Official Camping Mode

Official Camping Mode

Musk suggested that the Model 3 would be "great for camping".

I'm a tad over 6 feet tall so I don't know how realistic it might be to make this work in a 3 with the rear seats folded back, but I'm hoping it is possible.

However, it's necessary to kind of trick the Model S via a series of settings to get it to keep the climate control going with the car parked. While this works, it's kind of a kludge from what I've seen in Bjorn's video. I'm hoping the firmware is updated to support an official camping mode that does everything in one press. Anyone know why they wouldn't make this an official feature?

pangolina | April 13, 2016

Priorities I'd say... No matter how small the feature is, or how 'easy' it looks, it always takes time and resource(s) to implement, test and deploy one. This is not official - just my guess :) I'd love to see this option. Tesla cars (and BEVs in general) are good candidates for camping :) since there's no dangerous fumes while the car is running. Plus one can rent an RV spot and plug the car in - this way AC or heater won't tax the batteries.

David N | April 14, 2016

Honda makes a OEM Tent accessory for the Honda Pilot. Rear lift gate stays open, Tent is made to overhang the car. I would post a picture but I'm not that computer savvy .

David N | April 14, 2016

Tesla tent option would be nice, add a Camping "mode" and that would be the icing on the cake. With the ability to plug in at a Campground so battery gets charged while still having the ability to heat or cool, while surfing the web. I think because the Model S and X have more interior room, those models might make sense. But then again if you have the ability to purchase one of those Models then chances are they would choose a Hotel over sleeping In the car.

OHMY | April 17, 2016

I'd like to see camp mode have a reverse bioweapon defense mode-- filters the inside air of all the stinky people here who haven't showered and just slept in the car smell.

Supraman | April 18, 2016

Are we talking about actually sleeping in the car here, or using the car to heat/cool a tent extension to the car, or both?

dsvick | April 18, 2016

@David N
...having the ability to heat or cool, while surfing the web
What sort of camping is that? :)

carlgo | April 18, 2016

Need a bear defense mode. The sensors detect an approaching bear and electrify the body panels. Strong as a bear is quite descriptive. Once they found out Teslas were aluminum, they would seek them out for luncheons.

Just came back from a remote park, refreshing to see nobody on their phone as there was no service!

And there should be a Kid Mode that disables all devices in the car. Look out the $%^&#@ window! Would also work with teenagers who might get to drive it.

At a big car auction there was an old VW camper with a big side tent, VW camping furniture, VW silverware and dishes, etc. Quite nice.

Our landlord had a gigantic Greyhound bus RV that he would take "campin'" which involved parking on 10 square miles of asphalt and hooking up the septic drain.

It seems better to have a detached tent so you can drive off for a bit without packing up.

FelixMendeldog | April 27, 2016

Bump. To clarify, I love tents too, but we’re talking about sleeping in the car, while running the climate control, without tricks (e.g. heavy bag on the driver’s seat.) We expect to do this often while traveling, paying RV campsites to plug-in, sleep, shower and continue road trips. We want this.

Steven.Haver | April 27, 2016

Yes, it would be great if the climate control were available without any gimmicks. I'd love for it to be completely controllable by the phone app or at least done in a way so that once it's set, it goes dark. That way you could have no lights, no screen, no indication from the vehicle at all that the climate control is even on, just blissful warm/cold coming from the registers throughout the night.

Many years ago I made a list of all the things I hoped for from a camping mode. You can see that old thread here:

Funny to see how far we've come since then and yet a lot of those items are still big concerns of mine.
The highlights:

1) No Auto-Lock. You should be able to leave doors unlocked indefinitely. No auto-locking, and it should be possible to leave the key fob in the car without it complaining and without any energy drain

2) No flashy lights/noises. For example: at 3am when someone I don't know's tent is right in front of my Model 3, I would like to be able to open the door/back and get in without interior lights coming on, DRL/headlights turning on, any kind of flashing, beeping, alarming, etc. Dark and silent!

3) Low Energy Usage. I know several vehicles that keep the dashboard electronics running whenever any door/sunroof is open. This has resulted in many drained batteries while camping. It would be nice to be able to leave doors open indefinitely without any energy usage. It would also be nice to be able to turn off some of the background energy drains. When I'm outside of cell service, for example, I don't want Model 3 to keep trying to connect to TESLA, etc. Something along the lines of airplane mode. It should stay in that mode until you turn it off, so that even if you do need to turn the car on to roll up a window or something, you're still in low energy mode.

4) Leveling. It would be great if the air suspension could auto level or be easily adjusted (each wheel independently) when parked. On most terrain there would be no need for legos (leveling blocks) at all. Quick and easy, the touch of a button.

Badbot | April 28, 2016

I do not have a tesla yet but on the delivery video there is a mode that places it in park, allows heat or air to work without the fob if needed the mode is for leaving your wife or Lassie in the car without cooking or freeze drying them. and in settings you can set the dome lights to off on door opening.

saltsman | June 14, 2016

Sorry to resurrect the post. I'm a model 3 reservation holder and I want to make sure I understand. As of today, there isn't a way to sleep inside a Model S, with the AC on, while also charging?

As a Chevy Volt owner, I camp in the car quite frequently. Power on, AC on, seats down, doors locked, lights off and charging as I sleep (Google Volt-ebago: Car camping made easy). I was really looking forward to continuing that with the Model 3.

alseTrick | June 14, 2016


Put the car in neutral. Put the parking brake on. Lock the doors from the center screen. Keep your a/c on. Go to sleep. . com /watch?v=33jmU-vY058

Blue85DCalifornia | June 15, 2016

@tsquared. Sorry, it's not possible to shift into neutral while charging.

If you read the comment for the video you posted "Tutorial for setting the car in Camper Mode which runs the HVAC (heater/AC/air circulation) constantly on while you're sleeping in the car or doing something else. This mode can't be used while charging."

Czech | June 16, 2016

I think a camping mode would also be helpful if you wanted to charge and hang out in the car and surf the Internet or something. Like if your on a road trip and it's in the middle of the night and nothing is open

dachuyn | June 16, 2016

... Another reason for a hatchback M3 ...

Damntruckers | June 16, 2016

Yes, please! Our Toyota Matix spends many nights at the trailhead so we can get an early start. With a thermarest pad and seats down my wife (5'5") and I (6'4") can sleep. Steven.H's suggestions are good ones, I've resorted to pulling bulbs and disconnecting chimes so I don't disturb the princess when I step outside at 3am.

mos6507 | June 17, 2016

Note that the reason the thread was created was to try to get an official camping mode button added to the Tesla firmware. I know it's possible to execute a bunch of settings to do what's necessary, sacrificing the ability to charge while doing it, but it would be much more convenient to have a single button that does it all (and maybe also allows charging while doing it, since it wouldn't be a hack with the car in neutral anymore). So I'm hoping that do that.

jsanford | June 18, 2016

I'm with mos6507. Park the car at an RV powered hookup, plug in, and camp. I'm not adverse to putting up a tent outside the car, but if it were a long car trip taken by necessity as opposed to something recreational and planned, camping mode would be great.

alseTrick | June 18, 2016


Pssh. Who reads the fine print?

Red Sage ca us | June 20, 2016

mos6507: +1! As a person who is gifted with the 'uncanny ability to fall asleep anywhere' (per my Dad), I agree with your position. It would be really nice to be able to just choose 'CAMPER MODE'. Even if it was something as simple as clicking 'PARK' three times in succession to engage, then holding the button for two seconds to turn it off.

Orland | June 20, 2016

This is a "feature" I can get behind as well.

I've done a lot of road driving when going home to visit mom 24-27 hour drives (going from the snow to the toasty sun).

I usually crash for a couple hours on the road/rest stop, etc. since the trip takes over 1 day, (and at latest check when I test drove a Model S, it would add 5 more hours for charging time to get there). I've enjoyed leaving the car running so I can keep the internal temperature, and locking the doors so I'm a little safer, with the lights off (my dog used to love it as well).

It would be great if the M3 could "emulate" that mode with a "camping mode".

Badbot | June 20, 2016

U 2 red?

My coworkers were amazed that I fell asleep during a discussion while standing in the parking lot.
Man I hated graveyard shift.

Czech | June 20, 2016

How about just keeping the car cool when it's hot outside and you want to surf the Internet in your car instead of shopping at what ever is around. Sometimes you just don't need to shop for anything

saltsman | June 20, 2016

No charging while in camping mode is a big disappointment.

Like @Damntruckers, we spend a good number of nights at trailheads and campgrounds.

The benefit if the campground is most come equipped with a 240V NEMA 14-50. You could add some serious miles of range and stay cool while sleeping instead of taking them off.

BTW... A old sports drink bottle solves the 3am disturbance issues :)

cquail | June 21, 2016

You won't give up charging while in camping mode. Our Tesla S85D will charge and keep you cool too as long as someone is sitting in the drivers seat. I have not tied the car-in-neutral parking-brake option yet.

FelixMendeldog | June 21, 2016

@cquail—yes, that’s exactly the problem: currently there needs to be quite a bit of weight in the driver’s seat. That’s really all that needs to be changed for there to be an “official” camping mode—just a setting to allow the systems to run, while in park, while charging, with nothing in the driver’s seat.

mos6507 | June 21, 2016

Then it probably requires you figure out what sort of contact/sensor is in the seat and hack it with a switch, thus voiding your warranty. Really, if Elon is saying on Twitter that the 3 will be great for camping, it should have a real camping mode.

Badbot | June 21, 2016

OK if I camp the cooler is driving

Rocky_H | June 21, 2016

You know we're going high tech when the car hack we're talking about is a sack of potatoes to put in the driver's seat. ;)

sp_tesla | June 21, 2016

"Rocky_H | June 21, 2016
You know we're going high tech when the car hack we're talking about is a sack of potatoes to put in the driver's seat."

Great stuff, keep it coming.

saltsman | June 21, 2016

1st choice: Just allow the car run indefinitely while charging.
2nd choice: Camping mode in software.
3rd choice: Collapsable water container to fill and place in front seat at campground.

Red Sage ca us | June 22, 2016

To each, his own, and stuff:

tfay412 | July 5, 2016

I would like a camping mode for when I need to recharge overnight and I don't want to spring for a hotel. I would like to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. lol

sedwards00 | August 17, 2016

Need camping mode!

skygraff | August 17, 2016

Tesla retweeted about it so they seem supportive.

jdanielp_uk | August 18, 2016

Just read a Bloomberg article about camping in Model S which also claims (via an 'insider' source) it will work in the 3 too:


johndoe | August 19, 2016

I want to know how they will do autonomous driving camper mode. I would like to be able to go to bed in the car, and during the night the car drives off to it's destination. This will be great for going skiing for the day.

cquail | August 19, 2016

It's coming. Next we will need Tesla stops like trucker stops where we have showers and food and restrooms so we can get back in the car and sleep.

Makard | September 6, 2016

It's a deal breaker for us...if we are unable to leave AC on, lock the doors, and walk away while leaving our animals inside..we will have to go shopping elsewhere for another SUV that will permit such. Obviously, it would make a lot of sense for the same capability to be selected when charging so that we can travel long distances with our animals. TESLA, PLEASE make this improvement!!!

Mike83 | September 7, 2016

The Tesla app for android or iPhone allows one to control the Temperature from anywhere and other features. I suggest people peruse the Tesla web site for information, Also talking to a Tesla employee is very useful. Forums are not comprehensive.

PV_Dave @US-PA | September 7, 2016

@Makard: The phone app will allow you to turn on the climate for 30 minutes immediately after exiting the vehicle. When Supercharging, I typically have the climate on for the end of the charge to "fill the thermal battery", i.e. heat or cool the car while on grid power instead of on battery power. You can re-start it (or stop and then restart) for an additional 30 minutes whenever you take the time to do so and both you and the car have Internet access (i.e. cellular signal). It's not as convenient as it could be, but it's not impossible.

At present you leave your SUV running with the key and animals inside? For more than 30 minutes?

carlos | September 7, 2016

You know what's great for camping also? An RV, a Tent, or a even a nicely appointed cabin. If you can afford a Tesla, you can afford all of these.

sklancha | September 7, 2016

@Carlos- you clearly haven't camped Tesla-style before. We've bumped up our camping trips significantly since getting the Tesla. Would not pick a cabin or RV over a Tesla. We do use a tent, bUt it connects to the car, and the back of the car becomes the bedroom, frunk is the kitchen, and the tent gets the left over roles.

JayInJapan | September 7, 2016

Slept in my MS for four nights after our earthquakes. Camper mode works great.

dsvick | September 8, 2016

@carlos - "You know what's great for camping also? An RV, a Tent, or a even a nicely appointed cabin. If you can afford a Tesla, you can afford all of these."

Agreed!! I've slept in cars, and while it sure beats sleeping outside with no other camping gear, there is no comparison to my hammock, or even a tent with a decent pad under you. I can understand staying overnight in the car if you're on a roadtrip and get tired or get stranded somewhere but I can't imagine purposely deciding to go camping with just your car.

Do you pull it up to the fire ring and hold your marshmallow stick out the window? Or do you just crank the heat and make smores over the heater vent?

sklancha | September 9, 2016

@dsvick- Don't be silly, we start the campfire right inside the car... you know, just like you do if you are camping in a tent or an RV.

We do a fair amount of camping, and have done everything between one man tents in rustic camp sites to a cabin in the Blueridge mountains, where fresh cut flowers and breakfast magically aopeared each morning. Camping in a Tesla has become our favorite. My teen child and I recently finished a 42 day cross country roadtrip. About 90% of our nights were camping. For is, the major benefit is a predictably safe and secure place to sleep, no matter what the weather or campground accommodation. Some nights, it was just a quick way to sleep, charge and take off. Some nights it kept us protected from too harsh elements. Sometimes it was just a matter of being able to warm up or cool down enough before we went to sleep for the night. The view of the stars through the screened pano was a great way to fall asleep. I can tell a poop load of stories just from that trip alone, that could explain the fascination with 'Tesla camping'

info | September 10, 2016

I know Elon has mentioned the Model 3 would be great for camping but I can t wait to see what he meant. Could someone in the know PLEASE tell more?
Flat folding seats and maximising the length at the back are 100 % necessary. If not that would be a deal breaker for me. Camping mode seems obvious. Will there be an option to keep a hotspot on? Inside lights? Music? I can't wait to sleep under the stars in total luxury. Imagine a hotel room with roof windows on wheels. For me it's such a selling point that Elon should build showers at some superchargers located in cool locations and along main long journeys. Imagine the freedom and savings during holidays or weekend trips!! I think this forum should focus on what features should camping mode have. Any great ideas for them to implement in Model 3?

info | September 10, 2016

@dsvick I can bear the hassle of setting up camp but finding a good camping spot is a big headache, not to mention illegal in 99% of nice spots, where I live anyway. The worry that someone can open and enter the tent at any time also makes finding a good space difficult. Then it's sometimes too cold, too hot, too dark, too noisy, too windy, etc etc. All those issues 100% sorted when camping with a car... Park, enjoy, sleep... What's not to love?!

People will say that bearing with environmental conditions is the point of camping. Good for them! I hope the model 3 will have nice blinds. That would be an awesome option :)

dsvick | September 12, 2016

@sklancha - "Don't be silly, we start the campfire right inside the car..."

You have to get the moonroof option to do that right? :)

Dac | September 12, 2016

"Elon should build showers at some superchargers" - info

I am pretty sure Tesla doesn't want to encourage people to camp out at their superchargers, especially not overnight.