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Wheels in Winter: A Complete Checklist for Your Car Camping Expedition



Camping isn’t just about sandals, swimming and sunburns, it’s about getting away to find some peace. It’s about breathing in fresh air and making nature fill your senses. It’s all about finding the right area, starting a tiny fire, and letting everything burn. Winter camping does not have to be a challenging adventure.  We have a few products here that will make the night much more pleasant and potentially give you a few additional hours of sleep, whether you’re camping in your vehicle, van, truck, or tent.

The main difference between camping in the summer and camping in the winter is how you prepare and what supplies you bring. “Make a list,” my wise and knowledgeable father constantly advises.  That is precisely what we did. In this article we will cover winter vehicle camping essentials list.


Winter Car Camping Essentials

Sleeping Bag

Invest in a two-person sleeping bag for a few cold-weather camping trips with your significant other each year. Body heat is the best technique to keep both of you warm and is preferable to blankets, which are often uneven and leave someone’s toes exposed to the cold.

Three-pronged Camp stove

A dual-burner stove is, without a doubt, the critical component of an excellent car-camping arrangement, only to be exceeded by the rare wood-burning stove. This is not to say that traditional Coleman is the greatest! The metal regulator of the dual-burner stove freezes in the winter, making it difficult to assemble for each meal. Because it attaches directly to the fuel container, the three-pronged is the ideal solution for cold hands. The three-Pronger may also be utilized inside automobiles with a wide-open window if space is limited.

Pee Bucket

Nothing beats stepping out of your comfortable sleeping bag to go outside in the cold and pitch black, where there are probably bears. Fill a lined 5-gallon bucket with kitty litter, and you have a toilet!  Adding foam to the bucket’s rim may also build a seat.

Touchscreen Gloves

You should keep your fingertips covered at all times. Make sure you have touchscreen-enabled heated gloves.  To keep your hands extra warm, use these gloves under your heavy duty Gor-Tex gloves or mittens.

Garbage Container

Trash accumulates quickly. It takes over the entire car without a designated waste bag. Empty potato bags or snack boxes are a tremendous recyclable alternative to a rubbish can. In reality, any container will do as long as it is convenient to dispose of at a petrol station.

Coffee maker

There’s a good possibility you won’t get the best night’s sleep you’ve ever gotten, so make sure you have a means to prepare coffee in the morning.  If you don’t want to bring a French press coffee maker, which is highly recommended, bring a French press attachment for your jet boil.

External Battery

The only thing worse than being cooped up in a sleeping bag on a cold night is not having a smartphone to look through for entertainment. That may be changed using an external battery. It allows you to charge not only your phone but also other gadgets throughout the night without having to spend hours hogging plugs in libraries and coffee shops.

Portable Heater

First and foremost, while using heaters in your car, always read the product instructions and follow all safety precautions.  That being said, a heater will come in useful if you’re sitting in your car and don’t want to keep the engine running to be warm.

Light Source

In the winter, daylight hours become rare. It entails late sunrises and early sunsets and a significant risk of seasonal depression. What will you do after the sun goes down? An external light source will provide illumination in the dark for cooking, reading, or simply surviving.

Roof box

Do you find yourself crammed between gearboxes, inches from the ceiling? Do you want to incorporate some yoga into your morning routine? Do you have no space for sleepovers? A roof box is a game changer for space, like a mini-attic for your mobile home.

Roof boxes and racks are excessively costly when purchased fresh. They’re still costly if purchased secondhand, but they’re much less expensive and worth it.

Winter Boots

Make it simple for yourself to put on and take off your shoes. Laced shoes are a winter enemy. Because you never tie them all the way for a fast walk outside, they will surely get loose and drag in the snow and dirt, perhaps tripping you! Find some slip-on winter boots to avoid a large mess and headache.

A friend with a couch

Friends with typical living arrangements will be the surprising heroes of the season if you live in a car throughout the winter months. Bring them beer, wash their dishes, and indefinitely play fetch with their dog. Tell them how much you adore them and how they are the finest skiers on the mountain. In exchange, you will have a couch and a hot shower in the morning.

Common risks of car camping in winter

Cold-weather camping is best suited for seasoned visitors with a wide range of outdoor expertise. After all, this camping variant comes with several hazards.

Avoid the following to make your overnight stay as secure as possible:

Gas-powered heaters:

Bringing an indoor gas-powered heater on a vehicle camping trip is risky since such equipment is not intended for use in compact, enclosed environments. Get a low-wattage electric heater instead.

Running the engine all night:

Some campers attempt to run the engine all night to power the vehicle heater. However, sleeping in this manner is dangerous. The most excellent method would be to turn on the heater in gradual increments.

Car battery overheating:

When you connect a car camping heater to your vehicle’s battery, the latter might overheat, become damaged, or run out of power. To prevent becoming trapped in a remote region, use the heater wisely.

Low-quality gear:

While it may be tempting to buy cheap equipment, doing so might have severe effects while camping in the cold. Get your outdoor gear exclusively from reputable specialist manufacturers to ensure a warm and secure experience.

Considering these dangers will allow you to avoid rookie mistakes and fully enjoy your winter vehicle camping adventure.


Car camping in the winter requires careful planning. Aside from picking a place and providing navigation, food, water, and hygiene supplies, it is essential to have a dependable means of communication and a well-thought-out backup plan.

Regardless of your confidence in your abilities, plan the locations near your campground where you can get food and shelter if something goes wrong. Stay safe and have fun with your winter trips!

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