Everyone who visits Mammoth Mountain walks away wishing that they had more days to enjoy the legendary snow and terrain. Since you’re planning your Mammoth trip right now though, you have the opportunity to nip any chance of FOMO in the bud by finding ways to save money. After all, the less money you spend on travel, food, and lodging, the more time you can afford on the mountain.
If you’re not afraid of small spaces and sleeping bags, we have the information you need to start saving on your lodging expenses with our Mammoth Lakes car camping tips below. Check it out and plan your car camping adventure today!
Have a Parking Plan
Car camping in Mammoth Lakes isn’t as easy as pulling up to the parking lot closest to the ski lift.
You will not be able to car camp in any of the Mammoth Mountain parking lots overnight and you cannot park overnight on the nearby streets between November 1st and April 30th because of snow removal operations. There are some paid overnight parking options in town like those at Mammoth Mountain RV Park, but if you’re looking for free parking then you’ll likely have to head outside of the town limits. You can always car camp in dispersed camping areas, but winter snow may make many of those places unreachable by car.
For these reasons, it’s important that you have a clear plan for parking overnight. Wherever you choose, make sure your spot is well off the road and easily accessible for your vehicle!
Leave the Air Mattress at Home
If you’re new to car camping then air mattresses may seem like a clever solution to the problem of having a comfortable bed in a small space. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.
If you have a large car then an air mattress may fit, but many cars do not have the length or width for an inflated air mattress. Plus, even when deflated most air mattresses are still so bulky that no matter where you store it you’re probably going to have to shove it to make it fit. Forcing your air mattress into tight spaces or even just regular wear and tear could cause a leak, which means you can kiss your good night of sleep goodbye. For this reason, we recommend a good mattress pad over an air mattress for any car camping trip.
Know Your Car’s Limits
The perfect car camping car for you depends on your needs.
A Jeep with full off-road capabilities will help you reach parking spots over snow, but if it’s not comfortable to sleep in then you won’t enjoy your trip. Similarly, a campervan may offer you the most room to lay out, but if it doesn’t have the clearance to drive over snow and rocks then you may have to drive further than you’d like to find a parking spot.
You’re not going to want to sleep outside in the winter air so make sure you have enough room in your car for sleeping. Otherwise, any car can be used for car camping as long as you’re aware of its limits and plan around them.
If you prefer summer camping in a tent, we’ve got the info you need here!
Don’t Forget the Necessities!
You’re bound to miss home after a few nights spent in a car, but a few small necessities can make your stay much more comfortable while still being space-efficient! Wet wipes can temporarily replace most of the uses of a kitchen sink and a French press and ground coffee beans with some hot water will start your day off right!