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Tesla Camping: Camp Mode Myths, Facts, and Practical Tips

Tesla Camping: Camp Mode Myths, Facts, and Practical Tips

Just because you drive a Tesla doesn’t mean you can’t pack up your mattress and gear and take it camping. While it may not be an RV, the Tesla camping mode can do the job.

We recently took a peek inside a Tesla for camping, and we were thoroughly impressed. However, you should consider some things before investing in one of these automobiles.

Today, we’re covering all you need to know about Tesla camping mode so you and your vehicle can spend time in nature.

Let’s get started!

Tesla Model Y Camping 2023 (Camp Mode) - All your questions answered!

Tesla Cars Are Everywhere (Even At The Campgrounds)

Tesla is an American electric vehicle company Elon Musk and a team of engineers founded in 2003. Its fleet of all-electric vehicles features cars, crossover SUVs, and the Cyber Truck. The brand eliminates internal combustion engines to produce zero tailpipe emissions. 

However, consumers have come to love these vehicles for more than just their green capabilities. Their vehicles offer tremendous acceleration and some of the longest ranges of any electric vehicle. They also come with innovative technologies that are changing the auto industry.

One example is their autopilot and full self-driving capability. These systems are still going through rigorous testing and regulatory approval. However, they move us one step closer to fully autonomous driving in the future. The ultimate goal is to sit back and let the vehicle do the work.

Additionally, because drivers need to charge their vehicles, Tesla is developing a charging station network. Currently, they have nearly 2,000 charging stations across the United States. It’s now possible to drive a vehicle across the country without using gasoline.

What Is the Tesla Camping Mode?

Tesla Camp Mode is a unique feature the Tesla engineers designed to maximize comfort while camping or sleeping on a mattress in these vehicles. When you activate it, the car shifts into a low-power state. Camp Mode allows you to adjust temperature controls, use USB ports, and even watch videos on the touchscreen.

Having heat and air conditioning in a silent operating vehicle makes car camping way more comfortable. Moisture builds up extremely fast in the small space and having AC to dehumidify alone is worth it. While we don’t have a tesla our electric car’s AC is one of our favorite features to run silently anytime.

Tesla camping at campsite
Camp comfortably with Tesla’s camping mode.

What Is the Best Tesla to Camp In?

Currently, the best Tesla for camping is the Model X. At 199.1 inches long and 78.7 inches wide, it’s the biggest vehicle in the lineup. However, with the Cyber Truck releasing soon, we’ll have to wait and see how it compares.

The two rear rows fold almost perfectly flat. This provides an incredible 92.3 cubic feet of cargo space. When traveling solo or with a partner, you’ll have plenty of room for gear or equipment.

Since the seats fold flat, placing a mattress or pad over the space can give you a solid night’s sleep. However, despite being the roomiest vehicle in their lineup, it will be tight if you’re over six feet tall. You may need to sleep at an angle or bend your knees to squeeze into the spot. 

Pro Tip: Get the inside scoop on Is Tesla’s Electric RV A Reality or a Rumor?

What Size Mattress Fits in a Tesla?

The mattress size that fits in a Tesla will vary depending on the model. It’s roughly the same size as a standard twin mattress, 38 by 75 inches. However, curves in the structure and wheel wells can get in the way.

Tesmat offers products specifically for the Model 3 and Model Y. These 3-inch memory foam mattresses are comfortable and easy to wash. In addition, the mattress can fold up and come with a storage bag that fits in the sub-trunk or frunk of the Tesla. The carrying case can also double as a cooler to keep your drinks cold while enjoying nature.

We have car camped in many different types of vehicles from SUV’s to trucks and having a custom mattress makes it so much better!

Tesla mattress camping setup
A Tesla can fit a mattress up to 38 by 75 inches.

Tips for Camping in a Tesla

No matter what model of Tesla you drive, there are some things you need to know before you try camping. Here are some tips to help you maximize your Tesla camping experience.

Choose the Right Tesla

Buying a Tesla for the sole purpose of camping isn’t wise. While it is possible to camp in one of these vehicles, there are far cheaper and more capable vehicles for the job.

However, if you’re already thinking of getting a Tesla, consider how you’ll use it. It should offer enough room for you while you’re camping but also meet all your needs when you’re not. Buying a Model X because it’s the largest and roomiest may be great, but it’s also twice the price of the Model 3. 

Have the Right Gear

It’s also crucial for you to have the correct gear. In addition to a mattress or sleeping pad, remember pillows and blankets for your Tesla. These can help you stay as comfortable as possible while sleeping.

You may also want to invest in window covers. These can help block out light and increase privacy. You’ll appreciate what they can do if you have to stop to sleep during a road trip.

Consider a USB fan if you rely on one to help you fall asleep. Since you’ll have access to the USB ports in your Tesla, you can charge your fan so it’s ready when you retire for the night. 

Tesmat Tesla camping mat
A Tesmat will ensure you sleep soundly in your Tesla.

Enable Camp Mode

Luckily, Camp Mode is a standard feature on all Tesla vehicles. The vehicle will remain at your preferred temperature when you enable this mode. It doesn’t take long for the inside of a car to warm up, especially on a hot day.

If you’re going out for a weekend trip, you’ll only want to use this when you plan to be inside your vehicle. Ensure you give it time to cool down before bed.

While this is incredibly useful when camping, it’s also convenient when you have groceries in the car. Your groceries can stay safe while you step away from your vehicle for a minute or two.

Check Your Battery

Just like you don’t want to run out of gas in your vehicle, you don’t want to drain your battery completely. Luckily, Tesla does you a favor and turns off the Camp Mode feature when the battery drops below 20%.

You’ll use approximately 1% per hour when enabling Camp Mode. Depending on how far you’re driving, you’ll need to factor in how much battery you’ll have when you arrive at your destination. It may be best to stop by a charging station first.

If you’re staying in a campground and your campsite has a power source, you may use adaptors to charge your vehicle. However, you’ll want to adjust the charging settings to avoid overloading the power source or the connection.

Pro Tip: Need to charge up your RV battery? Uncover Can You Charge Your RV at Tesla Charging Stations?

Stay Safe

One of the most crucial things you need to consider when Tesla camping is your safety. You must be mindful of what’s happening around you when you park for the night. Check the weather and read reviews on resources like Campendium and iOverlander. 

When parking, park so you can make a quick escape if necessary. You should leave the scene if your safety becomes a concern. Unfortunately, conditions can change quickly due to weather or other people’s behavior. It may be inconvenient,  but your safety is worth finding a new spot for the night.

Tesla camping in desert
Camping in a Tesla is a great way to explore without the burden of towing a big rig.

Leave No Trace

No matter what type of camping you’re doing, you should always practice the Leave No Trace principles. It’s your responsibility to clean up after yourself. The person that comes after you should not find anything left behind.

Some of the most vital things you can do is to maintain a clean campsite and minimize impacts on the land. If you set out on a hike, stay on the trail and pick up any trash you find.

Following the rules increases the chance that the spot remains available for future users. Unfortunately, some people don’t do their part and leave messes behind. This gives local officials reason to shut down areas for camping, which impacts those using the land responsibly.

Check Local Regulations

Remember that you must always check local regulations. Some areas are stringent regarding people sleeping overnight or camping in their vehicles. If you’re in a campground or out in nature, it most likely won’t be a problem. 

However, it can be challenging if you’re trying to do some urban camping while stopping for the night. The last thing you want is the dreaded knock on your door by the police in the middle of the night.

Overview of the Tesla Lithium Battery Module We are Installing in our RV - EV Battery Hack!
Fun fact: Our first RV solar build utilized a lithium battery module out of a wrecked Tesla!

Is Tesla Camping for You?

Camping in a Tesla can be an exciting way to connect with nature. With the correct gear and equipment, you can have a comfortable place to sleep for a night or two. It may even allow you to stay close to trailheads to be the first on the path in the morning. However, Tesla camping isn’t for everyone. It will likely require some adjustment, especially at first.

Would you consider camping in a Tesla? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Thursday 26th of October 2023

I have a Model 3 for four years and used it to camp for three days while boondocking and a State Park. I am an RV'er so I have all the equipment necessary to camp. It was quite an interesting experience, I was very comfortable with the Camp Mode feature, the safety in and out the car with all the cameras activated etc. I have the Tesmat (not very comfortable by itself) and a mattress which I placed on top of the Tesmat. I sleept very comfortably, however, getting in and out of the back once the seats are down to sleep is not the easiest thing. You can't use the trunk to get in and out so that leaves you with the back doors for it. And unless you are a contortionist or a pretzel you will have a really hard time getting in and out. I can do it well but not the easiest thing to do. As far as battery goes, I had Camp Mode all night plus watched a movie and charged my phone. In the morning the battery usage was only 7% but you can also charge at any campsite that provides electricity if you have the right connectors which I have but didn't use during this trip.