Since I’m still working on getting the van (which is probably the most essential part of The Zen Van), I went ahead and experimented with how it would feel like to sleep in my car. Even though my Honda Fit is much smaller than the van I would eventually get the Fit’s cargo space (with the seats down) was long and wide enough to fit in a queen mattress cover folded in half which allowed me to completely stretch out in the back.
The first step was folding down the back seats, I then laid down two pieces of large cardboard to flatten on the space for the queen mattress cover which I folded in half and then I placed a bed sheet on the mattress cover.
For the windows I bought a front window heat shield from Walmart and cut it (crudely) into sections which I then taped onto the windows by putting 3M Industrial Strength Velcro Strips on the windows and re-purposing felt from a few unused skateboard pads and taping those onto the cutout heat shield. For separating the front area from the cargo (for privacy and cooling) I used a blackout curtain with a rope through it attached to the front grab handles.
I then threw in a few pillows, had my cooler and a battery operated 5-inch fan from Walmart on the side of the mattress before heading out for the night.
After experimenting for the night I have a couple of tweaks I’m planning on doing for the second run:
- Get a better fan. Even though the fan I got was better than nothing I still would’ve preferred something with a little more power (especially in the Florida heat). I’m thinking of getting a larger USB powered fan which I can hook up to my portable USB battery overnight.
- I would’ve preferred to have the front blackout curtain attached with velcro to the side of interior to better position but the mounting tape I used didn’t stick to the fabric so I will try to use fabric glue for the next time.
- I will more precisely cutout the heat shield to cover the window, even though the cutouts certainly helped their were still quite a few missed spots that let light inside.
Overall though I’d say the experiment was a success.