COVID-19 has hampered many of us over the last eight months or so. Making work difficult, curtailing travel and being a general PIA, COVID has controlled our lives. Finding ways to get out and about while staying safe have been a major goal for many. Here’s how I’m coping.


When you boondock, there are no connections to water, electric and sewer like you’d find in a developed campground. There won’t be bathrooms, water spigots or picnic tables. Just you, your vehicle and a piece of land to call your own for a night or two. Boondocking is mostly free — be aware sometimes a permit is required.

Also known as car camping, this has made it possible for me to get on location and be totally self-sufficient. I traded up to the RAV 4 from my Toyota Prius V a couple months before COVID-19 came to call. Turns out COVID gave me time to get the car in order. And, I needed to go on the road.

I’ll share my setup and build with you.

Toyota RAV 4

Toyota RV 4 car camping photo
Home for the night among the aspens and pines of Flagstaff, AZ.

I choose the RAV 4 because I wanted a comfortable vehicle with high clearance. All wheel drive was also a factor. Being able to get off road and not leave my oil pan behind was extremely important.

Rear shelf

Found this to be a very helpful addition to comfort and organization while living aboard.

Getting the car into the shape I did not want to remove any seats or add any attachments to the car. Which brought up my first challenge. I knew a shelf was needed. There are grooves to hold a rear compartment cover. I used those to support the shelf. It is a pressure fit when the shelf is installed and holds the two supports in place.

Brackets built to support the shelf without adding any attachment to the car.

I’ll continue the build in the next installment of my RAV 4 build for boondocking.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob