Best Camping Outdoor

How to Pack a Car for Camping? Ultimate Guide

Written by Chris Alan

Packing for a camping vacation with the family can become very difficult. Getting everything into the car is a completely different challenge after gathering all the equipment necessary to survive in the wilderness. 

Anyone can carelessly throw things into the trunk, backseat, or camper van, but only the most experienced car campers do it with elegance.

Our camping trip will be much more enjoyable if we have everything we need. Avoid being stuck in a car packed with camping stuff and no room for your family. When loading up your rig, consider these simple tips to make packing a car for camping simple and stress-free.

How to Pack a Car for Camping? Tips to Pack

A camping trip might start off poorly if the stress of loading everything into the car is emphasized. Remember that there is still a restricted amount of space available. Know what you’ll need at the campground so you can be prepared to leave some things behind if there isn’t room for everything. 

Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to pack a car for a camping trip.

1. Get a Clean Car

Making sure the inside of your car is clean is the first step in packing a car for a camping trip. By doing this, you can concentrate on loading all that gear into the car while keeping everything else you don’t need out of the way. 

You should remove anything from the car you won’t require during the trip. This includes the floor mats and other belongings kept in a crossover vehicle’s trunk that won’t be used during your camping trip.

2. Gather everything close to the car

Before beginning to pack, all items intended for the car must be placed next to it on the driveway everything you need, including tents, sleeping bags, kitchenware, food, clothing, etc. Once everything is in front of you, decide what needs to fit where. Nothing enters the vehicle that is not nearby before starting. If you want your feather pillows, you must have them there when you need them, packed and ready to go.

3. Begin with the big things

As with many other jobs, starting with a solid foundation is essential when loading your car. Pack your car as evenly as possible to avoid placing all the weight on one side or axle. When loading and stacking, place your larger, heavier objects with flat sides, such as a heavy box, a bulky tent, a camp stove, or a camping cooler.

4. Use small, square boxes

Smaller boxes are much easier to organize and arrange within your car; they won’t weigh as much when loaded with gear. To minimize wasted space, go for square-shaped boxes. Large packing cubes and square tote bags are excellent ways to maximize every available inch of space.

5. First, put tents & sleeping bags

How to Pack a Car for Camping? Your tent will be one of the bulkiest items to pack if it is a roll-style pack rather than a spherical pop-up. Due to their size and shape, round pop-up tents can be more challenging to load, but because they lay flat, you can normally place them on top of or underneath anything.

6. Compress Massive Items

Sleeping bags, pillows, and tents may all be compacted to reduce space. Purchase a stuff sack to compress any of your goods further if it can do so. Make sure to pack your hard-sided baggage as full as possible to make the most of the available space if you’re using it. 

When loading a car for camping, soft-sided luggage, such as duffels, conform to their area and leave fewer gaps of wasted room. Clothes can be compressed using packing cubes, which are useful for all types of luggage.

7. Cookware can be divided to fit the area

Usually, we pack our gas stoves in their boxes with a bag for the gas canisters and another bag for the dishes, silverware, and cooking pots. These fit into a footwell in a back seat. If we’re taking the cooler, the food bag goes on top of it in the footwell of the other passenger seat.


How to Pack a Car for Camping

8. Fill-up the Gaps

When you initially pack the car for camping, it’s uncommon to recall every single item. Insert any leftover, such as footwear, umbrellas, sunscreen, and small hiking packs, between your bags and other camping equipment.

9. Add Space

On the outside of your car, add some usable space as well. A tray hitch can be a useful addition to your vehicle to add more room if it already has a trailer hitch, making packing your car for camping easier. It’s a little bit smaller than others but more durable.

A rooftop box is another fantastic way to give yourself some extra storage space. These alternatives may cost a little more than hitch cargo carriers, but they provide a way to keep your goods dry and secure while traveling.

10. Place Bags Upright

You should ensure everything is conveniently accessible to access without having to unload completely. Adjusting the bags so you can access the zippers and adding lighting to the top in case you arrive at the camping at night are just a few possibilities.

11. Reuse Amazon Boxes

After a camping trip, things appear to expand when you pack the car again. Use those Amazon or other shipping boxes to pack up any stuff that won’t be returning with you to free up some room. This is highly helpful with food, kid-made crafts, and firewood. 

Put the boxes in the recycling bins at the campsite when they have been emptied. This can save a lot of space when packing a car for camping after your trip.

12. Label Container

Label any similar-looking containers so you can readily identify what you have packed in each one. This can save time even if you use transparent containers. We could distinguish between our kitchen carrier and outdoor fun tote with a little duct tape and a marker.

13. Click a picture once you’re done

Take a photo of your car once everything is neatly secured and packed inside. It’s the greatest method to keep track of what is put where saving you time and stress the next time you load a car for a camping trip. 

Most frequently asked questions

Q1. When going camping, what should I bring?

Basic necessities include a tent, sleeping bags, cooking utensils, food, clothes, a first aid kit, and any additional items unique to your needs and style of camping.

Q2. How should camping equipment be packed in the car?

To keep things organized, put related objects in groups and utilize storage containers or bags. Keep objects that are regularly required close at hand.

Q3. Which things should I have ready to go when I’m driving?

Maps, food, drinks, and any other necessities that the driver or passengers might need right away should be easily accessible.

Wrapping Up

How to Pack a Car for Camping? Packing a car for camping takes a little planning and some trial-&-error. However, by using a few easy techniques, you may make the most of your available space and perhaps even add a few more comforts for your trip into the wilderness. By avoiding unused space with the appropriate containers, you can maximize your space usage while packing the car. And packing in the right order will ensure that your trip gets off to a good start.


About the author

Chris Alan

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