Why We Slept in Our Car…And Probably Will Do so Again

A few weeks ago, when our island town was still crowded with visitors, I spotted this vehicle.

IMG_3548.pngI admit that it’s not a great shot. But it does capture what I wanted to know. This 2-berth, Dodge RV, by JUCYUSA, is advertised to provide all that you need to sleep and cook for two people. Hmmm, it doesn’t seem much larger than our SUV. (Jucy 17.3′ x 7.3′ x 6′ vs Jeep Patriot 14.4′ x 5.7′ x 5.4′).

I backburnered that thought. Earlier this week, a friend invited Richard and me to join her on an overnight tenting trip. “Our nearby camping site is now available on a first-come, first-served basis,” she informed. “The weather is still awesome,” she reminded. “It would be fun. We can cook, lounge, have cocktails, tell stories….and roast S’mores around the campfire.” Her arguments were compelling (especially the part about the S’mores). What better time to try out S.U.Vamping?

S'mores
Campfire S’more

With some creative thinking (and ‘The School of YouTube’), Richard was able to turn a gutter-grate ($3.50) into a perfect side window vent that allows for evening airflow, without annoying bug flow). We already had an air mattress that fits perfectly in the back of our SUV.

 

 

Just for fun, we were able to make a hammock out of an old sheet and twine. It was surprisingly comfortable!

Our 24-hour camping adventure was filled with beach time, chill time, game time, cocktail time, friendship time and tons of laughter.

 

 

We were reminded that everything tastes better around the campfire. Especially, corn cooked over the coals in its husk and a ‘hobo packet‘ or two!

 

 

Going forward, Richard and I can think of a few opportunities where S.U.Vamping may provide a low-fuss, low-muss and low-cost option for us. Of course, we have already thought of a few tweaks we would make the next time. (e.g. prepare a camp-list and check it twice…we forgot the S’mores!).

Best of all was waking up to this morning’s brilliant view (shown in the featured photo). It’s incredible what an extra-dose of nature can do for the mind, body and spirit.

 

 

 

 

94 Replies to “Why We Slept in Our Car…And Probably Will Do so Again”

  1. Donna it looks like you had a ball. The SUV sleeping looks very “snuggly” and cosy and I’m sure it was fun for a night. I don’t think I’d want to do it long term, but as a one off here and there it’d be a great escape. Loved the giant game you had going on too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Leanne – I was surprised how comfortable the air-mattress set up was for sleeping. Then again, as long as I am horizontal, I can sleep just about anywhere. When in economy-class on airplanes…..I am wide awake for the entire flight, regardless of the length of flight or time of day. If only they let me sleep in the aisles. ๐Ÿ™‚
      PS – The game (Tile Rummy) was very, very fun. I recommend it highly!

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    1. Hi, Janis – You know that you would make a great detective, right? You always ask the best questions!
      Richard and I did fit side by side, with the top of our heads right behind the passengers’ seats. For me, that was comfy and cozy. Then, after I was already asleep, Richard thought it would be even more comfortable to have his head against the back door of the Jeep. That set up gave us each a bit more room, so was comfier. Like most new adventures, SUVamping is definitely a trial and error thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! I always loved waking up to nature when I camped. I mean to get back to this (more camping, more nature) – another retirement goal! Too bad about forgetting the S’mores though ๐Ÿ™‚
    Looks like they weren’t missed too much!

    Deb

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    1. Hi, Deb – In September 2020, we will be having a birthday bash for Richard at the same campsite featured in this post. All guests will be invited to pitch a tent, bring their campers/RVs, sleep in their cars, or grab a nearby cabin. You are officially invited. Details to follow!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Suzanne – The campground that we were at was awesome! Our individual site was near the washrooms, which had really great showers. As with all BC Provincial Campsites, seniors get 50% off of the camping fees. On top of that, we shared our site with a friend, so split the 50% even further. It was a win-win-win! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like fun, Donna. My well-worn joke — ready for retirement itself already — is that roughing it for me is a hotel without a coffee shop. I did a fair amount of camping when I was young, and then a bit in college. But I somehow lost the taste for it along the way in adulthood. A former colleague of mine, however, visited us on a cross-country trek this past year, and he too sleeps in his car when he doesn’t feel like stopping for a hotel. He says it’s very comfortable if done right (very similar to your set-up). Good for you guys on making it all work. – Marty

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  4. You forgot the S’mores! Yikes! When I was young (very young) my friend had a VW station wagon. I slept in the back of that on more trips than I want to remember! I love the camaraderie but would miss my bathroom! Especially in the middle of the night. The food looks fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the idea of an adventure filled with camping, the beach, laughter, etc. Looks like you all had a great time but I could never rough it in my SUV, although it is a huge, extended length Ford Expedition. I have to have a comfy place to sleep as well as relax. Speaking of spotting vehicles, I saw a van today with 3 rows of seats in addition to the two front seats. This thing had no doors. It got by me too quick to read the website name on it but it was some sort of touring vehicle I’m guessing, maybe for the University of Alabama, I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Laurie – Now that my camping buddy confessed publicly on her Facebook page, I can share that it was she who forgot the S’mores. However, she did bring the wine, delicious cocktails, eggs, bacon and pancakes….so she is completely off-the-hook! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve done this very thing more than once – a foam mattress, a sleeping bag and my favorite pillow in the back of my SUV. That wouldn’t appeal to me for weeks on end but for a few nights in a row, it was great. No need to miss out on camping fun just because you don’t own a tent or RV.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Mona – I believe that a foam mattress would be even better (as it would likely be quieter than an air mattress). But the air mattress was super easy to deflate and then store in a small space. We do own a tent but love the idea of:
      โ€ข quick set up,
      โ€ข not sleeping on the ground,
      โ€ข lockable doors,
      โ€ข great views!
      BTW – Do you have a blog?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Donna – You’re so clever and creative to make the window vent and the hammock from simple and inexpensive materials. The beautiful view and fun with friends are priceless! I’d totally go for SUVamping if I had the vehicle.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi, Donna,
    After reading your post and checking out the food, games, and bedding, I can tell you wore born to “glamp”. Loved this and hope you have the inclination to do more of it. Be careful, the laid-back RV lifestyle can be very addictive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Joe – Your comment made me smile. I think that sleeping in an SUV (especially in a makeshift kind of way) is somewhere between ‘roughing it’ and ‘glamping’, I already see how it can become addictive! I look forward to continuing to follow your adventures.

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  9. Welcome to a slice of my world. It was a series of SUV excursions that lead to the buying of an RV and a series of excursions in said RV that lead to moving into that RV full-time. Be careful, as Joe (Easin’ Along) said, this can be addictive ๐Ÿ˜† Over the years, we’ve enjoyed campfires among some amazing landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This looks like fun, except for the no bathroom and room service part– but I’m not a camper at heart. Oddly enough about a gazillion years ago my aunt and uncle did a similar thing with their van. They loved all the adventures they went on. Bet you will, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I agree with Ally about the bathroom part at least, but I suppose for just one night I could manage it. We were going to go on a glamping trip to Yosemite next summer with some friends but the place wants $400+ a night to rent an airstream they have parked in the campground. True it is a nice trailer but do you know how many concerts I’d have to give up for 2 nights? Not worth it for us. You look mighty comfortable there.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hey Donna! Good for you for being so adventurous and flexible. I’m afraid I’m not flexible enough for sleeping in the back of our SUV…height does have it’s disadvantages! Plus I agree with All about the bathroom! But all the rest looked wonderfully fun–especially for a night or two. And yes, sometimes just a night or two out of the routine is just what we need to appreciate what we have back home! ~Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Kathy – I totally knew what both you, and Marty, were going to write in comment to this post (and I was pretty accurate). For Richard and me, camping in our SUV was sustainable, meaningful and rightsized. It also focused our awareness and gratitude. I knew that you would like that!

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      1. I did a series of posts in Jan/Feb 2015 when we took the South Island road trip. Sadly, there are only a few pictures of our beloved Honda Odyssey but you can find a few in this post https://lisadorenfest.com/2015/01/28/south-island-tour-nelson-to-queenstown/

        New Zealand has an excellent auto resale market. We bought the van for about $2500 from a single owner and resold it at $1500. Not bad for something that we used for 3+ months. A great way to see New Zealand.

        Like

  13. EVERYTHING tastes better around a campfire. That lead picture is a stunning view to wake up to. What a cool idea to convert your SUV. I don’t reckon the pair of us could fit in ours lol.

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  14. Love this and all the fun and beautiful photos! Especially the one with you in the back on the air mattress. ๐Ÿ˜„ My son has a scamper attached to his truck so he can go camping on a moments notice. Heโ€™s lucky that his spouse shares his enthusiasm. My husband is not a camping enthusiast so I have to get my nature fix in other ways….
    So, good for you and Richard taking on this little adventure and sharing with your readers!

    Susan Grace

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    1. HI, Susan – “Scamper” is such a cool name! I am grateful that Richard and I enjoy many of the same things (esp. long-distance hikes, camping, dogs). I am equally grateful for our individual interests and passions. I believe that both are extremely important.
      I look forward to your next post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Donna,
        There is a new post brewing in my head and Iโ€™m waiting to get back to my quiet little apartment to flesh it all out. It is going to have some serious tinges of sadness (such is life ๐Ÿ˜ฅ) so I hope readers will hang in there with me!

        Thanks as always for your support! You are such an unique human being but I know I am not the first person to say that ๐Ÿ˜„

        Susan Grace

        Liked by 1 person

  15. This sounds like such fun! As long as thereโ€™s a comfy mattress, flush loo, open fire for cooking and good friends who love wide open spaces, star watching and a sense of adventure, well, what could be better? Toasted marshmallows, is what, a hammock another … Thanks Donna, brought back some memories

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m salivating thinking of the s’mores made with the chocolate covered cookies and the banana boats topped with Irish Cream or Kahlua!!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I have a respect for those who love camping in all its various forms. It’s just not me, although I’ve had occasion to sleep in the back of my car a few times on an air mattress.
    … and believe it or not, I’ve never had a s’mores.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I absolutely love this, Donna! I’ve seen these vehicles and wondered about them for space, but your pics show how roomy they are. Looks like a fun time and lots of ingenuity for comfort. But we are spoiled and have a 27-foot trailer and a nice truck to pull it.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a wonderful time!! I wish so badly we had good friends that would be game for an adventure like this. I think Ft. Bliss, the Army post here in EP, rents RVs but I am checking out the JUCY page, too. As a child, I loved camping but have only one a couple of times as an adult. Richard was so clever to come up with the gadget for the windows. And the view from your ‘bedroom’ was gorgeous. Thank you for inspiring me.

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  19. Awww I love this Donna!! Camping out, wild cooking, hammocks – bliss!! Especially with friends = Fun! Wonderful, even though you forgot the sโ€™mores ๐Ÿ˜‚ there arenโ€™t many evenings that can beat this!!

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  20. What fun! How ingenious Richard is!
    We have a caravan with all conveniences now, but have camped for most of our lives and know all about the wonderful feeling of being out in nature and making do with very little. We also know the misery of camping out in incessant rain when nothing ever dries out and the thought of another trip across a muddy field to the nearest toilet makes you want to cry! Which is why we bought our caravan! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hello Donna

    I saw that โ€œglampingโ€ was mentioned in the comments section but what you did was not glamping and you can be very proud of that distinction. Glamping is what the very wealthy do to make themselves comfortable in the outdoors utilizing expensive outfitters, caterers, and tents that are equipped like a Four Seasons hotel room.

    In fact down here in the California desert, I saw tents on platforms erected on a famous golf course near Sun City. I was told that this was โ€œglampingโ€ and that nightly rates were close to $300/ night??!!?? Now why would I want to spend that much money to camp overnight on a golf course when there are so many more glorious and authentic alternatives created by Mother Nature?

    I will take your version any day of the year! Much cheaper too ๐Ÿ‘

    Susan Grace

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    1. Thanks, Susan – I also would not refer to sleeping in one’s vehicle as ‘glamping’…especially our vehicle! ๐Ÿ™‚ But there were a few features that I preferred over tenting. I liked being off of the ground, dry if it rained and having locked doors. I also loved the panoramic window view! Since I can sleep most places, as long as I am horizontal, it worked for me. However, I am aware that these sleeping conditions would have made a few of my friends run away screaming! Have I mentioned that Richard snores? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  22. Hi Donna,
    Admire your creativity. All the reasons you listed are why we love our new travel trailer. And food definitely tastes better when cooked and eaten outdoors.
    Looks like you had a cozy bed for the night and the hammock was ingenious!
    Everyone has his/her own comfort level. I love your adventurous spirit!

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  23. Nice one, Donna! Being out in nature is the best. I first saw the Jucy vans in New Zealand, five years ago. Theyโ€™re quite nifty with a bed and storage inside and the back area was converted to an outdoor kitchen. Some of them now have roof tents that fold down into a flat roof rack. Good for a short vacation and in warm enough climates, but Iโ€™d rather have my Zesty for longer term escapades. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  24. Hi Donna – sounds wonderful … and great you’ve adapted your car … so no major expense needed. Also can see the advantages of being ‘indoors’ … but then the freedom of being able to wake up and smell the view …

    Love the thought of food, fun and laughter with friends a brief get-away … lots of walks and beach challenges … lovely post to read – cheers Hilary

    Like

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