Sleeping in your vehicle

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
I've slept in quite a few of mine in temps ranging from below freezing to mid 60's at night. Only time I ever had an issue with bugs was when camped near the San Juan River in SE Utah - nearly got eaten alive! Since then I've been able to make screens for my side windows.
 

workingonit71

Aspirantes ad Adventure
sleeping in vehicles; ventilation, temperature control, bedding choices, power source

Hello all

I have some questions for those of you who sleep in your vehicle, van or SUV

First off, what do you do for ventilation? How do you allow airflow but still keep bugs out?

What temp range are you comfortable at?

Do you use a seperate stand alone structure to supplement the sleeping space?

I know there's are dozens of different ways. I'm mainly curious how people are maintaining decent ventilation and still keeping the critters out.
I've been known to sleep in my vehicles a time or two (actually a lot) over the past 40 years or so. It started in the '70s, with my '73 Volvo 142, the first car I owned with reclining seats. I would go hunting or fishing with a few of the guys at work, some of whom had full campers on their pickups, others tented. I just slept in my car, reclined, with or w/o a sleeping bag, and if the weather was warm enough, with a 12v fan, and insect screening over the opened window.
  • screen material draped over car window.jpg drape screen over door, close, tuck material into window sill
Good for one night or two, as I was in my twenties. My trunk was always stocked with canned goods (Spam), and water, and usually a beer cooler. Later, in the '80s, I used an aluminum camper shell on my '81 Ford Courier pickup. I had two inches of foam over a thick rubber mat, and I slept in an army surplus mummy-style bag (was good down to zero). I also had a 12v fan (and jump box, to power it), if needed, and cross-ventilation thru screened side-windows. Carried the same supplies (minus the beer-I quit). I also quit camping, hunting, fishing in the mid '80s (never seemed to have time for myself), and I didn't need to sleep in my vehicles for awhile (only in the doghouse, at times!). But, in the early '00s, I bought a '75 Chevy pickup, and immediately added a used ($10) matching color aluminum shell, not for camping, but to haul my racing supplies and tools (I wouldn't have to load/unload them between races), and I would occasionally use it to sleep in, when I knew I would become stranded at work during ice storms (I commuted 120 miles round-trip, and sometimes- with my 12-16 hour days- I couldn't even try to travel). So, I used the same set-up as in the earlier truck. In '08, I bought a '09 Chevy HHR Panel, and started to sleep in it during ice season. This time, I used a Lasko My Heat, and comforters, on top of some insulating layers on the floor. I was good down to 8 degrees (lowest I observed). I always parked next to a power plug, in the under-building parking area at work (still open-air at both ends), so I could run the heater all night. I have to say this, the older I got, the less comfortable I was, sleeping in the confined spaces. I also became more "privacy conscious", as I started to use screens or shades to cover my windows,as I slept. When I wanted to get back to limited outdoors, as I neared retirement, I built a teardrop/squareback trailer, and outfitted it based on my car-sleeping experiences. Much more comfortable, and all contingencies are covered (including off-grid power for heat and A/C), including the Spam supply. I haven't used the trailer as much as I wanted to, yet, but as a retired old guy, I really prefer the comfort level given by the extra room and conveniences of my little 4x8 trailer. I wish all you car-campers well!
 

downhill

Adventurer
One thing to consider is whether you ever will sleep in an urban environment. If so, you need to think about avoiding detection by lay enforcement. Many towns and cities have laws against sleeping in your car. Anything that signals to a passing car that you are inside will get you ousted at 2am. All of my "overland" vehicles have blackout capability so that no light escapes.
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
I have outfitted the LR with a sleeping/storage platform, Front Runner shelves for the back and have louvered screens for the side rear windows from a company in UK. Headroom is an issue but since the rear door does not open from the inside it can be a pain to get up in the night.
Especially when I travel by myself sleeping in the vehicle is not an issue, when we travel together and the weather is not so good, inside is best otherwise the OZ tent is used.
 

Retired Tanker

Adventurer
Hello all

I have some questions for those of you who sleep in your vehicle, van or SUV

First off, what do you do for ventilation? How do you allow airflow but still keep bugs out?

What temp range are you comfortable at?

Do you use a seperate stand alone structure to supplement the sleeping space?

I know there's are dozens of different ways. I'm mainly curious how people are maintaining decent ventilation and still keeping the critters out.
I think the other posts have answered most of this. I have a sleeping platform with 2 drawers, use an air mattress with ground pads on top for insulation, and I have window screen with magnets in the edge seems. I've slept from 25 - 80 degrees. At the higher temps I leave the sunroof and back glass open.

I have seen a post somewhere that talks about using computer ventilation fans to provide SOME airflow...around 110 CFM per fan. These are supposed to be pretty quiet and draw about 3 watts. So, two fans running is 6 watts at 12 volts, that's 0.5 amps, for 8 hours is 4 Amp/hours. Any reasonably healthy battery system should be able to power that with no problem.

I might try something like this this summer.

http://www.staples.com/Cooler-Master-R4-MFJR-07FK-R1-MegaFlow-200-Silent-Fan/product_IM1PW2374?cid=PS:GooglePLAs:IM1PW2374&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=IM1PW2374&KPID=IM1PW2374&cvosrc=PLA.google-SALES.Computer%20Accessories%20%26%20Peripherals&cvo_crid=170339802147&cvo_campaign=730766126&gclid=CMmovKruptICFYEZgQodFXQJUA
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
That was me. Was working on designs right before I started my storage platform and major electrical mods projects. MkII window insert is in the 'on deck circle'. 1/8" pressboard insert, triple layer bottom edge to form a saddle over the top of the window glass, top edge bare and rounded to press up into the window channel. (4) 120mm 12VDC fans. Bugscreen mesh. Adding a rheostat and 12v cig lighter adapter end.

The Mk1 used a very large computer case fan salvaged from a dead PC. MkII is using an inexpensive new 4-pack of 120MM fans with bearings, will be very quiet. The core is two layers of 1/8" glued together with the rough sides in, so it's smooth on both faces. I'm still considering designs to put either steerable vanes on the inner side of the fans, or a simple thin fixed design that will spread the air from the four fans across the whole interior. If I got really fancy I could make the fan module removeable / swappable, so the insert could be put in either side of the vehicle and still blow IN. Maybe MkIII will do that.




eta

 
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rayra

Expedition Leader
The other idea I put forward in that topic last year where I showed that fan was for vehicles with rear A/C configs - or any really - was to add a switched secondary power to the vehicle blower motor. Use the ventilation fan, ducting, steerable vents that are already in the vehicle. But that's most likely much more electrical draw and noise. The computer fans move a lot more air with less power.
The fans I'm using for MkII are .15A each. Their airflow is 45cfm each. So 180cfm for .6A. The interior of my Suburban is about 140cu'. So I can dial down the fans and still replace the entire volume of the interior air every minute. So given that, I can really dial them down - and their power usage - and still move a good bit of air.
The fans I'm about to use are CoolerMaster 'silent fan 120 S12', sold in a 4-pack for IIRC only $10. Some pressboard, screen, electrical tidbits. Maybe $40-50 if you start with nothing. Me, I've got all sorts of material leftovers laying about.
The other idea with the smaller fans was to create a shorter insert. Ultimately I didn't much like the height / size of the 1st version. Too, I wanted a design that would also work in the partial-opening back windows of a Tahoe, too.


I'm waiting on some steering components to come in and the house grounds to dry out, so I might whip a finish on this project later this week / weekend.


The base idea for this comes for the ventilation systems made for police K-9 vehicles. Those solutions are marketed for $300++
 

slowtwitch

Adventurer
Hello all

I have some questions for those of you who sleep in your vehicle, van or SUV

First off, what do you do for ventilation? How do you allow airflow but still keep bugs out?

What temp range are you comfortable at?

Do you use a seperate stand alone structure to supplement the sleeping space?

I know there's are dozens of different ways. I'm mainly curious how people are maintaining decent ventilation and still keeping the critters out.
Topper with sliding windows that have screens if there are bugs/rain. If not we leave the liftgate open too. There have been a few times whens it's been *hot* even with the screens...was wishing for some of those cheap AA clipon/magnetic fans then.

As for warmth, it's cozy. My son (7) and did a 9 degree night this spring in the Missouri River breaks no problems.

I always take a tent just in case.. sometimes it's nice to have given the situation.. mom and kid in truck, me in tent.
 

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pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
Looks awesome Rayra. I cannibalized a solar attic fan. The solar panel generates 6 volts to turn 4 tiny fans. I dispersed the fans around the truck to pull hot air out the roof. I will wire them to a switched power from the house batteries too with a VW volt-a-drop to get it to 6 volts.
 

Outdooraholic

Adventurer
We slept in the back of the Montero Sport for the first time in the late fall while camping up in the mountains and found it quite enjoyable. So now we use the tent for warm weather and sleep in the truck when its cold. Here are some window screens I made for literally just a few dollars. Just mesh, magnets, and glue.

image.jpg
 

mapper

Explorer
After years of sleeping in vehicles I added a maxxfan to my van last year. Hands down best mod ever. Going through BC last fall I learned that even on low speeds it circulates enough air at such that, without screens, the bugs don't bug me, bugs not generally an issue camping in UT. Also, cracked open and running on low while camping in cold rain will keep things from condensing inside (my van has tip out windows in the middle position so it draws air in through those and out through the roof. Another benefit when near civilization is the white noise

Also, I love running the fan while I'm packing up the van on a hot summer day in Salt Lake....so much better. Just one of those mods I wish I had done a long time ago.
 

granitex1

Adventurer
Picked up a 12v electric blanket a few years ago, it has a built in timer so you don't have to think about turning it off. Just put inside the sleeping bag, when the cold wakes you up turn it on, and go back to sleep. has never drained the battery enough to worry about it.
 

Malamute

Observer
Just updated and bumped my previous window fan insert topic -
http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/161467-Window-insert-for-12VDC-fan-ventilation

Was able to spend some time on building the MkII insert yesterday and today. I hope to complete it in the next week or so.

Ive been trying to figure out a workable way to put a duct into one of my 4Runner windows to duct in air from a 110v window AC unit. I think you just helped figure that out. Think I'll make an insert for the rear (hatchback) window. Also think I'll try it with smoke colored plexi and see how it does. Not completely blocking vision through it may be good. Its something that will probably be left in for long periods so travelling with the dog wont be an issue in the summer. Rear hitch cargo carrier, small job box or custom box, small Honda Generator, and small house type window AC unit all mounted on the carrier rack on the back and camo'ed with the box. It will have to vent to cool, but making it less noticeable and obvious should help.
 
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