How to Comfortably Live In an SUV

Whether you’re living the digital nomad life, going on an extended road trip, or just looking for an affordable and flexible living solution, living comfortably out of an SUV is completely possible. When doing this, however, it’s important to have a clear plan and keep in mind certain car safety tips to ensure the safest and most pleasant experience possible. Let’s explore some tips and tricks for SUV living.

Safety tips for SUV car living

As Complex points out, one of the most important safety steps you can take is to avoid parking in a secluded area — especially if you’re alone. While it’s also important not to park along busy highways, parking in the middle of nowhere is dangerous in its own way. Even if you’re in an area where the risk of robbery isn’t a concern for you, being completely secluded means that it will be harder for you to get help if you’re injured. 

Regardless of where you end up parking for the night, The Drive recommends texting your location to someone before you fall asleep. With at least one other person knowing where you are, you’ll know that help can find you more easily if you should become incapacitated.

If possible, you should also avoid opening your window more than a crack when you sleep. Ventilation is very important, but if you open your window too far you make it easy for others to reach inside and unlock the door. If your SUV has a sunroof, using that for fresh air is a slightly safer alternative.

Finally, make sure not to leave the car running while you sleep. Although it may be tempting to use the climate control, the Drive notes that this can cause you to run out of gas or kill your battery, effectively stranding yourself. You also put yourself at risk of breathing harmful fumes.

How to set up your sleeping arrangements

Open Falcon wing doors on a Tesla Model X 90D full electric luxury crossover SUV car on display at Brussels Expo
The interior of the Tesla Model X | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Depending on your car’s setup, there are quite a few sleeping options that offer the best chances of comfort. The Drive recommends having a sleeping bag, a blanket, and at least two pillows — one for your head, and one to cover any uncomfortable gaps or protrusions within the cabin of your SUV. 

Ideally, you should be able to fold down your rear seats to create a flat space comfortable for sleeping. It’s typically best to avoid sleeping in the front seat, as this can contort your body in ways that create poor circulation in your legs. Even if your rear seats don’t fold down, it’s still better to use the back seat for sleeping.

Local regulations will dictate where you can legally and safely park your SUV. Potential options include campgrounds, rest stops, National Forest land, and 24-hour gym parking lots.

Lifestyle tricks for comfortable SUV living

When living in an SUV, RIT recommends having a good cooler so you can keep your food fresh and have access to cool drinks. Another must-have is a power inverter for your car charger. This will make it easier for you to charge electronics such as your phone, laptop, or tablet. You can then access the internet using data or a dongle, or by parking near areas with free WiFi, such as cafes and libraries. 

Baby wipes and air fresheners are good to have, as they can help keep you and your car fresh. If you’re able to park near a YMCA, you’ll also be able to access showers and toilets.

Living in an SUV — or any type of car — requires a fair amount of planning and foresight in order to stay comfortable. While this lifestyle certainly has challenges, it has its fair share of perks as well. As long as you do your research and stay safe, you can set yourself up to live comfortably in your SUV.

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