Sleeping in a car is a fun way to enjoy a car camping trip. You will not have to spend more on getting a tent or going through the stress of setting up a tent. It is also a great way to pass the night and rest on road trips. No doubt.
However, there is a lot to consider when sleeping in a car, especially in winter. How do you do it properly? Is sleeping in a car in winter safe? What can you do to make it more comfortable? Let us dive right in!
Sleeping in a car in winter is both possible and can be quite comfortable. Here is how to do it the right way.
First, make sure your car is turned OFF. Ensure you crack a window for better circulation too. Take a sleeping bag with you to make your nights more comfortable.
Now, for positioning. Put your backseats down flat and push the front seats forward. This way you get more room. Unzip the side of your sleeping bag if you have one, flip it over, and place your feet in the foot box.
You want to rest your head in the mummy section. For extra warmth, consider layering up with thick but comfortable clothes. Do not forget your blanket too!
When sleeping in a car in winter, there are certain things you should and should not do. We will be sharing these tips with you in the following paragraphs.
It might be tempting to run the heater overnight to stay warm but don’t. If your windows are wound up all night, it will result in poor circulation, and the humidity that builds up, as a result, would actually end up making you colder.
In extreme cases, the lack of circulation could even end up causing carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to crack at least one window to ensure proper circulation.
To keep warm, layer up with thick fabrics like wool that do not retain moisture easily. A great place to start would be a hat, a sweatshirt, some gloves and socks, and a thick blanket. Thermal long johns will make quite the difference.
For the hat, a fleece hat with ear flaps and chin ties will keep your head warm and stay in place. Make sure your gloves, socks, and base layers are wool to help with the moisture.
Stuff some newspapers in your shoes to ensure they are not moist from the condensation overnight. Make sure you keep your clothes for the following morning in your sleeping bag to keep them warm.
Sleeping on an air mattress or a foam mattress will add extra insulation from the cold. Check online for mattresses fitted to your car size.
You could run your heater for a few minutes and warm up your blankets before bed if you want. Some curtains for your windows can provide extra warmth and privacy while you sleep, so you could add them.
Be sure to listen to the weather reports. This would prepare you for how much snow will accumulate on your windows or exhaust pipe overnight. It may also not be fun to scrape off this snow in the morning, so be prepared for that.
Lastly, pay attention to where you park and make sure it is safe. Many places prohibit this, so do your research about what areas will be safe for you to park and sleep in.
If you can find an enclosed area like a garage, a rest area, a truck stop, or a carport, that works just fine. Don’t sleep in the driver’s seat while under the influence as you could get a DUI for that in many states in the US.
Layers are great for insulating your car. Start with a regular sleeping bag and a mattress. An air mattress or foam mattress will work just fine for this. Then a blanket over that. For covering, use duvets and wool blankets.
You can put some curtains over the windows for warmth and privacy. Make sure to crack a window for circulation, and you can also use a small fan. A bottle with very hot water works to warm up your sleeping bag and will do so for hours.
Reflective insulation like Reflectix does amazingly well as an insulator. It reflects your body heat back to you and serves as a noise and light insulator as well. Cut pieces down to the size of your windows and placing them overtop will help you trap in some heat and keep the cold out.
It also prevents people from looking in and costs less than getting curtains. This might help you sleep a lot better. If it gets too warm, you can take a panel off the windows to cool things down a bit.
It is normally not advisable to sleep in a car at temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if it is absolutely necessary and you can’t avoid it, it’s possible to sleep in your car at those temperatures and keep warm. You would need to have the right gear and layering, as well as a sleeping bag made specifically for winter.
To keep your car warm overnight, insulate it with Reflectix and warm up your layers shortly before you sleep. Make sure you have all your layers on through the night. Crack open a window to help with the humidity and you’re good to go!
Yes, you can sleep in a car in 20-degree weather. However, it is not advisable to sleep in your car when the weather is below 30 degrees. If you must, ensure you have the right gear for it.