Looking to design the ultimate SUV Sleep-in-Vehicle setup

mellotango

New member
Hi readers,

I started a Suv camper conversion project a couple of years ago, and after many many hours of tinkering, I have managed to create my own expression of my vehicle camper. As my initial project with no experience in handy work, some may feel it might not have been the most glamorous or practical setup, but it has worked well for me and brought me to quite a number of memorable adventures. Ever since then, my mind hasn't stopped working, as I find it ever so interesting to dream of more practical and radical ways for people to sleep comfortably in a semi-confined Suv space. I have been drafting up different variations of sketches, and converting some of them to autocad designs with help from friends who are design engineers. Living in such a small space may not appeal to many here, who may already own big rigs, but I often compare sleep-in-vehicle with roof tents, teardrop trailers and ground tents, which are also classed as micro rvs. I won't comment much on these micro or mini campers, as they are quite established. But for sleep-in-vehicle setups, I have concluded that mainly 2 types of setups exist:

1. SIMPLY FOLD BACK SEATS FLAT & LAY A MATTRESS ON TOP, ALONG WITH ALL OF YOUR GEAR

PROS: It's cheapest and fastest way to convert you car camper. Enjoy reasonably high headroom too since your mattress is on the vehicle floor.
CONS: You need to rearrange all your gear before going to bed. If there is no room around your mattress, then you need to store them outside your vehicle in a small tent or something sheltered. Vehicle can get quite cluttered.

2. BUILD SLEEPING PLATFORM ON TOP OF ORGANIZED STORAGE COMPARTMENTS

PROS: Very organized & clutter free. Since your sleeping platform is raised and most likely over the wheel wells, you get an extra wide bed. Not very expensive to build.
CONS: Takes time and certain amount of skill to construct. Could end up with low sleeping headroom (claustrophobic) due to storage compartments underneath. Since users try not to use the space above the sleeping platform to avoid clutter, it means those empty spaces are not fully utilized.

In the below sections, you will see the various sketches I have drawn up and posted here for your viewing (Note: Lite Version shown only.. pls continue to read this thread for intro to X-Lite and Premium version). I appreciate if readers here can take a quick look and offer your feedback to see if a design concept like that would work for you, or for owners of various class of Suvs. I will gladly get back to the drawing board to improve on any useful suggestions offered in this thread.

Please note that I have designed this as a highly configurable 'weekend' camper, for a few days at a time. For those, who plan on longer and further journeys, I have another set of slightly different and more elaborate designs. But I will offer those for viewing at another time.

P.S. Pls forgive my illustrative formatting skills... it's not my strong point

Thank you in advance and feel free to comment on the good or bad!
 

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mellotango

New member
Nice illustrations! I just hope that you don't have foul weather.
Hi Hillbilly, thanks for asking. I have couple of canvas enclosure bug net designs that go over the hatch door. It is fully weatherproof as well as against the elements. I didnt bother putting it in these pics as it would block the views. I'll add the enclosure designs to this thread soon.

Here.. I have added.. this is one of the design optimized for sleeping mode B. (you can slide back the enclosure a further distance and wrap the canvas over the hatch door for sleeping mode C). There is another simpler type using zippers that goes all the way down the the ground and pegged. But those are off the shelves and easily bought too.

P.S (added 3/6/2018).. And a very important point about the design of the canvas enclosure design. If you see properly, what we have designed is actually a 'Kick Door' type exit/entrance. From past experience, as I need to make toilet stops in the middle of the night, I hate having to turn to the opposite direction from where I'm sleeping, fiddle around with zips, and edge my way out, especially in bad weather. So in my design, you can simply gently kick the door from your sleeping position, and its set of gas springs will keep it up in the air for some seconds. Enough time for you to slip out conveniently and quickly make your way to answer nature's call. Vice versa for getting back into bed, but you lift it instead of kick it. Simply picture it a little like the entrance you have for your pet dog/cat in your home kitchen! If you see our designs, we place great emphasis on being able to easily access your sleeping quarters through the wide rear door opening. Campervan owners won't face this problem due to the high van ceiling, but I personally think getting in the bed from side doors of the likes of Suvs is a big pain, and somewhat cramped, especially if your sleeping platform is positioned on top of built-in storage boxes/cabinets. So for me, I like to make the side doors more like emergency exits.
 

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BritKLR

Explorer
Hi Hillbilly, thanks for asking. I have couple of canvas enclosure bug net designs that go over the hatch door. It is fully weatherproof as well as against the elements. I didnt bother putting it in these pics as it would block the views. I'll add the enclosure designs to this thread soon.

Here.. I have added.. this is one of the design optimized for sleeping mode B. (you can slide back the enclosure a further distance and wrap the canvas over the hatch door for sleeping mode C). There is another simpler type using zippers that goes all the way down the the ground and pegged. But those are off the shelves and easily bought too.
Cool ideas! I'm always messing around with my Cruiser setup now that I've moved away from RTT. Lmk if you have any textile/textile manufacturing questions. Good luck.
 

mellotango

New member
Just want to update everyone that our website just received a new facelift earlier than expected. You can see the various functionalities for the latest Suv camper design that we have been working on and talking about, but in more photorealistic settings. Meet the Mobicamp!

Website: https://mobicamp.net/
 

s.e.charles

Well-known member
have any of these been manufactured yet?

if a tool roll is $99, how expensive is all this swiss army knifery?
 

toy_tek

Adventurer
Sleep-in SUV philosophy makes way more sense to me for a number of reasons, and I’m surprised it isn’t embraced here on the Portal more than it appears to me. It’s been my evolving setup for the past 10 years, in which I’ve discovered there are other variations of your 2 options that are working well for me.

Wishing you luck on your venture.
 

mellotango

New member
Sleep-in SUV philosophy makes way more sense to me for a number of reasons, and I’m surprised it isn’t embraced here on the Portal more than it appears to me. It’s been my evolving setup for the past 10 years, in which I’ve discovered there are other variations of your 2 options that are working well for me.

Wishing you luck on your venture.
Hi toy_tek. Sounds interesting what you have been doing for the past 10 years. I'd love to see some of the build you've done and whether Mobicamp might be able to encompass those variations too. Let's say if people are interested in a very basic sleep-in-vehicle setup and doing away with all of the other gizmos (at a lower cost)... for example, they simply want a sleeping platform and couple of large storage boxes underneath, Mobicamp's mix and match ability is able to do that too. One can simply opt for the folding bed itself, and that acts as a very basic camper setup on its own. The rear bed pull out panel extension can act as a working table when you are cooking, as well as the multi-functional bed panels. Stealth camping would be possible with this option alone too.

And toy_tek, we'd appreciate it if we can invite someone like yourself to be part of our collaborative team. Your vast experience as a sleep in vehicle user can surely help us improve. There are various ways our viewers can support the Mobicamp, and it doesn't have to be purely financial. In return, we can offer you some opportunities for Mobicamp (e.g. representation/manufacture or other) down the line that remains open for discussion. If you are interested, let me know if I can PM you..
 

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jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
Hmmm. Someone is very good at generating computer graphics. Seems like marketing to me.

I'd like to see some of these concepts after being prototyped and photographed in real-life cars/vans/SUVs. When is that likely to happen? If a product doesn't actually exist, I think this post should be placed in Fireside Chat.
 

mellotango

New member
Hmmm. Someone is very good at generating computer graphics. Seems like marketing to me.

I'd like to see some of these concepts after being prototyped and photographed in real-life cars/vans/SUVs. When is that likely to happen? If a product doesn't actually exist, I think this post should be placed in Fireside Chat.
Hi Jacob. First of all, I need to make it clear that the Mobicamp is still under development, and the pics you see in this chat and our website are photorealistic renders only, and NOT actual products and not for sale as such at the moment. And its a reasonable suggestion to move this thread to the Firechat. I didn't think of that before and thought this sub-category was the best place to post. Can anyone offer guidelines how to move this thread to Fire Chat?

With regards to your question, we have potentials vendors in place ready to help out, but we are always looking for more. In terms of better prices and quality of work. And as the lead developer of Mobicamp, I would like to get as much useful feedback from other seasoned experts before we start out, instead of revising the designs halfway. As we all know prototyping and re-iterations can be a very costly endeavor. And I believe expedition portal is an ideal place for us to conduct this research. We are always seeking validation to see if the US market in general is ready to accept something like the Mobicamp at this time. If anyone else here can offer their thoughts, it would certainly help.
 

jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
I would be willing to give you $1400.00 U.S. for Mobicamp, provided that it will physically fit in my 1987 Ford Econoline van. Keep in mind that I will still need some room for my NL fridge/freezer and I plan to purchase a Wrappon toilet system, which will need to be assimilated into the bench system. Can you provide some sort of estimate of how all these parts will work together?
 

mellotango

New member
I would be willing to give you $1400.00 U.S. for Mobicamp, provided that it will physically fit in my 1987 Ford Econoline van. Keep in mind that I will still need some room for my NL fridge/freezer and I plan to purchase a Wrappon toilet system, which will need to be assimilated into the bench system. Can you provide some sort of estimate of how all these parts will work together?
Mobicamp is a mix and match system with different configurations. Perhaps I can try break it down the best way I can:

1) Mobicamp X-Lite Version - With folding bed only and makes a basic camper setup as explained just above
2) Mobicamp Lite Version - Comes as (1) with fixed base support (to enable the power slide out mechanisms and sleep mode C) and a manual detachment slide out contents tray (2 person can manually detach the tray allowing you to climb into bed from rear opening. If you don't choose to detach, you can part open the tray contents to create an alleyway to climb into bed)
3) Mobicamp Premium Version - Comes as (2) plus a DROP or detachable roll out platform. This roll out platform is fully mechanized (good for elderly or handicapped), and allows you to add as many modules as your available vehicle space can take (including those of folded 2nd row seats)

So which configuration are you referring to that would most likely fit your needs? If you need to imagine a better picture of all the 3 configs I highlighted, pls go to https://mobicamp.net/
 
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NatersXJ6

Explorer
I'm curious to know what vehicle make and model you are targeting for your prototype? I see weight as a potential barrier for sure. Knowing how quickly I can overload a pickup or 4x4, I can only imagine what would happen to something like a Renegade.

With that said, I frequently see hot hatch style cars in the mountains with tarps pulled off the raised hatches, so there is probably a market for something like this... although I highly doubt you will be able to hit the price point of someone willing to abuse an inappropriate vehicle down a rough dirt road and spend a rainy weekend under a blue tarp hanging off the hatch.

Good luck. I'm a fan of new products, and product development, but not crowd funding.
 

mellotango

New member
I'm curious to know what vehicle make and model you are targeting for your prototype? I see weight as a potential barrier for sure. Knowing how quickly I can overload a pickup or 4x4, I can only imagine what would happen to something like a Renegade.

With that said, I frequently see hot hatch style cars in the mountains with tarps pulled off the raised hatches, so there is probably a market for something like this... although I highly doubt you will be able to hit the price point of someone willing to abuse an inappropriate vehicle down a rough dirt road and spend a rainy weekend under a blue tarp hanging off the hatch.

Good luck. I'm a fan of new products, and product development, but not crowd funding.
Hi Naters. Thanks for your input and I appreciate the honesty.

I will answer your questions about the car makes Mobicamp is designed for in the next post. For now, I just want to address the subject of crowd funding. We do not hide fact that we are seeking public support for this project in some way. However, what we are looking for is not so much for the funding of prototypes, etc. We could probably come with the funds on our own private circle to do that. What we are looking in fact is some type of validation that when we go through this entire exercise of prototype investment, testing, videos, etc, that there will actually be enough future demand to sustain it. The last thing we want to do is to make something that not many people want. As our website has only been debuted recently, it is still too early to tell the amount of interest in our crowd-driven scheme. Teardrop trailers took decades before popularity spiked and people are willing to pay for upmarket teardrop designs. So my question is, what is the best way to know if there is some type of demand for the design concepts we are demonstrating? If you don't think crowdsource or crowdfund is the way to go, what other suggestions might there be? I have always treated this as a hobby, but I enjoy showcasing some of the work I've done, just like some people enjoying doing vlogs, even though there may not many audiences at first. So it may remain just a hobby, who knows..

p.s. we are about to add this new configuration for our X-Lite version. It might be the missing piece of the puzzle. We will get it rendered photorealistically over next week. Pls refer to above conversations for introduction to the X-lite version which consists mostly of the bed component only. Thanks!
 

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