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I'm constantly astonished at the inventiveness and skill of the contributors to this forum. So here's my disclaimer: This post is moderately long on inventiveness and scores zero as far as my skills are concerned ....

Anyway, so I want to go camping with my 2008 Element and sleep in it. But I also want room for an air-conditioner, because I live in Texas, and summer -- heck, even fall -- in Texas state parks means air-conditioning.

Now, I've seen the various schemes for installing a bed in the back of the Element, and they are reminiscent of the contraption I rigged up in the back of Fergus the Magic Bus (a GMC 2500 van, now departed) using slotted steel strips and cedar wood. But there are a couple of issues around taking that approach with the Element.

The first is that these installations are semi-permanent -- in other words, you can't take 'em down while you're on the road, and I want the full seating of my Element available to me during the day. The other is that -- try as I may -- I can't figure out how to accommodate a 5K a/c window unit with these installations.

Here's the Bleendreeble solution -- so pathetically simple that it scarcely qualifies as do-it-yourself. WARNING: This approach accommodates only one sleeper.

You will need:

1. A reasonably robust single air-mattress. Mine is 39" wide. About $20.

2. A 12-volt inflating/deflating pump for same. (You can inflate it manually, but my ageing lungs are not up to that. Also you want the air-mattress completely evacuated when not using it, so it folds up nice and small.) My pump was about $16.

3. A 5K a/c window unit where the cool air exhausts through the top, or nearly so. You don't want one where the cool air exits through the front. The unit should be about 12" tall. Mine is a last year's GE unit -- about $80 from Home Depot.

Here's how it works:

1. Park on a slight slope with the front of the Element a little above the rear (you will see why later on). Lower all four seats. You will need to remove the headrests from both front seats and from the driver's side rear seat. In other words, make the seats into the uneven bed that we are all familiar with. You will have room behind the front seats for the ice-chest and crates of supplies you carry with you.

The driver's arm-rest in your Element I can't answer for. I have the after-market one from H&A, and that one at least can be put all the way UP (not down) so it's parallel with the reclined seat back.

2. Inflate the air-mattress all the way up. If you have not skimped on its quality, you will find that when you place it on the uneven bed you created, it remains almost completely flat when you lie on it. Put it on the passenger side of the vehicle, as far back as possible.

3. Install the side curtains on the a/c unit (you only have to do this once, of course). Open the rear doors, lower and upper. Slide the a/c unit onto the tailgate on the driver's side and shove it in until the "inside" portion is close to the lowered rear seat (that's why you had to remove the headrest on that rear seat). You will find that it abuts the driver's side edge of the open door. Pull the side curtain on the a/c unit on that side to block the small gap. Now lower the top door.

4. Get inside. You now have some gaps to fill at the rear of your Element. You can stuff a towel around the gaps around the a/c unit. You also have a large opening to one side of the a/c unit (i.e. on the passenger's side). I block that with a crate and some more towels.

5. Plug in the a/c unit to the electricity supply at your campsite and turn it on. Because you bought a unit with a top rather than a front exhaust, the cool air has room to pass around your air-mattress and rise into the air. The business end of the unit is effectively outside your vehicle, of course. It won't be long before you cool your Element down nicely and you can jump into your lightweight sleeping bag or whatever. The unit will drip condensate, but because you parked with the front end a little higher that water will run out through the bottom of the "flap" that lies between your lower door and the vehicle.

6. In the morning, deflate your air-mattress with the pump and roll it up. Slide the a/c unit all the way inside the Element and put the seats up. You're good to go, and your Element's entire space is available to you.

So there you are: a nice, lightweight, and extremely comfortable solution that can be used in the humid heat of Texas. Does this qualify as a DIY project? I hope you think so. If you don't, keep the flames as low as possible .... :cool:

Regards,
E.J. Bleendreeble
 

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That's pretty good. Makes me glad I don't camp in Texas tho.

Although I got a good idea of what you did, some of us like to see purty pictures an stuff. Got any?
 

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That's pretty good. Makes me glad I don't camp in Texas tho.

Although I got a good idea of what you did, some of us like to see purty pictures an stuff. Got any?
I'm with you there. Peace and quiet replaced by the hum of AC.

I camped in Texas once. It was around new years. nice during the day chilly at night.

I'll take Canada, in the summer.
 

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I always thought the easiest way was to get a boat A/C , solidly mount it to a piece of acrylic (cut to fit the size and shape of the E's sunroof) clamp it in place using hold tights (those clamps that they put on tables for woodworking) and let'r rip.
 

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I'm constantly astonished at the inventiveness and skill of the contributors to this forum. So here's my disclaimer: This post is moderately long on inventiveness and scores zero as far as my skills are concerned ....

Anyway, so I want to go camping with my 2008 Element and sleep in it. But I also want room for an air-conditioner, because I live in Texas, and summer -- heck, even fall -- in Texas state parks means air-conditioning.

Now, I've seen the various schemes for installing a bed in the back of the Element, and they are reminiscent of the contraption I rigged up in the back of Fergus the Magic Bus (a GMC 2500 van, now departed) using slotted steel strips and cedar wood. But there are a couple of issues around taking that approach with the Element.

The first is that these installations are semi-permanent -- in other words, you can't take 'em down while you're on the road, and I want the full seating of my Element available to me during the day. The other is that -- try as I may -- I can't figure out how to accommodate a 5K a/c window unit with these installations.

Here's the Bleendreeble solution -- so pathetically simple that it scarcely qualifies as do-it-yourself. WARNING: This approach accommodates only one sleeper.

You will need:

1. A reasonably robust single air-mattress. Mine is 39" wide. About $20.

2. A 12-volt inflating/deflating pump for same. (You can inflate it manually, but my ageing lungs are not up to that. Also you want the air-mattress completely evacuated when not using it, so it folds up nice and small.) My pump was about $16.

3. A 5K a/c window unit where the cool air exhausts through the top, or nearly so. You don't want one where the cool air exits through the front. The unit should be about 12" tall. Mine is a last year's GE unit -- about $80 from Home Depot.

Here's how it works:

1. Park on a slight slope with the front of the Element a little above the rear (you will see why later on). Lower all four seats. You will need to remove the headrests from both front seats and from the driver's side rear seat. In other words, make the seats into the uneven bed that we are all familiar with. You will have room behind the front seats for the ice-chest and crates of supplies you carry with you.

The driver's arm-rest in your Element I can't answer for. I have the after-market one from H&A, and that one at least can be put all the way UP (not down) so it's parallel with the reclined seat back.

2. Inflate the air-mattress all the way up. If you have not skimped on its quality, you will find that when you place it on the uneven bed you created, it remains almost completely flat when you lie on it. Put it on the passenger side of the vehicle, as far back as possible.

3. Install the side curtains on the a/c unit (you only have to do this once, of course). Open the rear doors, lower and upper. Slide the a/c unit onto the tailgate on the driver's side and shove it in until the "inside" portion is close to the lowered rear seat (that's why you had to remove the headrest on that rear seat). You will find that it abuts the driver's side edge of the open door. Pull the side curtain on the a/c unit on that side to block the small gap. Now lower the top door.

4. Get inside. You now have some gaps to fill at the rear of your Element. You can stuff a towel around the gaps around the a/c unit. You also have a large opening to one side of the a/c unit (i.e. on the passenger's side). I block that with a crate and some more towels.

5. Plug in the a/c unit to the electricity supply at your campsite and turn it on. Because you bought a unit with a top rather than a front exhaust, the cool air has room to pass around your air-mattress and rise into the air. The business end of the unit is effectively outside your vehicle, of course. It won't be long before you cool your Element down nicely and you can jump into your lightweight sleeping bag or whatever. The unit will drip condensate, but because you parked with the front end a little higher that water will run out through the bottom of the "flap" that lies between your lower door and the vehicle.

6. In the morning, deflate your air-mattress with the pump and roll it up. Slide the a/c unit all the way inside the Element and put the seats up. You're good to go, and your Element's entire space is available to you.

So there you are: a nice, lightweight, and extremely comfortable solution that can be used in the humid heat of Texas. Does this qualify as a DIY project? I hope you think so. If you don't, keep the flames as low as possible .... :cool:

Regards,
E.J. Bleendreeble
Only one comment my friend.....clever!
 
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