Below is an article I wrote for an outdoor brand about how to convert your SUV into an RV in order to extend your camping season. I figured since our Earthy community loves the outdoors, I'd share it here too! I hope you enjoy it!
For many people, camping is a sacred retreat into nature, the unifier of all things. As our body changes in our 30s and onward, sleeping on the ground becomes less and less appealing. Even if you’re hard as nails in your 50s, inclement weather and the short seasonal camping window is drastically limiting. That’s unless you find a way to create a warm dry place to find reprieve. Car camping not only provides this, but also delivers a way to “unpack” once and travel to many campgrounds and trailheads unencumbered by camp assembly and breakdown. Here are some tips for turning your once normal SUV into the ultimate adventure mobile.
No matter how beautiful your natural setting is, if you can’t sleep then you’ll be miserable. Air mattresses are notorious for leaking and causing backaches, but also I found that I wake up freezing when I sleep on one. Think about it… the air inside becomes the ambient temperature, so when the low is in the 40s the air below your body is as well. No wonder it’s hard to sleep. If you don’t have a place to store an extra twin mattress then consider either a 3-4’’ thick rollable memory foam cushion or a small cot.
Two things to keep in mind is ceiling clearance and length of your cargo area with all of your seats folded down. You can trim memory foam, so if you need to make alterations to your twin mattress in order to achieve a good fit, that’s not a problem. Simply use a box cutter and cut a few inches deep at a time. Also, make sure your seats fold completely flat. If they don’t, I’d recommend bolstering the lower section to create a flat sleeping surface.
I prefer to make my bed the same way I do in my home, by using a fitted sheet, flat sheet, comforter, and additional blankets as needed. If you prefer a sleeping bag or anticipate freezing conditions make sure to bring a bag rated for low temperatures.
* Winter car-camping tip: Before bed, boil some water and pour it into 1-2 Nalgene bottles and store inside your sleeping bag. This will warm your bag and will keep the water from freezing so you’ll have drinking water come morning.