Preparing Your Car for a Long Family Camping Trip

It’s always great to see people taking their kids out camping and getting the new generations interested in outdoor activities. A long family road trip is also the perfect opportunity to bind and learn a bit more about yourself. However, when you are on the road for a long time there’s always a chance of something going wrong so it pays to be prepared.

If you have a big trunk you don’t really have to worry about saving space and you can really fill it up with all kinds of gear. Of course, it’s best to focus on the essentials first, things that will help you get out of a tight spot, and add anything else later.

Here’s a list of things you can do to make your long-haul camping trip a safe and pleasant experience for the whole family.  

Take the car to a mechanic for a checkup

servicing your vehicle

Before you set off on your adventure, you want to make sure that the car is in good shape and won’t break down on you in the middle of nowhere. Go to your local mechanic and do a basic check-up. You want to make sure that your brakes and suspension are fine, get an oil change if needed, make any necessary repairs, and fill up the tank.

Prepare some extra gas, spare tire, and tools

If you’re going off the beaten track or even just a long way from any big towns, you’ll want to pack some extra gas to avoid getting stranded.

A spare tire is must, and you can afford to pack a few extra tools in case you need to make some minor repairs out on the road. Just don’t let yourself get lulled into a false sense of security because you have some spare gas, stop to refill your gas tank at gas stations as often as you need to.

Have a 72h bug out bag with you

72 hour bug out bag

When your out in the woods or on some lonely patch of highway help can be a couple of days away, even if you are able to contact someone immediately. This why you should prepare a good bug out bag with enough supplies to last you for three days.

Apart from the basics like a knife, space blanket, fire-starting kit, and flashlight consider the following:

  • Lots of canned food or MREs
  • Chocolate bars and nuts
  • Dried oats, rice, and pasta
  • Several liters of water
  • Multi-vitamin and isotonic drinks

You want to make sure that you stay well hydrated and have enough calories and macro nutrients to keep you alert and focused in a crisis situation.

You can afford to take heavier tools

The first things to get crossed out of our list of essential gear for hiking trips are big axes and similar tools, but when you have a big trunk at your disposal you don’t have to make any sacrifices to shed a bit of weight.  

A big axe, entrenching tool, metal tent pegs, and the like will all help make your life a bit easier and more convenient. A couple of gallon jugs of water in the trunk can also be a life-saver.

Pack extra clothes and blankets for each family member

clothes and blankets

In case of an emergency you might have to wait for a while before help arrives so you’ll want to pack some extra clothes. You want to be able to change your clothes if you fall into a puddle or sweat a lot during the day and they get wet, or if they get damaged. There’s a big temperature difference between night and day in some areas, so you’ll need several layers and woolen blankets are a great outer layer that will keep you warm.    

Getting your car ready for a long trip, bringing the right tools and extra clothes, and putting together a good bug out bag will ensure that you have a safe and fun time camping. You should learn a few basic survival skills too and this can be a nice little bonding opportunity for you and your kids. Practice fire-making, setting up a tent and basic navigation skills out in the forest and have fun.   


James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.

James Barton