How to Stay Warm Sleeping in a Car in Winter 2023

Don’t let the cold weather keep you from your outdoor adventures; learn the most effective ways on how to stay warm sleeping in a car in winter. From choosing the right winter car accessories to heating solutions, we’ve got you covered.

As the monsoons are going to get over soon, the winters will come calling with all the chills and shivers. In cold regions, sleeping in a car in winter is almost a nightmare because of the drastic temperature fall, mainly at night.

While leading a van life is a very common phenomenon across the US, it is tough for people to survive inside during cold, freezing days. But it is not so pathetic when you know all the helpful hacks to survive the cold.

If you want to stay in a car during the cold and wintry days, then you have to keep yourself warm to prevent getting affected by the cold weather outside. And for that, you need to know exactly how to stay warm sleeping in a car in winter and the essential tips for car camping in cold weather.

how to stay warm sleeping in a car
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In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss whether it is safe to sleep in a car during the winter, what temperature is too cold for camping in a car, and all the best possible ways to remain warm inside a car during the winter seasons.

There are various practical solutions and winter car accessories on the market right now that help us remain warm inside our cars and vans during winter and make us feel at home-like. And if you do not know the helpful strategies, the fatal cold may bring major health risks to you and freeze your car engine as well.

In a hurry? Here are our top choices:

Last update on 2024-07-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

So, let us waste no more time and discuss the most significant winter car camping essentials along with other relevant details of the same. Keep reading for all the crucial details regarding staying warm while sleeping in a car during winter.

Is It Safe to Sleep in a Car in the Winter?

Is living in a car a thrilling experience? Yes, of course it is! But is it safe to sleep in a car during the winter? It surely is but with the necessary precautions!

The winters in certain areas of the US are very freezing, mainly during Christmas. And while night camping in the car might be an exciting experience for many, it can be heavy on your health if you do not take the necessary precautions to spend the night (or day) inside your car.

Many people today prefer car camping in winter because of the thrill and adventure. Some people also prefer to lead a van life just to hop on to the trend. The safety issues in such car camping arise when the temperature falls below freezing point. It can be very critical for mere survival inside the car if it is freezing cold.

You can hardly spend 4-5 hours inside the car without necessary precautions, but after that, you may start experiencing extreme coldness. So, for sleeping in your car in the winter, you must keep in mind that you take all the essential items along with you to keep yourself warm, comfortable, and cozy.

You must remember that it is safe to sleep in your car, but it is not safe if you do not take the necessary precautions, such as choosing the right gear and creating an insulated sleeping space.

You might also like: 23 Essentials Needed for Living in Your Car

How Cold is Too Cold to Sleep in Your Car?

Before we know the essentials to lead a comfortable life inside the car during winter, let us know how cold is too cold to sleep in a car during such freezing temperatures. For people who are too sensitive to cold, temperatures below 10 degrees can be very discomforting. But if you ask at what temperature it can be really dangerous to live in your car, the temperature can be below -20 degrees.

If the temperature falls below -30 degrees and you don’t have all the necessary winter car camping essentials for staying warm while camping in your car in extremely cold weather, it can freeze you to death.

So, it is not advised to sleep inside the vehicle if the temperature is anywhere around the mentioned numbers and if you aren’t fully prepared. However, sleeping in your car in winter can be safe if you get all the necessary precautions and essential items along with you to keep yourself warm during adverse weather conditions.

how to stay warm sleeping in a car in winter

When the temperature falls below freezing point, it can cause various physical ailments, including shortness of breath, constricted blood vessels, shivers, etc. That’s why it is much better when you have more than one person inside your car/van because the more body heat produces, the better the chances of keeping yourself warmer inside the vehicle.

All in all, what temperature is too cold for camping in a car during winter is only decided by your ability to resist the cold and the amount of preparation you have done to keep your vehicle warm when sleeping in it.

Must check: 18 Essential Car Accessories for Summer Road Trips

How to Stay Warm Sleeping in a Car in Winter

Winter can be a beautiful, cozy, and refreshing season, but it can also bring its share of challenges, especially if you’re planning to sleep in your car. Whether you’re just camping for a few days or living in your car, staying warm and comfortable while sleeping in a car during winter can be an extremely daunting task.

Fortunately, with some right preparation and must-have winter car camping essentials, you can keep yourself cozy and comfortable all night long. And this extensive guide on how to stay warm while sleeping in a car in winter is your ultimate resource for all things related to car camping during cold weather.

From different insulation materials to essential winter car camping gear (such as sleeping bags, blankets, and portable heaters) to practical tips on staying hydrated, layering your clothing, and using hot water bottles or hand warmers to keep your extremities warm, we cover everything you need to know to make the most of your winter car camping experience.

So, without further ado, let’s find out how to stay warm sleeping in a car in winter without being affected by the freezing cold. Also, learn about the most helpful winter car camping essentials everyone should have to stay warm and enjoy the outdoors tension free. Here we go:

Find a Suitable Parking Spot

This is the ultimate winter car camping must-to-do that will help you ditch the cold to an extended level. Choosing the right place to park the car or the right area to camp in winter must be your top priority when planning such an expedition. Certain places are more cold and chilly during winter and might also experience major snowfalls during the nights.

In such circumstances, not only you will be affected sleeping inside the car, but your car might also get damaged due to such weather extremities. The engine oil can freeze, or the car can get covered under the snow.

Car camping in cold weather calls for several calamities, including bad health, if proper measures are not taken promptly. Thus, it is advised that you park your car in a shaded area or choose a place where you can get any desired help if caught in a dangerous situation.

A suitable parking spot helps you to keep the car safe during such adversities. So, it is advised that you choose the car parking spot wisely when car camping in winter!

Insulate the Car with Reflective Foam

One of the winter car camping essentials is reflective foam. We have seen many houses and factories in colder regions that have been covered with reflective foam to keep the inside warmer. The same reflective foam can be used in cars or vans too.

The heat generated inside must not get outside and leave the car inside colder. No matter how cold it is outside, you will not feel much cold when the car inside remains heated.

A reflective foam helps retain the heat generated inside the car and keeps bouncing back. This is the best way to stay warm when camping during winter. You can get large rolls of such reflective foams in the market. And if you want to buy the best ones among them, you must buy the Reflectix Insulation and Reflective Foam Insulation Heat Shield.

reflectix insulation

These are the best Insulation reflective foams to keep your car warm overnight. Both these foams are safe to use, easy to install, durable, affordable, energy-saving, and have many other commendable properties.

If you wish to create a warm and comfortable sleeping environment in your car during winter, insulating your vehicle with these most widely used insulation materials is highly recommended. Not only in cars, but you can also use them in your houses and tents when you’re done with car camping in winter.

Get a Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

It is a difficult task to sleep inside a car during the freezing cold winter season. The chilly weather takes away the comfort of sleeping and leaves you hanging, feeling extremely cold. While sleeping in a car during winter might be an unpleasant experience for many, having a high-quality and best cold weather car camping sleeping bag makes it easier.

The extreme cold weather sleeping bags not only help keep you warm during cold nights but also ensure you get a comfortable night’s sleep inside the cozy space of a car.

The camping sleeping bags are specifically designed to keep you warm even in temperatures below -10 degrees. So, if you were worried about how to stay warm in a car overnight, then get yourself a cold weather sleeping bag for camping in winter.

coleman mummy sleeping bag

coleman brazos cold weather sleeping bag

farland sleeping bags

There are several types of sleeping bags available for winter sleeping in the car. But if you are looking for some of the best quality products, here are some helpful suggestions. Buy the Coleman 0°F Mummy Sleeping Bag and Coleman Brazos Cold Weather Sleeping Bag for the best comfort.

These camp sleeping bags might be a bit pricey but surely worth the price. These sleeping bags have amazing features, including a semi-sculpted hood, insulated foot box, fiber lock construction, durable fabric, long size, etc.

So, when it comes to feeling comfortable and staying warm while camping in your car in winter, you must buy a top-rated and best cold weather sleeping bags for camping in your car, irrespective of the price.

Use a Sleeping Bag Liner for Warmth

We have already discussed buying an extreme cold weather sleeping bag while winter camping in a car. But if you still feel cold and are eager to know how to keep car warm when sleeping in it, then here is the catch.

A sleeping bag liner will always come to your rescue. For the unversed, a sleeping bag liner is an extra line of warmth in your sleeping bag that can help you remain warmer during extreme falling temperatures.

When there is a sudden temperature fall during your camping, you can use the sleeping bag liner for extra comfort. They are designed to add warmth of up to 14 degrees which is extremely helpful in areas where the temperature keeps falling below the freezing point.

sea to summit reactor

So, when you think about how to stay warm sleeping in a car in winter, know that a sleeping bag liner can add extra warmth and comfort.

And how can we let go without giving you some awesome suggestions? Buy the Sea to Summit Reactor Insulated Sleeping Bag Liner as it is the best sleeping bag liner for car camping during winter to add that extra warmth.

It is compact, lightweight, insulated, effective, and affordable! If you are car camping in winter and need that extra warmth, go for this without any doubt!

Bring Extra Blankets

Are you still thinking about how to stay warm sleeping in a car in the winter? Well, here is another one! When did blankets go out of fashion to ditch the cold? Blankets are always in our rescue during cold and chilly winters.

But it is not about getting only one blanket for too extreme fall in temperatures, it’s about getting extra blankets for the purpose.

Whenever you plan to sleep in the car in winter, you need to be more cautious because of the high level of coldness outside. And carrying the extra blankets will only add to the warmth you feel with a single blanket.

waterproof stadium blankets

And in case if you are looking to buy a good extra blanket to serve the purpose of ditching the cold inside the car, you can buy the Ocean Large Waterproof Outdoor Blanket. It is the perfect camping blanket that you can get for your car.

It is machine washable, lightweight, compact, water resistant, durable, and comes in 3 attractive colors. The price is a bit higher, but it is surely worth every hype! When you buy this, you won’t have to worry about thinking about how to stay warm when sleeping in car in chilly winters!

Make Use of a Hot Water Bottle

One of my favourite winter car camping essentials is a hot water bottle with cover. If you thought that a hot water bottle is only used for drinking warm water, you have been thinking all wrong.

A hot water bottle during winter camping keeps you comfortable during high cold weather conditions. The ones who are too prone to catch a cold know well how difficult it is to use water during winter.

And when you are inside your car in extremely cold temperatures, the body muscles start aching, and the nerves become constricted. Thus, having a hot water bottle that stores warm water for a longer period is surely an item you cannot miss while car camping in winter.

hot water bottle with cover

easycosy hot water bottle

We are ready with some cool suggestions for you. You can buy the Easycosy Hot Water Bottle with super soft fabric and Peterpan Long Rubber Hot Water Bottle with a soft fleece cover. These are the best hot water bottle with extremely soft fabric and cool designs.

Unlike other water bottles, these are longer in length and keep the water warmer for a very long time. You can utilize the water for any purpose, be it for warming your aching back or for simply keeping yourself warm during sleeping by keeping it aside.

Bring Warmer Clothing

Carrying warmer clothing might be one of the most common tips for sleeping in your car during winters that you keep receiving from friends and family. But it is necessary to know what kind of clothes you must carry to beat the cold in very extreme temperature conditions.

Of Course, the best winter clothing consists of jackets, gloves, caps, etc., but choosing the right clothes for sleeping in a car in winter is not an easy decision. And when in confusion, we are here to help.

Buy a Heated Jacket, Thermal Underwear Set, Thermal Socks, and Winter Gloves as the best clothing for sleeping in a car in winter seasons. The thermal underwear set is the most important among the given items.

heated jacket

thermal socks

winter gloves

These thermal clothes will help you keep warm from the inside, no matter what dress you wear from the outside. The gloves and socks are must-have winter car accessories as they help keep your hands and feet warm while you sleep inside your car in extremely cold temperatures. And a heated jacket works well when you get out of your warm blanket.

So, when you think of how to stay warm in a car with no heater during cold chilly weather, know that having the proper clothing is the catch!

Use an Electric Blanket

Are you still thinking about how to stay warm when sleeping in a car? Well, consider buying an electric blanket or heated car blanket for a change. For those who do not know, an electric blanket is one that becomes heated when put on charge.

It is a chargeable blanket that becomes heated when plugged in. This kind of blanket works well in extreme cold weather conditions and helps defeat the cold easily.

And in case if you don’t know where to get an electric blanket for car camping, here are some fine suggestions. Try checking out the Electric Car Blanket by Stalwart. It is one of the most popular and best electric blankets available on the market right now.

heated car blanket

This heating blanket for the car is easily rechargeable and lasts longer than usual. It comes in 6 attractive colors and has an affordable price range. It is very easy to use, you just need to plug it into a charging point, and it will become heated instantly.

It is one of the winter car camping essentials you cannot miss when planning to camp in colder regions. This heated blanket for car camping has 12-volt electric plugs with 96 inches long cord and an easily foldable structure. The fabric is smooth and comfortable and also works as a great gifting piece.

Use a Portable Car Heater

Suppose you are pretty serious about car camping in cold weather and want to know every detail of how to stay warm sleeping in a car in winter. In that case, you must be aware that Using a portable heater in your car is one of the most crucial winter car camping essentials everyone should have.

It becomes too cold inside a van or car during the cold winter nights. And with darkness, the coldness seems to increase to an extended level. A little light and heat will help ditch the coldness to an extended level.

And so, getting a portable car heater for camping will surely bring a change to how you experience living in a car during winter. It is obvious that there is a space constraint inside a car, and thus, you need to be very picky when you choose any accessory to keep inside the car.

mr heater big buddy

A portable car heater is thus the safest choice for keeping your car warmer during cold nights. So, when you think about how to keep your car warm in winter overnight, you know what to buy.

You can buy the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Portable Heater as your preferred choice. It has all the desired qualities that a room heater has but in a small size. It has features like auto shut-off, a fold-down handle, a 4000-9000 BTU radiant heater, and a swivel-out regulator.

Also, the size is mentionable because it is so compact that it will hardly take up much space inside your car.

Open a Window Enough to Ventilate

There are some easy tricks and tips for cold-weather camping that most people fail to acknowledge. One such trick is keeping the car window open while sleeping at night.

You may think it is a weird idea because, given the fact that the weather outside is too cold and keeping a window open might allow cold winds to come in, this might make the car inside colder. However, this is not what actually happens.

When you keep a window open, the ventilation works well, and the humidity inside is controlled. The car’s ventilation is very important in keeping the temperature inside in check. As your vehicle inside keeps getting colder, the water vapors that come out during breathing get condensed in your clothes, body, and blankets also.

Thus it is important to ensure there is enough ventilation during cold weather car camping to relieve moisture condensation.

And it is not possible to run a fan or switch on the car AC during the cold weather; hence, keeping a window open does the job well. If it’s too cold outside, you don’t need to pull down the entire window vent, just pull down the glass a little, and it shall work!

Light Up Your Car with a Camping Lantern

If you are still looking for ideas on how to stay warm sleeping in your car in the freezing winters, consider this last option as another amazing formula to remain warm. The camping lanterns are built in a way that they not only provide you with some cool lights inside your car but also shell out the warmth on dark wintry nights.

And if you are looking for some good options, you can check out the LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Camping Lantern. The temperature inside car vs outside winter is too varied. And thus, picking the right camping lantern is necessary if you actually want to keep your car inside warmer and safer from the outside cold.

luminaid packlite

With an extra bright LED solar lantern and 2000 mAH battery, you surely will enjoy your cozy time inside the van. Not only a lantern, but this product has other versatile usages that include a charging outlet for charging your phone, tablets, etc.

The lantern can be recharged using a solar panel and USB port. It is waterproof, durable, easy to install, lightweight, and affordable at the same time. Sleeping in your car in the winter will be more comfortable when you buy this awesome camping lantern!

What’s the Best Way to Stay Warm When Camping in the Car?

A lot of people today prefer sleeping in their cars. And not because they do not own a house or cannot afford a house, but because it has become a common trend worldwide to lead a van life.

Many young adults in the US prefer living in a van where they get all the accessories to lead a luxurious and comfortable life, just like living inside a house.

But the problem arises during sleeping in car in winter. Because it’s too cold during winter and it also snows in some places, you can hardly survive inside the car if you do not have the minimum accessories to keep yourself warm during such weather conditions.

You have already read about how to stay warm sleeping in a car and how to get the desired and best winter car accessories to help you deal with the freezing cold. But it might not always be possible for you to get them all or apply all the mentioned techniques.

That is why I have shortlisted a few of them to make it easier for you to choose. My favourite recommendations are:

Sleeping in car during winter is not easy if you do not own at least these winter car camping essentials. All the other winter camping gears mentioned in this guide are beneficial and necessary to ensure you have a comfortable and safe sleep in your car during the cold season. You must choose the ones you feel are essential for your survival in the cold winter.

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About Jace Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars and pickup trucks. Applying innovative car care products and installing different latest car accessories are my hobbies. Also, I love sharing my adventurous experience with car lovers.

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