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

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mice and Stuff

A mouse never got into my 2004 Prius during my 8 years of camping out of it.  But, I've had at least 5 mice in my 2015 Prius in less than a year.  I caught two, but the others exited on their own.  A good friend, with some space, allowed me to take the stuff out of my car in an attempt to find the mice's entry way.  I was also glad for the opportunity to do some deep spring cleaning.  I took everything out, including the donut spare and glove box.

Everything out of the Prius!  May 2018 

When I took the glove box out, I found insulation had been torn up for a nest.  And, there were mouse droppings, too ... BINGO, I found the mice's entry/exit point!  Behind the glove box is the cabin filter that was ready to be changed.

The old cabin filter with evidence of mouse chews.  A ball of the mice's tore-up
insulation.  The back of the glove box with insulation pulled off by the mice.
(Inside of the glove box is the new cabin filter that I installed.)  May 2018 

Unfortunately, behind the glove box is full of wires, the filter, and other parts.  There is no way to get behind it all to find the mice's entry/exit point. 

Wires, filter and parts behind the glove box. The mice's foyer.  May 2018 

So, I researched and discovered that mint and original Simple Green deter mice.  So, Simple Green got sprayed in the engine compartment against the back wall by the glove box.  And cotton balls with peppermint oil were placed inside.  I also have mouse traps if/when another one joins me inside.

In addition to finding the mouse door, I thought you all would be interested in seeing all the stuff that came out of, and went back into the Prius.

10'x10' tarp with all of the stuff emptied from the Prius, including
a couple of chairs at the bottom left.  May 2018 

It's even hard for me to believe that all of that stuff came out of my car.  For more detail, here's a one-minute video of everything.

I have 3 main storage areas in the Prius: 1) Under back hatch, 2) On front passenger seat and floor, and 3) Behind front passenger seat.  But, first the bed gets made up.

I use a REI 3.5" Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad  (25"x72")
and many layers of bedding to cover me if cold,
or peel off when warm.  May 2018 

Under the bed and above the donut spare tire is a storage area where I keep rarely used items (oil, antifreeze, compressor, extra sleeping bag, etc.).

With some covers turned down on the bed on the right, the left-side is
packed and strapped down, ready for travel.

To the left of the bed and under the hatch I store camp furniture (chairs, table), tent, tarp, cooking utensils, stove, bags of bags (zip lock, grocery, nylon duffles), water storage bladders, office supplies, small fan, window cover, broom (without handle).

What's left on the tarp after packing most of the areas under the hatch.  May 2018 

Also, under the hatch, I store cleaning supplies (Simple Green, liquid soap, vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, corn starch) in a cubby to the right back of the bed.

Containers of cleaning supplies are in a cubby at the foot of the bed.  May 2018 

Next I packed the front passenger seat area.  My goal is to keep everything below window height.  Here is where I keep my food, toiletries, out-of-season clothes, step stool, front window covers, mouse traps, mosquito repellent, and electronics.

Front passenger seat all packed.  May 2018 

After packing the cleaning supplies in the back, and the loading up the front passenger seat, the tarp is looking almost empty now.

After loading the Prius with the cleaning supplies, food, toiletries, electronics,
etc., most of the tarp is visible.  In the right front are tools, adhesives, and
car items that need to be organized.  May 2018 

After re-organizing the containers that hold my tools and car maintenance items, they were packed behind the front passenger seat, along with butane, propane, fire extinguisher, an umbrella, and bathroom and laundry supplies.

Behind front seat all packed.  May 2018 

Every space is used in the Prius.  Under the driver's seat is a fanny pack and my shoes.

The shoes I'm wearing are also stored here while sleeping.   May 2018 

The tarp is almost empty.

Clothing, an insulated lunch box.  What's that in the far left corner?  May 2018 

MSR Dromeday Bags (water bladders) are great for small areas because they take up very little space when empty.

Three of my 4 water bladders.  Two are full, one almost empty.  May 2018 

The items that remain on the tarp are stored in different places depending on if I'm in camping mode or travel mode.

Camping Mode:  Bags of clothing are in the
driver's seat.  Insulated lunch box of food
on the floor where it's coolest.  May 2018 

Travel Mode: Bags of clothing on passenger seat,
 and insulated lunch box of food on the
floor where it's coolest.  May 2018 

If the Dromedary Bags have water in them, I carry them at the foot of my bed in travel mode.

Travel Mode:  Full water bladders are placed on the foot of the bed and
strapped down during travel.  They are covered with the white material
to the right to keep them from heating up due to direct sun exposure. When
in Camping Mode, they are either outside or on the dash.  May 2018 

To the casual observer, the packed Prius doesn't look very organized.  But, in fact, it's extremely organized.  Likes are with likes; a place for everything, and everything in its place.  I know what color bag contains which items.  Things I rarely use are at the bottom, and things I use frequently are toward the top.  When in camping mode, I can reach everything from the driver's-side passenger seat.

I've been called a minimalist.  But, when I look at everything I have and carry, I'm not sure that term fits.

Off the tarp and in the Prius. May 2018


  1. That's amazing. I mean the stuff you fit into the prius. Were you able to get rid of anything to downsize, further?

    It's me, cyndi

    1. Hey Cyndi! I got rid of a plastic grocery bag with of stuff, and then promptly purchased more stuff specifically for my summer travels. ;)

  2. This was just wonderful as I am still contemplating what vehicle and what needs I will have. I hope to have the house on the market by next spring. Could you do a post on what kind of food you like and what travels well and cooking?
    Thanks so much and hope one day to meet you! Ps mice.. yuck!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Only deleted because I forgot to check follow up reply box.

  4. Suanne, again.. you are a genius! Thanks for giving your loyal followers more great info on your ingenious set up. I really enjoy reading about you and your adventures. Have a Prius V myself, and am looking forward to heading out to Canada, Montreal area for a first visit this summer. Question... have you ever left your climate control system on for the entire night? Either in summer hot weather (for A/C) or in winter weather for heat? When your engine starts up to re-charge the batteries, does it bother other campers? Thanks for a reply. CR

  5. OK, it is official, I am tired now.

  6. Thanks Suanne - I loved your presentations at the 2018 RTR. I had a class B for the first 6 months of my travels - sold it and just bought a 2014 Prius v Five for the next 6 months of my travels. I was inspired by the video Jamie did of you and your first Prius. I watched it a few times to plan my Prius out. I am going to put some peppermint oil around my dash at the start. Thanks for sharing your trials with mice. I look forward to hearing more from you and seeing you in Arizona in 2019. You have a handsome looking family. I can tell you really love that grandson.


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