Summer can mean a lot of different things to people: road trips, vacations, and for those who love the outdoors, camping. Camping allows you to connect with nature and your family in a way few other adventures can. But when it comes to preparation, it can be very demanding, especially on your vehicle. This list of car camping tips and tricks will help make sure your car is up for the journey ahead:
You may remember your father checking the tires before every long trip and that’s for good reason. Properly inflated tires not only perform better and can carry the load of your car more efficiently; they also improve fuel mileage. If you’re traveling a long distance, inspecting the tread and sidewalls helps avoid having to change a tire with a trunk full of camping gear.
2. Are We There Yet?
Traveling with the family is the perfect opportunity to spend time together, but on a long trip in close quarters, sometimes the siblings may need a little break. Before you leave, charge up smart devices and portable DVD players, pack books and pillows and blankets for naps. Also make sure there’s plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone, and it’s never a bad idea to keep a small bag for garbage.
Packing your gear in plastic tubs makes it easy to carry in fewer trips, keeps things dry at the campsite and makes loading the car easier because the containers are a uniform shape. You may consider using a few tubs and organizing them by cookware, bedding and tent equipment and outdoor gear. This way when you unload the car everything that is needed stays together.
4. Loading the Car
Begin loading with the trunk, lay tables flat so they take up less space, followed by the larger items. Be sure to pack liquids carefully so they don’t tip over during travel and bring a few extra trash bags for the grill and anything that might make a mess or drip on the ride home. Fill in small spaces with loose items like pillows and blankets to maximize your trunk space and stow things that won’t fit in the trunk securely on a cargo rack to keep the passengers comfortable. If you can’t fit it all, consider renting a larger vehicle for your trip.
5. Open Road Prep
Before you pull out of the driveway, take pictures with your phone of how the car is packed. Having good reference pictures will help you pack the same way going home to ensure it all fits. Also make sure you have toll money handy, a charger for your phone and maps, in case your GPS isn’t working in the deep woods.
With the car ready, entertainment to keep everyone occupied, your gear packed neatly and loaded carefully and a few fun items handy for the long drive, you’re ready to hit the road and get back to nature. Some simple preparation and planning ahead can make your camping trip fun and stress free.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about car camping tips and tricks, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.