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onesmallstep

Car Camping - an alternative to tents

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Hi

I've been attending Kelling Heath Sky Camp since 2006. As this is my only camping holiday per year I don't bother with a tent as I convert my car into a camper for the duration and I've improved on the conversion each year. I've also done this in several cars including a Ford Focus hatchback, Renault Laguna, Rover 25, and my current car - a Renault Megane Scenic. I arrange the car in the following way:

1. Recline the front passenger seat as far back as is comfortable. This is where I sleep.

2. Leave the rear passenger seat upright and keep sleeping bag / duvet on this seat so that it is within easy reach.

3. Footwear goes in the driving seat footwell

4. Arrange kit so that related items are kept in the same bag / case / rucksack. These are kept either on the rear seats if they are upright OR if they are folded down the kit will be kept in the space where the rear seats would have been. This will include clothing / hygiene items, snacks / drinks, extra clothing in case the nights are cold.

5. Astro kit is kept at the rear of the car and accessed via the rear hatch. This will include empty boxes, eyepiece case(s), accessory case(s) and general equipment.

This has worked successfully for me for the last several years and I was wondering if any other SGL members have tried or would consider trying this form of ad-hoc camping at star parties or overnight camping trips.

Edited by onesmallstep

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I've often thought about sleeping in the car, but first of all I need to be laying down to sleep and my car just isn't big enough really. Also they tell me it is much colder in a car than a tent.

You'd surely have to remove all the fuses to stop the lights coming on in the dark and upsetting the neighbours.

Carole

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Yes ive tried that cars act lice an ice box absolutely freezing better getting a one man popup tent dead easy nothing to them.

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Have slept in a car once or twice, usually when on a long journey and needed a good break.

Success is about 50/50 concerning how good or bad it has been.

Would possibly consider one of the small "caravans" that I have seen on a TV program, very small and you tailor them to one thing - they are really small - but if set up for sleeping only then would be fine so long as you accept this.

Think they are called Tardis Trailer's or similar. Alternative might be one of the small caravans that I think Olly mentioned once, and whose name I have forgotten.

Onesmallstep: Have you not considered getting something like a Mazda Bongo and converting it to a camper?

Seen a nice Toyota conversion as well.

You get the main convenience of a vehical and a reasonable sleep which you can hook up. Fit the obligatory leisure battery and just get a 12v kettle, a 12v slow cooker and a 12v cool box, no need to put in a gas cooker then.

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I sleep across the front seats of my van quite regular. I have made curtains to add privacy and keep the early morning sun dimmed down enough so I can sleep past sunrise. I have insulated the roof though which makes a difference. Prefer my tent if in the same place longer than a single night though, much more civilized IMO.

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Really like the turtles, just enough space for everything for camping in it and then more space in the car for telescopes

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Please forgive me you don't need lice i did mean like, it didn't even flash up so i could check spelling my mistake.

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Thanks for the feedback.

My Scenic is a 2000 model so is central locking via the door lock, not a keyfob so the lights don't activate on this model.

As for warmth, I slide back the sunroof shield but keep the sunroof closed. This way I maximise glass area that helps heat the car during the day and keeps the warmth in during most of the night. I also have a sleeping bag or duvet to hand so this also helps keeps me warm.

I may consider getting a small (2 berth) camper van for everyday use but like everyone else I'm watching the pennies at the moment. An alternative is keep a standard car and get a mini caravan as mentioned earlier in this thread. Tardis trailers look good (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/s.bradford4/sbwebsite/tardistrailers.htm) and I've also looked at the Teardrop version.

Keep the feedback coming.

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I bought a landrover 110 and have modified it for camping hols. Basically a box van with a bed in the back.

A 6' blow-up bed just fits in the back and I installed an electric hook up so I have warm air heating via a small fan heater for the extra cold nights, lights and a fridge. :grin:

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Hi Stu,

A couple had one of those tiny vans at SGL 7 earlier this year.

They gave a number of us present a demo of the van. It is amazing how the van manufacturers have made maximum use of the space available.

When all is said and done, I still would vote for my Outwell Trout Farm 4 polycotton tent. It is moderately warm in winter, cooler in summer.

I have never had to use a heater to keep warm.

Plus it has the space I need. It's only drawback is the price...

I have tried to sleep in cars in the past while waiting at ferry ports, but found it impossible.

Cheers

Adrian

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As usual, I'm sleeping in the front seat of my Ford Explorer in my sleeping bag with the seat fully reclined at Mount Pinos this Saturday night. Lots of other folks sleep in their vehicles as tents are not allowed to be set up in the parking lot. The National Park ranger can cite you with a stiff fine.

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As usual, I'm sleeping in the front seat of my Ford Explorer in my sleeping bag with the seat fully reclined at Mount Pinos this Saturday night. Lots of other folks sleep in their vehicles as tents are not allowed to be set up in the parking lot. The National Park ranger can cite you with a stiff fine.

They allow cars but not tents? Bizarre!

Typed by me, using fumms...

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They allow cars but not tents? Bizarre!

Well, technically, car camping is also not allowed in the parking lot but astronomers having been gathering here for several decades so they allow this, including motor homes.

There are several official paid and free campgrounds very close by but they are really not suitable for astronomy due to the tall pine trees everywhere.

This shot of the parking lot was from last month.

post-23888-0-69639100-1350065203_thumb.j

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I'm a lifelong continental cycle touring camper so I find this tiny caravan enormous.

With its awning up it is really a spacious place to live. (The awning can be fully encolsed if you like.) Alas production of the tiny Puck model has stopped and they are going up in value but this cost about £4.5K here in France. I tow it with our turbo diesel Panda, incredibly easily, an still get nearly 60mpg. Hey, we blow off Limmos towing giant caravans!! Motorway is free, too.

Serioulsy, it would be a great aid to mobile astronomy. Eriba Puck is the make and model. We're chuffed with ours, though we use it to get away from astronomy here!

Olly

AWNIING-L.jpg

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Thanks for posting the photo Olly, it's the kind of camping setup I'm ultimately after.

Thanks to everyone else for all feedback received so far.

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A mini caravan more easy to find in the UK is the Freedom. The come up on Ebay I reckon.

Olly

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Hey there, just had a quick nosey, cracking priced mini caravan here, the, ermmm paintjob is a little dubious but the price is ace. If I had the cash I would buy but hey, thats life. See what you think

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-Hobbits-Tavern-Teardrop-caravan-absolutely-unique-/290822108233?lgeo=1&clk_rvr_id=421019417975&vectorid=229508

Steve

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I wouldn't pay £450 for that!

A local person was selling their 4 berth caravan for £250 and was in a similar condition. I offered £150 for it, he refused. A fwe weeks later I went by to the sound of it being hacked to pieces to take it to the dump.

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I wouldn't pay £450 for that!

A local person was selling their 4 berth caravan for £250 and was in a similar condition. I offered £150 for it, he refused. A fwe weeks later I went by to the sound of it being hacked to pieces to take it to the dump.

In all fairness Beulah, the paint job might stink but for something small and handy for a weekend out with your scope, this is just the job and so easy to store.

I lol'd at the guy hacking is van to bits, didnt have the balls to come round and see you to offer it I guess :grin:

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They allow cars but not tents? Bizarre!

Typed by me, using fumms...

He is in US, may be the national parks are worried about people getting eaten my bears, mountain lions, wolf, poisonous snakes ...

Despite the weather, UK is a nice place for outdoor holiday. For a start, there is nothing that will try to eat you for dinner. Lets hope those plans to reintroduce wolf to Scotland never materialised.

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