Sleeping in my car during my recent hike along the Katy Trail kept me from spending hundreds of dollars on hotel rooms. A Ford Focus hatchback is better than some cars for sleeping, but it is far from ideal. Even with the back seats folded down there isn’t a big enough sleeping area to lay completely stretched out. Maybe you could stretch out if your were five feet tall, but for most people the area is going to be too small. Another problem is that the back seats do not lay down completely flat which creates a big hump in the middle of the sleeping area and also makes the sleeping area slanted rather than level.
My solution to these problems was rather simple. I went to a home improvement store and had them cut me a piece of plywood to fit the sleeping area. I got the wood cut so that extends a few inches past the back seats and thus lengthens my sleeping area. With the piece of wood down in the sleeping area you can no longer feel the hump. To make the sleeping area level I took a couple of the scrap pieces that were cut off my piece of plywood and stacked them under the lower end of the sleeping area. After adding a mattress pad and my camping pad I have a reasonably comfortable bed in the back of my car. The cost was only $9 and change since I already had the camping pad and sleeping pad and they can be used for other purposes. I have to lay diagonally to be able to stretch out which is no big deal.
In order to have some privacy I have static cling limo tint on the back windows and put a sun visor in the windshield. The tint looks terrible, but it works well for my purposes. I also have a piece of plastic that I hang behind the front seats for additional privacy. This system has worked well for me so far and nobody has ever bothered me while I’m sleeping. I’m probably going to sleep in my car again when I go to the Financial Blogger’s Conference. I will drive away from the downtown area though so I’ll be less likely to be noticed and/or bothered.
Have you ever slept in your car to save money? Would you?
11 thoughts on “How to Make a Bed in a Ford Focus Hatchback So You Can Sleep in Your Car”
I’ve slept in the back of my Honda Pilot SUV. It’s just long enough. Since I go to sleep after 10 pm and I’m up at sunrise, I don’t worry about covering up the windows. I’ve slept in a hotel parking lot in Bisbee, AZ and at a Walmart. The only issue I have is I wake up and have to drive to find a bathroom. I, always scout one out the night before. I look for a parking lot that is slightly downhill to make up for the uphill slant of the seats, then I use my camping pads, just like you did.
That sounds like it works pretty well. I do wish my car was slightly longer, but it works well enough.
I actually lived in my Ford Focus for weeks when I was between houses. With periodic check ins at budget motels to keep clean. Will take your suggestions in case it happens again. Also, found that it is important to park in a safe location. Walmart is supposed to be safe. Good to know.
Living in a Ford Focus would be kinda rough. It isn’t bad for camping, but I wouldn’t want to have to sleep in it every night. I’m sure it was better than sleeping on the streets though. I’m glad you found the post helpful.
OMG! What year is the focus? Pull the back seat up so it nestles up straight against the front seat in the space reserved for back passengers. Then remove the headrests from the back seats and fold them down. Presto! No lump! Flat cargo area to sleep in…
Hapuna – That could work for someone who isn’t very tall. Folding the back seat up against the front seat takes up extra room that I need in order to be able to completely stretch out.
I’ve often times slept in the back of my Mazda 3 hatchback. In fact, one of the reasons I got the 3 over a Focus is that the seats folded down flat.
Taking naps on my lunch break in the back of my Mazda is the greatest thing ever, especially when the weather out is in the 40s.
That does sound like a great thing. The ability to sleep in the car will be an important factor when considering what model car to buy the next time I buy a car.
Awesome! I’m planning to do this a few times when I go camping this summer for the one night stops on my way to somewhere else. I don’t like setting up my tent for just one night, then tearing it down the next day.
One tip I’ll pass along, about folding down the back passenger seats. You mentioned that they won’t fold completely flat – I’ve experienced that myself, thanks to those headrests. But did you know that you can take off the headrests so the back seats do fold flat? Here’s a YouTube video that’ll show you how to do it. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it might help you (and me!) out next time!
I am about to head out on a cross country trip where a majority of my nights will be spent sleeping in my car. I plan on doing just about the same thing you did, but will hang sheets with binder clips from the header around my roof interior. I also picked up some battery operated string lights to hang.
I’m super stoked and can’t wait to see how the trip turns out.
Sounds cool. Let me know how it goes.