Economical Adventure Upgrades – Custom Car Camping Window Screens

The 2008 Subaru Outback (the Sube) was a great adventure rig for many years. One of my favourite parts about the Sube (aside from it being a 5 speed manual) was the fact that it was a station wagon. I could haul all kinds of materials and gear in the back and it also had ample space for simple car camping. This post describes one of the upgrades that made sleeping in the back of the Sube much more comfortable.  Custom screens are a simple project that is very cost effective.

Custom screens with magnetic inserts

It started with a roll of standard screen from Canadian Tire for around $10.  I taped the screen onto the car to get the outline and sizing needed.  Once trimmed I used a roll of fabric ribbon and thread from Michaels for around $5.  The magnets required a few iterations.  I started with magnetic tape which wasn’t strong enough.  Next I used a 10 piece magnetic disc set from Princess Auto for about $8.  I spaced each magnet equally and the final product worked perfectly.  The total price is about $23 for the whole setup.  I used a hand sewing kit which we already had around the house.

I paired this simple setup with my sleeping pad and sleeping bag to make for a very comfortable sleeping arrangement.  Considering the standard rooftop tent runs $2500 CAD or more this is an extremely affordable way to start camping in your car.  The screens allow  you to keep your windows open for a nice cross breeze while keeping pesky mosquitos from feasting on you while you sleep.

This post ties in very nicely with one of my main goals at 118 Degrees West.  I want to show people that you don’t need to spend a fortune to start exploring the world around you.  All you need is a creative mindset and the desire to get outside. Along this theme, keep an eye out for a future post about the custom sleep platform, with drawers and storage cubbies, I built for the back of my 2000 Toyota 4Runner for less than $400. There’s also a sneak peek of the 4Runner setup on the 118 Degrees West Instagram page for those interested.

Happy Trails,

Dave T

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