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  • Steve Grant

Sleeping in my 4Runner SUV

I left out to do some beach camping last week. I drove over to Ventura California in my 2017 Toyota 4Runner. I had bought a SUV tent that attaches to the rear of my 4Runner. Although this was not my first preference to use, it made my wife more comfortable. As we drove over in March, there was a huge weather system coming off the coast that lowered temperatures and was bringing rain. I was second guessing my plans silently as we drove through a few down pours in Los Angeles and saw snow covered peaks in Pasadena.



The main plan was to sleep in the back of my 4Runner. I wanted to see if it was doable, comfortable and warm. I had recently build a simple wooden platform that allows my floor space to become close to flat in the rear of the Toyota after the back seats are folded down. I then bought and fitted a 3 inch foam mattress to serve as the base to the new sleeping quarters.


Upon arriving to the Faria beach campground, the wind was gusting 20-25 miles per hour and setting up a tent was not going to be feasible. The time to test this idea was my only option as the sunset within minutes of us arriving. I acted confident, but worried just a bit. Felt a bit anxious, but tried to look forward to the million different outcomes I had already thought up and settle on the best one. Everything should be fine.


Bed was made, sleeping bags laid out, windows down just enough for airflow. Next up, a walk to the bathrooms one final time by flashlight. Would this be a long night? Would I regret this crazy idea? I tried to put the worry out of my thoughts one last time before bed. We turned on the ipad that doubled as our tv in our new smaller master bedroom and soon everything became cozy. My wife fell asleep first, I stopped the show and the ipad was turned off. The only thing left was the howling wind, the crashing of high tide 20 feet away, and the occassional movement of the vehicle from strong winds off the ocean.


Morning came, and it was fine. I slept well, my wife said she tossed about a few times, but was pretty rested overall. The next night, she slept hard and I awoke a few times. And as it goes, it is alot like many things in our lives. We worry about the what ifs and rarely relax with the what is. Glad I did it. Not a lot of room for two, but a solo trip may be perfect.

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