While investigating accommodations and transportation options for an upcoming trip to Iceland, I discovered several companies in Iceland that rent campers, but these are not typically the motor home vehicles available in the U.S., but instead vans or even cars that transform into rustic sleeping quarters. Since this seems like an interesting way to see the maximum amount of the Icelandic countryside, we decided to test our ability to “car camp”.
Our Suburban seemed like a perfect camping vehicle. So we packed the bare essentials: sleeping bags, pillows, a single burner with fuel, cook kit, ice chest, battery operated lantern, a leatherman tool, and an inflatable mattress to covert the back of the SUV into a sleeping space.
The campers in Iceland have been modified to provide storage space under the sleeping platform something we couldn’t duplicate, so the front seats turned into the holding spot for our gear.
After setting up camp at Manattee Springs State Park, we enjoyed the park the rest of the afternoon watching a dozen manatee in the spring run as well as a number of birds.
Just before sunset we came across deer in the woods bordering the campground and then watched the sunset from the bank of the Suwannee River.
We purposely chose to camp on a very cold night, with a low of 25°, to see how we’d fare in temperatures similar to what we’ll experience in Iceland. Sleeping in our car camper proved to be a success. We stayed toasty in our sleeping bags and decided our clothing choices appropriate.
Only our car battery failed the test, unable to start after a cold night spent outside the garage. Fortunately AAA came to our rescue.
We’ll complete a couple more test runs to iron out details regarding packing, but a camping van is in our future travels.