How to Camp in a Minivan

How to Camp in a MinivanMinivans are for more than just hauling kids to the soccer game or the pooch to the dog park. Their substantial capacity and relatively efficient gas mileage make them attractive options for camping trips.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Packing bins (recommended)
  • Tent and/or air mattress
 
Step 1
Decide on a packing configuration inside. In many models, rear benches and bucket seats may be removed or folded under, greatly expanding the vehicle's storage capacity.
Step 2
Tote your tent(s) in the rear of the minivan or on top, secured by bungee cords or rope.
Step 3
Minivans also make great sleeping quarters if you're eschewing the tent for lying on the ground--if it's a little cold. One idea is to pack your gear in evenly-layered bins (see Step 4), which then provides a convenient platform for an inflatable air mattress.
Step 4
Pack your bins by category: one for cookware, one for electronics, one for guidebooks and maps, etc. Orient those you need greatest daily access to on top and near doors or the rear hatch.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
As with any long-distance trip, make sure the minivan is in good working order before setting out, and take care of any needed maintenance (oil changes, tire rotation and alignment, etc.). If you're renting a minivan for the trip, make reservations far in advance during peak vacation periods: their popularity for camping trips can make them hard to come by in such times.
 
As with any long-distance trip, make sure the minivan is in good working order before setting out, and take care of any needed maintenance (oil changes, tire rotation and alignment, etc.).
 
If you're renting a minivan for the trip, make reservations far in advance during peak vacation periods: their popularity for camping trips can make them hard to come by in such times.
 
Be careful when taking minivans on secondary roads. Their clearance typically isn't great, and a rough track overgrown with weeds, strewn with rocks, or comprised of mud or sand can either damage the chassis bottom or mire the vehicle.

Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay

Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

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