Whether you’re CarDwelling or VanDwelling, the bed is of the utmost importance. Because if you’re not sleeping, you’re not thriving.
Obviously, there are more options for the bed part of the setup if you’re living in a van, simply because there’s more space. But people have done some elaborate bed setups in cars, as well, such as building a platform for the bed to be built up on with storage space underneath. (If you’re a couple planning to live out of a car, this would be a necessity.)
I opted against any sort of modifications like this because A) I didn’t want to make any mods that would affect the resale value of my Honda Fit, and B) because I didn’t want any extra weight that would affect my fuel efficiency.
One of the reasons I chose a Honda Fit to live out of is because of the Magic Seats. They fold in a variety of magic ways, but for car camping or CarDwelling the back seats fold completely flat.
For my setup, my front passenger seat is pulled all the way forward and my back seats are laid flat. This leaves a huge, cavernous space in the back – including plenty of distance between the hatch and the front passenger seat for me to lie out completely stretched out.
Half of that back space is utilized for storage, and the other half – behind the passenger seat – is my bed.
My bed consists of three main layers: a self-inflating camping pad (1.5” thick inflated,) a 1-inch piece of cheap egg carton foam, and a 1.5” memory foam mattress pad topper. (Both of the foam pieces were twin size.)
I folded the camping pad under at the top (head) area and cut the foam layers down so that all three layers are the same size and fit flush with the end of the folded back seat. This way I can use the floor space behind the passenger seat for storage rather than having the layers extend over it.
The memory foam is the top layer, and I have a thick beach towel laid over it – partly as a “mattress pad,” but mostly because I needed a place to store my beach towel! 🙂
I have the bed made up with twin sheets and a false blanket that I absolutely love, and when I’m in cold places I throw a sleeping bag into the mix (I went out and bought one in Montana after getting a horrendous head cold from two 30-degree nights in Maine.)
My CarDwelling bed is one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept on, and I sleep incredibly well in my little Honda Fit.
The memory foam mattress topper was the most expensive part of my entire CarDwelling setup, but it was absolutely worth it… because again, if we’re not sleeping, we’re not thriving 🙂