Tesla Model 3 Cross Country Road Trip and Car Camping

Tesla Model 3 Cross Country Road Trip and Car Camping

Hey everyone, my wife and I are in the middle of a two week cross country road trip. We're car camping in our Model 3 for much of the trip. We just arrived in California after 5 days on the road from Charleston, SC. We're posting photos on Instagram @ev.explorer. Happy to answer any questions anyone might have on the trip, the gear we bought after a bunch of research.

Bighorn | 22. Dezember 2018

You should have just gotten car camping mode with the latest firmware. If not, try to get a WiFi connection. Service centers are good options.

bddurham | 22. Dezember 2018

Oh wow, definitely incentive to find some wifi!

jwins | 22. Dezember 2018

Looks like a great trip! This car is amazing for long distance travel :)

sbeggs | 23. Dezember 2018

Nice photos, enjoy your epic trip!
Happy Holidays, too!

airmooney | 26. Dezember 2018

Just looked at some of your Instagram pics. INSPIRING! My wife and I are fantasizing about a Route 66 trip this spring. I have a hunch you bought the Exped Megamat duo as a sleeping pad. My wife just got me the Klymit double V insulated pad. (I already had it in the back of our Model 3 Christmas morning checking it out, LOL) Great pictures!

ALDONY | 26. Dezember 2018

Great pictures.. Congrats.. Very inspiring..

Mike UpNorth | 26. Dezember 2018

That's awesome! Nice work!

Coastal Cruiser. | 26. Dezember 2018

Stalemate on Tic-tac-toe? I'm shocked.

(How would you rate the comfort level of the mattress on 1-5 scale?)

Bighorn | 27. Dezember 2018

Slept on a Klymit last night waiting out some ice in South Dakota.

shawncordell | 27. Dezember 2018

Can someone explain how the heating/ac worked prior to the camping mode update in a camping scenario?

Bighorn | 27. Dezember 2018

Neutral with the parking brake. Or app refreshes from the back. Or keeping a door cracked.

billtphotoman | 27. Dezember 2018

Thanks for allowing me to live vicariously through you. I do plan on taking advantage of the camping capability at some point as well. I am at the age where I don't want to be lying on the ground with the fire ants :)

wiboater4 | 27. Dezember 2018

What type of places did you camp overnight at? wondering about bathroom breaks overnight if needed also? Did you have any worries about being stranded by snow storms ?

Bighorn | 27. Dezember 2018

I sleep during charges during the day so night time sleeping requirements are abbreviated. I’ll typically sleep at an empty supercharger, a highway rest stop or in a pinch a Walmart lot or highway on-ramp. Bathroom situations vary. Just look out for security cameras witnessing any untoward activities. Use grocery store bathrooms especially if that is your main source of meals. Winter doesn’t really play any bigger role than for any traveler.

Tesla2018 | 28. Dezember 2018

How do you get into the back of the car to sleep? Do you go through the side door or open the trunk? I tried going through the trunk and had to wiggle to get under the trunk opening and felt claustrophobic. Almost like having an MRI. When I used the rear door, the top part of the rear seat is up a little higher a and I had to crawl over it. It would took me several minutes to get in either way.

Once I finally got in, I was surprised that the area was wide and that it was comfortable if I bent my knees or was lying at an angle so my head was near the passenger side front door and my feet were as far back as possible near the left hand side of the trunk. I dont think it would be easy for 2 people to climb back there without rolling over each other. It would be like 2 people trying to sleep in a twin sized bed. As long as neither person moves or rolls around at night it would be ok but cramped. Im 6 ft and 215 lbs and almost 60 so Im not as limber as I used to be.

Bighorn | 29. Dezember 2018

Side door entry. Sleeping for two is snug. In my S, I usually just sleep across the back seat and don’t bother with the fold down as my sleeping stints are usually 1-3 hours. That is a little cramped in the 3 and if I’m alone I’ll sometimes just fold down one seat to have access to the rear, main difference being I don’t have the dog along in the 3.

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018

You should check out the Rumpl down throw blanket. It's the perfect size. It's so warm, packs down tiny and only weighs one pound. I don't travel without it.

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018

I also have the Xped Duo mat which also fits perfectly and packs down so tiny. I'm so set for car camping. I'll probably never do it but I love having the best stuff. Haha!

Bighorn | 29. Dezember 2018

I’ve got a down quilt that can convert to a sleeping bag from Feathered Friends in Seattle. Decadent. One other puzzle piece is showering at truck stops.

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018

Those are nice!

Bighorn | 29. Dezember 2018

950+ fill power:)

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018

I want one! Btw, I didn't even know what car camping was until reading about your adventures. :)

Mike83 | 29. Dezember 2018

Great pics. The atari games are fun also. We have a double I sleeping bag we got from REI called Big Bertha. We even have a blender to make smoothies. One can also park at RV spots that have showers and even swimming pools and you can hook up the Tesla to charge. Viewing the stars at night in our S or 3 with some meditation music is something we really enjoy.
Thanks for posting and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

jopp2 | 29. Dezember 2018

This is a nerd parody, right. I'll bet he carries a pen holder in his plaid shirt and she collects rocks. Or maybe I'm wrong, just a vision.

Magic 8 Ball | 29. Dezember 2018

Wow! jopp2 just attacking random posters, nothing about the car or TESLA.

His power is very weak, we should prepare for the services.

ALDONY | 29. Dezember 2018

Isn't tesla founded by a Nerd? Just saying

@joop2, maybe you are looking for the hummer forum.. Real machos there

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018

I collect rocks and store them in my pocket protector in my plaid shirt.

Mike83 | 29. Dezember 2018

I like finding gold nuggets.
Tesla camping is so much fun.

Tesla2018 | 29. Dezember 2018

I bring along a spare Tesla when I go camping. In case it gets cold I can crash it into a tree to start a fire instead of rubbing two sticks together. The ensuing fireball also can be used as a beacon for rescue parties to locate me in the event I get lost and wander off the beaten path.

wiboater4 | 29. Dezember 2018

With the new easter egg anyone can start a fire in a Tesla. :-)

Mike83 | 29. Dezember 2018

@Tesla2018 much likely to get a fireball with an ICE. having 500 fires every day. But you are off topic. Why is that?

wiboater4 | 29. Dezember 2018

Mike83 I think Tesla 2018 meant that in fun.

billlake2000 | 29. Dezember 2018

Win goes to lilbean!!!

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018

And boobs look bigger with two pocket protectors. :)

Tesla2018 | 29. Dezember 2018

Lighten up. I went off topic since it was about camping. Usually you have a campfire when camping. All the Fudsters keep saying Teslas catch on fire in accidents so I made a joke about it. I know many people that have had cars catch on fire including my dads when a fuel line leaked gas and then caught the car on fire inside our garage when the car was started..A friend almost died when his car burst into flsmes when hit from behind. And one guy on a road rally had hydraulic fluid from his power roof leak into the engine bay and catch his car on fire. Ice cars are much more likely to catch fire. Its just that the Fudsters want the public to think of Teslas as the new exploding Ford Pinto.

kcheng | 29. Dezember 2018

Totally cool trip! Car camping is so much better than in the old days with my Saab 900 turbo!

Bighorn | 29. Dezember 2018

Have you tried ice in the pocket protectors? That might get some attention as well:)

lilbean | 29. Dezember 2018


swanson21 | 29. Dezember 2018

Planning a trip soon as well, want to buy the 30AMP RV adapter for the emergency charging situations in middle of nowhere, but there's much discussion as to which one's work and which don't. I'm seeing that the cheapest one is about 35 bucks as the amazon one's for 12 won't work supposedly because they're not made for the ev's, is this correct? The one for sale on the tesla website for 35 also doesn't work for the average 30AMP RV hookup station, is that true?

hughbie | 29. Dezember 2018

Objects in mirror may be larger than they appear.

sbeggs | 30. Dezember 2018

Haha. @Bighorn. Good one!

Tesla2018 | 30. Dezember 2018

Ice in the pocket protectors causes the hi beams to go turn on.

mabuck | 22. Januar 2019

How was camping in the model 3? I plan to do some trips coming up here soon. Where do you find spots that allow you to car camp?

ron | 22. Januar 2019

I did the same recently in TX, OK, KS, CO, and NM. The first photo is a Supercharger with a view and if that does not get you high the store next door will...

The "I love Lucy shot" is an inside joke with the wife... but that back deck and an iPad pro using the M3 Bluetooth audio and a pretty nice setup!!

KOA campgrounds in all states 50 AMP hookup.

ron | 22. Januar 2019

I should add that I had nights that were lower than 10f. Using camp mode when plugged in at a KOA you can sleep naked with no sheets and still sweat... but I would not recommend that if you have neighbors.

mabuck | 22. Januar 2019


Thanks for that. I just purchased a 10ft roll of window sun film to add some privacy when staying over at a camp ground.

Love your pics by the way! Hilarious!

mabuck | 22. Januar 2019


What SC is that so I know where to go with the high view?

ron | 23. Januar 2019

Trinidad, CO.