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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone--

I have owned a 2007 Honda Element now for a month and had to have some repairs (exhaust, rotors, and now there is a squeak in the door). But it's time to road test it. It's an odd little vehicle and I bought it primarily because I don't want to stay hotels right now and I don't want to completely give up on travel. I haven't camped in a couple decades--so a couple questions--1st I thought my model was an EX but as I'm reading the manual (which I also somehow lost even though I don't go anywhere so now I'm reading the PDF) I notice I don't have a few things the EX is supposed to have--a front ceiling pocket, sockets in the back, and bungie straps on the back seat--I do have 4WD and the moonroof which is what I cared about but it there a way to find model for sure?

I want to sleep in the car. I put the back seat down and it seems like it could make a bed if I took off the front seat head rest? Or I could put both seats up (there will be two of us sleeping and a mat). I don't really want to take the seats out right now because I'm not very good at getting things back in and I don't know where I would put them anyway.

I want a little ventilation so I thought I could crack the side window and sunroof and put up a little netting? Any advice on that? Also what can I use the front charger for? Just charging the phone basically? I have thought about replacing the radio and having something with a usb port put in. Has anyone done that? Is it hard to put a socket in the back? (I won't be doing it myself but I can tell my mechanic).

Any and all suggestions and hacks welcome.
 

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you should be able to lay all 4 seats flat with head rests removed to make a platform. Cabelas used to make this insulated mattress that fit PERFECTLY over the Element seats. Not sure if they still carry it. I've also seen people use backpacking mattresses. You just need to do it once, then the seats are super easy to get in and out. I just store them in my living room when I take them out for a trip or when I need to fit more stuff in the E, or put them in my storage unit if they're gonna be out longer.

Ursa minor put in a back socket when they installed my ecamper, and I have an adapter that I can plug in chargers for my laptop with a regular plug and it has usb ports as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When you remove the head rests do they go back in easily? Yes I think I would want some pad over the seats. Thanks for your response.
 

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Sleeping on the seats works, but is not ideal. Search for the many platform threads on here and see what people have done to make the Element a better camping vehicle.
 

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Mat, or cat?

It sounds like you have an LX. I can't imagine even a dedicated modder removing the rear power outlet or overhead storage compartment To be sure, verify that the under-hood VIN and the dashboard VINs match and use that VIN to Identify the model type here.

You can buy 1/8 elastic cord for the seat backs.

Sleeping comfort depends on height, weight and sleeping position. If you are side-sleepers you could raise the seats. and use a foam pad or a partially inflated air mattress. I couldn't side-sleep on the reclined seats without lots of contoured padding or an air mattress. A 56" full air mattress partially inflated will fit on top of the reclined seats or on the floor. Headrests go into the rear side pockets or on the floor behind the front seats, come out and go back in easily.
Either way you will need to put your luggage elsewhere.

A mosquito net made for a baby carriage will stretch over an entire rear door, allowing you to keep the side window open.
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The idea of transforming my mini van into a camper van come up this summer, when I knew that I wouldn't travel abroad soon. It was easier to take the rear seats and put there a mattress for sleep. BTW, take into consideration to do a checklist camping before going anywhere. The most important are the tools, as you don't need the tent because you will sleep in the car. Multi-tool, duct tape Extra cord, tent-pole repair sleeve, pad/Mattress repair kit, hammer, a flashlight like this one https://www.amazon.com/Vont-Flashlight-Flashlights-Water-resistant-Accessories/dp/B089T8HDBV I got like a gift from one of my friend, who traveled a lot all over the world, in 5 years.
 

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Re cold weather in vehicle sleeping. If you are going to sleep on the floor, that surface is where direct heat transfer occurs. I prefer an enclosed foam self-inflating pad to an air mattress with a sleeping bag..
An air mattress is one very large and efficient convection chamber with two large conduction surfaces. Putting a fleece blanket between you and a 4" air mattress will help trap your body heat at the source, but not reduce conduction as efficiently as a 1-1/2" self inflating pad inside a sleeping bag If you are a side-sleeper 2" is better.
 

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Have anyone tried the Element Modular Camper System? How was it? I am thinking to purchase the package. Thanks in advance.
 

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Re cold weather in vehicle sleeping. If you are going to sleep on the floor, that surface is where direct heat transfer occurs. I prefer an enclosed foam self-inflating pad to an air mattress with a sleeping bag..
An air mattress is one very large and efficient convection chamber with two large conduction surfaces. Putting a fleece blanket between you and a 4" air mattress will help trap your body heat at the source, but not reduce conduction as efficiently as a 1-1/2" self inflating pad inside a sleeping bag If you are a side-sleeper 2" is better.
Can the enclosed foam self-inflating pad also be deflated after use?
 

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Can the enclosed foam self-inflating pad also be deflated after use?
Yes, you open a valve and roll it up to squeeze out the air. This is a standard back-pack camping item.
 

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Mat, or cat?

It sounds like you have an LX. I can't imagine even a dedicated modder removing the rear power outlet or overhead storage compartment To be sure, verify that the under-hood VIN and the dashboard VINs match and use that VIN to Identify the model type here.

You can buy 1/8 elastic cord for the seat backs.

Sleeping comfort depends on height, weight and sleeping position. If you are side-sleepers you could raise the seats. and use a foam pad or a partially inflated air mattress. I couldn't side-sleep on the reclined seats without lots of contoured padding or an air mattress. A 56" full air mattress partially inflated will fit on top of the reclined seats or on the floor. Headrests go into the rear side pockets or on the floor behind the front seats, come out and go back in easily.
Either way you will need to put your luggage elsewhere.

A mosquito net made for a baby carriage will stretch over an entire rear door, allowing you to keep the side window open.
View attachment 205777
Is that mosquito net big enough to cover one of the front doors?
 

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If you get a top-of-the-line ultralight sleeping pad, you'll also be able to use it if you decide to backpack. Not only will you not be staying in a hotel, you also won't be staying in your car. Park the E at a trailhead and head out for a week or two. Additionally, it'll deflate into nothingness and stow away in your E.
 

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I went with a thicker self-inflating mattress that came in a set of two pads that velcro together. One pad fits fine with one back seat up or removed, and the privacy of being below the windows is great for tandem mode.

Removing the seats entirely gives more room but I've used it both ways; I don't care for the cramped feel of platforms. Just store my gear on the roof.

The later model front seats don't yield as much floor space, which might make a platform necessary especially for taller people.
210576
210577
 

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Is that mosquito net big enough to cover one of the front doors?
Mine could kinda. . I didn't use them initially for sleeping. I used them to keep the car and food cooler, cooler during the day. These are really only needed for hot weather in-car camping or during prolonged stops in buggy areas.

It didn't take long to find the disadvantages. The front door outer surface is contoured. The tight radius of the upper trailing front door frame corners put a lot of strain on the material and it tended to come loose when the doors were opened and stresses when they were closing. Needing to turn on the car to raise the front/lower windows each time I left the campsite to make the car a less convenient theft target was inconvenient and a drain on the battery during long stays.

I could have used strip magnets to hold down the loose mower material instead of stretching it over the door perimeter, but that was more parts to buy, store, pack and misplace.

The rear door worked better. The material went on easily and stayed on. The side windows can be pushed closed from the outside and re-opened, something I thought only an Element user or observer would know in 2005. I cut a opening to clear the front door strike peg and reinforced it with waterproof fabric glue. I've used them since then.

If you want screens for the front window, you can make ones that fit between the glass top and the door seal, using small size "baby" shades for their spring frames, replacing the opaque material with polyester mesh. The same can be done with the skylight using a slightly larger sunscreen made as a pair for windshields. I did a lot of experimenting during the first 3 years we had our first Element to help my wife tolerate camping. We camped with varying levels of equipment. Much of it has been given away and sold as we got experienced and older.

Sometimes I travel alone and I found rear window screens were useful for napping during the afternoon at rest stops. The combined, reclined passenger-side seats were pretty comfortable, but not as much as a self inflating 2" mat on the floor.

When I slept overnight in our E, I used the rear windows screens in combination with a piece of fiberglas screen held to the inner roof seal with a piece of 1/8" bungee. Often the Element got so cool (below 65F) that I progressively closed the hatch and one side window.
 
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