Automotive

Mini hammock turns even the least cooperative SUV into a poor man's RV

Mini hammock turns even the le...
Like a cozy hammock for your head
Like a cozy hammock for your head
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When not in use as a bed extender (suspender?), the Backseat Bivy can be used as a storage or entry mat ... just don't get it too wet or dirty if you plan to sleep on it later
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When not in use as a bed extender (suspender?), the Backseat Bivy can be used as a storage or entry mat ... just don't get it too wet or dirty if you plan to sleep on it later
The Backseat Bivy could be the perfect solution for sleeping near the start of an early morning ski tour, though cars still get pretty cold without a heater running overnight
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The Backseat Bivy could be the perfect solution for sleeping near the start of an early morning ski tour, though cars still get pretty cold without a heater running overnight
The Backseat Bivy extends the length of the folded seats to create a more comfortable bed
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The Backseat Bivy extends the length of the folded seats to create a more comfortable bed
Relax by the fire knowing you have a comfy place to retire for the night
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Relax by the fire knowing you have a comfy place to retire for the night
Stow it in the glovebox and the car is always ready to transform into a makeshift (but free!) hotel room
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Stow it in the glovebox and the car is always ready to transform into a makeshift (but free!) hotel room
You'll have to provide your own mint or energy bar
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You'll have to provide your own mint or energy bar
Get enough sleep for the next day's adventure without driving all the way home
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Get enough sleep for the next day's adventure without driving all the way home
Like a cozy hammock for your head
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Like a cozy hammock for your head
Sleeping solo with gear or cuddled up with a significant other
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Sleeping solo with gear or cuddled up with a significant other
The Backseat Bivy adds 18 in of space to bridge the gap between the front seat backs and folded rear seats
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The Backseat Bivy adds 18 in of space to bridge the gap between the front seat backs and folded rear seats
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The easiest, cheapest way of experiencing van life – or a close relative of van life, at least – is sleeping on the folded seats of an SUV or hatchback. Depending upon the vehicle, though, the sleeping area may be be too short, leaving your head dangling off the top of the folded rear bench or your feet mashed up against the tailgate. Canadian startup Backseat Bivy looks to erase that problem with a quick-secure sleeping platform that offers hammock-like suspended rest.

As much as we love more elaborate motorhomes and camping trailers here at New Atlas, there's something beautifully simple and natural about folding down the rear seats and spending the night in the back of an SUV or crossover – at least if you're rolling solo or with only a significant other. You maintain the original vehicle's footprint for lighter, nimbler road and off-road travel, gain a warmer, stabler night of sleep over a ground tent, and enjoy the experience of a mini-RV without any expense beyond the vehicle you already own and perhaps a sleeping pad or two.

Not every vehicle is blessed with a flat floor long enough to accommodate even an average-sized person's achy bones, however. Backseat Bivy looks to make up some of the difference with a very simple solution that sets up in a minute's time.

More a head hammock than a bivy, the Backseat Bivy secures to the front-seat headrests via buckled straps. A spreader bar up top keeps it stable and taut for better support, and the lower straps clip to the child seat hooks on the folded rear seat. All straps are adjustable in length, and a daisy chain design lets users move the lower straps as needed to better fit the vehicle.

The Backseat Bivy adds 18 in of space to bridge the gap between the front seat backs and folded rear seats
The Backseat Bivy adds 18 in of space to bridge the gap between the front seat backs and folded rear seats

Once set up, the Bivy provides 18 inches (46 cm) of added "bed" length to bridge the footwell gap between the folded rear seats and front seats. It's not sized to support your entire body so the weight capacity of 60 lb (27 kg) will be enough to lay your head down. At 48 in (122 cm) wide, it's fairly narrow, providing a roomy night of sleep for a solo camper or a snugger night of sleep for a couple. You probably don't want to share it with someone with whom you maintain a purely platonic relationship ... especially if that someone played offensive tackle on your college's football team.

Get enough sleep for the next day's adventure without driving all the way home
Get enough sleep for the next day's adventure without driving all the way home

The Backseat Bivy weighs a mere 2.2 lb (1 kg) without the carry bag and packs up small thanks to the easily rolled/folded fabric and collapsible aluminum pole. It fits in a glove compartment or seat-back pocket so you can store it in your vehicle and always have a place to sleep, even if you weren't planning an overnight trip. It's also small enough to pack for air travel, offering an in-vehicle sleeping solution for a borrowed or rented vehicle.

The Backseat Bivy isn't the first solution to this particular problem, as we've also seen inflatable mattresses with footwell-filling supports, numerous fold-out in-vehicle camper kits, full-body in-car hammocks and, of course, many DIY solutions. Unlike some of those, the Backseat Bivy is designed to be more universal, compatible with vehicles that have flat-folding rear seats that leave a footwell gap, include child seat hooks or somewhere else to clip the lower straps, and have interiors wider than 48 in. It seems like a simple, affordable solution for a summer in which RV travel has become so hot manufacturers are struggling to build campers fast enough to meet demand.

Relax by the fire knowing you have a comfy place to retire for the night
Relax by the fire knowing you have a comfy place to retire for the night

Backseat Bivy is on Indiegogo now, available at pledge levels as low as US$92. The company has already surpassed its $8,500 goal and hopes to begin shipping in August if all goes to plan, helping road-trippers, car campers and outdoor adventurers make the most of the tail end of summer. Note that the $92 early bird price expires on June 29, roughly two weeks before the campaign's end in mid-July.

A straightforward hunk of fabric and webbing, the Backseat Bivy really doesn't warrant three minutes of introductory video, but the Scottish voice-over makes the one below worth a watch.

Backseat Bivy Indiegogo

Source: Backseat Bivy

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3 comments
3 comments
jerryd
Too much head lift. For a lot less a piece of 1/4" plywood trimmed to shape would be more comfortable since they have an air mattress anyway.
I needed an E pickup so bought a S-10 conversion, upgraded it with new Bolt EV modules and building and aero shell camper to lower air drag gives a nice 6'6" place for a plywood bed, air or foam mattress for traveling..
J copley
Useful.
Ornery Johnson
This may be the most simple (yet elegant) little gadget ever featured on New Atlas. I can see this being a money maker if they could get it on the shelves of a large camping retailer. BTW, you can't fit a piece of 1/4 inch plywood in your glove box, jerryd! (ha)