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Car Camping: How comfortable can you make it?
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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 26, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Nathan Stokes wrote:
Queen Sized Aerobed just fits inside a 4 person Eureka tent, you can't get any better sleep than that, even for 2. The new Aerobeds have a battery in the inflation system and can charge / run off 12V. The only drawback on an Air mattress is they get cold when the temps drop.


I had the best bed ever one week long ago, by filling up a 7 by 9 ft. waterbed inside a 4 man Eureka tent. I took 100 ft. of hose and reserved a tent site nearest the bathroom/shower building. It just ended up looking like a flood scene on that campsite after I emptied it and left at end of stay.


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By Siberia
From Birmingham, AL
Oct 26, 2011

Go-Kot with a ThermaRest. These things are awesome. They're compact, heavy but not obscenely heavy, comfortable. Through college I just kept one in my car for whenever I needed to crash somewhere. Rolls up to about 6"x3"xa couple feet...

www.campingcot.com/?section=original

Looks like prices have gone up since 2001, but I'd get another if something happened to mine.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 26, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I always found cots to be only slightly more comfortable than being right on the ground. Thermarest was more comfy to me, until I got old and brittle, needing like 4 inches of mats now to sleep well.


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By Mattberr
From utah
Oct 26, 2011
uintas

+1 for the Nemo Cosmo with the pillowtop!! It fits perfectly in the back of my subaru and is 3 inches thick and also has a built in foot pump so you can inflate it super fast. Also packs down super small so I take it backpacking too. can't beat that


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By Kai Larson
From Sandy, Utah
Oct 26, 2011
Tour Ronde North Face

For car camping comfort, it's hard to beat a good roof top tent:


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 26, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I'd love to see a couple 220 lb campers up on top in that roof tent.!


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By bus driver
Oct 26, 2011

i turned my dudevan (toyota previa awd) into a camper with a few 2x4s, some milk crates, and bed slats from IKEA. The bed is full size (72"x51").We make it cozy with a down comforter and thermarests but i think I am going to upgrade to some of the pads you guys have mentioned. . . probably not the water bed idea though.

You could create this same set up in a truckbed , cargo van, or on the ground with a few more crates or bins. It is nice because you can make it single or double wide and the whole thing will collapse down if you need the space during the day.

Cost of materials for the bed platform is about $50. Cost for the van was 1400. Its no synchro westfalia but I still have some coin for gas and gear.

Here's a link to the set up

www.toyotanation.com/forum/showthread.php?t=357547

i have covered the

daytime setup
daytime setup


bed platform
bed platform


night time
night time


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By Marius
Oct 26, 2011

Try some cardboards. They are free and works well as an extra insulation in 30s


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By Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Oct 26, 2011
rockerwaves

Photo: Olaf Mitchell
Photo: Olaf Mitchell


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 26, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

+1 Olaf. Gotta love a beach bungalow rat trap van.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Oct 28, 2011
Stoked...

Misty Crash pad + therma rest...

Flip it upside down so the softer foam is facing up (with the shoulder straps and buckles facing up). The foam is softer then the hard cell foam you stand/land on... next fold up a semi inflated therma rest at your feet to add length and level area for your feet. Air matresses are nice - coleman's don't deflate (as much).


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 28, 2011

pffft, i've got a tempurpedic mattress in the back of my truck. seriously. its friggin awesome.


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By rj-n-foco
From Ft Collins, CO
Oct 28, 2011

This is my king of car camping, bivi, winter backcountry vehicle. I have a two inch memory foam on top of the regular foam mattress in the penthouse top. The propane heater means I sleep in t shirt and underwear with blankets. It's the shizzitt!!

Car Camping King
Car Camping King


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By thecornyman
From Oakland, CA
Oct 28, 2011
me on illusion dweller

rj-n-foco wrote:
This is my king of car camping, bivi, winter backcountry vehicle. I have a two inch memory foam on top of the regular foam mattress in the penthouse top. The propane heater means I sleep in t shirt and underwear with blankets. It's the shizzitt!!

Thanks, I just started to hate my brand new tent...


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By Jeremy Stoshick
From Luzerne, PA
Oct 29, 2011
Pinnacle Gully, Mt. Washington

I built a sleeping platform into my honda element - here are the cool things about it.

>Choose the Element because it is 4wd, good on gas, and has a high capacity.
>Sleeping platform is 72'' long x 48'' wide - plenty big. Use reg sleeping pads and bags but could easily use the cabelas or whoever mattress - I am very weight conscience to keep fuel mileage good.
>Splits easily almost in half for "driving mode" - simply unbolt and slide back - takes little time and effort.
>Built the platform high enough to allow for ample storage under it and plenty of room on top - this makes for awesome / easy to get at storage and no need to shuffle gear and stuff when your dead tired - security too.
>Platform IS very solid - the pvc pipe is on the airbag on the seat which have a reinforced frame - weights less than that of 1 seat (both seats removed).




--- Invalid image id: 107349982 ---

side
side


inside w/ curtain
inside w/ curtain


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 29, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

How 'good on gas' is the Element anyway? My lifetime gas mileage average for all vehicles owned is over 40mpg, so anything in low 30's seems like a fuel waster to me. Space looks great for sure, but just wonder about the gas consumption.


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By BScallout
Oct 29, 2011

Andrew B. wrote:
Nothing beats a Paco Pad.


hahaha. Lots of shit beats a Paco pad. I like 5" 6'x6' memory foam.


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Oct 30, 2011
Indy pass

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
How 'good on gas' is the Element anyway? My lifetime gas mileage average for all vehicles owned is over 40mpg, so anything in low 30's seems like a fuel waster to me. Space looks great for sure, but just wonder about the gas consumption.


Woah, what vehicles have you owned?


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By Jeremy Stoshick
From Luzerne, PA
Oct 30, 2011
Pinnacle Gully, Mt. Washington

Highway I average 25 and 21 in town. It would be hard to compare a small economy car with the Element (Any cars that would get 40mpg don't offer what the Element offers unfortunately) because it is obviously a totally different type of car - or for that matter a Diesel (Maybe a custom build Diesel? - the VW line all has ground clearance that bottoms out over gum wrappers and a terrible mechanical reliability record)

When I decided to buy, I had to buy something 4wd (I truly have a need) and I wanted something for utility use, camping, climbing, mtn biking etc. that was a good all around vehicle.

MY previous vehicle was a Jeep Commander 11/13 fuel economy there - so this was the ultimate compromise - while not as good off road as a 4wd truck it certainly beats the pants off of it fuel economy wise and offers a significantly stronger value proposition over the long term (resale, expected maintenance, fuel, insurance cost, etc.).

So, after having it for a few months, Feb '11, I can say it definitively meets all of the needs I outlined and is a very handy little wagon - albeit; not very fun to drive and it could use more ground clearance.


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By -sp
From East-Coast
Oct 30, 2011
Buenos Dias!

Element set up looks cool. Two questions: how hard is it to get the rear seats out and what did you bolt the platform to?


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 30, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Jason N. wrote:
Woah, what vehicles have you owned?

1970 Opel GT, got 48 once on highway, usually mid 30's in the city.
1977 Datsun B210, got 55 on highway all the time,, 44 in city. 1980 Datsun 310 GX coupe, also over 50 highway and 44 city. 1986 Nissan Stanza wagon, got 50 a few times, averaged about 40 city. '98'Chevy.Geo Metro, 3 cylinder and it got 56 once, 42 in city. My current Honda Fit is the 'worst' yet with only 36 city and 49 once on the open road. All were stick shifts, with 5 speed or better. Small cars, yes, with the Stanza and Fit being the largest of them. I pay so little for a fill up, I love it.


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By dorseyec
Oct 30, 2011

It does get annoying when all my friends with their tiny cars can never drive on road trips because their cars cant hold more than two people. Great for them, sucks for me.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Oct 30, 2011

-sp wrote:
Element set up looks cool. Two questions: how hard is it to get the rear seats out and what did you bolt the platform to?


Rear seats come out very easy. one lever, lift, pull. weigh about 20-30lb each.

for tent camping. Thermarests + memory foam topper = kickass

for Element camping

Spare gym floor foam from my gym's re-flooring (new stuff.. not the old junk)


thermarest on top of that and it's pretty good. or if it's me and the GF then the Memory foam topper on the floor foam would work.


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By DaveF
From Durango, CO
Oct 31, 2011

For our base set up we use a North Face VE 25 tent, 2 Paco Pads side by side with a pillow top queen fitted sheet to go over the Paco Pads, fitted flannel sheets to go over the pillow top, down pillows, and a down blanket. When it gets really cold, a thinsulate blanket over the down. That's the car basecamp setup. BD lantern hanging from the center of the tent, iPod with speakers and booster (facing down) in the mesh pockets on the top of the tent, and laptop with spare battery for 3 movies while camping. Ridiculous comfort out of a tent. Indian Creek, Black Canyon, Cochise...it's all good with this baby


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By Chris D
From the couch
Oct 31, 2011
Sign near the Third Flatiron

Lots of talk about thermarests, north face products, REI, etc.

My first piece of advice for car camping is to just go cheap. Cheap is heavy, but who cares when it's just car camping?

I used to use my backpacking gear when car camping, and was uncomfortable and cramped. I was also putting needless wear and tear on my lightweight gear.

Then I realized that for the cost of only my backpacking tent (or sleeping bag) I could get a big-ass tent (REI Camp Hut 6 on sale for $99), a queen-sized Coleman air mattress (Walmart, $21), a rechargeable air mattress pump ($18), and a big fat fluffy Coleman 20-degree sleeping bag ($30). Add a blanket to throw over the air mattress and some pillows and you're all set. This ~$200 setup has served me for many years and has saved a lot of wear and tear on my good gear.


It's like having a mansion wherever you go. I have since transitioned to the only thing better than this...sleeping in the bed of my truck, but the cheapo tent setup is clutch when I go out with others who don't have their own camping gear.



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