Camping in Gen 3, Gen 4, or Prime...what is the best option for me?

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Bill La Mancha, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Hello!

    I currently do not own a hybrid and am looking at possibly purchasing one. I have never driven a prius, but am impressed with their mpg since my current commute to work is 50 miles one way. Though the biggest reason I am looking at the prius is for camping in it. I would be camping in the vehicle while attending a college that is 75 miles away from my house. (I have looked at possibly renting a room or moving, but that would be more expensive than purchasing a vehicle to camp in. Especially when you consider daycare, school system, current house, etc.) I was introduced to the prius after looking at "stealth vans" and then found out about the climate control that a prius provides.

    So, the primary concern for me is to have a reliable vehicle for camping in four days a week. (I currently live in Virginia and we have cold winters and hot summers.) The next concern is that I would need this vehicle to last (with minimal maintenance) for 4-5 years. I already have access to a gym that is open 24/7, a fridge at work, and a desk that I can store dry goods in. I would be washing/prepping clothes and food on the weekend at home with my family. I also have multiple locations to sleep in and have no worries about police and/or safety.

    After looking through the forums I am now wondering what my best option would be when choosing a prius. Should I choose a gently used gen 3 and save money, should I choose a 2016 gen 4 and save some money over a new gen 4, or should I choose a brand new prime due to the possible savings/discounts available?

    In case anyone is wondering my vehicle background is:
    1981 Toyota pickup regular cab (used) <--- third favorite
    1987 Mazda Rx7 (used) <--- cool, but not practical
    1984 Toyota pickup (used) <--- beat up, problems, sold
    2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse (used) <--- good deal, though never like it
    1998 Honda Civic (used) <--- good car, used as trade for next vehicle
    1998 Toyota pickup (TRD, extended cab, SR5, 4x4) (used) <--- second favorite
    2001 Oldsmobile Alero (used) <--- good deal, drove it until it died
    2008 Toyota Matrix (brand new) <--- my favorite car!!! (Never thought it would be, but I fell in love over time.) After 274k miles transmission gave out and she finally broke down. :(
    2011 Kia Forte (used) <--- current vehicle...reliable, but I miss my Matrix a lot!
    2016 Toyota Sienna (brand new) <--- her vehicle and is used as the family car

    I really like Toyota! I prefer a truck, but it is more practical to have a small commuter car. My wife drops off and picks up the kids so she has the minivan. (BTW, she LOVES her van!) I prefer hatchbacks now, but am not too interested in the prius V. I like that the prius V has a lot more cargo room, but I feel that the greater mpg gained by the standard prius/prime outweighs the extra space. I also like to buy vehicles brand new and keep them until they die completely. (Been burnt too many times buying used cars that break down.) However, we don't make a lot of money and are still paying off the van. We could possibly swing a new car payment, but it would be tight and I would want to make sure it is a GOOD deal!

    Finally, items that I've never had in my own vehicle(s):
    Quality sound system <--- I rarely ever listen to music. I either have nothing on or news on.
    heated seats, mirrors, steering wheel, etc.
    HUD, navigation, bluetooth, auto dimming, parking assists, and any other technical advancements.
    ***There are some advancements in her Sienna, but I can do without them personally. I also have a 12 volt plug to charge my phone if necessary. My Forte has a USB port, but I've only used it once for charging the phone. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm very used to basic vehicles/models. :)

    So...please provide any and all recommendations. I am sure a great deal of information is available in other threads! If you wouldn't mind, please post a link to some good threads for me to visit.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to reach this! Also that you again for having this great forum!!!

    -Bill
     
    SFO likes this.
  2. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Also, how long until "Awaiting moderation before being displayed publicly." is over and/or removed from posts that I make?

    Thanks!

    -Bill
     
  3. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Should say "Also, thank you again for having this great forum!!!" :)
     
    bisco likes this.
  4. George W

    George W Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    909
    497
    1
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Youtube has many Prius camping videos (even Gen 2).
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    93,959
    42,580
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    look through the camping threads. a 2015 with low miles will give you a flat surface iirc.

    a gen 4 or prime requires some modification i believe, but not too difficult for the diy type. lots of threads here with pics and write-ups.
     
  6. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    13,944
    9,893
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    If I'm not mistaken, both the interior space and the variety of storage cubbies declined between Gen 3 and Gen 4.

    Also, there was the move of the 12 volt battery from inside to outside the car, which made everybody happy except those of us who like to hook additional stuff to it.
     
  7. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    For hooking additional stuff to the battery, you just have to run it through the car instead...kind of like most other cars right?

    I have no problem doing things myself...as long as there is a video telling me what to do and what not to do! ;)
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    93,959
    42,580
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    yes. finding a hole in the firewall and getting it to the accessories is just a bit tougher than the gen 3 with the battery under the hatch floor.
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    13,944
    9,893
    0
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Kind of like, and I dislike making holes in firewalls, or firewall grommets ... plus they're really hard to reach in a Prius, because of the long low windshield slope and the cowl.
     
  10. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Thanks for the info!
     
  11. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    11,052
    3,476
    1
    Location:
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Let's face it the Prime is not the first choice for camping/sleeping in the rear.
    Prius Gen2-4 and PiP have historically been great for camping but not Prime, unless there are some threads I missed. Normally for level floor on Gen4 with seats down you want the spare tire version, but many without spare tire version have fashioned an approx. 2-inch insert to help level the floor.
     
    #11 wjtracy, Jan 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  12. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Thank you for the information!
     
  13. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    2,906
    1,477
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    When you use the term “climate control” you actually mean you will leave the car in ready mode “turned on” all night. As the engine will turn on and off all night do the places you intend to park have people about at night? Also as the engine goes on and off under certain conditions your exhaust will be visible. This could bring the attention of the police. How soundly do you sleep? The engine will probably go on and off several times an hour.
     
  14. George W

    George W Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    909
    497
    1
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    I found that an air mattress really absorbs the engine starts. The only nuisance I still have is trying to lock the doors before I sleep. FOB will not lock your doors if you are inside (Gen 2). I tried rolling the window down and extending the FOB outside, it wasn't fooled. I have to use a golf club to reach for the driver's button.
     
  15. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    781
    485
    0
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Vehicle:
    2014 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Personally, I would look at a used Prius v. It's a larger vehicle with a higher roofline. And has more room in the hatch area- which is probably where you'd be sleeping.
     
  16. Bill La Mancha

    Bill La Mancha New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2019
    19
    9
    0
    Location:
    23061
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Yes, I used the term "climate control". ;) Okay, so I currently do not know all the ins and outs about the car and how it operates. I do know that it will cycle on and off to maintain the temperature set. I also know it will burn fuel while doing so. Of course when I sleep in my current vehicle I typically turn it off and leave the windows cracked. I then turn it back on when it gets too cold or hot. I've slept (in the drivers seat) a handful of times in my Kia Forte and MANY times in my old Toyota Matrix. I'm a very deep sleeper and have actually slept 9+ hours before (in the drivers seat) of the Matrix.

    Where I currently work it is a 24/7 operation. Many people (5000+ roughly) sleep in their cars either before or after their shifts. Most of them run their engines on their vehicles (from trucks to muscle cars) while sleeping. No worries about police and I'm not worried about my safety.

    I've never had a key FOB...interesting, I'll have to figure all of that out too I suppose.

    I'll have to look at the prius, prius V, and prius prime to get a good evaluation of camping in each of them.

    Thank you all very much for the information and insight.

    -Bill
     
  17. Sooner Al

    Sooner Al Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    385
    338
    0
    Location:
    Oklahoma, USA
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
  18. ilovegirls

    ilovegirls Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    168
    39
    0
    Location:
    San Diego
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    The 3rd gen prius has a camping kit. It's on ebay for 100 bucks. Just search prius camping and it will pop up.
     
  19. Lightning Racer

    Lightning Racer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    231
    309
    1
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I've slept in my Gen 3 (with my big dog) a total of about two months over the past three years. The climate control for car camping, as well as a large enough hatchback space to lay out in comfortably was a big reason I decided on the Prius.

    I just got back from a drive across Canada (New Hampshire to Alaska). The climate control is awesome. I had several nights the past week sleeping in below zero F tempertures, including one night at or below - 40. I think I found out that the external thermometer in the car bottoms out there at - 40 because it showed just a dash at times :). That night, I actually had the window next to me half open all night without noticing until morning, still only burned 1-2 gallons of fuel. The other nights, I probably burned less than 1 gallon overnight.

    My sleep setup is super easy, no plywood platforms or anything special. I just move my driver's seat forward and tilt that seatback forward, fold down the back seats down, and then put a duffel bag behind the driver's seatback and the folded back seat to fill the gap where I'll lay my pillow. My bed is just an insulated inflatable backpacking sleeping pad topped with another closed cell foam sleeping pad, and I drape my 0 F down sleeping bag over me blanket style. My dog sleeps next to me on his dog bed.:sleep::coffee:

    Oh yeah, I also bought a set of custom fitted black mesh shades that cover all the windows on the back half of the car (carshades.com) for a bit extra privacy and to keep it darker.

    I also turn the navigation screen off at night to keep it dark. You could also dim the other dash lights with the dimmer if you keep the parking lights on all night, but I didn't bother.

    Unfortunately, I hit a caribou in the Yukon (poor thing flipped over the car) on this latest trip. Nursed the car home 770 more miles with a cracked/leaking coolant overflow tank and front end damage. Will learn tomorrow it's fate with insurance. Damage doesn’t look that bad, but with 185000 miles in very good condition (and new Nokian WR G4 tires), it's worth only $6-7K at most, so it's a low threshold to being totalled.
     
    #19 Lightning Racer, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  20. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    2,906
    1,477
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    You hit a caribou? I have to say I have never heard that one before.
     
Loading...