Getting out in nature and staying there can lead to better image creation, such as the one illustrating this article. I’m able to do that via boondocking AKA car camping. My Toyota RAV4 is the base. I shared my original boondocking build here and part two here. Below, I’ll show you some work that makes it more comfortable after using my first build for the last couple years. Hope you get some ideas that are helpful to you.
I made small changes along the way which I’ll call version 2. This V3 rebuild came after several nights of deciding and “building out the car in my mind” and making sketches. I asked myself, should I take out the car seats to add more room? Will there be enough headroom if I leave them in? Will I get more storage with this configuration or that? This was the final sketch that got me underway.
One thing that was important to me was to leave the car with as little permanent change as possible but still achieve my goals. An example is a previously built shelf that is still part of my system, with a friction fit using the grooves that are already part of the car.
The star of the show is the 3/4 inch plywood sleeping platform which still gives me headroom to sit up. The original outfit had a five inch cot. The cot added five inches to the top of the seat back on which it was resting. This made changing clothes or being stuck inside on rain days very trying. While there was space under the cot to put some things, the legs of the cot hampered it. My new build has straight space for underneath storage.
The front of the platform has a hinged extension that is folded while driving. When it’s time to sleep, simply unfold the extension after moving the driver’s seat forward. This was necessary as I am just under six feet tall and needed the extra space. If you are shorter you might not need this addition.
The bottom of the sleeping platform is removable making it possible to access the spare tire area, AKA ‘the garage’ without having to disassemble everything. I added a lip with a couple of eye hooks to hold it in place. Added also were a couple of removable legs for support.
Access to the ‘garage’
I can store my little used rescue gear down there. This includes a battery operated tire inflation device, tire repair kit, three inch tow strap with buckles and fix a flat cans. Of course the spare tire still lives there as well. Still a bit of room. I’ll need to see if I can use that as well.
A bit of finishing included painting the raw wood with sealing for protection and looks. Carpet runner was added to the top surface and the support runners. It helps with being nonskid and also looks like a finished piece of furniture that belongs in the car. I also added a shelf that is supported by the other front seat. The shelf is great at night. It will hold my 250 watt power pack, recharging station, phone, iPad, keys and such. Think of this like a night table.
Let me know if this has been a help to you or if you have ideas that might make my travels more comfortable in the comments below.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob