Van Camping: 10 Reasons Why It’s Better Than Tent Camping

If you’ve been both van camping and tent camping, then you’ll probably agree that the campervan wins every time. Sure, tents have their uses, if you’re going on a backpacking trip, for example, or want cheap accommodation. However, if you get out there every weekend, then a van is much more convenient and comfortable. 

For long term trips or regular adventurers, investing in a van is so worth it. It will become a great base for all of your excursions and allows you to be more impulsive and get out there at a moments notice. You don’t need all of the fancy accessories; a basic, affordable van will get you just as far. 

After years of pitching a tent, I am now a true van camping convert. So, let’s take a look at ten reasons why van camping is better than tent camping. 

Featured Image Credit: @endless_footsteps

1. You Don’t Have To Set Up Camp

Van Camping - pop top van in front of mountains with couple next to it

Even with the best intentions in the world, it always takes at least an hour to set up your tent and camping area. This time would be much more fun spent around the campfire or getting out on the trail. With a campervan, this set up time is non-existent, simply park your van, and you’re good to go. 

 Once you’ve parked your camper, you can get on with your trip and start making the memories you came for. If you arrive at your campground late or in the rain, setting up a tent is not fun. You can’t see what you’re doing, and everything gets wet but, when van camping, neither of these things are an issue. 

Not having to set up your camp means you can set off on your trip late after work, without worrying about how difficult it’ll be to get your tent up. You can roll straight out of the driver’s seat into bed, ready to get exploring first thing in the morning. 

2. You Can Camp Almost Anywhere

Man making coffee outside van with view of lake

While tent camping is reserved exclusively for campgrounds or wild camping in nature, such as BLM land or the backcountry, you can sleep pretty much anywhere in a camper. This is especially true if you have a small, stealthy camper, like a sprinter conversion. In something like this, you can park and sleep anywhere, without people knowing you’re inside. 

The ability to camp almost anywhere opens up your possibilities of places to visit. You can now add cities, as well as nature to your list of places to camp, giving you more freedom when planning a trip. If there’s a gallery, event or tourist attraction that you want to visit, van camping is a great way to keep the cost of your trip down. If you’re not sure where to stay, there’s always Walmart!

3. Sleeping Is Way More Comfortable 

Van Camping - Man in bed in van

Let’s be honest; sleeping in a tent isn’t very comfortable. With just a think mat and a sleeping bag between you and the cold, hard ground, you might be in for a rough night. A miserable night’s sleep, or a couple in a row, will leave you feeling tired and cranky. Not exactly the right mood for outdoor activities or sightseeing. 

When you’re van camping, this isn’t a problem at all. With a real bed to sleep in, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. In fact, the bed in my camper is the most comfortable one I’ve ever owned. Thick memory foam to sink into after a day on the trail, heaven! 

4. Car And Accommodation In One

Woman stood ontop of her camper infront of a forest and mountains

One of the best things about van camping is that your car is also your accommodation. No more lugging everything you need in and out of your vehicle for every trip; it’s already there! If you are a regular camper, keep all the essentials in your van, so you don’t even need to pack before you set off. 

Having a camper is also useful when it comes to exploring cities, If you can snag a central parking space, you can return to your van for lunch or if you’re struggling to find a public loo. I love knowing that I have everything I need with me on a trip and that I can be as self-sufficient as possible. 

Campervans are also great for long drives. If you’re feeling like you need a rest, you can pull over and have a nap, a cup of coffee or make yourself a snack. This is great if you have a long journey ahead of you and also helps you to stay safe on the road. 

5. Higher Level Of Security 

Van camping - woman standing out of front door of van infront of mounatains

When you’re going camping, there’s a high chance that you’ll be taking some valuable items with you. Almost everyone will have their phone, some cash and of course car keys when camping. In a tent, it’s essential to make sure you keep your valuables with you at all times and keep them on your person when heading to the toilet or shower block. 

When you’re van camping, you can lock your vehicle, and everything is safe and secure. Some campervans even have a safe for extra protection for your valuables. 

A campervan also adds an extra level of security against any wild animals that may be living in the area. This is especially comforting if you are in an area with bears. If this is the case, you should still store food with caution and put any perishables in bear lockers where possible. 

6. Can Bring Along More Gear 

Outside of camper with bikes, paddleboard and gear on roof

A big part of going camping is the activities that you will be doing during the day. Most often, you’ll be camping in nature so you will be able to get outside and enjoy the wilderness in your favourite way. This may be hiking, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, surfing or one of the other many outdoor activities on offer.

These sport often come with extra gear, and having a van is a great way to store it all. If you decide to convert your own camper, you can even build the layout around the gear that you want to bring along. This way, you can make the most of the storage space available in your van. 

Being able to drive with your camper straight to where you will begin your adventure is also a bonus, especially if you’re doing something like climbing where you will stay around one spot. If this is the case, you can head back to your camper for a rest or to make lunch. Often, you can also sleep overnight at trailhead or beach car parks, ready to get out there first thing. 

7. You Have Your Own Electricity Supply 

Man inside camper five times by photoshop, using phone, fridge and playing cards

One massive benefit of van camping, compared to tent camping is always having an electricity supply. Gone are the days are battery packs and portable solar panels; everything you need is in your van. 

A camper van, paired with solar panels and a split charge relay, means you don’t even need to rely on campground hook-ups. Off-grid energy is one of the best things about van camping, being able to charge your devices whenever you like, for free, is pretty cool. A camper van allows you to be more self-sufficient and worry less about finding electricity on your trip. 

8. Full Kitchen At Your Disposal 

Man cooking inside camper

Cooking over a campfire can be fun, but after a couple of days, the novelty does wear off a bit. When you’re van camping, you have a whole kitchen at your disposal, giving you the ability to cook up anything you like. Camp food is a thing of the past, I’ve cooked noodle soup, curry and homemade pizzas in my camper. 

If food is just fuel for you, having a kitchen at your disposal also means that you can cook quickly. Lighting the campfire or finding somewhere to set up an outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be the main event anymore; you can just cook up a quick dish and get on with your day. 

A full kitchen in your camper also means access to things like a fridge, food storage and maybe even gadgets like smoothie makers. A refrigerator, in particular, is great for camping trips as you can keep your food fresher for longer, so you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stock up on the road. 

9. Warmer Through The Night 

van in snowy forest

Van camping prolongs the camping season. For most people, getting out in a tent is limited to just a few months a year, before the cold weather, rain and snow sets in. With a van, you can enjoy the wilderness whatever the weather and get outdoors year-round. 

All vans are insulated against the weather, and most will have a heater to make the space nice and toasty. Staying warm through the night also means you’ll get a better night’s sleep and feel more refreshed for the day ahead. 

Campervan’s are also great for rainy days. If you’re a regular tent camper, then there’s probably been at least one occasion where bad weather has forced you to pack up early and head home or retreat to the nearest B&B. With a camper, there’s enough space to spread out inside and enjoy a slow day relaxing and listening to rain hit the roof. 

10. Your Very Own Tiny Home  

Couple hugging inside their van home

The best thing of all about van camping is that you always have your tiny home with you wherever you go. The feeling of reaching your van after a long day of exploring is just like going home. It’s so comforting knowing that you have a warm and dry space waiting for you where you can spend a chilled evening. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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