How to Live in Your Car (for Survival) – Complete Overview

Having shelter has always been a necessity for so many reasons. It is a perfect avenue for everybody who wants a great night’s rest (either on a couch or a bed) after a long day outside. It is also a great place to cook meals and spend some quality time with family. It is, without a doubt, an admirable option. However, circumstances could change everything for you.

For survival, especially if you live alone, you may need to try out the newest living method minimally and sustainably – living in a car. It is often called the car- or Van-life. It is mostly recommended for people who travel a lot and spend more time on the road. If you belong to that category of people, then you need this article to learn how to live in your car (for survival).

How to Live in Your Car?

Before you get right into how to live in a car and continue day-to-day activities sustainably, you should understand that you need essential gear and equipment. The same way you have invested in a couple of things at home to live comfortably is also what you need to survive within a vehicle’s four wheels.

As long as you understand the importance of these items for a road trip or a full van- or car-life, you have no worries at all.

How to Sleep at Night?

Sincerely, sleeping in a car is not as comfortable as a couch or bed; however, you make do with whatever you have. If you are spending time outdoors, you should know that there are alternative options available to provide comfort.

Camp Tent

A good choice is a camp tent that offers everything you need to enjoy a wonderful night’s rest. Although you need space to set up the tent for use, it also takes a great deal of effort.

Sleeping Pads or Air Mattresses

Likewise, you can decide to go for sleeping pads or air mattresses since they are more comfortable and easier to use. They are also great space-savers, so you get to use them during the day and even at night.


Sometimes, sleeping in the backseat doesn’t do much good due to restricted movement; hence, it is not advisable. Whatever you do, these options make up for the homely feeling of a bed.

How to Cook Meals?

Setting up a kitchen while you live in your car isn’t much of a big deal. What makes up a kitchen is mostly the food items, the cookware, and most importantly, the gas/electric cooker. You could have all of these in your car and make great meals.

Camp Kitchen Area

First of all, you need a good camp kitchen area to do everything you have to.

Cookware Sets

It is also advisable to invest in cookware sets because that makes things easier for you. These sets would include cutting boards, pots, spatula, and anything perfect enough to cook meals.

Gas Cooker

The other thing you need is a gas cooker since you have limited power for the electric type. With these items altogether, you should easily be able to cook something to eat.

Learn more about survival tips, tricks, and more HERE.

How to Clean Up?

Most of your time spent in a car doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean up. Personal hygiene continues even outside an actual house. That means you have to take your bath, brush your teeth, clean yourself, and do almost anything to feel refreshed as usual.

Road Shower

For a road shower, it shouldn’t be so difficult. You could either rely on a public bathroom or, better, try a portable shower method. The latter involves using a gallon (up to 10 liters) and a powder-coated aluminum tube with heat properties, courtesy of solar power.


As regards waste, public bathrooms are quite useful. On the other hand, you could also try out effective human waste management methods, like digging into the ground.

How to Relax In Your Car/Van?

On a chilly evening, you could decide to relax and have a great time in your car when there is nothing to do. It is possible to try out a somewhat makeshift living room to enjoy the fresh air. There are three ways to do that:

  • Get a waterproof nylon canopy and set it up right beside your car. It is perfect under light rain.
  • A lightweight beach tent is ideal under sunlight.
  • In your car, open all the doors and windows; then, recline the position of the seat and enjoy the cool air.

How to Arrange Items and Keep them Clean?

At this point, you should have taken care of most of the things you need to survive living in a car. Another thing important for you to know is how to arrange most of your items so they are easy to access when you need them.

The most effective way of saving space and organizing your car or van is by building a platform. It provides you with storage where your items and tools can be kept properly, giving you the feeling of even being at home. You could also decide to build a small drawer to keep clothes, socks, and even snacks.

In essence, you wouldn’t want your van to look cramped, only because you are temporarily or permanently living in it.

Check out

How To Set Up Emergency Toilet The Right Way
Who Invented Pocket Watches?
What are the Different Paracord Types?

How to Do Laundry?

Clothes are going to get dirty one way or another. Cleaning them hasn’t been such a problem since you could do them yourself or drop them at a laundromat.


In case you would like to do your laundry yourself while living in your car, a Scrubba would help. It is a purpose-built dry bag with a built-in washboard to provide top-tier, machine-wash quality laundry. It is quite effective for most road trips.

Learn about weapons, survival, and more by clicking HERE

How to Live in Your Car (for Survival)Conclusion

Several people have different reasons why they would leave a home shelter’s comfort to seek one in a car. Whatever the reason is, survival is of the essence. As this article has provided significant details on how to live in a car (for survival), it is with the sincere hope that it is sustainable and able to tend to needs.

Please don’t forget to send in your feedback/comments using the comments section below.


  • Kyle Lee

    Kyle Lee was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and he always had an interest since childhood in wildlife. Due to his awareness that the USA and other countries had tension with one another, he studied methods to prepare himself if any type of disaster happened. He learned about how to prep if a natural or human-made disaster occurred. That became his passion, which led him to establish Survival Straps, and Kyle is the chief editor. He works as a manager at a camping and outdoor store, lives by himself with his cats, and enjoys watching war documentaries.

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