Shopping For A Used Ford Compact Crossover
The Ford Bronco Sport is an all-new compact SUV, but the Ford Escape offers a lot in a similar price range. It was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year and carries over into 2021 with minimal changes. The previous generation was introduced in 2013, with a mid-cycle refresh in 2017.
2021 Subaru Outback / Photo credit: Subaru
How To Turn Your Suv Into A Camper
That was the question we asked ourselves how do we turn our SUV into a rolling campsite?
It turns out there are plenty of things that you can do to make this sweet little setup even better. Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring some of those with you and put some of them to the test on our next expedition.
The first thing we wanted to do was find a way to create a space for sleeping while still storing all of our camping paraphernalia.
After some research, we came across some plans for building your own platform bed in your car.
Im a fan of Bourbon Moth and was inspired by his build in his friends Subaru Outback.
I come from a background in carpentry, so I could build an SUV bed platform myself. So I set out to make some plans for our Pilot.
Earth Traveler T250lx: 298 Lbs
You wont find a lighter camper than the Earth Traveler T250LX. This updated model is just a tiny bit lighter than their older model, but any vehicle from this company is manageable for a tow vehicle of any size. If you have a motorcycle thats capable of towing a couple hundred pounds, this could be the perfect match for you!
With its super lightweight carbon frame and fold-out sections, this is a nice little camper you can take anywhere. It comes with 2 large outdoor lounge cushions, interior LED lights, and insulated walls and ceilings.
See more details about the Earth Traveler T250LX here.
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Honda Element: In Its Element
What can we say about this giant-sized SUV? There isnt a car better made for camping to date. Sure, it may not top in luxury or looks but can you beat its washable floors and stain-resistant seats? The boxy looks of the Honda Element may turn off some, but are perfect to carry large camping equipment like coolers, cooking or barbecuing stuff and whatever else you just need to have for your trip.
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The all-wheel-drive can take the Element through dirt roads with ease, and theres a 6-person tent that Honda offers as an added attachment. Enchanting, right? If you dont like the tent, the seats can also be removed to sleep people inside the car.
Toyota Sienna The Best Minivan To Live In
Plus, its bigger than popular small cargo vans, including the Ford Transit Connect and the Ram Promaster City.
The Toyota Sienna is 16, 8 long and 6.5 wide.
The Ford Transit Connect is 14, 5 long and 7 wide.
The Ram Promaster City is 15,5 long and 6 wide.
A Toyota Sienna is a great car you can live in because its nimble, reliable and safe. These minivans have a combined gas mileage of 22 mpg and feature 3.5L, V-6 engines.
You can either throw a bed in back or pay for a partial or full campervan conversion.
Looking for a simple and comfortable mattress?Check out this tri-fold memory foam mattress.
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What Is A Compact Suv
If a subcompact SUV just doesn’t work for you whether you require extra room, a nicer interior, better ride quality or more power it’s time to try the next size up. Compact crossovers have been around for decades and are certainly more practical as long as you don’t mind driving a larger vehicle. They’re typically more expensive than subcompacts, but many shoppers will find the upgrades to be worth the premium.
- Starting price :
- Maximum cargo capacity:
- 45.2 cubic feet
The Mazda CX-30, like many crossovers in this class, has more personality and charm than you’ll find in many larger, more expensive SUVs. It not only has a handsome exterior styling and a premium interior that would make some pricier vehicles blush with envy, but the CX-30 is also entertaining to drive. It feels athletic and nimble without the punishing ride you’ll find in other sporty vehicles. It’s practical, too, thanks to an interior that offers more room for passengers and cargo than some rivals, including the smaller Mazda CX-3.Read more
The Downside Of Building Your Own Suv Bed Platform
So during our research phase, we kept bumping into the same issue: once installed, this platform converts our vehicle into a mobile tent.
What we love about our Pilot is the versatility. With 3 rows of seats, we have the option of loading it with our friends and running into town or the trailhead.
Or we could keep the 3rd row up and have tons of storage while still having 5 seatbelts.
And with the 2nd row folded down, we have the capacity of, I dont know, a hearse?
Anyway, building our own platform would mean we lose all of those configurations.
I seem to have commitment issues where I like to leave my options open. So, how do we make the platform transformable to get the most use out of it?
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Best Cars To Sleep In Resources
Cars Direct is another decent car listing service. Take your time to view all possible options and if you do not find anything suitable, consider widening your search range.
Its much better to ask a friend to take you to pick up the perfect car than settle for something that isnt going to give you everything you need whilst out on the road.
If you have already purchased your vehicle you can check out my ultimate sleeping in the car tips.
More Than Meets The Eye
The best camping cars need more than just a spacious cabin. There are some key boxes you need to ensure are ticked before you sign off on a purchase. Here are some tips to help you reach the right decision.
- Is it a good off-roader? While most crossovers offer all-wheel drivetrains, not all are genuinely capable of handling rough terrain.
- Does it have the all the essentials? Roughing it does not mean abandoning all creature comforts. With features like heated seats, multi-zone climate control, moonroofs, and sound-proof windows all work to create a pretty luxurious mobile camper.
- Can it haul your family and all your gear? You do not require all that much power to get around town, but when youre climbing steeper terrain or pulling a trailer with a full cabin, you need a lot more.
- Will it keep you safe? When youre far from civilization, you will want to know that your vehicle is reliable. High safety ratings and a decent list of safety features are a must.
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Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen Best Small Car To Sleep In
The VW Golf Sportwagen offers 66.5 cubic-feet of space if you fold the rear seats. All you need is a small mattress or comforter to transform the rear quarters into a comfy bed. Throw in a couple of pillows and youre all set! This car is also equipped with a power tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof that measures over 12 square feet. This means adequate ventilation even if you sleep with the windows closed. The 2018 VW Golf Sportwagen starts at around $26,000 and comes standard with a powerful 170-horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that gets 25/34 mpg.
If your windows arent closing, you may need to repair the power window motor.
The Best Cars To Sleep In On Those Long Road Trips
Take it from me. There is no ideal vehicle to sleep in. You can have a spacious SUV or minivan and still wake up feeling like chopped liver. But if you have the right stuff, you can sleep soundly even if youre cramped inside a small hatchback.
However, there are some cars that will make it easier and more comfortable to sleep in. Station wagons, large SUVs, and minivans are the best choices for obvious reasons. Here are some of our favorites:
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Tips And Features Of Mattresses For Sleeping In Suv
So, youre looking for the best SUV mattress available? Then you need to pay attention to these key features and qualities to find the best match for you and your family.
This is a major consideration youll likely be camping in your SUV on the way to a big backpacking trip so taking the time to manually pump up the mattress may be a bummer.
Personally, I really like electric pumps for the ease of use and also not having to pack a manual air pump that takes up precious sleeping space. I want to stay stealth when SUV camping so everything must stay inside the car.
This may or may not be a big concern to you. If you regularly sleep on your side some of the thinner mattresses not be your jam.
Size & Weight
If youre looking for the perfect SUV mattress then youre probably looking for one that doesnt take up too much space and doesnt weigh an absolute ton. A large bulky mattress that takes up half your trunk space isnt very practical.
The best mattress needs to be compact but still be comfortable, as well as being durable, and long lasting.
Measure twice, buy once.
If youve got a large space with the third row folded down youll want to maximize the size of the mattress for comfort, but if the wheel wells decrease your width it may not be possible to squeeze it in even if the head fits.
Safety and Cleaning
The mattresses that weve selected in our article have all passed safety standards and have proven records with safety.
Also Consider: Used Cars & Suvs For Camping
The pictures and descriptions youll see below are of new vehicles from the 2021 model year. However, most of these vehicles havent been redesigned in a few years, which means you can get nearly identical models on the used market and save thousands of dollars.
Below each vehicle, youll see a description of which model years to look for, and a link to Carfax used car listings. Every listing at Carfax comes with a free Carfax Vehicle History Report, for peace of mind.
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon / Photo Credit: Stellantis
How To Sleep In Your Suv Comfortably And Safely
You sleep in your car because you are sleepy or exhausted from a long drive. Your vehicle must be comfortable to regain your energy by taking a break.
Sleeping in an uncomfortable car is useless because you will remain tired and sick when you wake up. Although you sleep in an SUV that offers a better comfort level for sleepers, you still need to prepare it to make it a comfortable place to take a break.
Safety is another thing to be concerned with when you want to sleep in your car. Without proper preparation, sleeping in a vehicle can be dangerous or fatal. You will become exhausted or dehydrated due to the glasshouse effect inside your car or due to the shorter sleeping time.
There is also a risk of suffocation or carbon monoxide poisoning if you dont prepare your car properly before you sleep. There are already many cases of sudden death among people who sleep in their vehicles.
So, how to sleep in your cars comfortably and safely? Here are some essential factors to mind if you want to skip a hotel room and make your car a comfortable and safe place to sleep.
Top Pick: Best Mattress For Sleeping In Suv
Can be used in SUV, tent or backpacking as it has fabric wrapped around 3 inches of premium foam with localized support and self inflating air to make it extra insulated and comfortable. R value of 4.4. Great for use in backpacking also.
Measures 77x25x3 inches inflated, packs to 13×9.3 inches, and weighs 39 ounces stuff sack included made in the USA
Pros: Backpacking function, lightweight
Super thick air mattress with electric pump and comes with pillows and 6 adjustable air chambers so it can fit almost any SUV.
Great for comfort with the middle row or middle + 3rd rows folded down.
Measures 71 inch x 51 inch x 12 inch.
Pros: Versatile, comes with pillows
Cons: Air leakage
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Braxton Creek Bushwhacker 10fb: 1300 Lbs
The Bushwhacker is a nice little cabin on wheels. Its small enough to be pulled by most vehicles, but large enough to accommodate a few campers in comfort. The 10FB is a new model that is currently available in dealer stock only. It contains two side-by-side mattresses that face a wall with a mounted TV.
Wall-mounted cabinets provide interior storage and theres also a radio, A/C unit, and built-in lights. The rear galley provides a nice cooking space that doesnt intrude into the main cabin. Passengers can enjoy this kitchenette and the stove, sink, and cooler that it comes equipped with. This unit will ensure you and your family have a cozy trip!
See more details about the Braxton Creek Bushwhacker 10FB here.
Land Rover Discovery Sport: The Perfect Off
Yes, we are starting with a pricey model that most owners never take off the road because it looks more luxurious than hardy. But let’s not forget that the Discovery Sport comes teeming with so many off-road features, you may as well never take it off the off-trails.
Its Terrain Response driving modes can adjust everything suspension, transmission and traction control to tackle whatever you are driving on. And by whatever we mean deep rivers, dunes, beaches, rocky roads et al. With its seven-passenger capacity, and an under $40,000 price tag this is one car that can ferry campers just about anywhere and do it danged comfortably.
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Comparison Chart Best Mattress For Sleeping In Suv
Heres a quick comparison of all the top mattresses Ive reviewed in this article.
Protip: Fold down your seats and take accurate measurements of the space you have in mid row and back row with special attention to wheel wells.
Do not forget to measure between wheel wells like I did and end up having to return a mattress that was slightly too wide.
Catch Some Sleep In A 2022 Toyota Sequoia
The cavernous 2022 Toyota Sequoia is a very spacious SUV, making it a great choice to catch some sleep. For legroom, it has 42.5 inches for the front seats, 40.9 inches for the second-row seats, and 35.3 inches for the third-row seats. For sleeping, you can fold down the second- and third-row seats and open up 120.1 cu-ft of cargo space. Thats enough room to stretch out and have a nice snooze. If you choose to sleep in the seats, you can maximize comfort with the heating function and lumbar support.
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The Easy Way To Build A Platform Bed In Your Suv
Ok, if you watched the video from Bourbon Moth youll see that there is a lot of trial and error to get the platform bed just right.
And while it comes apart easy enough, it takes up a lot of space when its not being used.
But we stumbled across a no-brainer, done for you, universal platform bed: TrunkMate.
While this seemed like a mythical creation at the time, we were blown away by its design.
It ticked off all of our lists:
- A mobile bed
- Drawers for our clothes and camping gear
- Easy to remove
- Packable when not in use
This was the ultimate solution! A mobile kitchen and bedroom that would easily disassemble for universal use of our SUV.
Thats right, our Sport Utility Vehicle would be truly utilitarian.
We reached out to TrunkMate and they were gracious enough to provide us with some photos of their new product.
However, this is not a sponsored post. Just an honest review of what we think of an up-and-coming company in the camping space.
Will it improve SUV camping? Lets find out.
What Suv Is Big Enough To Sleep In
Going on a road trip can be a fun way to get away from your busy life, more so, if you can catch some shut eye in your car. While you can sleep in the back seat of any vehicle, large SUVs are the best vehicles that let you do so comfortably. These vehicles are spacious and allow you to make further adjustments to accommodate your size. Below we have compiled a list of sport utility vehicles that are big enough to sleep in.
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