My No-Build Prius Camper “Conversion” for Camping with 2 People

 I have been camping in my 2008 Prius for about a year as a weekend activity. Sometimes I even convince my partner to come with me. A few weeks ago I went over the details about how I use my space for solo camping, but I realized there were so many differences between my solo setup and my couples setup that I needed to make it into it's own blog. 

My layout

A diagram of space usage when camping in a Prius


When camping with my partner, we use a special air mattress designed for use in a prius and similar types of small cars. It has special wings on the side to bend around the wheel area, and it comes with a 12 volt pump. The mattress is deflated and packed away whenever we change locations. We bring whatever blankets and sheets are seasonally appropriate. We need to upgrade our rig with a solar or battery fan, because we have found that very hot nights are almost unbearable so close together in such a small space. 


Due to the issue of space, our dry food storage and cooler moves around depending on what we are doing. When we sleep, it lives in the front passenger seat. When we are driving, it goes in the back where the bed would be at night. 

When we camp together, me and my partner prefer to bring more traditional camp foods, like pie iron pizzas, hotdogs, and smores. The ingredients for these require that we bring a cooler with ice, and every other day or so we need to refill it. For weekend trips, I try to freeze ingredients that can be frozen (like meat and cheese), let them thaw, and then eat them as early as possible. This allows us to worry less about if the ice has melted and needs to be emptied and replaced. Bottled water is sometimes kept in the cooler, and sometimes kept in whatever storage is available, depending on how much room is in our cooler.

Since we cook “traditional” camping food when camping as a pair, we stay at campgrounds with a fire ring, and source firewood locally. This is very different from what I do when camping solo. For a more in depth breakdown of what options to consider for cooking when camping, read this blog

Other Storage

We keep out camp chairs, clothes bags, first aid, and sometimes water bottles tucked in the crevice between the front seats and the folded back seats. Almost everything else goes in a large plastic storage box, which lives outside of the vehicle while we sleep. Nothing valuable, edible or smelly goes in this box, since we don’t want to attract critters or risk ruining expensive equipment in the weather. Most of the box's weight is cooking supplies and fun items that I wouldn’t normally bring solo camping. During the day, the box lives in the back of the car next to the box of food. 

We don’t do anything different for hygiene when both of us are camping, in terms of storage and equipment. We just use the campground facilities, plus our basic hygiene kits with toothpaste and a toothbrush, hairbrush, floss, deodorant, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner.

In addition to these things, we also keep the center console stocked with snacks, bug spray, and sunscreen, just like I mentioned in the solo blog. I also recommend keeping hats and sunglasses on the dashboard so that they are always ready to go. 

Final Thoughts on Camping with Two in a Prius

Sleeping two in a Prius without a buildout or car tent is not for the faint of heart! This works great for us on infrequent adventures, but I would not recommend it for long term travel, for claustrophobic individuals, or for people who are especially large. 

What changes would you make to our set up? Do you car camp in a Prius? Let me know in the comments what you think about it. Happy adventuring! 


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