Friday, March 22, 2019

The Great Prius Adventure: Gear for Small Spaces

Thinking about this trip and how to gear up for it was a blending of our strategies from ultralight weight backpacking, bike packing, and camping in our pint sized popup.

Rule 1: Minimize the clothing.

Yes, car camping is different because you are doing things that you might do in everyday life, but also things when you are camping.

For this trip, ranging from days in the 50s-80s and nights in the 40s-60s, we needed a pretty wide variety (t-shirts to long sleeves, shorts to pants). When it is cold, you wear the same things. When it's hot you wear the same things. When it's in-between, you get to wear something clean! 

Generally speaking, I have three days of clean clothes, one pair pjs, one puff coat. After sleeping cold the first night (it was really damp), I added a hoodie for sleeping (I really don't want to sleep in my coat and wear it all day when it is cold -- yes, I will do this when I'm backpacking, but not on this trip!).

Rule 2: Take only what you need.

From past trips, you pretty much know what won't get used...the only thing that I want to take along that won't get used is a first aid kit and warm gloves.

Rule 3: Sleeping must be comfortable.

For this trip, we purchased a Klymit Double V sleeping pad at Costco. It's too heavy for backpacking, but perfect for the Prius because it fills the entire sleeping area. To complement it, we have the X-Lounger miniature air pump (USB charged!) that I bought on Amazon. It's great!

Rule 4: Provisions and food prep must be self contained.


The best addition we made to our camping gear last year, were a set of collapsible water bags. In the "old days" we had a 5-gallon blue water jug, but the fact is, it's a pain to pack and awkward to carry. Swapping it for the water bags was awesome because they can be stored anywhere when empty and are easy to carry when full. In the Prius, we are able to store one in the back tucked into a nook of the sleeping platform, another next two it and two on the floor in the back seat.


We do have a tiny ice chest which is really for the beginning of the trip or times when we can score ice along the way. BUT, we are camping in Death Valley and ice doesn't go far.

For us, self-contained food is a must...T has Celiac disease, which means that most of what we find in small out of the way places are off limits. So, we plan ahead, especially when going to places with limited options and rely on carrots, nuts, apples, bananas, chocolate peanut butter(!), gluten free bread, and a number of backpacking meals. Now, I know what some of you will say -- those are too expensive. BUT, when you think about it, we had dinner last night for about $8 for the two of us, had zero clean up, and it was pretty tasty.

We will be adding a page on how we dealt with backpacking food on our latest trip.


We use our backpacking stove, the Primus Eta Express Stove. It's great and boils water FAST, especially when you are camping below see level!

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