Author Topic: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla  (Read 6408 times)

Groovin Old Hippie

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Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« on: June 01, 2015, 03:48:23 PM »
This weekend we came really close to buying a Honda Odyssey so we would have plenty of room for camping gear.  That would have meant a car payment :-(   We regained our sanity and decided that we just have to make our 2010 Toyota Corolla work.  We need to fit 2 dog crates (they take up the whole back seat), a large tent, 2 sleeping cots, ice chest, card table, little bike trailer, clothes, stove and cooking supplies, 2 bikes plus more!  We have a bike rack and are checking into a roof rack.  Any suggestions for packing a small car?   

TrMama

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 04:06:50 PM »
I camp out of a Corolla with 2 kids. The trick is to downsize your stuff. No cots for us, they take up too much space. Instead we use thermarests and other backpacking-level gear. No card table either. Picnic tables are always provided in our campsites. If not, we'd do without.

Bikes go on the bike rack. This summer, 2 child sized kayaks are getting strapped to the roof.

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2015, 04:52:10 PM »
Last year I camped with three adults and one 65 pound dog out of a Camry. I'm curious as to why you need to bring crates? My dog just slept next to me inside the tent without any issues. During the day we put up a rope between two trees and kept the dog on a line.

cjottawa

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2015, 04:53:31 PM »
This weekend we came really close to buying a Honda Odyssey so we would have plenty of room for camping gear.  That would have meant a car payment :-(   We regained our sanity and decided that we just have to make our 2010 Toyota Corolla work.  We need to fit 2 dog crates (they take up the whole back seat), a large tent, 2 sleeping cots, ice chest, card table, little bike trailer, clothes, stove and cooking supplies, 2 bikes plus more!  We have a bike rack and are checking into a roof rack.  Any suggestions for packing a small car?   

Small risk to this but ditch the spare tire, assuming you have CAA/AAA and aren't anywhere really off the beaten path. That'll add a bit of cargo space. Keep a tire repair kit on hand so you can fix a flat.

I also agree you need to streamline your gear: not cots. Think about ditching the dog crates and get "doggie seat belts."

Forget the card table. Get some of those folding fabric chairs, use your cooler as a table.

Do you have 60/40 split folding rear seats? That might help a bit.

Get a hitch mount cargo "shelf."



Come to think of it, putting the cooler on that rack while you're parked gives you a bit of a higher table.

This may not be in the cards for this trip but look at ditching the Corolla. Not for a clown-sized Honda Odyssey but something like a Toyota Matrix or Hyundai Elantra Touring (or 2004-2006 Elantra GT hatchback). The added room of a hatchback opens up a tonne of possibilities. (a bunch of other cars are mentioned on the MMM blog)

Oh, and this will be probably weirdest suggestion: if you don't have split folding rear seats but they were optional on your car, visit the auto wrecker and see if you can retrofit your vehicle. I've done this type of thing and it can be economical. Ditto accessories - they might have a Corolla on the lot with a roof rack.

FYI: I car camped with a dog and girlfriend in a Toyota Tercel. (it did have the split rear seats though... helped with larger items)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2015, 05:22:08 PM by cjottawa »

mlipps

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2015, 06:21:28 PM »
We just got this for our Matrix so we can take our portable grill with us on longer camping trips. Our car was at capacity often, so it seemed like a reasonable purchase. I contemplated a hitch and cargo box/rack, but just couldn't justify the price, and it seemed harder to store. The roof bag seemed like a good compromise.

We also have two dogs, but we use seatbelts and harnesses for them. They sleep fine in the tent at night, although they do turn into groundhogs around dawn when they can hear little critters outside and they want to look out the tent windows!

http://www.amazon.com/RoofBag-Waterproof-Carrier-Bundle-Protective/dp/B003B44C6U

There's also this option from LL Bean, but you'd need to get the seat belts/harnesses for the car ride with this option.

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/78239?page=stowaway-dog-kennel

mlipps

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 06:24:06 PM »
Oh, and I would ditch the card table. Everywhere I've camped has a picnic table.

kpd905

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 06:43:43 PM »
Get inflatable air mattresses instead of cots, they are about the size of a football.

necksnapper

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 07:28:01 PM »
Hey CJ,
I just bought one of these shelves at Princess auto (was on sale at a perfect timing).  The shelf does seem to wiggle a lot.. if the weight isnt perfectly balanced, it will wobble to that side.  Do you add anything to stiffen the shelf?

thanks!

This weekend we came really close to buying a Honda Odyssey so we would have plenty of room for camping gear.  That would have meant a car payment :-(   We regained our sanity and decided that we just have to make our 2010 Toyota Corolla work.  We need to fit 2 dog crates (they take up the whole back seat), a large tent, 2 sleeping cots, ice chest, card table, little bike trailer, clothes, stove and cooking supplies, 2 bikes plus more!  We have a bike rack and are checking into a roof rack.  Any suggestions for packing a small car?   

Small risk to this but ditch the spare tire, assuming you have CAA/AAA and aren't anywhere really off the beaten path. That'll add a bit of cargo space. Keep a tire repair kit on hand so you can fix a flat.

I also agree you need to streamline your gear: not cots. Think about ditching the dog crates and get "doggie seat belts."

Forget the card table. Get some of those folding fabric chairs, use your cooler as a table.

Do you have 60/40 split folding rear seats? That might help a bit.

Get a hitch mount cargo "shelf."



Come to think of it, putting the cooler on that rack while you're parked gives you a bit of a higher table.

This may not be in the cards for this trip but look at ditching the Corolla. Not for a clown-sized Honda Odyssey but something like a Toyota Matrix or Hyundai Elantra Touring (or 2004-2006 Elantra GT hatchback). The added room of a hatchback opens up a tonne of possibilities. (a bunch of other cars are mentioned on the MMM blog)

Oh, and this will be probably weirdest suggestion: if you don't have split folding rear seats but they were optional on your car, visit the auto wrecker and see if you can retrofit your vehicle. I've done this type of thing and it can be economical. Ditto accessories - they might have a Corolla on the lot with a roof rack.

FYI: I car camped with a dog and girlfriend in a Toyota Tercel. (it did have the split rear seats though... helped with larger items)

former player

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 02:49:10 AM »
I'm with the "ditch the dog crates" crowd.  When I travel with my dog, he has a car harness which fits to the seat belt to keep him safe/contained (usually on the back seat but in a pinch when I'm transporting bulky items he can go in the front) and at night sleeps on the blanket from his basket - it has the familiarity which makes him feel settled and comfortable without being a big structure taking up space in the car.

Groovin Old Hippie

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Re: Tent camping with dogs in a Toyota Corolla
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 05:39:06 PM »
Thank you for all the advice everyone!  The last time we camped we had a 23' travel trailer with all the bells and whistles.  We had to give that up due to my health.  My health has improved some and as my husband nears retirement (1 1/2 yrs to go) we decided that we want to make camping our thing again.  I appreciate all the advice to downsize our gear.  I need to get out of the "luxury" camping mindset!  Plus, we didn't start saving until our late 40's so this has all got to be super frugal. 

spartana: We plan on camping every 6-7 weeks for 3-4 days at a time until retirement.  Then it'll be more frequent and longer trips.  Hopefully by then we should have a good system down with the Corolla.  That's a great rate for the Mazda.....def gonna keep that in mind.  Fortunately we live in SoCal and are within a 2 hour drive to about 50 campgrounds.  I did discover that I can get a handicapped pass that saves us 1/2 price at state campgrounds so that will be a big help.

We've decided to get a roof rack, put the bikes on our trunk mounted rack and when we run out of room in the car, that's it.  We'll just do without!  Thanks, again.  Mustachians rock.  Keep on groovin'!