Prime Camping Platform

Discussion in 'Prime Accessories and Modifications' started by m8547, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    495
    290
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Shortly after I got my Prime, I built a platform for it to level out the floor and make a space at least 6 feet long for sleeping. It works, but it turns out it's not that comfortable because it's a pretty small car. I thought I'd share the design in case anyone wants to make one like it, but otherwise I'm going to take it apart and reuse the materials for something else. Or if anyone near Denver wants a camping platform, I'll give it to you for free!

    It's made of 3/8 plywood, a length of 2x4, a length of 2x4 ripped to 2.5 inches wide, some 1x2 boards, and a piano hinge (note for readers outside the US, those are nominal dimensions for the wood, and the actual size is smaller). Not shown is a piece of wood that rests on the armrest to support the hinged section.

    The hinged section allows the seats to be in a comfortable position all the way back for driving. To switch to camper mode the seats need to be all the way forward and completely vertical (they can't tilt forward more than vertical).

    There is a little storage behind the front seats, but not much when they are all the way back. There's no way to access the space under the seats from the top, but the hinged part could be split to add an option for access. That would also make it possible to leave one of the seats in a normal position which might be nice. Lack of storage for stuff is one of the biggest problems with this setup, but a roof box would help.

    Another problem is, if you put too much weight over the hinge it will collapse, since it acts as a lever that lifts up the end towards the trunk. Maybe some kind of latch or brace at the hinge could lock it in place.

    Another problem is, with an inflatable camping pad (a few inches thick), there's not much room to do anything besides lay down while in the back in camping mode. I went camping in late fall, and it was cold and windy outside, and it got dark early. I wanted to hang out in the car, but all I could do was lay on my back, on my side, or on my stomach. It got uncomfortable pretty quickly. Sleeping was fine. My sleeping bag would just barely brush against the rear glass.

    It was only around freezing, so I didn't run the heat at night. The dashboard lights were too bright to want to leave the car on. I did run it for a while in the morning to warm up, and using the heat for about an hour plus the rear defroster for a bit to dry out condensation on the back glass, used about 25% of the battery.

    Another possible improvement would be to put the passenger seat in "relaxation mode". Remove the front and rear passenger side headrests, slide the front seat all the way forward, and tilt the seat all the way back so it's flat with the folded rear seat.

    I'm having technical difficulties with this terrible forum software, so I'll post photos in the next post.
     
    PA Prius likes this.
  2. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    495
    290
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Here are photos. IMG_20191117_161953.jpg IMG_20191117_162010.jpg IMG_20191117_162021.jpg IMG_20191117_162054.jpg IMG_20191117_162123.jpg IMG_20191117_162145.jpg IMG_20191117_162204.jpg IMG_20191117_162217.jpg
     
    Salamander_King and PA Prius like this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    83,854
    36,701
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    ah, working with wood, my favorite. well done, great write up and pics!(y) most campers here are very comfortable. are you used to a larger vehicle?
     
  4. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    495
    290
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    The Prime has about 4 inches less headroom than a standard Prius because of the battery. Plus I used a fairly thick inflatable pad (about 3 inches). But I find even my 4runner to be a bit too small. Maybe I just have high standards.

    I'd like to build a van. It's always so windy out here, it would be nice to have a place to cook and eat that's sheltered and comfortable.
     
    bisco likes this.
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    83,854
    36,701
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    build a van? or convert one?
     
  6. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    319
    55
    0
    Location:
    Greenfield MA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
    Anyone just pull out the back seats and make room for a spare, plus a pile of storage space? Basically make it into a 2 seater...
     
  7. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    495
    290
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    I tried it, and you don't really save that much space. The seatbacks are really thin, and the seat cushions are only a little thicker. You might gain 6-8 inches across the back row. Under the seat cushions there is a perforated aluminum platform, but it doesn't cover everything. A lot of things are exposed that really should be covered, like high voltage wires and other electronics. Its would be a bit difficult to fabricate something to cover what the seats cover.
     
  8. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    319
    55
    0
    Location:
    Greenfield MA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
     
  9. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    319
    55
    0
    Location:
    Greenfield MA
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Premium
    How easy was it to take the back seats out?
     
  10. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    495
    290
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    For the seat cushions, it just takes careful but forceful pulling. I can't remember the details, but if you search you can find some advice for how to do it without breaking the clips. I think there are clips under the front of the cushion and a hook at the back that comes off after you undo the clips.

    I didn't actually take out the seat backs, but it's usually just a couple bolts.
     
  11. Suspi

    Suspi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    5
    6
    1
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    1x1 and Salamander_King like this.
  12. 1x1

    1x1 Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    135
    36
    0
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Very interesting. Almost looks like both front seats are taken out. I assume they are just pushed forward and folded down as much as possible? So you made a platform that sits on top of them, extending from where the trunk becomes the back seats? Please share more details and pics if you can. Thank you!
     
  13. Suspi

    Suspi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    5
    6
    1
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    The Prius v could do it better, but if you push the seats all the way forward and remove the headrests, they lean down to touch the top of the back seats after they're folded down. This ends up being very similar in height as the trunk hump.

    [​IMG]

    The driver's seat can lean back further if you raise it first. It'll wedge itself against the tops of the back seat.

    I desperately miss the Prius v for camping and I super wish it wasn't discontinued. Those seats lay all the way down to the edge of the back seat's platform so you had one continuous lounger from the back to the front.
     
    1x1 and m8547 like this.
  14. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2018
    495
    290
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    With the front and rear headrests removed and the front seat slid all the way forward, you can fold the front seat first, and then the back seat will fold about level with that. That's the configuration I use to move 8 foot long material.

    I think Toyota used to call it "Relaxation Mode" with the front seat folded like that (but I'm not sure if it was officially called that). You could sit in the back seat with your legs stretched out on the front seat.
     
    1x1 likes this.
  15. Suspi

    Suspi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    5
    6
    1
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    I'll have to give that a shot. When I try doing that, the back seats rests on the tops of the front seats. I wasn't confident on putting my body weight on that without deforming the padding over time.

    I've been contemplating bending some tubing to insert where the headrest posts and create my own headrest platform thing. Unsure of how much work is required or if it's feasible though.
     
  16. 1x1

    1x1 Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    135
    36
    0
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Prime Plus
    Maybe start with some cheap pvc pipe cut to the required length, for your supports?
     
Loading...