One question I receive often is “why did you choose a Prius to camp out of?”, well the Prius choose me… I didn’t choose the Prius.
To really understand the benefits of camping out of a Toyota Prius let’s look at alternatives first. Keep in mind, I’ve worked remotely for over a decade in the IT industry and have wanted to travel the country in a 5th wheel toy hauler.
Sure tent camping, works, if it’s humid outside you have no air conditioning, and if it’s cold outside you have no heater. You can purchase comfort items sure but at what additional costs?
My original thought was to purchase a WolfPack 325Pack13 and tow it with an F250/350, using the rear garage area for my office. I’d probably get a motorcycle to make quick trips to the store and such.
The startup costs of a truck and trailer aren’t bad if you think of it like buying a small house anywhere in the country other than California. The part that would hurt is the gas if you were frequently traveling versus staying in one spot for some time. I drove around the country in the Prius and roughly spent $1,362.40 in fuel only, granted once I left California the cost to fill up was an easy $10+ less in other states.
After my Tahoe ended up having engine issues I didn’t want to bother with(I even thought about swapping in a 6.2), hesitant as I was I purchased my Prius for a very good deal.
Now enter covid, I can’t go anywhere and have to stay away from people… what do I do? I stumbled on an article where a gentleman and his lady drove the 48 and slept in their Prius. He was 6’5″ if I remember correctly and I am 6’2″, if he could sleep in a Prius so could I.
At this point, I had no idea I could install a power inverter into a Prius, and it powers household appliances during an emergency for 7 days and only uses a 1/2 tank of gas. Thinking that through, 5 gallons of gas for 7 days worth of electricity!
48 states later and a more improved camping setup, my thoughts are that the Prius is a better living/camping vehicle because of the fact the car is basically a generator on wheels. The costs to generate electricity is next to nothing considering a non-hybrid vehicle would use more than 5 gallons of gas just idling over the course of 7 days.
Sure I have a Plug-in model, is that hybrid battery better than a non-plug-in? No, the Plug-in just lets you gain a few miles by charging through an electrical receptacle, and…. when you brake, electricity is stored in the plug-in battery.
Another thing, I couldn’t visit all of the National Parks in the toy hauler I wanted and parking that thing would be horrendous. In the Prius, there is this thing called Stealth Camping, where you park your car somewhere and blend in with the other parked cars. You then proceed to rest and relax in your Prius and no one knows you are in there, I mean who notices a Prius? A camper van parked on a residential street would get report a lot faster than a Prius.
To top it off, I can sleep in my Prius with it turned on all night and sleep in a climate-controlled environment all for a cost significantly lower than that of a travel trailer. Plus, setup for me these days is just move my driver seat all of the ways forward and open the hatch! After that, I’m ready to sleep or start cooking on the air fryer. Oh, it’s a Toyota so it is reliable, will run for many miles, and can pick up parts at most junkyards.
Did I mention I can drive 400 miles on one tank of gas? 10.3 gallon tank size for the record.