Happy Camper

November 13, 2020
By: Dusty Rhodes

By Dusty Rhodes

Once reserved for the college students on their way to a Spring break destination, or frugal parents who won’t spring for a hotel, sleeping in your vehicle is an emerging trend for travelers. In fact, sleeping in your car—rebranded “in-car camping”—is benefiting from a growing number of resources created by outfitters and apps like The Dyrt and Hipcamp which help travelers find a place to safely spend the night.

With SUV sales making up nearly half of all vehicles sales, manufactures are doing their part to improve the interior functionality. “Bronco is not your typical SUV,” said Dan Cousino, Senior Vehicle Architecture Engineer for the new Ford Bronco. “Our initial challenge was finding a way to fit the four doors in the cargo area but we discovered that getting the doors to fit had additional benefits.”

With an optimized rear cargo area behind the front row, Dan and the team of engineers found a way to not only store all four doors onboard but, with the doors installed, create 83 cubic feet of cargo space when equipped with a soft top (77.6 cubic feet with optional hard top). With this ingenious use of space, two in-car campers up to 6’6” tall can fit side by side with the front seats slid forward. In case you need those front seats to store your gear while camping, the cargo area still provides enough length for two 5’10” campers. If your co-pilot is of the canine variety, a good rule of thumb is that a medium to larger dog like a Labrador, will take up the same space as a full-size adult.

With the optional slide-out tailgate, the length is extended an additional 14”. Benefiting from the extra width between the doors, the four-door Bronco provides 4’6” of room from door panel to door panel, which should provide ample room for two people to sleep shoulder to shoulder. If you are travelling alone and happen to be slightly taller than LeBron James or Kevin Durant, the new Bronco delivers 7’ of space diagonally in the cargo area for you to catch some shut eye.

Now to be fair, you’ll need an inflatable mattress or cushion to level the load floor to sleep comfortably, but the extra kit required will more than pay for itself after one night on the road.

Now if you are confused by all the numbers, let’s compare the new Bronco to a common two-person hiking tent. By comparison, the floor dimensions of the Marmot Tungsten 2P tent is 88” x 54/46” (L x W head/foot). Add in the safety and security of being inside a vehicle and elevated off the ground, and we would give the nod to the Bronco.  If star gazing is your passion, the easily removeable roof panels give you even more options to enjoy the outdoors in your new Bronco.

“We spent a lot of time engaging in the outdoors with off-road enthusiasts and understood Bronco had to elevate the off-road camping experience with cleverness and comfort,” said Bill Mangan, Bronco chief interior designer. “So we made sure our four-door models could accommodate in-car camping and we followed it with best in class overall openness with the top removed so campers can enjoy spectacular nighttime views.”


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