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Learnings/Feedback from completed Car Camping Roadrip

I just completed a 1300 mile roadtrip from Seattle to the Olympics, Washington Coast, Oregon Coast and up through central Oregon and it was a great experience. My wife and I car-camped almost every night and while the experience was generally painless we learned some interesting things from our extended time in the car that weren't as obvious from a past car camping trip in Cannon Beach for a night. I wanted to share the pros, cons, feedback and questions we discovered throughout our weeklong trip.

Details:
  • 1300 miles
  • 8 Supercharger stops
  • Total SC cost for trip: $95.59
Tips:
  • Remove the rear seat bench for true lie-flat sleeping. We didn't on our first trip and it was fine but i woke up with my feet scrunched against the back trunk multiple times and this was way more comfortable.
  • Order some sort of twin sized mattress for sleeping, we used the exped megamat duo which is super comfy (made up of foam mattress and inflatable). It is 3.9" thick which is enough for side sleeping and gives you enough clearance between rear deck so you don't feel too constrained. We used backpacking sleep mats our first time and they were not as nice as having a uniform mattress.
  • I ordered roof sun shades for sleeping but did not use them. I find the factory roof tint to be plenty dark enough.
  • I did use the Windshield sun shade for sleeping as that blocked out lots of the ambient light. I ordered this one and while not great quality or anything, it's cheap and did its job: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WGSDZF1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I looked for a side window shades made for the model 3 but couldn't find anything good except for some reflectex ones which I didn't love. We actually just hung our jackets from the rear side hooks and stretched the arms out to wrap around the rear seat belt and the front seat belts so they stretched across the rear side windows- that did the trick.
  • Store rarely used items in trunk sub-trunk. We stored our camp cooking items here- didn't use them as often as we thought we might.
  • Store frequently accessed items in frunk. Also good for items you want to keep seperate from car interior. We stored our black hole duffel with our clothes and hiking boots here.
  • Use RV Parky app to find places to sleep. We did not plan this trip out and just decided along the way where to stop and sleep and this app allowed us to find places near us easily
  • Shut off exterior lights after dark when arriving at camp sites (which i believe keeps only your fog lights on(?)) so that you aren't shining bright lights on sleeping campers
Questions:
  • I bought a 14-50 adapter before leaving to use at rv sites and charge overnight but was disappointed to find that only 1 site had the plug and it wasn't working while everywhere had TT-30 plugs- Is the EVSE TT-30 adapter the only one you can buy that actually takes advantage of the 30A from these plugs?
    • I had planned to leave these RV sites each night with a full charge and minimize my SC stops but sadly that did not work out
  • How is Camp Mode different from Keep Climate On?
    • From the on screen description it seems like the difference is that climate keeper shuts everything off while camp mode keeps everything on but shuts off security alarm and sentry mode. I don't get it- i tried both and they do the same thing- screen stays on at full brightness, who would want this?!?
    • The only thing I could do is turn screen brightness all the way down and go to screen clean mode so the screen is mostly black
Thoughts:
  • Gas is historically cheap right now so the supercharging cost is currently very similar to gas expenses (Avg. 30mpg car @ $2.60/gl is about $113) but this only really applies for road trips where you are utilizing superchargers, you could charge while camping and reduce these costs.
  • I know that V1 and V2 superchargers share power and only V3 have dedicated chargers but I didn't realize until this trip that not every SC is sequential (for example 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A...) but rather sometimes (1A, 2A, 3A, 1B, 2B, 3B...) which I realized my very slow charge at 1 stop before i realized what was going on and moved to a non-shared spot.
  • From watching an ungodly amount of Tesla YT vids I knew about SC charging curves even though I almost never supercharge but I am convinced that 90% of Tesla owners do not. I always arrived at or below 10% and was able to take advantage of peak charging speed until the taper around 50% and only really charged enough to get to the next SC that made sense. I almost always arrived with a few Tesla's sitting there and left before them which told me everyone is pretty much just sitting there and charging to 100% - I get that you need that sometimes but most times you do not- the Tesla trip planner does encourage this behavior though (less stops, longer charges vs. more frequent stops, quicker charges)
  • I wish we could remove the rear seat back head rests. We had them lied flat the whole trip but the head rests made it more difficult to utilize the floor space between the front seats and rear seats.
  • I really wish we could control more through the app so that when you are in your "sleeping space" in the rear you wouldn't have to keep crawling towards the screen/seats to make adjustments. Actions I wish could be done through the app:
    • Adjust driver seat/passenger seat forward/back and tilt
    • Adjust screen brightness
  • Improve Camp Mode so that the screen is off but climate is on. Simple. Maybe even trigger app controls specified above when changing to camp mode
  • While I wish this car was a hatchback, the rear deck shelf is useful for placing items, including an ipad if desired while sleeping in the back.
  • Even though I had climate control on overnight, I woke up a few times because my feet got very warm/sweaty. I suspect this is because airflow to the trunk is limited. I also blocked off my rear deck cutout (this no longer even exists) to block road noise from trunk but i bet that would've helped with ventilation in this scenario.
  • Bugs....man that bumper just obliterates bugs on the highway. I brought some ONR in a spay bottle and wiped some of them off at the first couple of supercharger stops before eventually giving up
  • I was looking forward to see some Model Y's on the road... In 8 supercharger stops I saw a total of 0 which made me sad.
  • Autopilot: Everyone says how much easier it makes things but roadtrips are where it shines. 90% of the driving can be handles on highways and the leg fatigue is minimized greatly by being able to stretch and move your legs while in the car
This trip was a ton of fun and while the car is more versatile and spacious then most people believe, it also convinced me that I want to get a Model Y soon. It would solve most of the slight issues I have with space and versatility that the Model 3 currently has. While I knew the car could get through a roadtrip like this, it was good example to point to for our skeptical families to prove that it can be done - lots of phone calls with fam going something like this:
  • Fam: "So how's that Tesla doing on this roadtrip, get stuck anywhere yet?"
  • Us: "Nope, doing fine, hardly driving because of Autopilot and we sleep with the AC on"
  • Fam: "...Oh, wow. That sounds pretty cool, I didn't know it could do that"
All that and you didn't tell us which car it was? Model 3? Model S"
 

Eideadh

New Member
Sep 8, 2021
1
0
Switzerland
I just completed a 1300 mile roadtrip from Seattle to the Olympics, Washington Coast, Oregon Coast and up through central Oregon and it was a great experience. My wife and I car-camped almost every night and while the experience was generally painless we learned some interesting things from our extended time in the car that weren't as obvious from a past car camping trip in Cannon Beach for a night. I wanted to share the pros, cons, feedback and questions we discovered throughout our weeklong trip.

Details:
  • 1300 miles
  • 8 Supercharger stops
  • Total SC cost for trip: $95.59
Tips:
  • Remove the rear seat bench for true lie-flat sleeping. We didn't on our first trip and it was fine but i woke up with my feet scrunched against the back trunk multiple times and this was way more comfortable.
  • Order some sort of twin sized mattress for sleeping, we used the exped megamat duo which is super comfy (made up of foam mattress and inflatable). It is 3.9" thick which is enough for side sleeping and gives you enough clearance between rear deck so you don't feel too constrained. We used backpacking sleep mats our first time and they were not as nice as having a uniform mattress.
  • I ordered roof sun shades for sleeping but did not use them. I find the factory roof tint to be plenty dark enough.
  • I did use the Windshield sun shade for sleeping as that blocked out lots of the ambient light. I ordered this one and while not great quality or anything, it's cheap and did its job: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WGSDZF1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  • I looked for a side window shades made for the model 3 but couldn't find anything good except for some reflectex ones which I didn't love. We actually just hung our jackets from the rear side hooks and stretched the arms out to wrap around the rear seat belt and the front seat belts so they stretched across the rear side windows- that did the trick.
  • Store rarely used items in trunk sub-trunk. We stored our camp cooking items here- didn't use them as often as we thought we might.
  • Store frequently accessed items in frunk. Also good for items you want to keep seperate from car interior. We stored our black hole duffel with our clothes and hiking boots here.
  • Use RV Parky app to find places to sleep. We did not plan this trip out and just decided along the way where to stop and sleep and this app allowed us to find places near us easily
  • Shut off exterior lights after dark when arriving at camp sites (which i believe keeps only your fog lights on(?)) so that you aren't shining bright lights on sleeping campers
Questions:
  • I bought a 14-50 adapter before leaving to use at rv sites and charge overnight but was disappointed to find that only 1 site had the plug and it wasn't working while everywhere had TT-30 plugs- Is the EVSE TT-30 adapter the only one you can buy that actually takes advantage of the 30A from these plugs?
    • I had planned to leave these RV sites each night with a full charge and minimize my SC stops but sadly that did not work out
  • How is Camp Mode different from Keep Climate On?
    • From the on screen description it seems like the difference is that climate keeper shuts everything off while camp mode keeps everything on but shuts off security alarm and sentry mode. I don't get it- i tried both and they do the same thing- screen stays on at full brightness, who would want this?!?
    • The only thing I could do is turn screen brightness all the way down and go to screen clean mode so the screen is mostly black
Thoughts:
  • Gas is historically cheap right now so the supercharging cost is currently very similar to gas expenses (Avg. 30mpg car @ $2.60/gl is about $113) but this only really applies for road trips where you are utilizing superchargers, you could charge while camping and reduce these costs.
  • I know that V1 and V2 superchargers share power and only V3 have dedicated chargers but I didn't realize until this trip that not every SC is sequential (for example 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A...) but rather sometimes (1A, 2A, 3A, 1B, 2B, 3B...) which I realized my very slow charge at 1 stop before i realized what was going on and moved to a non-shared spot.
  • From watching an ungodly amount of Tesla YT vids I knew about SC charging curves even though I almost never supercharge but I am convinced that 90% of Tesla owners do not. I always arrived at or below 10% and was able to take advantage of peak charging speed until the taper around 50% and only really charged enough to get to the next SC that made sense. I almost always arrived with a few Tesla's sitting there and left before them which told me everyone is pretty much just sitting there and charging to 100% - I get that you need that sometimes but most times you do not- the Tesla trip planner does encourage this behavior though (less stops, longer charges vs. more frequent stops, quicker charges)
  • I wish we could remove the rear seat back head rests. We had them lied flat the whole trip but the head rests made it more difficult to utilize the floor space between the front seats and rear seats.
  • I really wish we could control more through the app so that when you are in your "sleeping space" in the rear you wouldn't have to keep crawling towards the screen/seats to make adjustments. Actions I wish could be done through the app:
    • Adjust driver seat/passenger seat forward/back and tilt
    • Adjust screen brightness
  • Improve Camp Mode so that the screen is off but climate is on. Simple. Maybe even trigger app controls specified above when changing to camp mode
  • While I wish this car was a hatchback, the rear deck shelf is useful for placing items, including an ipad if desired while sleeping in the back.
  • Even though I had climate control on overnight, I woke up a few times because my feet got very warm/sweaty. I suspect this is because airflow to the trunk is limited. I also blocked off my rear deck cutout (this no longer even exists) to block road noise from trunk but i bet that would've helped with ventilation in this scenario.
  • Bugs....man that bumper just obliterates bugs on the highway. I brought some ONR in a spay bottle and wiped some of them off at the first couple of supercharger stops before eventually giving up
  • I was looking forward to see some Model Y's on the road... In 8 supercharger stops I saw a total of 0 which made me sad.
  • Autopilot: Everyone says how much easier it makes things but roadtrips are where it shines. 90% of the driving can be handles on highways and the leg fatigue is minimized greatly by being able to stretch and move your legs while in the car
This trip was a ton of fun and while the car is more versatile and spacious then most people believe, it also convinced me that I want to get a Model Y soon. It would solve most of the slight issues I have with space and versatility that the Model 3 currently has. While I knew the car could get through a roadtrip like this, it was good example to point to for our skeptical families to prove that it can be done - lots of phone calls with fam going something like this:
  • Fam: "So how's that Tesla doing on this roadtrip, get stuck anywhere yet?"
  • Us: "Nope, doing fine, hardly driving because of Autopilot and we sleep with the AC on"
  • Fam: "...Oh, wow. That sounds pretty cool, I didn't know it could do that"
Trying now to camp in a model Y.
The screen turns off if you disable camping mode.
Lots of leg room
The bad point is every time you are almost asleep the air conditioning turns on even if set to off.
The AC is very loud and because the screen is off you have to open the door to wake up the screen. This turns all the lights on which is annoying as there is no manual way to turn them off you must sit in bright light for a while. Then all goes back to perfect until the AC turns on again... Repeat until you give up and sleep outside the car
 

skygraff

Member
May 15, 2018
233
207
Chicago
Trying now to camp in a model Y.
The screen turns off if you disable camping mode.
Lots of leg room
The bad point is every time you are almost asleep the air conditioning turns on even if set to off.
The AC is very loud and because the screen is off you have to open the door to wake up the screen. This turns all the lights on which is annoying as there is no manual way to turn them off you must sit in bright light for a while. Then all goes back to perfect until the AC turns on again... Repeat until you give up and sleep outside the car

Last I checked, camp mode has updated to turn off the screen after a set amount of time. If that doesn’t cut it, besides turning the brightness way down before entering camp mode, you can always cover the screen with a towel or a coat.

With camp mode on (especially if you preset the climate to manual and a desired family speed), you shouldn’t be disturbed by it suddenly turning on or off and, if you (and the car) have cell signal you can toggle climate from the app and adjust temp (can’t switch modes toggle AC or adjust fan speed though).

The only reason I can imagine the AC coming on even if you have it set to off is if you have overheat protection enabled. If you normally have overheat enabled, I’d suggest setting up a camping (driver) profile with that disabled and any other stuff unique to camping. Make sure to disable profile switching based on key if you’re gonna be hiking away from the camp site and returning (especially if the profile would move your seat and mess up your sleeping area). Oh, and if you do choose to skip camp mode, pressing the brake (with a trek pole) will also wake up the screen but, unlike with camp mode, the lights will turn on and annoy your neighbors.
 

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