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Car camping?

9761 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ccstl2008
I'm looking into getting a corolla cross but I'm curious has anyone gone or considered going car camping in it? And I mean sleeping in the car type of car camping not like bringing a tent and just carrying it in the cargo area (I'm quite sure it could handle that), but I love the idea of being able to throw a smaller mattress in there and spend an overnight in a local campground/forest area etc. I know it's probably not the IDEAL car for that but it's the largest car that's really in my budget right now and I'm just curious if anyone else has tried or considered this or might be willing to snap a few photos of a tape measure showing how much length/width/diagonal length there is in the back if you fold down the rear seat and maybe scoot the front two chairs up a bit. Also curious on those dimensions w/o the front seats moved at all.
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And I mean sleeping in the car type of car camping […] but I love the idea of being able to throw a smaller mattress in there and spend an overnight in a local campground/forest area etc. […] if you fold down the rear seat and maybe scoot the front two chairs up a bit.
Just a little something to have in mind; the rear seats do not provide a flat, even, and continuous surface from the cargo area when folded. They make a “step up” from the cargo area. You may be able to solve this by adding a DIY/makeshift base so you small mattress can lay flat from one end to the other.

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Just a little something to have in mind; the rear seats do not provide a flat, even, and continuous surface from the cargo area when folded. They make a “step up” from the cargo area. You may be able to solve this by adding a DIY/makeshift base so you small mattress can lay flat from one end to the other.

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Good to know, thanks! For some reason I thought I'd saw a video online where they folded much more flat than that (not fully flat but generally much flatter). I wonder if it depends on trim?
Good to know, thanks! For some reason I thought I'd saw a video online where they folded much more flat than that (not fully flat but generally much flatter). I wonder if it depends on trim?
They appear to be somewhat flatter on the AWD because the floor at the back is higher than the FWD. This also means less cargo volume on the AWD.
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I'm looking into getting a corolla cross but I'm curious has anyone gone or considered going car camping in it? And I mean sleeping in the car type of car camping not like bringing a tent and just carrying it in the cargo area (I'm quite sure it could handle that), but I love the idea of being able to throw a smaller mattress in there and spend an overnight in a local campground/forest area etc. I know it's probably not the IDEAL car for that but it's the largest car that's really in my budget right now and I'm just curious if anyone else has tried or considered this or might be willing to snap a few photos of a tape measure showing how much length/width/diagonal length there is in the back if you fold down the rear seat and maybe scoot the front two chairs up a bit. Also curious on those dimensions w/o the front seats moved at all.
I'm doing this to my yaris cross this weekend. I'm 1.65m and cam fit with seats pushed forward so should work in the corolla as I think its got 20cm more or so in length. Might need to do a slightly different frame in the base but I like that you can leave your seats in and move the drivers and passengers seat for driving between camps. :) havent built it yet myself so will see how it goes haha SUV Camper Conversion with Sleeping Platform - Subaru Forester » Bonjour Becky
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I threw a helinox cot in the back of mine and slept in it on what turned into a rainy camping trip. I am going to build a plaftorm as the cot wasn't perfect but worked in a last second needed bail. It was too tight with the cot and my dog comfortably for the spoiled 65# leggy german shorthair
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During the fall I built a short platform for the passenger side of the trunk using some leftover plywood and some 1x1 scraps.
The platform and another piece of plywood got covered with cheap indoor/outdoor floor runner, the kind you buy by the foot at Canadian tire, to keep from scratching things up. Then I added a kids-sized mattress from Ikea to complete the set up.
This thing works great and is plenty comfy, extending my camping season further into the snowy months!
I'm 5'8" and generally a side sleeper so no issues fitting in with the front seat upright and somewhat forward.

Here are some pics of the build along with how it looks folded up when not in use and all set up.

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During the fall I built a short platform for the passenger side of the trunk using some leftover plywood and some 1x1 scraps.
The platform and another piece of plywood got covered with cheap indoor/outdoor floor runner, the kind you buy by the foot at Canadian tire, to keep from scratching things up. Then I added a kids-sized mattress from Ikea to complete the set up.
This thing works great and is plenty comfy, extending my camping season further into the snowy months!
I'm 5'8" and generally a side sleeper so no issues fitting in with the front seat upright and somewhat forward.

Here are some pics of the build along with how it looks folded up when not in use and all set up.

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Cool !
Looks good, essentially just like my platform except mine is full-width with about 5 inches of space underneath at the back end.
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Tip for camping in snowy months, I got a pack of rechargeable hand warmers from REI last year. Throw one in your sleeping bag at night if you get cold ;) I promise it'll make it toasty warm. You can also heat water and put it in a water bottle. I personally like the ease of a charged hand warmer and pressing a button :) (the hand warmers also act as back up phone or other small device chargers)
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Looks good, essentially just like my platform except mine is full-width with about 5 inches of space underneath at the back end.
Railbandit-can you post a pic and specs? Did you just put the platform on the backseat/cargo area or did you elevate it? Thanks!
My platform is super basic. I had the goals of comfy sleep and keeping as much head room as I could.

I trimmed a couple of scrap plywood boards down to 21" x 30". Laid one board directly on the back of the folded down seat, then propped the other one up in the cargo area to find level when it's butted up to the first board. That gave me measurements for the legs at 3" and 4.5" which I cut from an old piece of 1.5" x 1.5" wood. Some little corner brackets to attach the legs to the four corners worked great. Then I carpeted everything to avoid scratching things up.
**The leg height works great for an AWD XLE, ymmv with FWD or other trim levels.

The board that lays on the seat is easy to slide on to the riser in the cargo area and the matress folds in half fairly well. I use a couple of cinch strips to keep everything together, and that also allows for the tonneau cover to go into place with enough room left to stuff my pillow in there.

My pics are a few posts back if you want to see how things turned out.

I also discovered that turning the headrest backwards on the seat when it's folded down gives some extra support while also adding height to the footwell space for storage. I also carpeted a short cutoff from the plywood that I tuck under the larger board a bit and have it stick out over the footwell adding even more support for pillows. That cut off xan also be used leaning on the front seat headrest for a recliner feeling.
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A little tip in case you want to keep the engine idling for heat or AC: to disable the auto-shut off, open the driver's side door to activate the menu that lets you shut it off. The only other way you get this menu option is after idling the car for an hour (at which point is will beep at you loudly).
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