10 Reasons Why Van Camping Is Better Than Tent Camping

Tent Camping Is Filled with Nostalgia for Many, But Vans Can Be More Comfortable

Camping is a favorite pastime for a lot of people. Traditionally, tents have been the main shelters that we turn to. But with the rise of RVs and van life, many people wonder if the traditional way really is the best. In many ways, van camping is better than tent camping, and we’ll tell you why.

Many of us (myself included) have fond memories of going camping in a tent. It’s classic, and there’s nothing wrong with continuing this practice. However, if you’re really looking for a better experience, you may find that van camping is the solution. Vans are easier to move, have more amenities, and still enable you to travel and enjoy new campsites and destinations.

Below we have 10 reasons why van camping is better than tent camping. If you’re skeptical, check out the list and see if you change your mind. Maybe there’s a new camper van in your future!

Easy to Set up And Take Down Camp

If you’re an efficient tent camper, it might not take you long to set up your campsite. However, there are lots of things to consider, such as where the food will be kept, where to position the tent, which things to bring out vs. which to leave in the car, etc.

If you travel in a camper van, your campsite setup is almost instantaneous! You just need to pull into your campsite (or even a parking lot), and you’re pretty much good to go. The most you need to do is connect some hookups or set up a few chairs outside your van.

The same thing is true when it’s time to break camp. One of my least favorite campsite chores is packing up the tent and trying to fit everything back into their too-small bags. But when you travel in a van, you just need to put it in drive and move on to the next adventure! It’s quick and convenient. So if you hate doing a lot of setup and takedown, van camping is better for you.

Portable Kitchen

Let’s not forget the additional amenities that come with a camper van! Every setup is different, so there is no guaranteed level of quality for the kitchens you bring inside the vehicle. However, most of them at least have a sink, countertop, stove, and some space for food storage.

A portable kitchen is a huge bonus if you love to cook on the road. There’s also an opportunity to bring an electric cooler or mini fridge to your campsite. You’ll have all the snacks you want at your fingertips.

Tent camping is nice, but you have a pretty makeshift setup for most meals. Between a firepit, picnic table, and camping stove, your options are a bit limited. Plus, it’s harder to maintain a sanitary environment while you cook.

More Bathroom Options

Bathrooms are sometimes the sketchiest part of a campground. If you’re in a rural area, they’re often smelly, gross, and full of bugs. Tent campers also have to rely on campground bathrooms whether they like it or not. They have to be prepared to leave their tent and campsite any time of the day or night.

Van campers don’t often have this problem! Not every van has a bathroom, but most of them have the bare minimum of a portable toilet. You can use the bathroom without leaving the vehicle, plus you don’t have to stress about finding rest stops when you’re on the road.

Some camper vans even have showers included in the floor plan! If personal hygiene routines are important to you, you may find that van camping is better.

Wider Range of Parking Options

Another benefit of van camping is the fact that you can park overnight in a lot of different places. There are obviously restrictions and rules about where/when you can park, but you can often stay in parking lots and streets that wouldn’t work for tents.

If you want to stay in a tent, you pretty much have to use approved campgrounds. Otherwise, you may get in trouble for loitering and be forced to move. If you’d like a broad range of overnight options, a van is your best bet.

Safer than Tents

In addition, vans are safer than tents. You get to enjoy the benefits of metal walls, ceilings, and floors. Your doors and windows can also lock, which provides protection against intruders. Many people equip their vans or RVs with security systems as well.

You’ll also be safer from wild animals. This isn’t always a major concern, but animals are much less likely to bother you inside a vehicle compared to a tent. If you’re in bear country, you also won’t have to worry about keeping your food storage away from your living space. A van provides enough protection from a wild animal to deter it, or at least give you time to drive away.

Better Temperature Regulation

Tent camping is fun, but it’s often hot during the day and cold at night. You can’t exactly turn up the heat or A/C in your tent either! The thin fabric provides limited protection against temperature fluctuations.

Although many van campers leave something to be desired in the insulation department, they’re still much better than a tent. You can also improve their insulation with vent covers, window inserts, extra padding, etc. You also have the ability to run fans, heaters, and the vehicle’s A/C if necessary.

More Storage Space

Vans don’t have limitless space, but they enable most people to pack clothes, appliances, tools, and other necessities they need for their trip. People who camp in tents may be able to bring these items as well, but they need to store them in a separate vehicle and don’t always have easy access to them.

If you love to travel with your necessities and comforts on hand, van camping is better for you. You can also get creative with storage solutions and find more nooks and crannies to store things.

Camp All Year Long

There are people who plan tent camping trips during the winter, but these are a rare breed. Most people prefer to camp only when the weather and season are pleasant. Those who travel in vans don’t need to worry about this as much!

A van enables you to withstand changes in the seasons. Although it may be a bit hot in summer or chilly in winter, you have much more resilience. Camping can be an all-year hobby when you have a camper van!

More Comfortable Bed

Some tent campers love the comfort of a sleeping bag or inflatable mat, but this kind of camping isn’t for everyone. Some of us love a comfortable bed with sheets, blankets, and all the pillows we could ask for! When you stay in a tent, there’s always a risk of sleeping on uneven ground or finding a tree root digging into your back.

Van campers get to enjoy a consistent quality of sleep, complete with temperature regulation and black-out curtains if they so wish. You get a much better bed setup in a van compared to a tent.

Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds

Finally, those who stay in camper vans can enjoy the best of both worlds. You can get all the benefits listed above, but there’s nothing stopping you from bringing a tent along in your gear. A tent can help expand your space and will free up room in your van for other amenities.

Van campers don’t have to sacrifice anything to enjoy the full camping experience. They can stay in the same campsites as tent campers, cook food over the firepit, sleep under the stars, and still enjoy their modern comforts. It’s a win-win!

  • Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it's Emily's favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

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