As I’ve mentioned in other comments, I’m setting up one of my Mercedes Wagons as a Car Camping Mobile.
Yes, a Mercedes so I can live like a Grapes Of Wrath Vagabond and not check into a hotel. Really. Yes. Honestly. No, nothing to do with Covid. I’m just a cheap SOB who doesn’t like financial proctology to rent a box to sleep in it. And I have allergy issues with scents & cleaners and fragrance crap. And I’ve had miserable times far too often with $80 / night rooms so screw it.
So I’ve watched a LOT of various videos on car camping. FWIW, that’s where I got the idea of using a Camping Cot to level out the back instead of building a box. The Mercedes DOES have a level back, but it is about 3 inches too short for me. I could take out the lower seat and gain 3 inches and have my feet hang off the end, and I’m OK with that, but that has the problem that at the “other end” of the trip, your car seat is not with you. As part of the goal here is to ferry 5 cars “coast to coast” during a relocation to Florida, that’s a bit of an issue. Manageable, but is there a better way?
Thus the Cot, with one end cantilevered (i.e. no fold down foot) that exactly fits in the back with maybe a 1 inch tilted up part at that end. I’m OK with that much of non-level. Heck, I might just slide something under the rest of it and have level exactly. But certainly more than fine for “coast to coast once”.
This, BTW, ought to work FINE for both Mercedes wagons, mine and the spousal wagon. But we’ll see. It may be that “me and dogs” go in one car and the other doesn’t involve as much camping.
Then there’s the Mercedes 190E. Passenger seat fully flat, it’s fine for a one-way trip (as I’ve done at least 2 round trips in it and they were just fine too).
The Mercedes Sedan will be a bit more problematic, but it will come last. Most likely just me and a tent. The front seats do not lay down. The back seat is about a foot too short when laid on side-to-side and I’m not fond of presenting feet for bears to lick… So some more to do there.
Which leaves the Subaru Forester. I have the older more Truck Like square one, not the new SUV Wanna Be shaped one. I’ve taken it coast to coast, sleeping in the fully reclined passenger seat. It works OK too. But is there a better way?
I just measured, and with the passenger seat fully forward, there’s enough room for the 72 inch cot. Or a long enough platform. But the back does NOT lay fully flat. You get an up slope area between the rear deck and the folded down rear seats. So as platform would likely work better than the cot.
Which lead me to this video. This is an Outback, which is a little longer than my Forester, but that’s OK. I don’t need to outfit this thing for a year in the Yukon either. Still, it has a lot of nice build ideas in it. I’m thinking maybe about 1/2 of this build would make a nice bit of kit.
With not much further ado, an interesting OTT (Over The Top) build of an Outback Camper Conversion:
In particular, I’m OK without having it form fitted to the side of the car. A simple box with wedge bottom and appropriate width, set in place as sleeping platform is fine for now. Then, I don’t need all that cabinet stuff at the moment. Another box with slide out stove and kitchen area would be great. Then I can stuff the irregular sides with other gear.
A lot easier to build, and it can form the basis for something more, once any relocation efforts are done and over.
“Someday” it might be nice to finish out the form fit, and add a solar panel / fridge etc. So this matters longer term. But for now, it’s just a very nicely done base from which to select the immediate necessaries. I especially like the slide out kitchen and cooking area. (For cabinets, I’m OK with plastic tubs set on top of that at the moment…)