When it comes to camping, it’s all about the experience: the serenity of nature, the thrill of the outdoors, and the camaraderie around a campfire. But for those who don’t want to commit fully to the tent-on-ground tradition, there’s a middle ground that combines the convenience of a vehicle with the charm of tent camping. Enter SUV tent camping.
What is SUV Tent Camping?
SUV tent camping is precisely what it sounds like – using your SUV (or similar vehicles) as an anchor and extension of your tent. The tent attaches to the cargo area of your SUV, effectively expanding your living space. This blend of vehicle and tent offers campers a unique way to experience the outdoors.
Benefits of SUV Tent Camping
- Comfort: Let’s face it, not everyone finds the ground comfortable. With SUV camping, you can sleep inside your vehicle on a more even and cushioned surface, or utilize the tent part for additional sleeping or living space.
- Protection from Elements: Your vehicle offers added insulation from cold and a more substantial barrier against rain and wind than the typical tent.
- Security: Being connected to your SUV means having a solid, lockable structure at your side. For those wary of wildlife or prefer a feeling of increased safety, this setup can be reassuring.
- Storage: Vehicles are built for storage. With your SUV right there, you can easily access everything you’ve packed without having to cram it all into a tent.
- Mobility: Ready to move campsites? Pack up is quicker than traditional tent camping, and your camp is as mobile as your car.
Choosing the Right SUV Tent
Like traditional tents, SUV tents come in various sizes and shapes. Here are a few considerations:
- Vehicle Compatibility: Ensure the tent you’re considering fits your SUV model and size.
- Capacity: Just like any tent, consider how many people will be sleeping and how much room you’ll need.
- Quality: Look for tents with good waterproof ratings, durable materials, and strong zippers. This tent will be an extension of your car; you want it to last.
- Ease of Setup: Because this isn’t a typical tent, ensure the setup process is manageable and ideally, possible by one person.
Tips for an Enhanced SUV Tent Camping Experience
- Invest in Bedding: If you’re sleeping in your SUV, invest in a good quality sleeping pad or inflatable mattress designed for car use.
- Ventilation: Remember, an SUV isn’t as breathable as a tent. If you’re sleeping inside, crack a window or use mesh screens to ensure adequate airflow.
- Campsite Selection: Just because you’re attached to your car doesn’t mean you can skimp on proper campsite selection. Avoid low spots that could collect water and ensure you’re on stable, level ground.
- Plan for Power: If using your car for lights or charging, be wary of draining the battery. Consider a portable power bank or solar charger.
Adapting Your SUV for Tent Camping
1. Rooftop Carriers: Enhance your storage without compromising space in the back. Rooftop carriers can hold camping gear like chairs, tables, and non-perishable foods, leaving more space inside your SUV.
2. Window Screens: These are essential for bugs and mosquitoes. You can either buy ready-made screens or DIY with mesh material, ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep.
3. Interior Lighting: LED strip lights, battery-powered lanterns, or solar-powered lights can illuminate the inside of your SUV, making it cozy and functional.
Cooking and Meal Prep
Portable Camp Kitchens: These setups often come with a working area, stove platform, and sometimes even a sink. It’s a compact way to make meals on the go.
Coolers vs. Portable Fridges: While coolers work well, if you’re an avid camper, consider investing in a portable fridge that can be powered by your car.
Fire Safety: Always keep a fire extinguisher handy. Even if you’re cooking outside, having one in your SUV is essential.
Offline Apps and Gadgets: Download maps, movies, or music. Consider bringing along offline GPS devices, e-readers, or portable gaming devices.
Outdoor Games: Pack lightweight and compact games like a frisbee, cards, or travel-sized board games.
Stargazing: If camping in a remote area, bring along a stargazing app or a telescope. The SUV can act as a stable platform or resting point for telescopes.
First-Aid Kit: A comprehensive kit should be a staple in your SUV. Ensure it’s easily accessible and regularly updated.
Emergency Toolkit: This should include jumper cables, spare tires, a flashlight, and other tools that might come in handy if your SUV has issues.
Stay Informed: A battery-powered weather radio can keep you updated on local conditions, especially if you’re in areas prone to sudden weather changes.
Eco-Friendly SUV Tent Camping
Leave No Trace: Respect nature by ensuring you pack out everything you brought in. Use biodegradable soap and minimize waste.
Solar Power: Instead of relying solely on your car’s battery, consider using solar panels to charge devices or power lights.
Wildlife Respect: Remember, you’re in their home. Store food securely to avoid attracting animals, and keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter.
SUV tent camping offers a unique blend of the traditional camping experience with the convenience and comfort of having your vehicle incorporated into your setup. For those looking for a new adventure or a bridge between primitive camping and RV-ing, this might be the perfect middle ground. Happy camping!