How to Go Camping with Tesla Vehicles
Updated: Jun 6, 2021
Everything You Need to Know About Camping with Your Tesla Before Your Next Adventure
While Tesla has featured the upcoming Cybertruck in camping scenarios, existing Tesla drivers can already take advantage of camping friendly features available with their current cars. As more people discovered that their Tesla could be converted into a pretty comfortable bed, sleeping inside their car instead of pitching a tent for the night became a really attractive option for campers. It’s become so popular that Tesla has created a feature just for camping and many companies have even developed camping accessories specifically for Teslas.
In this post, we’ll share our top tips for camping with a Tesla so you get the best experience when you’re ready to give it a try.
Tip #1: Use Camp Mode for comfort at the camp site
Camp Mode is a feature that was created as a result of owners providing feedback to Tesla on how to make spending the night in a Tesla more comfortable. This feature was released as part of a software update in 2019 and creates a cozy cabin by maintaining airflow and regulating the temperature for extended periods of time. It also allows you to control the interior lighting, play music and even displays an image of a warm campsite on the touchscreen to help set the mood. The USB ports also remain powered so you can charge your mobile devices while you sleep.
To turn on Camp Mode:
Put the car in park
Tap the fan icon at the bottom of the touchscreen
Set ‘Keep Climate On’ to ‘CAMP’
A couple of things to keep in mind when placing Tesla in Camp Mode:
Auto-lock is disabled to allow you to get in and out of your car more easily, so you’ll have to lock your car using the touchscreen or Tesla app
Sentry Mode is disabled, so you’re not constantly triggering it when walking around the car
Battery usage is higher with Camp Mode enabled and for this reason that you can’t use Camp Mode when the car has a charge of less than 15%. The feature will also turn off if the car drops below this charge level at anytime. However, in October 2020, while replying to a Tesla owner on Twitter, Elon said Tesla will add a setting to allow the use of the feature until the battery drops as low as 5%.
Tip #2: Find campsites where you can charge during your stay
Many RV sites, state parks, and national parks have electric hookups of either 30 amp or 50 amp that will allow you to charge your Tesla during your stay. The 50 amp outlet is called the NEMA 14-50, and the 30 amp is called the NEMA TT-30. It’s good to have a charging option available so you can use Camp Mode as much as you want and start the next leg of your trip with a fully charged battery. When possible, we recommend calling the campsite ahead of time to reserve a spot with 50 amp service.
One site drivers can use to find campsites with suitable charging hookups is Campendium. You can search numerous campsites and find information on available hookups under the ‘Amenities’ tab. The site also displays user reviews so you can get an idea of what to expect when you arrive.
Plugshare is another great option to find sites where you can charge your Tesla. Under ‘Filters’, select the NEMA 14-50 plug and then select all of the options under ‘Networks’. The search results will show you locations with 50 amp electrical hookup.
Tip #3: Bring compatible outlet adapters
To use the 240 V/50 amp or 120V/30 amp outlets found at campsite electric hookup posts, you’ll need to have the proper adapters that are compatible with the Tesla Mobile Connector.
NEMA 14-50 adapter
Plugs into the 240 V/50 amp outlet
Delivers up to 30 miles of range per hour of charge with the Model 3
Purchase the NEMA 14-50 from Tesla
NEMA TT-30 adapter
Plugs into the 120V/30 amp outlet which then connects to the Tesla NEMA 14-50 adapter
Delivers up to 10 miles of range per hour of charge with the Model 3
Tesla does not make this adapter, so it will need to be purchased from a 3rd party. A highly rated manufacturer is AC WORKS and the adapter is called EV Charging Adapter for Tesla Use (TT-30 RV 30A to Tesla).
NOTE: It’s important to know that when using this adapter you will need to set the Tesla charging limit to 24 amp
Tip #4 Get a good mattress
For a good nights sleep in your Tesla, a comfortable mattress is a must. There are a number of options out there that range from low cost air mattresses to high end memory foam mattresses that are designed specifically for Teslas.
Compatibility: Model 3, Y
Main Features: Three individual Gel Memory Foam mats unfold to form a twin sized mattress. Mats stack to be easily compressed and stored in a carrying case designed to fit in the sub-trunk.
Price: €579 - €699
Compatibility: Model S, 3, X, Y
Main Features: A portable folding memory foam mattress with a microfibre foam cover. Includes duvet and travel pillows.
Main Features: Tri-Fold mattress made from 3" Superior Quality High Density Luxurious Foam. Zipper cover is removable for easy cleaning. Includes bed sheet, pillowcase set and carry case.
Tip #5 Maximize space with a Frunk cooler
The Frunk of a Tesla is a great place to pack all your food and drink for a camping trip. To get maximum usage out of this space, here are a couple of cooler options that are designed to fit the Frunk perfectly.
Evannex Frunk Cooler
Compatibility: Model 3, X, Y (Note: does not fit Model 3 trims assembled in August 2020 or later)
Main Features: Insulated, soft-sided container with zipper closure and a water-resistant liner.
Tesmanian Soft Cooler
Main Features: Heavy duty nylon shell, made with waterproof material. Lightweight, durable, puncture and tear resistant and made with eco-friendly, non toxic, odorless and recyclable materials.
Tesloid Model Frunk Cooler Food Bag
Compatibility: Model 3
Main Features: Thermally insulated left side for hot/cold perishable food or drinks and pantry side on the right for everything else.
Tip #6 Set up a screen for a little privacy
If you don’t want anyone peering inside your car while you’re sleeping or being woken up by sunlight in the early morning, then invest in a quality privacy screen. Choose an option that covers the front windshield, side windows, and rear windshield and can be easily packed away without taking up too much space. There are also sunshades that cover the glass roof, but we like to keep this window uncovered so we can stargaze at night.
Main Features: Covers front windshield, side windows, and rear windshield, sets up in under a minute, and packs away to fit in the palm of your hand.
Price: $44.95 per window
Compatibility: Model S, 3, X, Y
Main Features: Windshield sunshades designed specifically to fit a specific car model. In addition to providing privacy the reflective material keeps the interior cool during hot days and protects the interior of the car.