As requested, I took some detailed pictures of the Prius Camper Conversion Kit I mentioned in my previous article. It adds valuable space to the back of the car when the seats are down, and helps to push down the seats all the way in order to achieve a level surface. This particular kit works for third generation of Prius, but can be slightly modified to fit other models. In theory, something like this can work with any car, as long as the rear seats can be forced down all the way to create a flat surface (170 pounds of my bodyweight was enough to flatten out the seat back).
This is how the final conversion looks, with a mat cut to a custom shape on top of it:
A wooden platform which is used to fill up rear leg space. Notice the blue strap on the rear seat, that’s what pushes down the seat to create a level surface:
The lid can be removed for storage space access:
It’s a relatively thin wooden platform. Top (on the picture) side of it is a bit slanted to fit on a rear seat back:
View from the bottom: metal pieces are there to hold platform legs when the platform is not in use, but I don’t find them necessary. Additional (darker) piece of wood is what the lid rests on:
View from the side:
With passenger front seat pushed all the way forward (and seat back in further possible forward position), wooden supports are inserted into exposed seat railing. I added some duct tape layers at the bottom of each leg so that they don’t wobble when the wooden platform is removed.
Here’s a right leg:
I noticed that the left leg needed to be approximately 5 mm longer in order for the platform not to wobble, so I extended it with whatever I had on hand:
Adjustable belt with a hook on one side and a strap tie on the other:
On the back side of rear seats there are places to secure a baby seat. I removed the plastic covers (use some force), and attached a strap there. I added a piece of cloth to (hopefully) prevent damage to seat fabric:
Tricky part is getting the bottom hook in the right place. Rear seats are held in place by two metal locks. If you grab a rear seat from the bottom (when the back is not folded) and pull up with approximately 50-100 pounds of force, the seat will snap out of the place exposing the lock. Attach a hook to the exposed part of the locking mechanism. Jump down on a seat to snap the rear seat back in place. Exercise caution while you make your way through this, took me nearly an hour to figure out how to properly attach a hook and snap the seat back in place:
When both sides of the belt are in place, fold the rear seat, push in down with your body weight, and tighten the belt.