Car Camping Over the Festival Season: Your Survival Guide

Okay, so it’s not a 5* luxury hotel, but your vehicle can be home for a few days if you’re planning to make the most of festival season. With a little preparation and thinking outside the box, it’s possible to make car camping an enjoyable experience. Trust us!

How to Survive Car Camping

  • Don’t try to squeeze too many people into the car. Enough said.
  • Make sure you have ALL the essentials. There should be enough for everyone. We recommend warm blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothes, eye masks, plenty of food (including snacks) and water, a small camp stove, camping cook pot, large towels, basic toolkit and a few torches.
  • Arrive early to get the best space. Look for a good patch of ground that’s as private as possible. Familiarize yourself with the campsite in the daylight – when it’s full of people or when it’s dark, it’s a good idea to know where important conveniences are located.
  • Lock your doors at night! You might be at a festival with lots of great like-minded people, but it’s wise to take precautions when it comes to personal safety.
  • Privacy is possible, even when car camping. If you don’t manage to get a private camping spot, you can make the best of it by bringing a few towels or sheets to block the windows.
  • Let the air flow. If you sleep with all the windows closed tight, you’ll wake up in a hot, smelly car covered in condensation. Use some insect netting around the slightly opened sunroof or crack the windows a bit.
  • Get comfy! Car camping will never be the most comfortable option, but with some planning you and your fellow campers can enjoy a good night’s sleep. Bring a pillow, an extra sleeping bag to use as a mattress, and fold down the back seats. If you’re tall, sleep at an angle (but for the sake of the others, bend your knees and lie on your side).

VW - good for car camping?

The Best Vehicles for Car Camping

It will come as no surprise that when it comes to car camping, it’s a case of the bigger, the better. Check these out:

  • Nissan X-Trail There’s lots to like about this well-designed vehicle (think space and flexibility), but we’ve been especially impressed by the cup-holders that can keep drinks hot or cold.
  • Honda Element with ECamper For ultimate comfort, we can’t get enough of the Element, with its seats that fold up into the walls, room for a large mattress, LED lighting and those ventilation-screened windows.
  • Audi Q3 The good folks at Audi have made the Q3 a very attractive option for car campers by offering not just oodles of space, but also including a tent kit. It’s inflatable, can be easily attached and is well ventilated with six closable openings.
  • Volkswagen Westfalia Pop-Up Camper These iconic campers are what spring to mind when ‘car camping’ is mentioned. If you regularly attend festivals and other overnight events, one of these would be a great investment.
  • Jeep Renegade The optional custom tent attaches to the back of the vehicle and can easily accommodate four people, so there’s plenty of room to store your belongings. There’s also an awning for the side of the car, if you’d like a break from festival mayhem!

If you’d like some help when it comes to buying or selling an SUV, you’ll find plenty of suggestions in How to Buy and Sell an SUV.

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Mustn’t Miss Festivals In and Around Seattle

  • Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Fest Three days celebrating everything we love about Scandinavia – dancing, music and trolls. June 17 – June 19.
  • Day Out With Thomas Enjoy a train ride on Thomas the Tank Engine and friends at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie. July 15 – 16, July 22 – 24.
  • Bite and Brew of Salem Live music, more than 80 beers on tap, Salem’s best eats, and activities for the kids. July 21 – July 24.
  • Jazz in Port Townsend Described by the organizers as “a weekend of jazz in a seaside paradise”. That’s us sold! July 28 – July 30.
  • Maryhill Winery Summer Concerts 2016 Concerts throughout the summer, starring music royalty such as Chris Isaak and Jeff Beck. June – September.
  • Ellensberg Rodeo One of America’s top 25 rodeos. September 2 – September 5.

If you’ve been thinking about car camping at the festivals in and around the Seattle area this summer, why not see what vehicles are for sale on TRED?

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