Anything below -30 degrees is unwise to sleep in and should not be attempted. It can result in severe consequences like frostbite or hypothermia.

Sleeping in your car can be a terrific way to enjoy nature while also saving money. Whatever your motive for sleeping in your car, the bottom line is that you must be prepared. However, situations do occur, and we do not always have the opportunity to prepare.

Sleeping in a car has several risks. The first thing that springs to mind is safety—if possible, research an area’s crime statistics and the presence of dangerous animals before opting to spend the night there.

The ideal sleeping temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures interrupt sleep and have the potential to harm your health. As a result of the extreme cold, your heart and other organs may go into shock.

If the temperature is too low, you could have a heart attack, stop breathing, or even die.

Continue reading for a full tutorial on how to stay warm while sleeping in a car.

How to Stay Warm While Sleeping in a Car?

Inclement weather could leave you stranded in your car for the night. Whatever the reason, understanding how to stay warm in a car overnight is critical.

Choose Your Sleeping Location Wisely

For campers, think about how the climate changes every year and how the weather changes every day where you want to go.

The difference between weather and climate is that weather is just short-term changes in precipitation and temperature, while climate is the long-term pattern of weather in a certain place.

For your safety and comfort, you should think about all of these things when choosing where to camp next. Be cautious because the eastern areas of the country can get very cold.

If an unanticipated scenario requires you to sleep in your car, consider camping in places like:

  • Campsites
  • Stops for rest
  • WLAN hotspots
  • Truckstops
  • Shopping marts
  • Hospitals

Rest stops are relatively common, so you should have no trouble finding one. They’re easy to find on a map of the area. It is unlawful in several states to camp near certain locations, so please educate yourself on the local rules.

Dress with layers.

When it comes to layering, the base is everything. The base clothing layer is critical for limiting heat loss. Layering is best done with synthetic textiles that can dissipate sweat, such as polypropylene, polyester, rayon, or nylon.

Depending on how chilly it is, you may need to cover your hands and feet. Wear gloves that allow you to utilize your fingers while also protecting your hands.

Wool socks are a fantastic way to keep your toes warm and frostbite-free. After all, it’s going to be a long night, and you might want to play a game or browse the internet.

Carry extra blanket layers for increased insulation.

Insulate the vehicle

To maintain whatever heat you make inside the automobile, use reflective foam to reflect the heat energy back to you. Purchase a large roll of the reflective foam of your choice and apply it to your windows and windshield.

Make sure the windows are covered from the inside, not the outside like you would if the sun was shining in. As a result, the heat will remain inside the vehicle.

Before sleeping, you can also insert insets made of Reflectix wrap into the windows.

Alternatively, a space blanket can be used to insulate the vehicle. Wrap the space blanket over yourself after covering your windows and windshield.

Make use of an electric blanket.

An electric blanket is a type of blanket that has electrical heating wires. They work like heating pads because they have an insulated wire woven into the fabric that heats up when they are turned on.

Most electric blankets include a temperature control system that allows you to regulate the amount of current that enters the heating components and, consequently, the amount of heat that is released.

The blanket is versatile and can be used as a duvet, coverlet, or toss blanket. The best way to use an electric blanket is to warm up the area where you’ll be sleeping before turning it off or unplugging it.

Turn Off the Engine

Make sure the engine and air conditioning are turned off before retiring to bed. Leaving the engine running exposes you to polluted air and increases your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Furthermore, you will be disappointed in the morning when you learn your fuel has run out.

If you want to use your car’s heating system, be sure it’s in good operating order. Only run the engine for short periods of time. You can also purchase a carbon monoxide detector, which monitors gas levels and informs you if they get excessively high.

Eat and stay hydrated

Staying hydrated and fed will help you keep warm. Whether you’re preparing for a camping trip or stockpiling food for an emergency, you should stick to non-perishables. Spicy meals are excellent for increasing body temperature.

In the winter, drinking hot beverages helps avoid dehydration and warms the body against the cold. The most important thing to remember is to prepare ahead of time by consuming a cup of hot beverage (avoid caffeinated beverages) and remembering to bring some with you on the trip.

The best way to keep the beverage warm is to use a travel mug. All you need for long car trips is a cheap, leak-proof thermal cup.

Purchase a Small Aftermarket Car Heater

If your car heater breaks, a little car heater is a wonderful solution to provide heat. Small car warmers work by dispersing heat throughout your vehicle’s cabin. It’s also excellent for defrosting windows. Good car warmers are often inexpensive, and the investment is justified by the future convenience they will provide.

Gather with a Traveling Companion or a Pet (If You Have One)

Avoiding hypothermia by sharing body heat is a tried-and-true method of staying warm. If you have a travel companion, huddle close together in the automobile. Wrap yourself in blankets if you have them to help spread heat as evenly as possible.

If you’re going camping, sleep near together so you can share your body heat at night.

Car camping in the woods

All of these items are quite useful to keep in your car at all times of the year in order to be prepared for any situation that may arise. These are the necessities:

Cotton/wool blankets provide insulation and comfort that vehicle seats cannot.

The light source, preferably a headlamp and a flashlight – If you want extra light, invest in a few appealing solar lights.

A toolkit – Keeping a small mechanic’s tool kit in your car at all times is a good idea. For less than $100, you can get a whole toolkit including necessities like a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, ratchets, and a tape measure.

This equipment will come in handy when needed, but it also functions as a safety net for the vehicle. For added peace of mind, include a tire repair kit and a 2-volt portable air compressor.

Extra food – Having a supply of carb-rich meals on hand is essential for keeping your heat and energy levels up during the long, chilly evenings you may endure while sleeping in your car.

Your body is attempting to conserve energy. Give yourself a fighting chance by keeping some extra munchies on hand.

Extra clothing will be your first line of defense against the cold. Check your car for a synthetic jacket, hat, gloves, and socks.

If you get lost, a navigation kit will assist you in locating your way. They can also assist you in locating a safe place to park and stay the night. Today, you can’t travel without a GPS device, a personal locator beacon, a compass, an altimeter watch, and a map.

how cold is too cold to sleep in car

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sleeping in Your Car Illegal?

No. This is conditional on whether you are trespassing or intoxicated. The exception to this rule is Hawaii. Sleeping in your automobile is illegal in Hawaii between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Can It Get Too Cold in Your Car to Sleep?

Yes. Sleeping in your vehicle is not recommended if the temperature is below thirty degrees.

Can Wild Animals Infiltrate My Car While I’m Sleeping?

Cars are rarely attacked by animals. Bears, on the other hand, can break automobile windows, so be cautious in bear country.

Final Thoughts

Sleeping in a car can be an exhilarating experience. However, if you are unprepared, it can be a frustrating experience. You will be comfortable and safe now that you know how to remain warm while sleeping in a car if you follow this guide.

The following items are crucial for remaining warm while sleeping in your car:

  • Check to see if your vehicle has a working heating mechanism or if you have an aftermarket heater.
  • Stay hydrated and eat plenty of food.
  • Possess heavy garments and bedding.
Chris Miller

Chris Miller is an auto journalist who specializes in reviewing new cars and providing helpful advice on family vehicles. He has a passion for cars and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others.

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