Camping inside your vehicle has become more and more popular. And with electric vehicles that include things like “camp mode” and television, camping in a Tesla or other electric vehicle is becoming a viable option for those who want more comfort.

While camping inside your car might not be the most comfortable, it’s a great way to save money on camping gear, simplify your camping experience, and try something new!

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Photo courtesy of Tesla

However, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind when it comes to camping in your Tesla or any other E-vehicle. This article aims to look at the key considerations when camping in an electric vehicle, and to share how viable this type of camping really is! In this guide, we will look at some of the ways of camping in your e-vehicle and share some basic tips to make your trip as comfortable as possible.

Camping In a Tesla (or EV) – Where & How

When you have an electric vehicle, you might be wondering where you are going to sleep. We have broken it up into three sections, which will describe the 3 most common camping setups for electric vehicles. Here are the three areas of the vehicle that can be used for camping:

1. Camping Inside The Vehicle

Camping inside the vehicle is the most common place to sleep when camping in a Tesla or other e-vehicle. With many of these vehicles having large interiors, it makes a lot of sense to stay inside.

The seats in most Tesla models fold down completely so you’ll have a solid, level sleeping area. With the right mattress or sleeping pad, you won’t even realize you are sleeping inside your car. There are air mattresses made specifically for camping in your Tesla, or you can simply use an air mattress you already have at home.

Many electric vehicles also have features that camping inside the car really comfortable. In a Tesla, for example, you can enable Camp Mode which turns your electric car into a comfortable and breathable cabin. When you put your vehicle into Camp Mode the cabin will maintain its interior lighting, temperature, airflow, and play your music. You’ll also have access to television and games (if that’s your thing) while camping.

Keep in mind that camping features vary from vehicle to vehicle. And the better your electric vehicle, the more comfortable your camping experience inside will be.

The only drawback of camping inside your e-vehicle is that you will obviously lack room to walk and move around. This also means that you have limited room for your gear inside the cabin. Luckily, Teslas have a hidden storage compartment under the trunk floor and a front trunk (Frunk) where you can store your camping gear.

Pros:

  • You’ll have full protection from the elements
  • Access to the features of the car
  • Access to internal heating & cooling (with Tesla’s Camp Mode)
  • It is more affordable than buying a camper (your daily driver doubles as your camper)Y
  • You’ll be able to star-gaze with Tesla’s glass roof

Cons:

  • The battery life can be an issue
  • You’ll have limited space to move around
  • You’ll have to rearrange the bed or get out of the car to access your gear

2.     Camping On The Roof

Now there’s another option for Tesla and non-Tesla owners. Camping on the roof might just offer the solution you’ve been looking for.

Depending on the electric vehicle you have, you may be able to install a roof top tent on your e-vehicle!

First, you’ll need to make sure your roof and roof rack are suitable for a roof top tent. Be sure to check the weight limits (static and dynamic) and the compatibility of the roof top tent.

Once you determine that a rooftop tent is for you, you will also need to choose between a soft shell and hard shell rooftop tent. The hard shell option is more aerodynamic and could save you battery, but the softshell options are larger and they can offer you a bigger living space when you are out camping.

When set up correctly, most modern vehicles will comfortably carry the rooftop tent and will provide a comfortable, elevated sleeping area. The great thing about camping in an electric vehicle is that if you have a charging port, you can constantly use the electricity of the car to power some of your electrical devices. However, you need to make sure that you have a constant supply of power.

Pros:

  • Gives you additional sleeping & living space
  • Keeps you protected from the elements (for the most part)
  • The vehicle can be your source of power and electricity
  • Feels more like traditional “camping” than sleeping inside the car
  • Camping in a roof top tent makes for an incredible experience!

Cons:

  • Might cause drag (reduce battery range) when driving
  • Not all e-vehicles can support a tent on the roof
  • Some roof top tents can be tedious to set up

3.     Pulling A Trailer

The third and final method of camping that many people choose when camping in an e-vehicle is pulling a trailer. While pulling a trailer might seem like one of the best camping options for a gas-powered vehicle, it comes with a few drawbacks when you are using an electric car. One of these downsides is the extra power that your vehicle will use to pull the trailer.

However, once you have arrived at your destination, the trailer is one of the best options for those that need some room. Most of the top camping trailers have everything you need on the inside and it serves as a mobile home that you can carry around. The level of comfort is much higher than the other two camping options we mentioned above.

Keep in mind that not every electric vehicle is equipped with the tools needed to pull a trailer and you will need to determine this before you consider buying one. The great thing about the Tesla Model X and Model Y is that both of them are proven to tow trailers. However, it does drain the battery a little faster than normal driving.

It might also be worth waiting for the Tesla Cyber Truck, Hummer Electric Super Truck, or Rivian R1T, which all have higher towing capacity and off-road capabilities.

Pros:

  • Plenty of room
  • Feel like a home away from home
  • You will have everything you need
  • Offers you additional storage space
  • You can leave the trailer at your campsite, and use the car as a daily driver

Cons:

  • Trailers are expensive
  • It puts an extra drag on the battery
  • Not all-electric vehicle can pull trailers

Key Considerations When Camping In an EV

While this section is designed to help you understand whether your EV is ideal for camping or not. We have identified the most important features that will ensure you know how effective your vehicle will be for camping. We recommend that you use this as a judging criterion.

Vehicle Range

Depending on where your camping site or location is, you will need to consider the vehicle range as one of the primary features. The further range you have, the easier it will be for you to reach your destination. This is a critical component of when choosing an EV for camping, as adding a roof top tent or pulling a trailer will significantly reduce your battery range.

We also recommend that you look at the range and consider finding a camp spot that is close to the range your vehicle can do.

Charging Options

Charging an electric vehicle is one of the only issues and when it comes to being practical for camping, this is one feature that counts against it. Unfortunately, not many campsites have a charging port. And even if there’s an electrical outlet nearby, do you really want to wait several hours for your vehicle to charge?

You must consider the various charging options when camping in your Tesla or other EV. If possible, you should also consider a campsite that offers electrical charging. Fortunately, Teslas come with numerous adapters, which allow you to use standard electricity to charge your car. We recommend looking for a campsite that gives you access to electricity.

Vehicle Capabilities

Once you have established that the campsite is fitted with an electrical supply, you need to turn to your vehicle. There are a few important features your EV should have to ensure you have the most comfortable camping experience. Keep these in mind when choosing an EV for camping:

  • All Wheel Drive – When you’re camping, chances are that you will need to overcome some tedious terrain. Having AWD or 4-Wheel Drive will make this easier.
  • Towing Capacity – While this is only important for those towing a trailer, you should consider the towing capacity of your vehicle. Note, not all Teslas are suitable for towing. This is an option you have to choose when purchasing the vehicle. (Teslas Model Y’s standard connector and a trailer harness is $1,200)
  • Tires – Not all vehicles are equipped with all-terrain tires, but for off-road driving, we would recommend that you consider adding this.
  • Power Output – You don’t want to be stuck on a ramp without the capabilities to get over it. Understanding the power limitations of your vehicle could help you better decide your route.
  • Suspension – The final thing to look at is the suspension, especially when you are driving on rugged terrains. Having a flexible suspension could save your tires and your differential.

While there might be a couple more things to keep in mind, these are some of the most important that we could find. It is always important that you make sure your vehicle has the capabilities to take on any terrain and that it will succeed when you take it for an off-road adventure.

Gear & Accessories

The final part of making sure you are ready to camp in your Tesla or EV is to get the right gear!

Gear does not only mean your camping equipment like the tent or the sleeping bag, but also refers to charging connections and other accessories.

Consider looking for a portable charger like the Pulsar Plus Level 2 Electric Vehicle Smart Charger to ensure you can charge your vehicle almost anywhere you are. And if you plan to camp inside your Tesla, get an air mattress specifically made for your Tesla.

Camping in a Tesla or EV

Camping in any electric vehicle will always be a journey and it is not something for everyone. However, when you make it comfortable and prepare ahead of time, you should be able to enjoy camping in your Tesla or EV.

Remember to look at the electric vehicle and determine whether it can do what you ask. Let us know in the comment section if you have gone camping with an electric vehicle! Bonus points. if you share pictures!