What comes to mind when you think of BMW? Probably words like expensive, luxurious, or innovative, right? No matter what comes to mind, things like camping and wilderness generally aren’t on the list.
BMW is a great brand but it’s not one that you usually associate with the great outdoors. If you have a BMW that you use as a daily driver and are planning a camping trip, what do you need to know about taking your car on a camping trip?
Understand Your Car’s Limitations
A sedan might be sufficient to carry you throughout your daily tasks, but it shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re heading for an off-road campsite. If you’re driving one of BMW’s X-series SUVs, you’ll be a little bit better off, but make sure you’re aware of your vehicle’s capabilities and limitations before you start choosing a campsite.
If you’re choosing a BMW specifically for off-roading, consider something like the X5 SUV with the off-road package. We wouldn’t recommend it for bouldering or serious off-road trail exploration, but for getting to your campsite that’s a bit off the beaten path, it should serve well.
Get an Inspection
Before you start heading out into the wilds, take your car in for a once-over at your favorite shop. The last thing you want is to end up stranded because your battery is on its last legs or your spare tire is flat. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with all those moving parts, and the best way to prevent yourself from getting left out in the cold is to have a professional give your car a thorough inspection.
Keep Your Car Clean
Camping can be a messy business and the last thing you want to do is bring your nice BMW home with dirt in all the cracks and crevices. There are a few tricks that you can use to keep your space clean, from investing in some removable floor mats to keeping your food and drinks off your seats in a cooler. Depending on how long you’re going to stay out in the wilds, there are coolers that hold anywhere from 20-140 quarts, more than enough for a good extended stay.
Make sure you’ve got a couple good trash bags handy, especially if you’re not heading to a campsite that offers trash cans or other similar facilities. The best rule of thumb to live by when camping is “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” Don’t leave your trash for someone else to clean up — or worse, for the animals to eat.
Sleep In (Or On) Your Car
If you want to get out into the wilds, but sleeping on the ground or under the stars just doesn’t sound appealing, consider sleeping in your car — or on it. You can find air mattresses that fit nearly any make and model of car. Some will cover the back seats while others — such as those designed for SUVS — might stretch out across the entire cargo area, giving you plenty of room to sleep and maybe even providing enough room for two.
If you need a bit more space — and are driving a BMW with sufficient space on the roof — consider a rooftop tent. You get the whole experience of camping without having to sleep on the ground. This is useful in places where you’re worried about wildlife or, if you’re camping on a beach, you’re worried about sinking into the sand or getting caught in a super-high tide while you sleep.
Choose Your Location Well
The best part of camping isn’t spending time in the wilderness — and it’s definitely not the bugs. No, it’s waking up with the rising sun and looking out over untapped and untainted nature as our home star climbs higher in the sky. Choose a place where you like the view. If you don’t find yourself enjoying it — or you get tired of it — feel free to relocate.
While you’re picking the perfect camping sites, make sure you choose a place to park that’s on solid ground. Don’t get yourself stuck in the sand or somewhere that you’ll have to call for help, effectively ruining your trip.
Enjoy Your Next Camping Trip
You don’t need to leave your BMW at home the next time you head out for a camping trip. Take it in for an inspection, choose your location well, and enjoy yourself. Make sure you understand your car or SUV’s limitations and don’t get yourself stuck off the beaten path — you might find it hard to call for a rescue if they can’t find you.