Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Quick update to Sunday's post

I went out and took pictures of the back of my Highlander.  (Excuse the boxes and remnants of camping stuff.)

I tried to lay the small seat flat and it doesn't show the true slant in these photos, but it's definitely there.  I got in and lay down with my feet elevated and head at the rear of the cargo space, and I fit.  The problem is that my air mattress wouldn't begin to fit, even though I have a twin mattress.

So to be able to use the mattress I would need to let down the larger of the two back seats.  Also, Ara pushed her back seats as far forward as they would go, leaving a good sized gap between the seat the the actual cargo area.  She filled that with pillows to close the gap.  I think rather than move the seats all the way up I would just use the floor space available for storing camping gear, beer, etc.  I'm not sure how I will fit a big cooler in.  I have a medium sized plastic cooler and a large Coleman steel belted cooler (replica of the oldies we used to use).  I think for a really long trip I want my Coleman but the thing is too heavy for me to lift when full. 

Another couple of negatives I have is that the hatch can't be opened from inside.  That should be ok because I could exit out the rear side door.  The other big drawback is that the hatch back window doesn't open, nor do any of the windows on the sides of the cargo space.  I really don't like the idea of opening a window more than a tiny crack, especially when my head and torso are in the rear of the SUV.  Not even sure if any fresh air would get to the back.

Then there is the problem of covering the windows.  I could go buy some velcro and some cheap fabric.  Ara and Hannah rigged up and hung towels on the side windows, and I guess I could do the same but I'd have to look at it more closely.

I don't think the Highlander makes the best vehicle for sleeping in, except in a pinch.  The first picture is taken from between the front seats and looking back on the passenger side.  The other two are taken from the outside back of the vehicle.  I went back outside and took two more photos trying to show the slant of the seat and how it doesn't lie flat.  Not the greatest shots, no doubt because I'm trying to take them when the car is parked in the driveway - no room to really get the various angles.

Comments and suggestions welcome, but please be nice. 


  1. I had a highlander at work for six years, and you are right, the back seats don't fold all the way down. However, as for the back hatch...I am pretty sure my remote had a button that "unlatched" the hatch. If yours does that, you can open the hatch with you key and then by pushing on it with your foot (assuming you sleep with your head facing the front seats.)

    Good luck. Isn't this Northern California weather something? We are at the Loomis RV park now, moving to my brother-in-laws backyard in about two weeks or so. I remember when I lived in Sac for my first 30+ years that it was hot...but now I am remembering just how hot. Still better than the 90+ degree weather in Florida with 80% humidity....lol

    Dave (Marcia and Bubba and Skruffy)

  2. I'm trying to make a sleeping area in a 2-door Dodge Coupe - the seats lay down but nowhere close to flat - I am looking at using the really long chaise lounge summer furniture pads at Walmart - they have some that are over 3 inches thick and 5 ft long - pretty sturdy & already on clearance - plus maybe stuff pillows in and around the drop off areas - like you I figure there has to be a way ! Good Luck & Safe Travels - Cindy in Ohio

  3. I think the padding of the seat and back are keeping it from being flat. Maybe if you took a long belt that would go under the seat and back over the top of the back, then cinch it down as far as you can. You mght be able to make it go down another inch or two. Good Luck.

  4. You might think about not taking the big cooler which is so hard to handle. Could the smaller cooler work since you don't have to have two weeks worth of stuff (other than beer ;-) ) and then you could use the larger side to sleep in when necessary. The Walmart pads from above sound like a good idea. Dione

  5. take out rear seats an passenger seat very simple to do and you will be able lay a small cot and have room to lay flat I do this in my pt crusier for long trips and it works great I also use a large colman cooler and cant life it iset long ways at the rear hatch so I can empty it I just put a clear hose on the drain and let the water run on the ground when draining it my windows are tinted so I didn't have to use curtains I also put a small 45 watt solar panel on the roof rack so I could use a small 12 volt fan and charge laptop and phone good luck

  6. Boy you've gotten lots of good suggestions from your readers. I can't add anything to them except that my back seat looked about like that and I just put a single air mattress down and slept with my feet elevated rather than my head. I often sleep more curled up anyway so it didn't matter since I'm so short.

  7. We just bought an Xterra to pull a trailer and ... realized we have no place to store a trailer. For sleeping in the back, I bought black foam presentation board and cut it to fit into the driver/passenger, 2 back-side, and back hatch windows. Magnetic-attach bug screens and black cafe-tier curtains take care of the rear left and right windows.