The Official Prius Camping and Road tripping Thread

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by CharliePrius, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Bassmom

    Bassmom New Member

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    My son and I are taking a trip from Ohio to California and back in my brand new 2014 Prius v. We are stopping at Rocky Mountain national forest, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and bad lands. Any suggestions? Plan on camping and basically living in the car for 3 weeks :)
     
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Lets assume this is your route.
    Columbus, OH to Columbus, OH - Google Maps
    Between Twin Falls ID and Wells NV there will be no services. I would go on another 50 miles to Elko NV, as that will be your last services for another 300 miles. Elko has 2 Basque restaurants, I like the Star. Google Elko also has 3 brothels, 4 gold mines, and 5 casinos. I worked here:
    Barrick Gold Corporation - Operations - United States - Goldstrike

    I would add Zion National park before the Grand Canyon on the way back. You can notice quite a bit of polygamy in Southern Utah/Northern Arizona. Polygamous Communities in the American Southwest

    The car will be fine. For more comfort for you: The Official Prius Camping and Road tripping Thread | PriusChat
    That is my sister's v and she has a 2 inch hitch
    http://torkliftcentral.com/ecohitch/toyota/ecohitch_prius_v.php
     
  3. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    If you can afford the time to go to Zion, I would add Bryce Canyon to that list because it's just up the road from Zion. Being that close, I'd also consider a drive into the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, it's a completely different and a really scenic drive.

    Be advise that part of Yellowstone is not accessible because parts of the road near Old Faithful are being melted.

    Estes Park is a great little city outside Rocky Mt NP. When you tour Yellowstone, make sure to revisit some areas if you don't see many animals the first time. The bison and elk roam a lot and I know people who never saw many bison because the went through the area just once. We happened upon the herd the first time and when we went back for a 2nd look, there were none to be found. If you're driving along and see a car stopped, stop too, it almost always means there is something to see. Be careful of the bison though. We were out taking photos and passed what we thought was a large boulder. It turned out to be a bison and fortunately, it just kept laying there.

    We thought the Signal Mountain Lookout on Teton NP was worth the drive up.

    Mt Rushmore, Chief Crazy Horse and the Badlands are all worthwhile, though Chief Crazy Horse is a separate fee and the fee is good for only one entry. Be sure to stop at the Wall Drug Store in Wall (before The Badlands if you follow the map that was offered). The path around Rushmore is worth the hike. IMHO, it's best to approach Rushmore from the southeast using route 16A. There are some really great views of Rushmore in the distance from that direction. Obviously they are there if you drive 16A in the opposite direction, but they are easily missed because they are behind you. If you approach from 16A, you'll see them in plenty of time to pull off at the overlooks. If you zoom in on the map around Rushmore, you'll see what I mean. I believe we got this tip at the Salem Westbound Visitor's Center west of Sioux Falls SD.

    That's another tip, stop at the Visitor's Centers as you enter each state and talk to the folks at the information desk. Tell them what you are looking for/planning and they may have some great advice. We're headed to Yellowstone and Glacier NPs in late August.
     
  4. Route66Traveler

    Route66Traveler New Member

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  5. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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  6. AstroIII

    AstroIII Junior Member

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    The by-ways of Arizona and Utah are always amazing. We love to road tour and boondock with our Prius. Rather than hotels, we use the Prius with a Sleeper Kit as our sleeping cabin.

    We did Montana twice in the past year, once last fall to West Yellowstone and encountered 3' of snow, blizzards and cold. It was awesome and with the front tires cabled, the Prius performed spectacularly and sleeping inside with the heat on kept us cozy.

    A tip that I learned the hard way; Drove from AZ to MT nonstop, except for fill ups. AZ temp on departure 95 Deg. When we hit northern Utah on the 15, it was 22 Deg, past midnight and blowing wind. Suddenly, at 85 mph my low tire pressure indicator light up. Thank god it was not a blowout or tire damage. Just the change in temp. Drove slow for 35 more miles to reach a station and inflated the tires back to normal. They were down to 22 psi. Now I add air as I go North and remove as I come South. Would not have thought temp would make such a difference.

    Earlier this summer return to MT, found the region between Three forks and Ennis, along the Madison river to be amazing!
     

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  7. AstroIII

    AstroIII Junior Member

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    We use a sleeping kit from Free.Us that works awesome for turning the back of our Prius into a safe secure climate controlled sleeping cabin for touring, camping and Boondocking.
     

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  8. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    Wow! Here I thought you had one of those tent attachments. I sent you a PM because we head out in 2 weeks for Yellowstone and Glacier.
     
  9. Lezius

    Lezius Junior Member

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    Your set up looks great! Would it be possible to get a link to where you got your sleeping kit from?
     
  10. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    I found one on Craig's List, but can't seem to find any elsewhere or a company website.
     
  11. Bobbiesteel

    Bobbiesteel Junior Member

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    I do a lot of outdoor activities in my 2007 Prius. I recently took it on a white water rafting trip to WV (New River) with my cargo container on top and hatch area fully loaded with my commercial raft, equipment (helmets, life vests, etc.), and 3 other passengers. the Prius did well in the mountains and the rough back roads to get to our launch sites. I was able to get there, stay for 3 days, and get back to Hampton Roads on one full tank. Total round trip was 12 hours. no complaints. I have of yet to take my 2013 on a road trip, but I will soon to compare the two. unless you plan on going off roading, I believe the Prius does fine and the money saved on gas bought my kids extra goodies for the river! I keep a log for both cars and mileage for every fill up and trip. still, no complaints. averaged 46.5 miles! enjoy your summer people!
     
  12. AstroIII

    AstroIII Junior Member

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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sleeper Kit works very well for our use. Bought in Phoenix via Craigslist where they are made. Also avail on Ebay: Prius Sleeping Kit by Free US | eBay . I was one of the first buyers and product testers.
     
  13. cdltpx

    cdltpx Junior Member

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    That kit looks interesting I was thinking of taking the rear seating out and using handicap shower chairs to build a platform. Even if I have to hack saw the shower chairs to fit they are strong and nearly free. I rather the passenger seat folded back and that space be open so the AC can blow on me directly while sleeping. I was even thinking of getting some reflectix to build a compartment to sleep in and keep the atmosphere in that box and save fuel. I plan to go it alone and just want a space for me, my ice chest, clothes, and not a lot more. I want to be able to save money on food and shower by designing a shower & changing room for the rear platform that can be set up fast.
    I have experimented with this car cover that has these bean bags attached it is a good idea but just the paint on it was not enough so I used a can of spray glue to attach a Bear Grylls blanket to it and that did the trick to keep most of the heat out. Thinking of building one from scratch and making sure it fits perfect. Makes a huge difference when you park in the sun and interior temps can get 140 I sometimes will toss it on the car if I am sitting in the car waiting for somebody to finish business privacy and cool temps worth it.(If you transport family you find this happens a lot). I can go into a store for a quick trip and come out and still feel the cool of the AC. Takes a few seconds to toss the cover on the car it also helps keep your stuff out of sight a crook can't just look through the glass and see what you got. They are less likely to mess with the car if you have the cover because people look at it for some reason they can't help but look at it.
     
  14. solrunner

    solrunner Member

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    Regarding tire pressure and dirt roads:

    Bought my 2013 Prius new in Dec. 2013. I've kept the tire pressure between 42/40 and 44/42. The ride has been very smooth.
    Last week I took a trip to Spruce Knob in West Virginia. After driving 3.5 hours and approaching the destination, the road turned to unpaved/dirt. I had not driven my car on unpaved roads at all before then. I was anxious about it but just went 20-25 mph and 5mph on the really rough parts. It was about 8 miles in and 8 miles of dirt out when I left, about 16-18 mi total of unpaved.

    I noticed the ride back on pavement seemed rougher and there seemed to be some rolling resistance. Took my car to the dealer and they said it was out of alignment, so they performed an alignment. After that the ride still seems noticeably rougher but the rolling resistance improved.
    In retrospect I think I should have gotten out and lowered the tire pressure to 35/33 or maybe less to ease the wear on the suspension. The car still seems to ride rougher that it did before that trip; feeling more of the bumps on the road. I'm not sure increasing the TP to improve MPG is worth the wear on the suspension, especially if travelling on unpaved roads. I will probably lower it to 40/38 or 38/36 and see how that goes.

    Point is if you are going to be on unpaved/dirt/gravel roads and you have your TP above the manufacturer recommended 35/33, might be a good idea to lower it while traversing the rough roads. I feel kind of foolish now!

    As an aside, Toyota allows one alignment under warranty in the first year of ownership. The dealer said due to damage to the underside of my vehicle (a small plastic panel about 6"x6" that covered part of the front left undercarriage is missing) they would not cover the alignment under warranty. (They said the piece of plastic is not that important; it's really small.) But the Toyota dealership (Koons Tysons) said since I'm a valued customer they would waive the alignment ($148).

    Just wanted to share my experience. Maybe running tires with higher pressure is not worth it unless you know you're always going to be on smooth roads.

    :cool:
     
  15. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    Yep, when using hyper-miling techniques, it's always a good idea to pay close attention to what is happening to the car and if something is not working for you the way you thought it should then if it were me I'd stop using that.
    Reducing tire pressure is certain circumstances is recommended, especially when the going gets rough to help you from getting stuck. And fuel consumption in those situations is usually a none issue anyways.
     
  16. LaurenSomm

    LaurenSomm New Member

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    My husband bought a used 2011 Prius this summer and I am thrilled that it can be used as a camper. We have only gone on three local trips, but it's worked like a champ.
     
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  17. LaurenSomm

    LaurenSomm New Member

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    Forgive me, but I don't know how to start a new post and this might show up as a reply. I am so excited to use our new-to-us Prius as a camper! I have started to document our usage here: Prius Camping | LaurenandLloyd.com
     
  18. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    Nice blog Lauren.
    Good luck with the eco modding eco camping prototyping, every little bit of encouragement adds an extra mile to each tankOgas / elecOcharge.
    I've seen at least one other midwestern blizzard pearl owner posting regularly here who's posts I enjoy.
    I hope to get another night or two out in the priRv before the weather turns all the way.
    So far I've added the bicycle for alt transport while charging away from home, and seriously considering converting it to elec assist too.
     
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  19. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    Enjoyed your trip report, Lauren. Though a little much for my tastes, I love your frugal ingenuity and willingness to try simple things, especially since you're only testing to see if camping will become a regular thing, and it looks like it might. We'd have to run the car though because I'd need my C-Pap machine. If it only uses a gallon of gas, that's only about $3.50, so it's not a big deal and I'd be more concerned about all the inside moisture. Having spent 3 weeks in Wisconsin recently leaving the Prius outside, I can only imagine how much moisture you had to deal with. I used a Water Blade each morning we were there and I couldn't believe how much water there was. I don't know if we'll ever camp in ours, but I follow this thread and the links posted to read the tips folks are posting. Do you carry anything in the compartment beneath the cargo area?
     
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  20. HaroldW

    HaroldW Active Member

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    Good infoe Lauren. I finally purchased a insatent by coleman and sleep outside the car. H
     
    #60 HaroldW, Oct 12, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
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