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Hey everybody,
I have been following this forum for about a year but this is my first post.

Recently, after many, many months of trying to decide which platform to build, I ended up going with TimeTravelers. At first I thought about going with Pooksters or Snarfs pvc bed but decided that TT's platform was better suited for someone with dogs. I also liked the idea of being able to lay down the front seats for the complete length of the Element. That way the dogs would have some room as well.

Anyway, I will be taking a road trip soon up to Taos, Ouray, Moab and some surrounding areas and I have a few questions.

First....My platform sits about 13 inches off the ground and I was curious if most double size air matresses will fit nicely on this. I have read different threads on this subject but couldn't find anything conclusive.

Second....I plan to camp in my tent most of the time but there will be those days that we (me, girlfriend, and 2 dogs) will do the whole Element car camping...and I was curious if there was some ideas of cargo nets that work well inside the Element. It seems that we will need some place to put stuff (flashlights, wallets, leashes....etc..etc) within arms reach. I imagine that there are probably some DIY on this subject but I could not find any. So basically just some type of next that could hang from the ceiling.

Third....After trying out some different car gates, I have decided on dog harnesseses instead. Obviously it's the safest way but I also felt like the metal dog gates were just not quick enough to break down and put back up. I also thought about the cloth barrier but it would never work with my Weima pup. She would have that thing torn down in minutes =) ..so my question is if it's safe to keep the dogs leashed to a harness in the Element when you are not in there with them? I am trying to keep the Weima puppy (9 months) from destroying my seats and dashboard.

Anyway, this is a great forum and sorry that my first post was so long.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

peAk
 

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My platform is 4' long, and just the right height to mate with the lowered front seats. I also have removed the plastic covers for the rear seat mounts, giving maximum inside width. This also allows me to use the side seat anchors as anchor points for my dog's harness, and for controlling cargo.

I use backpack air mattresses (about 20" wide) so don't need the maximum width. A full size air mattress should fit fine, but it does chew up a lot of interior height (5-9"). Mine only add 2".

To control cargo I rig a barrier across the middle of the platform. Early versions were a Yakima bungee net (for the Basketcase) hung from the grab handles and the seat anchors. The current version uses a pair of wood 'rails' connecting these handles and anchors, and fabric storage pockets (by Caselogic) strung across the interior with bungee cords. In camp I hook these pockets to the upper rear seatbelt anchors, give us places to glasses, etc.

Other gear gets stashed in the front seat wells, on the wide dash, and in the well between the front seats. I also put one or two Rubbermaid storage boxes on the passenger seat, and put the (small) dog's bed on top of that.

http://www.pbase.com/paulj3/southwest_2004 has pictures from my trip to Utah and Colorado in the fall 2004.

paulj
 

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The suicide door armrests are perfect for perscription glasses. I also have a small (about 4"wide x 3"deep x 6" tall) car organizer-type bag that has a velcro strap which allows it to hook around the headrest and hang on the back of the front seat for wallet, keys, headlamp, etc (note to self: find this before EOC santa barbara campout next weekend)
 

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peAk said:
It seems that we will need some place to put stuff (flashlights, wallets, leashes....etc..etc) within arms reach.
Put a bungee or piece of paracord from one of the assist handles to the other, and hang stuff on that. Glasses will just hang off the cord, and you can put a little carabiner on your flashlight and lantern to keep them up there.
 

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We put a clothes hanger bar thing (from Walmart) between the grab handles. Made a good place to grab when sitting up in the air mattress and we hung our ear plugs and other stuff from it.
 
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