Su-manuelle Goes Camping: The Journey Begins

Cue “Lay My Head Down” by the Indigo Girls…

Hi, my name is Su, and I’m a camping addict. Hard to believe, but it’s true. I love, love, love lounging in luxury, but once in a while, I like to get in touch with my inner cave woman. And in this case, the cave is my luscious Toyota 4Runner SUV. My mind just went to a naughty place, but I’m reeling it back in…but just barely!

Las Vegas Madalay Bay luxury
Relaxing on the rooftop of the Mandalay Bay Hotel after an incredible meal at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant a few years ago.

A long time ago, I realized that I’m basically lazy as shit, so if there are any shortcuts to be taken, I’m taking them. Those who have ever watched me “prepare” a meal know what I’m talking about. So, I figured there’s no need to pitch a tent when camping, I can just sleep in my car. I just need a place to keep the bugs and rain off me. Most people are appalled that I would sleep in my car. It’s unfathomable that I would find it fun to sleep in a stuffy vehicle. But don’t think stuffy, think cozy!

Camping car suv toyota 4runner
Here’s my empty canvass. Plenty to work with here!

I’ll be addressing some of the naysayer’s primary concerns throughout this camping series, but I’m going to touch on the most important thing first – comfort! I bet you thought I was going to say food, right? Don’t worry, that’s coming up. Please keep in mind that I’m simply offering up suggestions. Obviously, what works for me may not work for you, but I wanted to share some ideas that may be helpful.

I realized pretty quickly that sleeping in your car takes up a lot of space which cuts your storage capacity quite a bit. This is especially true if you have a travel companion that likes to tag along. In my case, it’s my pushy Border Collie. She’s a real princess and a city dog to boot. Heaven forbid I forget her “Evian for Dogs” misting spray. Anyway, you need to create a decent amount of storage space because you can’t be comfortable without your creature comforts. Duh!

What to do first? Ah yes, get someone to make me a platform bed so that I can have a comfortable place to sleep and more space to store all my spoiled Border Collie’s essentials. My roommate “got” to do the honors. It took us about 4 hours total to put the whole thing together. I only had a few requirements:

  1. I have to be able to lift and maneuver the bed myself.
  2. It has to fit snuggly in my vehicle.
  3. It has to be tall enough to stuff storage bins under it.
  4. It has to be strong enough to hold me and the princess.
  5. The front legs have to rest on the back of my fold-down seats instead of on the floorboard because I needed the floorboard space for storage.
  6. The front legs have to be shorter because my fold-down seats are higher than the cargo area in my vehicle.
  7. The legs on the right side have to be moved in from the edge by about 6” to accommodate the wheel well.
  8. The platform has to be covered so I don’t get blisters in my butt.

Platform bed for camping pvc legs

Here’s a picture of the bed. It probably weighs around 50lbs or so. The legs are removable for easy storage.

The pups checking out the camping bed. platform
Apparently, the platform bed is dog friendly.

My handsome oldest child is modeling the bed for you. As you can see, the princess had to get in on the action too. What a sneaky bitch!

To keep the bed from sliding around, I purchased some bungee cords that can be looped around the legs of the bed to the cargo net hook. However, it turns out the bungee cords weren’t necessary. I have two pads in my car. The bottom one is thin and waterproof, and the top one is plushy with a felt-like feel to it. The plushy pad gripped on to legs of the bed pretty well, and the thing didn’t budge during my 500-mile inaugural journey. Score!

Camping bed packing platform
This is one of my packing variations with multiple chairs and a tent under the platform bed. Notice I packed 2 pillows. Oh yeah!

Stay tuned for the next installment of Su-manuelle Goes Camping. I’ll be talking about the balance between staying cool in hot weather and keeping the bugs from turning you into a buffet. Until then, be bold and stay curious!


If laughter is the best medicine, you definitely need an extra dose of me.

4 thoughts on “Su-manuelle Goes Camping: The Journey Begins

  • June 7, 2017 at 2:37 am

    I love camping but as a social thing, I wouldn’t have quite so much fun camping by myself but I do love what you’ve done to your car and I love the idea of camping across the U.S. Just would have to make sure I had good wi-fi to stay connected, lol.

    Can’t wait to read and see more of your adventures!

    • June 7, 2017 at 5:33 am


      Luckily, I’ve been able to use my phone everywhere. Some places even have wi-fi. The good thing is, if I have to run into town for something, it’s super easy to break down camp, lol!

  • June 7, 2017 at 5:26 am

    I’m impressed with your ‘car bed’. Someone does great work! Does your handsome one get jealous that the princess is going with you? I’m hoping you might be heading in my direction??? I can’t wait to see/hear about your food and preparations.

    • June 7, 2017 at 5:36 am

      Mr. Handsome is always jealous of the princess, lol. She was the runt of the litter, and I spoiled her terribly.

      I would love to head your way one day. We have so much to catch up on!!


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