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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium
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515 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I did a set of photos with instructions & tips for creating a good, comfortable sleeping set up in the back of a 2010-2013 Outback. Be sure to look at the photos individually, as that is where the writeup is. Even if you've slept in your Outback before, you might learn a new thing or two.

I think this Facebook page is accessible to all:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4299177919968.34614605.1302266481&type=1

Regards, Jefferson
 

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2013 2.5i Premium 6mt, Twilight Blue
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2,370 Posts
Nice setup and description. Do you find that cracking the windows overnight offers enough ventiliation to minimize condensation building while sleeping?
 

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2007 Outback XT Ltd
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847 Posts
Nice setup. However.....

If I traveled without any luggage or camping equipment, it would be great.

If I did have a bunch of gear and didn't mind completely emptying out the back each night, leaving it exposed to the elements and to roaming bears, it would be great.

You can buy a low end "decent quality" roof top tent for a grand that will let you keep everything safely stored. ... CVT Cascadia Vehicle Roof Top Tents | Cascadia Vehicle Roof Top Tents .... used ones are much cheaper.

I just can't figure out when someone would actually use your setup, unless it was for a hot date.... Exactly who is the target audience for this?

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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2005 Outback XT
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76 Posts
Nice photos! I will look into that seat extender.
I will post mine after I move in April. I bought an Ikea twin Florvag mattress ($80) to sleep on for 3 months, its comfy! But the size is near perfect for the back of Outback. It's a little long, but I can either move the seats or chop down the mattress. The width is perfect. I can't wait to save some moolah when doing long-distance driving or save some effort when camping!

Regarding the gear issue. I have a Rocket box and there are still the two front seats. It would require some shuffling, but no reason why the two seats couldn't hold big duffles. And a small cooler could fit on the floor.

I slept by myself in the back on a camp pad with a bunch of stuff next to me on one drive. I used it for camouflage more than anything else. I was crashing for a few hours at a truck stop and even had my mtn bike tire somewhat on top of me. Now that I have tinted windows and the rain visors, my next quick sleep stop will be much more comfortable.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5 Premium
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515 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I haven't had the chance to camp in my Outback yet - I've only had it since Dec. 1st. However, I camped a great deal in my 2004 Murano.

Never had a condensation problem with windows cracked. I'd cross-ventilate with at least two windows opened about 1.5-2". You can pop the sunroof open too. Might want to have a tarp in case of rain to throw over the roof & window area to protect the openings, or maybe rigged to hang from the roof rails, if you don't have the optional rain guards.

Of course, you are limited with gear space inside, but there's always been enough room for me and my gear when I'd be off alone, even when I'd be gone for a couple of weeks. My mountain bike would be locked to my roof rack. I'd keep a couple soft carry bags with lots of pockets, and lay them on the bed, along with a little other gear. Also, I don't need the whole bed, so I'd put some items off to the side down by my legs. I guess it would have been nice to add photos showing all that, but this was enough work already - I mainly wanted to cover the sleeping setup.

A twin bed would give you more storage height in the back - though I've found the double very comfortable to sleep on, and can easily toss gear around it. I had a double AirBed anyway, so as long as it's working for me, it's fine.

Once I'd parked where I would settle for the night, I'd transfer the bags to the front seats. I'd also stash a lot of gear on the floor of the back seating area, and on the front passenger side floor.

Camping in an SUV isn't for everyone, and it can be a tight space for two. But it can also be streamlined and convenient. I used to do a lot of backpacking and tent camping, but I've found often much more convenient being self-contained. If I'm out after dark, say like messing around up at Lake Tahoe 'til late, maybe at a restaurant or bar or casino, I can drive right in, almost completely set up. No tents to pitch and sleeping bags and pads to lay out in the dark, and not catching those rocks you would be sleeping on top of. I don't always feel comfortable leaving my pricey gear laid out at a campground all day while I'm gone. Being self-contained, I don't have to cut into my day to get back to the campground to set up.

The other side of "camping" in the car for me is to save on motels during long trips. When I'm with my girlfriend, I don't mind spending the loot, but I hate to spend about $80 or so just for me, when all I need is a place to sleep. I'll usually stay in area designated for overnight sleeping, but rest stops and quiet neighborhoods could do in a pinch. You certainly can't do that with a tent. If I ever was to get hassled, which has never happened. I'd just say I was driving a long way, got very sleepy, and considered myself a road hazard if I continued.

BTW, if you're in bear country, your food shouldn't be stored in your car anyway. I friend of mine had her car door torn right off by a bear going after her food in Yosemite Valley.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice photos! I will look into that seat extender.
I will post mine after I move in April. I bought an Ikea twin Florvag mattress ($80) to sleep on for 3 months, its comfy! But the size is near perfect for the back of Outback. It's a little long, but I can either move the seats or chop down the mattress.

You'll find with the 'Extend-a-Seat' you'll have a lot more length, and won't need to cut down the bed.

One thing I like about my double size is I can lay more diagonally if I want to stretch out. Some day I might try a twin back there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm not sure if you need to be a Facebook member to see it if you bring that address up on a browser. Maybe the browser you are using won't support it, but another one would. I first tried to view another's Facebook link on this forum, and saw nothing on Safari browser. I opened it up in Firefox and saw the whole thing. For reasons like this, it's a good idea to have multiple browsers on your computer, in case one isn't functioning as you would expect.

Sorry, I don't have time to repost all the images and copy and paste all the writing to accompany it.

Perhaps the best tip of the bunch is to purchase the 'Outward Hound Extend a Seat' to extend the bed area by about a foot. It's available on Amazon for about $30. I'll post a photo showing it in place, and with it supporting the bed.
 

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2014 OBW 3.6R Limited, 1997 OBW 2.5L Auto (sold, but not forgotten), and 1991 Ford F150
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I've tried the link with both Firefox18 and IE9 ... neither worked. Maybe next time.

EDIT: I finally signed up for FB ... been meaning to do it for awhile to keep in touch with family ... and the link worked. Guess we have our answer.
 

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what's worked best for me...

is the DAC suv tent and an air mattress.
-set up is easy, just minutes
-more room (i'm 6'4") with tailgate open
-plenty of airflow in summer (has bug net)(i also run a little battery tent fan)
-can close off for cold weather (in high teens i had some frosting on windows, but running defrost in morning cleared it quickly) (don't run engine with tent on OB)
-i've been through some hard rains, at feet maybe slightly damp but very slightly. i've been wetter in normal tents.
-in bear country i do hang food (i do keep inside of my OB clean, but if you do spill food in it, that would be an issue to manage)

in my experience, traveling alone, even with lots of gear this works great.
if you have folks with you... it's a bit of a pain to have to kick everybody's stuff out of car every night. but wow, you can easily avoid hotels to keep adventure costs down.

SubaruOutback.org Member Galleries - Message
 

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2021 Outback 2.5i Premium
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Once in for the night -- how do you close the hatch--- there is nothing to connect a rode to. 2011 Outback.
Bald Eagle
In my 2013 I removed the plastic cover over the locking mechanism on the inside of the hatch. Ths gives you a place to hook a finger into to pull the hatch closed, and a place to insert a finger to unlock the hatch, then push it open.

Worked very well for five cold nights in Big Bend National Park.

I put the cover in the glove box so as to not lose it, and reinstalled it on my departure from BB.
 

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I hope to purchase a 2015 OB 3.6R w/EyeSight within the next 6 months. I currently own a '07 Jeep Patriot. My wife and I have camped a couple of times and slept inside the Patriot. The really neat thing about it, is that the front passenger seat completely folds down. This allowed for me, being 6 feet 2 inches tall to fit perfectly. My wife being shorter, had no problem. However, being such a tight fit, we would not sleep well. I would have to crack the window down to prevent condensation. All in all, it was fun, but I am looking forward to purchasing a small pop up to tow. I have been looking at LivinLite All Aluminum Ultra Light Campers, Ultralight Campers, Lightweight Campers, Ultra-Lightweight Campers They have some really neat pop up tents that are easily towed by the OutBack.
 

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i used to sleep in the back, next to my 6 year old with the dog in the front seat. plenty of room to sleep but no headroom to sit up. i love my arb awning and tent. a bit expensive, but well worth it. probably the best thing i've ever bought for my car.
 

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I use a DAC tent as well, along with some mesh screens that attach to the back windows with magnets & painters tape for easy removal. This allows for plenty of air circulation, plus I use a small, six volt fan. Most of my camping is done in the cooler months so I usually end up rolling up the back windows anyway.

I have a plastic storage box in the floorboard of the rear passenger area that stays there all the time, and another smaller one that holds my tent/mesh that I put on top of it which is level with the rear cargo area, so it extends my sleeping area by about a foot.

You can't see the mattress in these photos but it's a three inch thick, six footer from REI.

These photos are of my 2014 which I've since traded in for a 2016.
 

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This is my 3rd Subaru; 2011 Outback 3.6R Limited with Nav
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Pshhhh why sleep inside of your car when you can sleep on top of it?
 

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