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What is Tesla Camp Mode and how does it operate?

Tesla eliminates the biggest camping inconveniences with the Tesla Camp Mode, and here's everything you need to know about it.

Tesla Cybertruck outdoors

People seem to be becoming more interested in camping over the past few years. Some speculate that the increase in interest in the outdoors stems from social media. Most people now have the ability to see a beautiful place, learn where it is, and just go there. Also, connectivity and social media have made it safer to explore these places.

Now, if you live in America, you have undoubtedly seen trucks with rooftop tents, big tires, and plenty of other off-road and camping-related gear fitted on them. In most cases, these vehicles are called overland vehicles. Overlanding is essentially the act of traversing the beaten paths and exploring the outdoors on paved or dirt roads while camping along the way.

As you can imagine, Tesla noticed this recent camping trend and has come out with an innovative mode dubbed the "camping mode." The best part is that this is no gimmick. It solves some real-life camping problems, and it solves them well. Let’s have a look at what’s on offer.

Information regarding Tesla's camp mode has been gathered from Tesla and publications like MotorTrend and Car and Driver.

The Tesla Camp Mode Is More Than A Gimmick

The Tesla Camp Mode is here to solve some common (and annoying) issues campers face when sleeping inside or even outside the car. The idea here is pretty simple: you pull up to a camp spot, switch off your car, and set up your campsite. While doing so, you enable Tesla Camp Mode. The first benefit this will provide is while setting up the campsite. By switching Camp Mode on, the vehicle disables the walk-away lock feature, meaning that the car won’t lock and unlock every time you move around it.

Tesla Camp Mode Key Features:

  • Disabling of the walk-away lock: Prevents the car from locking and unlocking as users move around it.
  • Adjustable seat positions: Ability to move the front seats forward, maximizing interior sleeping space.
  • Continuous climate controls: Maintains a comfortable temperature inside the car, negating the need for external heaters or coolers.
  • Auxiliary hook-ups remain active: Ensures devices can be charged without an external power source.
  • Main screen utility: Can display visuals such as a campfire for ambiance.
  • Silent mode: Provides power without the noise or emissions of traditional engines.

Then, as soon as your campsite is finished and you are ready to set up your interior sleeping space, this is where Tesla Camp Mode shines. Once you enable it from the main screen, you can set it up to move the front seats as far forward as possible. This gives you enough space to sleep inside the car. But wait, there's more. Once you go to bed, Tesla Camp Mode keeps the climate controls and auxiliary hook-ups running.

Therefore, if it's cold outside, there's no need for additional heaters or thick sleeping bags; you just crank up the heat on your Tesla. And, there's also no need for a power source as all your devices can be charged from the vehicle. Oh, and let’s not forget that the main screen can be used to display videos, such as a campfire.

Teslas Have Obvious Camping Benefits

2024 Tesla Model Y parked in front of a lake

Teslas and electric cars, in general, open up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to camping. Their electric platform provides ample charge to run things like climate controls or chargers. Unlike a normal internal combustion vehicle, Teslas and EVs, in general, can provide their electric charge without an engine running to recharge it. Therefore, they remain silent and smooth while doing so.

This eliminates some big camping inconveniences. For example, to remain warm in extremely cold camping situations, most campers route a diesel heater inside the vehicle’s cabin or in their tent. A diesel heater is noisy, expensive, and bulky. It needs a permanent mounting spot or needs routing every time you park up at a cold camp spot. Obviously, as long as you sleep in the car and not in a tent, this problem is eliminated with Tesla’s camp mode.

The Tesla Camp Mode Takes Care Of The Climate Control

Best of all, the Tesla camp mode enables you to sleep in extremely warm situations. If you have ever been camping in warm weather, you will be aware of the struggle. Trying to sleep leads to an endless sequence of sweating and switching sides. By the morning, you've slept a couple of hours at best and are ready to leave and head home. However, with a Tesla, you simply switch the AC on. There are products that mimic this, but again, you need to buy them and carry them; in the Tesla, it's already there.

Lastly, you get rid of the struggle of routing an electrical system for camping. In normal vehicles, many people install a second battery to run their camping equipment, or they buy a power station. Since the Tesla runs everything from its main batteries, this issue is also eliminated. So, as you can see, there are some clear benefits here. But, it's not all good news.

The Negatives Of Camping In A Tesla

An action shot of the Tesla Model X

Of course, there are some negatives to taking your Tesla camping, even with Camp Mode. First and foremost, Tesla doesn’t offer a proper off-road car. Therefore, the places you camp will mostly be limited to organized camp spots. Teslas don’t provide you with the ability to head out into remote areas to camp alone. And, even if they did, their range would drastically reduce your ability to go really far into the unknown. Keep in mind that when off-roading, especially on tough trails, range falls drastically as the car uses far more energy. The charge loss is far more evident in an electric vehicle than the fuel loss in a normal car in an off-road situation.

The second problem is that even if you do manage to find a secluded camp spot that could be accessible to a car like the Model Y, you will need to factor in your available charge to get there, and the fact that running the climate controls and charging your gear through Camp Mode will further decrease the charge by the morning. This could lead to range issues.

Sadly, as of now, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Sure, a Rivian might be able to go off-road and charge your phone at night, but it still has range issues. However, if you only camp at designated camp spots, then the Tesla with its Camp Mode is the perfect vehicle as it eliminates some of the most annoying issues with camping.

Innovation And The Future Of Camping

2024 Tesla Model Y parked in a forest

As technology continually evolves, the relationship between modern conveniences and traditional camping is undeniable. Tesla's shot into enhancing the camping experience might be just the beginning. In the future, we might see further integration of smart technologies into camping. Imagine augmented reality stargazing, campsite setups that can be controlled via smartphones, or even tents with built-in solar panels for energy harvesting.

Sure, lovers of pure camping might argue for the essence of raw, unplugged camping experiences, and such experiences will still be possible. However, there's no denying that these technological advancements can make outdoor excursions more accessible and comfortable for many who, without them, would prefer to just stay at home.


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