I see this was posted back in February, I am late on the date in terms of replying....but camping season is upon us and I was hoping to bump the thread and get more action going on the DIY/Camping mods.
I don't have any pics yet, but will post some asap once I hit the road next week with my current set-up.
I am moving from the east coast to AZ (moving around and traveling in my Jeep is something I do all to often...just call me tumbleweed!).
Anyway--my current set up is (a lot of which has been discussed):
Removed rear seat cushions/bottoms. 4 bolts per seat, have them/the hardware in a doubled zip-loc tucked under the carpeting.
Also removed the rear seat head rests (THAT was interesting as I did not know there was a second "hidden" button on the opposite post--press them both at the same time with the head-rest in the highest position and they come right off.
(I am shipping both cushions and head rests to my new addy in No. AZ)
With all of this removed and the rear seats down, I have MANY more inches in length (and that is with the front seats still in their all-the-way-back position....move them far up and leaning forward and I'd bet an NBA star could sleep back there...I got plenty of room to spare at 5'10").
Stuff now vacant floor area with anything you got--duffels, tool box etc---and a regular lightweight camping mattress on top and yer good to go.
I have a giant cargo net strung behind the front seats from one rear OSB to the other. This can be left up if it's just me, as it is not in my way at 5'10", but is easily taken down at one end and laid down if I have company (sleeps two just fine. A few more cargo bags hanging here and there, and the cargo storage at the rear offers plenty of quick access stowage areas for flashlights, snacks, well...everything.
Now for the good stuff--beating the bugs!
I bought myself some Skeeter Beaters--two for the rear windows, and one to fit the moonroof. I cannot say enough about these products.
The Skeeter Beater - Magnetic Screen for your car, truck or SUV.
There are two other good looking products out there that I have not tried, but heard rave reviews about on other forums.
One, Magna Screen, http://www.magnascreen.com/...is
essentially the same system, auto window screen with magnets sewn in to the hem to hold them on.
I was going to get a pair of Skreenz Camping, RV, Camping gear, Van, Bee, West Nile Virus, Van accessories, bug screens, insect screen, bug shield, mosquito screen, mosquito netting
essentially a screen envelope that slides over the door frame. They seem to have the best seal as there is not gap between magnets, but you really can tweak the magnetic screens to a place where they are pretty tight, I have not had any problems with skeeters, or the dreaded black flies that we got up in the good ol' nor'east.
Finally, they are essential for ventilation. All systems allow the window to be adjusted up and down when in use (now if we could just get a remote window control on a key fob, we'd be all set, no crawling forward to the ignition or window controls!).
There are battery operated fans, some of which come with LED lights--I have not field tested one myself, but are extremely popular with come car camping enthusiasts for in the car, tent, or rv. some can also be recharged via your 12v.
I have heard of folks who use small ceramic heaters in their tents and trucks, but have not been inclined to purchase. for one, I have a huge quiver of sleeping bags and tents, and have enough of these soft-goods to keep me plenty warm any time of year. I would be less worried about co2 in the vehicle with any of the screen systems in place, especially the moonroof.
Some folks also attest to the use of a low-watt electric blanket, and some use a converter to use these.
If I am just crazy cold (in the jeep or 100 miles in the backcountry in my bivy) I'll just take some of those little heat packs that heat up when you open them or shake them--and throw one or two in to my sleeping bag--lasts all night and usually end up TOO warm.
I have further "camped out" my Jeep by modifying a mosquito bar purchased at REI > Sea To Summit Mosquito Box-Style Net - Double at REI.com
Essentially a giant mosquito net "box" that I slide over the back hatch and hold tight and sealed to the body frame with small bungees, magnets, and small spring clips. You can leave the bottom section simply tucked under the mattresses if you want to use the back as a quick late-night exit, or simply use the rear doors.
Once I saw how well that worked, went one step further, and took a cheap rain fly off of a friend who wanted to get rid of a whole heavy weight 2 person tent set up.
With my two telescopic hiking poles, I have all sorts of pitching options from an awning off the back for tailgating and while we are all still up at the campsite--to fully closed in and rain protected with the hatch up (talk about REALLY gaining some more room and ventilation!).
The mosquito "bar" that I purchased at REI was 49 bucks, but I had my members 20% off coupon so it took the sting out a little. REI make their own version---essentially the same durned thing for 26 bucks (called the Mombasa Double), but I chose the pricier one as it was black mesh and easier to see thru. The green even is not so bad, certainly better than white mesh.
I just make sure that I throw plenty of tie downs, cord, spring clips etc in the rocket box on top--and even throw that heavy tent up there in case I want extra gear storage.
I have always been a long distance hiker, and carried the lightest gear made--and car camping was not really my thing (with the exception of music festivals n such)
But with the back of my jeep set up like this---I have stopped looking for hotels on the road all together. Instead I'll ask AAA for the camping books and plan my travel so that I end up at some camp friendly site. It's awesome---could be a sleepy little BLM site by a river somewhere, a forest road in the desert, the parking lot of a ski resort, or a good ol' KOA.
That's just it--you never know what you are gonna see next.
But I DO feel safe in my jeep whereas I would not set up a tent in half of these places.
One of these days I might have to go whole hog with one of the newer truck/suv tents. I have found through research that the truck-tents made for small trucks with a topper fit the Jeep GC's better than those advertised for an SUV.
While I will never stop my long-distance hiking (done the long trail end2end 3 years in a row and the AT in 2000, as well as much of the CTD and PCT)...being 200 miles in to the backcountry and waking up with elk outside your tent or bivy is an experience that cannot be duplicated through traditional car camping--but seeing as the Jeep will get you pretty far in there....who knows??!
Hope this stimulates much Jeep Camping talk for spring/summer/fall 2010!?
Oh...and I promise to take pics this trip. Leaving Tuesday morning, the 27th.