Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Car

Well, here's the car! A 2005 Honda CRV. It's not the biggest, but it has a surprising amount of space when you take out the back seats. As far as SUVs go, another great option might be the Honda Element, those things really have some space inside. However, I have seen great setups using a truck with a camper top, and I know a guy who made it work it a Geo Metro. Obviously if you are looking into making a real home out of your car a van is one of the best options; I have seen some really wonderful conversion plans for vans out there.

But, this is what I had on hand so I made it work.

The first step was sleeping arrangements. For this I built a wooden fram consisting of approximately 5 2x4x8's and a 1/2'' sheet of plywood. Because this won't be exposed to the outdoors that much you can skip the pressure-treated stuff and save some money. All in all the frame cost around $40.00 USD.
I built a modular frame; this made working with weird angles and differences in height much easier. The base is open because the floor picks up and makes a table in that spot (the table will make up my kitchen). I just took some rough measurements and framed it up in about 30min; nothing fancy, just some screws and a little wood glue. 

The front piece was even simpler. Just a slightly taller square to make up for the difference in height in that part of the car.
Nothing is holding these down, but the weight of the structure and tight fit makes the structure surprisingly secure. I do have a towel shimmed under the front frame just to make up for some humps in the floor. 

I measured the space and ripped the plywood down to size. Then I ripped the final piece in half so that I could get it into the car. Due to the cross beams on the frame, cutting it in half had no effet on the structure. After that it was just a screw in each cornor. 

The next step was adding a futon mattress I picked up on Craig's List for $20.00 USD. There are always people online getting rid of futons for cheap so just keep your eyes peeled for a good deal. This one was great, it's good and thick and super comfy! It was just a bit too long, but that was quick work with a pocket knife. Just unzipped the inner cover, ripped out about 6" of stuffing, zipped it back up, and no one was the wiser.

A note on futon purchases:
College towns are great for people getting rid of futons. Many times the frame has broken and they are looking to get rid of just the pad for extra cheap. However, we all know what college kids do with their futons... So be smart when you purchase. A few good questions to ask when inquiring: Do they smoke? That smell may never come out of the fabric. Do they have pets? Pets may well be worse to furniture than fraternity brothers. Does the pad have a removable slip cover? These are the best, normally this will indicate a higher quality mattress, but it will also allow you to take it off and wash it before you begin your use. These are all good questions to ask, but most importantly you should go check out the thing yourself!
Merritt enjoying the copious amounts of space!
Even with the pad there is a surprising amount of overhead space. No high-ceilinged atrium, but enough room to sleep on your side and move around. It is important to note that I am only 5'7" and my brother is only 5'9" so the amount of space is relative.However, we can both lay completely straight and stay on the pad! 
Underneath has massive amounts of storage, this was mostly due to the fact the wheel wells were so high and we had to get over them to create a flat surface. However, this is nice as it allows for easy storage of a crashpad as well as all our gear and such. The amount of space is a little excessive; if your car dosen't force it you may want to consider creating a little less storage space and leave yourself a bit more headroom.  

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