Use a combination of storage bins, bags, and organizers to keep the car tidy.
- Keep frequently used items easily accessible, while storing less frequently used gear in a designated area.
- Make sure to have a garbage bag or container inside the car for trash.
Bedding and Sleeping Options
Comfort is crucial for a good night’s sleep when car camping. Here are some options to consider for a comfortable and effective sleeping setup:
- Inflatable air mattress: An air mattress specifically designed for your car model will provide a comfortable and level sleeping surface. It can be easily deflated and stored when not in use.
- Sleeping pad: A foam or inflatable sleeping pad provides insulation and cushioning. Sleeping pads can be used alone or in combination with an air mattress.
- Sleeping bag: Choose a sleeping bag with an appropriate temperature rating for your camping conditions. A colder weather sleeping bag is essential for winter car camping.
- Blankets and pillows: Bring extra blankets and pillows for added comfort and insulation. Be sure to use moisture-resistant materials to minimize the risk of damp bedding.
To help maintain a comfortable temperature during the night, remember to crack open opposite windows slightly to allow for proper ventilation and avoid moisture build-up in the car. Also, consider using a mesh screen over the opened windows to keep insects and unwanted guests out.