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2018 XT Touring CVT
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Part 1 of 6.

I have camped few times in back now. I have 50% window film, I am changing it to the darker 20%. Foz works well, but in nice weather, a tall tent is more comfortable.
For best results:

Remove all the thin cargo floor covers and thick black styrofoam from the back.
Everything is easier if you do this first.

Remove the rear seat cushion, 2 bolts in footwell area, easy.
Put 2 inches of foam rubber in its place. Cover with large black towel, use black duck tape. This covers the gas tank wiring. You can store stuff here, under a mattress.

Next, remove the rear seatbacks. Peel up the backing and remove 2 bolts from each section. Twist/turn each seat back section a little bit to free side rod, and remove.

Unbolt the center support for the rear seatbacks. Cover the stud with a flattened golf whiffle ball.

Leave all this stuff behind to gain about 15 cu.ft. of space, and 6 inches of valuable vertical room. If I could not leave this stuff at home, I would not bother removing it.

Lastly, put most, but not all of the thin factory cargo floor covers back in.
(Optional, I added thin rubber mats, or use stiff backed carpet to put where the thick styrofoam was removed. Cut to match the factory sections.)

Put black felt along the back and sides to cover painted metal exposed by eliminating all the thick styrofoam, some of the cargo floor covers, and the seatbacks.
Use black duct tape and cable ties to secure everything in place, so the cover section over the spare tire lifts properly.

You now have a much lower and mostly level floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Part 2 of 6.

I put tools and other heavy stuff in the rear footwells since that is low and center of the Foz.
I pack other stuff to about a 5" depth over the rear seat area to create a level surface for the air bed.

I show the Coleman SUV Quickbed here, and the Truckbedz in the next entry.
 

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2011 forester 2.5x automatic
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Hey, thanks for the photos.
Excellent ideas!!
But was wondering if would it be simpler just to pull down the back seat, and place the air mattress on top (without having to do all that modification)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
You have very little vertical space that way, and not level. Removing the seats is fairly quick and easy.
 

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2005 Forester 2.5XS 5MT
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143 Posts
Subscribed. I've camped in my Forester on ski trips. My wife and I are thinking about road tripping from Ann Arbor to Portland over christmas. Something like this would be epic. Thanks for posting this, I'm really considering it!
 

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2002 Forester S Automatic
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58 Posts
You can't sleep in a tent in the middle of the city. You can't sleep in a tent discreetly. You have to pay for a tentsite or find somewhere free, which can be a challenge in some areas. Tentsite costs quickly get much higher than all of the above expenses. It's also better insulated from noise, temperatures (mostly for the winter) and you don't end up with a wet tent (or worse if your tent isn't waterproof) if it rains. With proper organization (bags, gear crates, etc) it's also much quicker to setup.

This is ideal for 1-2 people roadtrips.

OP: How did you get your window covers to stay there? I used suction cups but they'd often fall during the night, and it they don't hold very well in the cold.
 

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2011 2.5X Premium, AWP 5MT
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566 Posts
I (and my wife) have slept in my Forester many times but find it much more uncomfortable than using a good 4 season ground tent. I do take out the rear seat bottom cushion to get the cargo area flat (and more storage space) but I don't do the other stuff OP suggests to get more headroom. Too much hassle for me. Don't get me wrong ... it is actually not bad but I'd rather a good tent.
 

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2018 XT Touring CVT
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Part 3 of 6.

You can make window covers with Reflectix from Camping World or Home Depot.
This step will take longer than any other. Done right, it will look like sunblockers.
I edged mine with shiny silver duck tape, not the dull grey.

2 layers, or dark posterboard on the inside blocks sunlight much better.
Posterboard by itself should also look and work OK.

After changing the rear windows to 20% tint, I now use black curtains.

Here are pics of the window sunblockers. The existing window film is only 50%, and I only had one layer of Reflectix at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Part 4 of 6.

I now use curtians, double layer heavy black cotton, with shock cord in a sleeve both top and bottom edge.
I attach both the top and bottom corners to cable tie loops and other anchors inside the Foz.
I also have midspan supports on the top edge, made of large bent paperclips on the edge of the plastic around the headliner.
You will need to pry and pull some on the plastic trim pieces, and cut slits with a knife for the cable tie loops.
I do not travel with the cargo cover anymore, I use the curtians attached only on their bottom corners to cover everything during the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Part 5 of 6.

I made a rain shield visor to cover about a 2" opening in the moonroof.

Use a generic plastic moonroof visor from an auto parts store.
Cut a piece of flat lexan to follow the curve, and to fit tight between the roof rails, very time comsuming. Join them together with 3M double sided auto trim tape.
Attach magnet tape to the bottom so it stays put.
For stationary use only, do not drive with it on.

The only magnetic tape roll that works is the strongest stuff from Grainger.
The magnet tape at Home Depot and fabric stores is too weak.

If needed, I tape bug netting over the opening.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Part 6 of 6.

A 12V electric blanket fed by a portable jumpstarter can be used for heat.
A red headlamp or flashlight is best used if you want a low profile.

The cargo net you see in the photos is from a camping store. It is identical to the nets at a car dealer, and much cheaper.

A laundry detergent jug with the spout insert removed makes a good pi**pot.
Put some liquid soap in it after finishing washing it out, and it will smell only like soap.
I'm a guy, I also get to open my own jars.:grin2:

Take showers at camps or truckstops, lest you give us a bad image.:mob:
 

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2015 2.5i Premium CVT
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Older thread, but I have a few questions about this.
Great idea and I really like it.
How hard is it to remove and replace the seats? This is something I'd like to do when doing road trips, or when camping, but have the seats in for normal day to day use. Having the seats out would also be great for one of my dogs who is a bit excitable (he's on Prozac) since he wouldn't be able to see as easily. He's totally fine in a minivan with the seat out. He'll just lay on his dog bed and relax. All my dogs have harnesses and are securely restrained.

I like the idea of putting the stuff I normally carry in back on the floorboards instead. I've already removed the large center foam. At first just to gain storage under the spare tire cover, and now also because I picked up a set of full sized rims for cheap and I prefer a full size spare.
 
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