The Tiny house Blog

Tips for Solo Travel in an SUV Camper

Updated on:
October 30, 2023
tiny house suv camper solo travel

View Mammoth by Humble Handraft

Solo travel in an SUV camper is your ticket to ultimate freedom and adventure. There's really something truly liberating about solo travel, and one of the most flexible ways to experience it is for you to be hitting the road in an SUV camper. Traveling alone allows you to embrace spontaneity, make unplanned stops, and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of your surroundings. Merging the thrill of mobile tiny homes and the independence of hitting the road solo, this exhilarating lifestyle fuses the best of both worlds.

Mastering the Road

It's just you, your SUV camper, and that open road. Sounds intense, right? But mastering the road alone requires sharp off road navigation skills, routine camper maintenance, and the knack to go 'boondocking' camping sans hookups or services, while journeying cross country in the wild yonder.

Emergency preparedness is key, and that includes preparing for wildlife encounters. Don't worry, though: with practice and patience, you'll soon unlock the path to efficient, self-sufficient travel.

Planning Your Adventure

Before cranking that engine, spend time on route planning and creating a flexible camping itinerary. Sure, spontaneity is the spice of the road trip life, but having a plan keeps you safe and savvy. And let's not forget budget travel – tracking expenses ensures your road trip doesn't chew up your savings.

What about the perfect night under the stars? That starts with smart campsite selection. You don't want to wake up to a buzzing campground or a pretty, but precarious, cliff side!

1. Selecting the Right SUV Camper

Choosing the ideal SUV camper is a critical first step in making your solo adventure a success. When making your selection, consider factors such as size, comfort, and functionality. Here are some essential points to consider:

Size Considerations

Ensure that your SUV camper is both spacious enough to meet your needs and compact enough for easy maneuvering and parking. Midsize or compact SUV campers are often the best choice for solo travelers.

Comfortable Sleeping Arrangements

It's crucial that the sleeping area is both comfortable and roomy enough for your individual needs. A restful night's sleep is paramount for a positive travel experience.


Look for campers that offer versatile features such as a small kitchenette, ample storage space, and a compact bathroom. These amenities can significantly enhance your comfort on the road.

Fuel Efficiency

Given that solo travelers often cover significant distances, it's wise to opt for an SUV camper with good fuel efficiency to keep gas expenses manageable.

2. Packing Essentials

Packing efficiently for your solo adventure in an SUV camper is essential due to limited space. Every item you bring should serve a clear purpose. Here's a list of the essentials to consider packing:

  • Bedding: Quality sleeping bags or bedding to ensure you have a comfortable night's rest.
  • Clothing: Dress in layers to accommodate varying weather conditions, and choose fabrics that are quick-drying and moisture-wicking
  • Cooking Supplies: Compact cookware, a portable stove, and essential utensils. Don't forget to pack dish soap, sponges, and a small cooler.
  • Food and Water: Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food items, and an ample supply of water. Consider a water purification system for use in remote locations.
  • Navigation Tools: A GPS device or smartphone with offline maps, a physical map, and a compass.
  • First Aid Kit: A selection of crucial medical supplies, including any personal medications.
  • Camping Gear: A lightweight tent or hammock for nights when you want to camp away from the camper.
  • Basic Tools: A versatile multi-tool, a reliable flashlight, and spare batteries for emergencies.
  • Entertainment: Bring along books, music, or other forms of entertainment for downtime.
  • Toiletries: Hygiene essentials, including a solar shower or biodegradable wet wipes for quick freshening up.

tiny house suv camper yosimite
View Yosimite by Humble Handraft

3. Route Planning

Effective route planning is crucial for a successful solo journey in an SUV camper. It provides the flexibility to explore off-the-beaten-path locations while ensuring you stay safe and prepared. Here's how to plan your route effectively:

  • Thorough Research: Gather extensive information about the regions you intend to visit. This should include attractions, campgrounds, and important safety advice.
  • Backup Plans: Always have alternative routes and backup campgrounds in case your initial choices are unavailable or difficult to access.
  • Permits and Regulations: Be aware of any permits or regulations that may apply to your destinations, particularly in areas like national parks and wilderness regions.
  • Weather Considerations: Stay updated on the weather forecast and be prepared for sudden weather changes.
  • Emergency Contacts: Maintain a list of emergency contacts and share your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member, ensuring someone knows your whereabouts at all times.

4. Safety Measures

Ensuring your safety while traveling solo in an SUV camper is of utmost importance. Follow these safety guidelines to minimize risks:

  • Vehicle Maintenance: Regularly maintain your SUV camper to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns. Ensure that tires, brakes, and other essential components are in good condition.
  • Emergency Kit: Keep an emergency kit on board that includes a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flashlight, and a spare tire.
  • Communication: Invest in a reliable communication device, such as a satellite phone or a locator beacon, for emergencies when you're beyond the reach of cell service.
  • Wildlife Awareness: Acquaint yourself with the local wildlife and how to safely coexist with them. Store food securely to avoid attracting animals.
  • Self-Defense: While uncommon, it's prudent to be prepared for unforeseen situations. Carry personal safety items such as pepper spray and a whistle.
  • Campsite Selection: Choose well-lit and populated campsites for added security. Ensure your camper is locked when you're not inside.
  • Stay Alert: Trust your instincts and maintain caution when interacting with strangers. Be friendly but mindful of personal boundaries.

5. Budgeting and Financial Planning

Managing your finances while on the road is essential to a successful solo travel experience. Here's how to budget effectively:

  • Fixed Costs: Consider fixed costs such as fuel, insurance, campground fees, and maintenance when setting your budget.
  • Daily Expenses: Estimate daily expenses for food, activities, and occasional accommodations outside your SUV camper.
  • Emergency Fund: Allocate a portion of your budget to cover unforeseen expenses, such as vehicle repairs or medical emergencies.
  • Budgeting Tools: Use budgeting apps and tools to track your spending during your travels.
  • Discounts: Seek out discounts and passes for attractions and campgrounds, such as AAA membership or national park passes, to save money.
  • Earning on the Road: Explore remote work or freelance opportunities to supplement your income while traveling.

6. Camper Etiquette

Being a respectful and responsible traveler is essential when exploring in an SUV camper. Follow these etiquette tips:

  • Leave No Trace: Adhere to Leave No Trace principles, which involve packing out all trash, respecting wildlife, and minimizing your impact on the environment.
  • Quiet Hours: Be considerate of campground quiet hours and ensure your fellow campers have the peace and privacy they need.
  • Campfire Safety: If you decide to have a campfire, follow safety guidelines and use designated fire rings or fire pans.
  • Reducing Light Pollution: Use minimal outdoor lighting to enjoy the natural night sky and prevent light pollution.
  • Water Conservation: Conserve water by taking shorter showers and using water-saving practices when washing dishes.
  • Sharing Space: If you're sharing a campground with others, be considerate and allow space for everyone to enjoy the natural surroundings.

7. Embracing Solitude

Solo travel provides a unique opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. To fully embrace the experience, consider these tips:

  • Disconnect from Devices: Enjoy the freedom of limited connectivity by disconnecting from your devices and immersing yourself in the present moment.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Be present and absorb the beauty of the natural world around you.
  • Journaling: Keep a travel journal to document your experiences, thoughts, and emotions, allowing you to reflect on your journey.
  • Learning Opportunities: Use your solo travel as an opportunity to learn new skills or pursue interests such as photography, birdwatching, or stargazing.
  • Solo Activities: Engage in activities you love, whether it's hiking, painting, reading, or simply enjoying a quiet campfire.
  • Interacting with Locals: Take the time to engage with locals and learn about the culture and history of the places you visit.

8. Health and Well-Being

Maintaining both your physical and mental health while traveling solo is crucial for a rewarding journey. Here are some wellness tips:

  • Incorporate Exercise: Include physical activities such as hiking, yoga, or morning stretches in your routine.
  • Balanced Diet: Consume a well-rounded diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, paying attention to portion sizes.
  • Stay Hydrated: Ensure you drink plenty of water, particularly in hot or arid climates.
  • Adequate Rest: Get enough sleep to remain well-rested and alert during your travels.
  • Mental Health: Take breaks when needed and reach out to loved ones for support if you ever feel lonely or overwhelmed.
  • Safety Precautions: Carry a well-stocked first aid kit and familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques.

tiny house suv camper soo travel
Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash


Solo travel in an SUV camper offers a remarkable sense of freedom and adventure. By carefully planning your journey and keeping these key considerations in mind, you can enjoy a safe, memorable, and enriching experience. Select the right SUV camper, pack thoughtfully, and relish the solitude and self-discovery that comes with traveling alone. Whether you're exploring national parks, coastal highways, or remote backroads, this guide will help you make the most of your solo adventure on the open road. So, pack your bags, start your engine, and set out on the road to discover the beauty of the world in your SUV camper.

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