Can You Sleep In A Land Cruiser?

How many guests, and how long will you be staying? Checking into a suite at hotel Land Cruiser can be a fun way to car camp for a night. And, if you do it right, you will still be excited about the second night of camping. Deciding if it is possible to sleep in your SUV is pretty simple. Figuring out whether you can actually enjoy it may be a journey into self-discovery that you won’t soon forget.

Can you sleep in a land cruiser? A Toyota Land Cruiser is a great travel SUV. It is roomy, which makes for ample bed space. This can be a liberating and interesting experience to park your vehicle and set up camp wherever you are. Preparing what you need ahead of time is advised for feeling safe and comfortable, and for getting the best possible night’s sleep.

Bed in a landcruiser
Image courtesy of ququq

Whether it’s for a weekend away, a special event, or your new way of life, sleeping in your vehicle is not a new trend. So, yes – you can totally sleep in your Land Cruiser. Let’s go over all of the details!

Landcruiser Sleeping: Plan Ahead and Be a Happy Camper 

Just the simple fact that you are curious about sleeping in a vehicle, means that you are at least sort of comfortable with the idea. It can be a huge change, but it can also be a lot of fun and very freeing.

Is this plan to sleep in your Land Cruiser a one-time thing, or is it a long-term arrangement? How many will be camping out? Will it just be yourself? Or, do you have to share the space with someone else? Perhaps a furry companion?

Traveling with others enhances the whole experience. But it also means that you obviously will have to share your bed. In the winter months, this would be ideal. Body heat is like a built-in heater.

Planning ahead of time means trying to cover all of your bases so that you have everything that you need to make this work out. Take this piece of advice, plan all that you can, but then just go for it.

Making Your Bed: Finding Sleeping Space in Your Landcruiser

Ok, so obviously we are probably going to want to take out the back rows of seating in order to be able to fit our body, right?

Well, maybe it’s not that obvious – or necessary. If you are not a tall person, you may have thought about folding up the third-row seats and curling up in the back. 

For most of us, that is definitely not going to work, though. And, neither is attempting to sleep in the reclined driver’s seat, or on the bench seat in the middle row. Waking up should not include daily trips to the chiropractor or massage therapist.

Removing and Storing Your Seats

Which brings us back to removing the seats. If your Land Cruiser model has third-row seats that fold up against the side wall of the vehicle, you could try to set up your bed without removing those. 

But we are going to want to find a place to safely store that middle bench seat, or captain’s chairs, whatever you have in the middle row.

So, grab a friend, unlock the base from the vehicle, and lift it out. You will want to set it on a mat, or scraps of cardboard, and cover the entire thing with a clean tarp or sheet to protect it. If you toss it haphazardly into a random corner of your garage, you may regret it.

Now that you have more space, you can begin to arrange it to suit you and your personal needs. Full-timers may wish to build a bed platform, storage cabinet, or other after-market modification to suit their car camping needs.

Parking It for the Night: Stealth Camping in Your Landcruiser

If you don’t have a campground or personal property that your vehicle will be parked at while you are sleeping in your SUV, you will probably be stealth camping. This is how most car campers live.

Stealth camping is just as it sounds, sneaky and slick. One minute you are driving around, and the next thing you know you are pulling into a spot and getting ready for bed. It is a really cool way to take trips. 

Being stealth means that you are probably going to be parked in very public places, even neighborhoods with families. So, be respectful of your surroundings. And, be as stealth as you can. The point is for no one to know that you are sleeping in your vehicle. 

Sounds, smells, and lights are all things that will attract attention from people passing by. If the area does not allow car camping, you could get yourself into a bit of trouble. At the very least, you’ll be asked to move.

Privacy: Picking Out Curtains for Your Landcruiser

One major concern for those sleeping in their vehicle is that you are out in the open, with glass all around you, and anyone can see right in. To protect your privacy and provide security, we will need to address the topic of window coverings.

If your vehicle has a dark tint on the windows, that will be a good start. Tint can help block the sun from coming in, as well as unwanted attention from curious people passing by.

Covering your windows may take a bit of DIY effort, and creativity. There are surprisingly not that many options on the market for stealth campers. Go the easy route but clipping up a few windshield sun shields around your rear windows.

Or, put some effort into it, and get out your sewing machine and craft supplies. Measure twice and cut once. Making your own gives you the advantage of being able to customize your window coverings any way that you want to.

Sleep Tight: Choosing the Right Bed for Your Landcruiser

The phrase “sleep tight” comes from the olden days when they had crisscrossing ropes under their mattress to hold it up on the frame. If you didn’t tighten the ropes before bed, you would wake up on the floor!

Fold Down Bed in a Landcruiser
Image courtesy of ququq

The idea is that you properly make your bed so that you can rest well and get a good night’s sleep. Planning your Landcruiser accommodations is not an exception.

Setting up camp in a vehicle doesn’t often give you the space for a luxurious pillow top king size mattress. But, with a bit of effort, you can make a surprisingly comfortable sleeping space for yourself.

Choosing a bed will depend on a few factors. Ask yourself each of these questions and take the time to answer honestly. Sleep and comfort will play a big role in your camping experience. If you do not sleep well, or can’t get comfortable, you will not be in a good mood, or ready to face the next day.

Will you have your bed set up at all times, or will you pack it up in the morning so that you have that open space available for other things/activities? For someone that intends to leave their bed set up 24/7, they could actually go with a twin size mattress

What type of mattress are you using now? Do you like it? It may be a good idea to try and replicate that as closely as possible to avoid putting your body through too much shock by making drastic changes.

Sleep Well: Temperature Control in a Landcruiser

What time of year will you be sleeping in your Landcruiser? You cannot run your vehicle’s heater or air conditioner all night long. Unless you have a generator to give you power, you will have to come up with another way to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Keeping Cool

There are people out there that do not put much thought into this factor of vehicle camping, but the ones that do, are much more comfortable. Of course, you can use what mother nature is giving you and park in the shade during the hot days, and in the sun during the cold days.

Don’t let the heat get the best of you. To help keep temperatures down in the summer: 

  • Park in the shade
  • Cover the windows to block the sun
  • Buy yourself a few car window fans that are solar-powered and place them in your back windows to create a cross breeze.
  • Always store cold drinks and cool towels in a cooler close by. 
  • Rotate your cool towels in the middle of the night and use them on your pulse points and forehead. 

Staying Toasty

Keeping warm in the winter in your vehicle is very important for your comfort and health. If you can, park in a garage. This will be your best bet for staying warm on a cold winter’s night, and It keeps you out of the wind and precipitation.

If you can’t park in a garage or covered area, don’t worry. Here are some tips for staying comfortable in your Landcruiser on cold nights: 

  • Just before you go to sleep, start your car and run the heater for 5-10 minutes.
  • Double up on your thermal window coverings (and thermal underwear!) 
  • Bring plenty of heavy blankets
  • Use extra padding on your bedding that you sleep on so that your bed doesn’t get cold.
  • Layer up your clothing and socks, even put on a hat and gloves to preserve your body heat.

Sleeping in Your Landcruiser: The Legal Stuff

Have you thought about where you will be parked while you are sleeping? You may want to check out the laws surrounding sleeping in your vehicle, in the area where you will be parked.

Every state and even county has its own laws about people sleeping in their cars, and even their RVs. You may not get arrested, or even issued a ticket/citation, but you may get a police officer knocking on your window in the middle of the night. 

Not only will your sleep be interrupted, but you will also have to put your shoes on, start your vehicle, and drive to another location in the middle of the night. To be on the safe side, be sure that where you are parking is legal and allowed.

Do a Little Research

Certain stores, restaurants, and gyms offer their parking lot for travelers to stay the night, so that would be a good place to go. It is always a good idea to ask before you pull the curtains closed, and you crawl into bed. Making a purchase at the facility is a nice way to say thank you.

Another safe space to sleep for the night is the rest areas along the highway. Not all of these allow overnight camping in your vehicle, so look out for signs.

In certain areas of the country, you can find public land which is often available to stay on for up to two weeks. Follow along with public land, plus input and comments from other campers that have been there before you with apps that you can download onto your phone.

Preparing to Sleep in Your Landcruiser: The Essentials

Experienced campers know that there is a list of camping essentials that they must have with them on every trip they take. Sleeping in your Land Cruiser is a form of camping, and certain things will come in handy to help get you through the experience.

  • Headlamp- Wearing a headlamp might not seem like the most fashionable accessory, but you will quickly realize how handy it is to find things in the dark. Pick one up in the camping section, or in any automotive part store.
  • Comfortable bed- A major factor for comfort in sleeping in your car is having the best bed that you can.  Bring your pillow and blanket for the scent of home. Do not underestimate a good night’s sleep.
  • Window coverings- Covering your windows will create a sense of peace of mind, knowing that no one can look in your windows.  Wrapping your surroundings up tight will help you to fall asleep – and stay asleep. 
  • Food/water- Before you say “duh,” just think about this. You may be used to wandering into the kitchen at home whenever you want something to eat or drink. Well, you no longer have that option/luxury. Planning meals ahead of time will prevent you from driving around when you are super hungry.
  • Cell phone- Keep your cell phone charged and within reach while sleeping in your vehicle, as well as your car keys. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It is way better to be safe than sorry.
  • Plan- Think ahead, even if it is a subject that you would rather not think about. Like we just covered, sleep with your keys and phone close by, just in case. And always have a plan. Your plan should start as you are pulling into a spot for the night. Whenever possible, park in a way that you can easily get out if you have to.

Do your future self a favor and think smart about where you park for the night, especially if you are a deep sleeper.

Landcruiser Camping: More Options

Some will be perfectly comfortable simply stealth camping in their Land Cruiser. But some will explore the options of creating something different out of it. 

The following are a few ways that you can expand and enhance your space. These options make it obvious that you are camping, and you, therefore, forego your stealth camping status—time to move into the great outdoors.

  • Double your interior space with an SUV tent. Perfect for when you have guests, or just making extra room for yourself. To add on an SUV tent, you will need to open your rear door and attach the tent around the entire vehicle. Or, you could check out the version that attaches to the side of your SUV.
  • How about an RTT! Rooftop tents are a cool way to camp! And they leave the interior of your vehicle free for storage or seating. A rooftop tent is ideal for those that like to stay clean and dry. Because you are so far off of the ground, fewer critters get in, as well. 

Thinking About an RTT? 

Is this the downfall of RTTs? No, not really. With Roof Top Tents the pros often outweigh the cons, here. First off, you will have to climb a ladder to get in and out of your tent. That’s the biggest issue for some people.

And, second, is actually having to set up and break down your tent. They are designed to be simple, quick, and really user friendly. But it does take some practice to get it down pat, and it always helps to have a friend lending a hand. 

Though RTTs take no longer than 10 minutes to set up, some folks just love the idea of having their bed already made up in the back, knowing they can jump in at any time for a quick snooze. It is a preference thing – you just have to find what you like (and don’t like.)

Not everyone can get down with an RTT. If a rooftop tent won’t work for you, how about a good old fashioned regular pop up ground tent? Pack up your Land Cruiser with your camping gear and find a spot to set up your tent outdoors.

As you can see, there are many ways to make your Landcruiser a more-than-adequate sleeping spot! If you’re willing to sacrifice some space in order to get a solid sleeping area you’ll be just fine.

James with daughter on the trails

About James...

Hi, I’m James. If I’m not working on this site, you can often find me outdoors roaming the trails. I’m an avid hiker, mountain biker, and overlander. I’m excited to share my passion for the outdoors with you.