Car Sleepers Guide: 7 Conditions for Survival

Some of the best places to sleep in your car need to have the proper requirements for making it comfortable. Like any other sleeping environment, you need the right formula. This is assuming that your car is comfortable enough to sleep in already. Maybe you could give it a try at your home parking lot to see if you can comfortably sleep in your car. I would assume all the right conditions for sleeping comfort should be in place on your own property. Unless, of course, you lived in an apartment complex, then car sleeping may be a little more tricky.

1. Noise
Noise is more of a big deal for car sleeping. You don’t have the protection like you would inside a regular house. Sure, the car window helps a little bit, but you will need to at least keep it cracked open a little bit, no matter what the temp is. Whether the weather is -10 below zero or 100 degrees, you need adequate ventilation while sleeping. I have woken up in a coughing fit many times to find fluid collected in my lungs. I never had the problem before car sleeping. The best fix is keep good ventilation.

So, you can control the outside noise a little bit by the car doors, but its not enough. What if you have a problem with another car that doesn’t get a new muffler? What if its a big loud truck? These are noises that will startle you awake and keep you bleary eyed. You want to keep the noises to a minimum. The best way to control the noise is finding the ideal spot to park.

My park spot is not perfect, by any means, but it is certainly better than many others. I have a low amount of traffic pass through during sleeping hours, so I’m able to consistently get the rest I need. I tried to sleep in the Walmart parking lot once, but the traffic was too frequent to be tolerable. I only sleep in a ford focus, so am very visible and nervous about traffic.

2. Light
I think you need a well lit area, even at night. To be able to find things when you need them is very helpful. The dark areas are too vulnerable to crime or hurting yourself. Imagine if you tripped and hurt yourself in the dark while going to the bathroom or something. Its not exactly desire able to have a dark spot. Even if it feels like you are more protected because people have a hard time seeing you.

In my opinion, when you become too poor to afford housing anymore, it would be more desirable to be seen more and recognized better. This is definitely not the time to lurk in the shadows anymore. Sleeping in your car is a silent call for help. You already are very vulnerable to many terrible conditions. You will want to see what is going on around you as much throughout the day as possible. In turn, if you are not a threat to others, its ok to be seen by me as well.

There may be a few hostile people towards you in the light, but that can be worse in the dark. Who knows what evil things mean people can do to you in the shadows of the night. Stay visible and stay safe.
Local crime
You will want to leave the area I immediately if the crime is bad. Sure, you are a simple homeless person, what could people want from you, right? Some people are just pure evil. They were born that way and there is nothing you can do to change them. Factor in a drug addiction and you will have some very irrational people to deal with.

If you have the ability to read people, then by all means feel free to take your chances with some. I feel more confident in reading people through a few psychology books and also Chinese Face Reading. Becoming well read about people can help you a lot in scary environments.

But you have to aware that surprises come out of no where as well. Did Eastern Europe see the Mongol invasion coming? Not before it was too late. Society is very fluid and mentally ill people are on the move constantly. Sometimes people close to you become mentally ill gradually over time, such as Alzheimer’s. just be aware of the social changes happening around you always, even if its tough.

3. Weather

The weather can get just awful sometimes. I live in Wisconsin and the temps can rise above 100 degrees in the summer or drop below -30 in the winter. This isn’t exactly survivable weather without a car. My first night sleeping in my car was on Dec 24 and it was -8 degrees. I was ill prepared and got little sleep that night. My feet kept turning into ice blocks after falling asleep. I was amazed how hard it was to stay warm. All my water froze, even after placing the water inside my sleeping bag. I will warn you that conditions below 20 degrees start to become unbearable.

It’s probably best to go homeless in a more stable climate, such as somewhere on the coast. However, you could face other more damaging problems than what the weather causes. Personally, I will not go down south from the winter. It sounds too chaotic at any time of the year and is not worth the trouble. I hear about a lot of other people who go homeless in the Washington and Oregon areas and do just fine. In fact, they have whole communities of these kind of green living places where the very poor can live in peace. The weather is a big draw for me as I require low sunlight and cooler temperatures anyway.

4. Local Access to Bathroom

It’s important to live a reasonably sanitary lifestyle. You don’t want to put yourself or others at risk for preventable diseases. You need to keep your area clean and looking as though no one has been around there. You want to go to the bathroom a good distance away. I generally have to walk a few blocks somewhere to go to the bathroom. Unlike, house dwellers, I get a little more exercise, primarily motivated by having to go pee. I used to live in a few homes where the bathroom was right next to the bedroom. How convenient is that? I took a very big hit on my standard of living by losing out on bathroom privileges.

5. Sense of privacy

I think you have to balance privacy with being noticable in public. If you slept in a van with all the windows closed, you could have more people who are suspicious of your activities. When you sleep in a clear window car, there is no doubt what you are doing, as anyone can see you if they get close enough. I don’t want to attract cops and I don’t want to illicit any suspicion of what I’m doing. This makes me vulnerable to threats from evil people, but at least, I may fair a better good-natured chance with the law-abiding tax payers.

6. Good health

You won’t sleep very well if you have bad anxiety or any other physical problems. Not only that, but you have to be aware of nasty pollution as well. I have had a few nights where some neighbors burned their trash and caused me to collect fluid in my lungs while sleeping. Coughing extra collected fluid out of my lungs is difficult because it’s deep-set. I feel like I’m choking while trying to get it out. Usually, the fluid collection is a result from sleeping in the car seat or upright position. Most nights I haven’t had to cough, there are peculiar nights though.

Dryness can cause problems with fluid buildup as well. I had a lot of problems in the winter. There is also a problem with moisture content during the winter dryness as well that caused problems. When I could see my breath, I needed to allow the moisture to escape, or it built up in the car. So, even when it gets -20 degrees out, I still need to have the window cracked open or I develop lung and breathing disorders. I think the gravity makes it harder for the fluid to escape. This could be why lying down is very important for sleeping.

7. Friendly people

Usually, the homeless will get pushed into the ghettos of society or the outskirts of towns and cities. They may fair best when there are with other friendly people around who understand them. There isn’t exactly much patience for trying to improve diversity when you are struggling to survive. You want to quickly band yourself with other like-minded people and support each other to survive best.


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