Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Friday, April 10, 2015

Part 1: Packing the Prius

I've had quite a few questions about how I pack my Prius with all my gear and still have room to sleep.  Over the next few days I will be packing up to move to another spot.  I plan to take photos so that you can see how items are packed away.

I will do 3 posts to show you 3 modes of my packed Prius: 1) Camping Mode, 2) All-Packed Driving Mode, and 3) All-Packed Sleeping Mode.

Today I'm in Camping Mode.  So, here are those pictures, starting at the driver's seat, going around the back, and ending at the front passenger seat.

Driver's Seat:  Two duffle bags full of clean clothes from doing
laundry yesterday.  A t-shirt is rolled up to cover an annoying  flashing
 alarm system light.  Car's interior is dusty from all the wind.  4/9/15 

Driver's side passenger seat:  Driver's seat is moved forward as far
as possible.  An organizer is hung on the back of driver's seat
(for a variety of safety, personal and electronic gear).  
This space is my lounge area, office, changing room, and  bathroom.  
It's 4' tall from floor to ceiling.  The floor space is about 20" x 20".   
It's a normal size passenger seat.  I use the top of my bed as a side table.  
When needed, I hang the curtains for privacy.  4/9/15 

Hatch:  I already posted about my bed here.  The foot of my bed
is on the right, and the left side (driver's side) is being used for storage

Back passenger's seat:  Black fleece in the foreground is a
curtain for privacy.  The black bag on the left holds toiletry items.  
 On the floor, under the head of the bed I store 4 bags 
and Luggable Loo seat to bolster the head of the bed up.  4/9/15  

Front Passenger Seat:  On the floor is an insulated bag of food  
wrapped in a heavy coat and topped with a lap blanket to keep it cool.  
The seat holds 2 bags of electronic and office items.   4/9/15  

When I drive, I push the driver's seat back and move the two duffle bags with clean clothes to the passenger seat behind.

One key to living out of a small space is to always put items away in exactly the same place as soon as you are finished using them.  It's somewhat counter intuitive -- it's much easier to lose something in a small space than a large space.  "A place for everything and everything in its place."


  1. Impressive! I can't believe how much is stored in the seat-back organizer. What kind it is? It must be a lot stronger than the ones I've seen.

    1. Karen, It's a very well made organizer made of thick fake-leather material. I bought it used, either at a garage sale or thrift store. It's holding up amazingly well. I don't see any maker's tag or emblem on it. I wish I could be more helpful.

  2. your system is very ingenious, I look forward to the next 2 parts! I have just come back from my first trip with the new to me mini truck + canopy. It will have to do for camping for 2 people until I can afford the real truck camper. Space is tight, so some of your gear shuffling ideas should come in handy.

    So far, the DIY composting toilet is working out very well.


    1. Two people in a mini truck canopy is very tight. I bet you have some tips and tricks to make it work yourself!

    2. still working it out... now how to shoehorn in a dining shelter, my boat and fishing gear, and/ or bike? Things I used to bring along in the Fit! :)


  3. Wow, you pack very well. I live in a mini Prius (Prius C) and have to pack very carefully too! I agree that it is best to put things back in the same place each time. It is so difficult to look for something in a full car. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. You're very welcome. My pleasure.

  4. Hi Suanne, I just noticed that you use an instant tent for gear storage - how is it surviving the desert winds? My camping partner likes the idea of instant setup but I like to buy equipment that can take the conditions in which I will be using it.


    1. I really like the instant tent. It's been in 50 MPH wind gusts in Ehrenberg. I've never used the guy lines with stakes. Instead, I make sure each of the 4 corners has something heavy at it to hold it down. Also, I try to pitch it next to a tree or bush to help break the wind. It's a surprisingly well-made tent... super easy to put up and take down.


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