Thinking about sleeping in your Toyota RAV4?

Whether you’re car camping or don’t have a place to stay, you’ll be wondering if a RAV4 is actually comfortable and spacious enough to sleep in the back.

I’ve created this guide to help you understand the best options you have available for sleeping in the back of a Toyota RAV4, including some useful tips to make the best experience possible!

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my website.

How to Sleep in the Back of a Toyota RAV4

If you’re wondering if this is a feasible idea… Yes! You can sleep comfortably in the back of a Toyota RAV4.

I had a chance to test this out while passing through Moab, Utah.

2021 toyota rav4 in the desert

With so much wind, dust, and sand, it was not worth pitching a tent for just one night.

Being 5 feet 11 inches tall, I was a bit concerned that it would be a tight fit. Luckily I was able to find a few different options that would make RAV4 car camping comfortable for anyone’s height.

If You’re Shorter Than 5′ 8″ (173 cm)

Sleeping in the back of a Toyota RAV4 is easiest if you’re under 5′ 8″. At this height, you can comfortably sleep in a normal position with your head facing the front end of the car.

However, there is a trick I recommend that will give you an extra 8-12 inches of headroom! You’ll need this if you’re taller than 5 feet.

By placing an object (in my case, a tent), between the front seat and the folded-down rear seat, you can create a platform to rest a pillow without it falling in between the seats. This will add an additional 8-12 inches of length.

item placed between seats for extra sleeping length
pillow placed with extra headroom

Using this method, here is the end result:

back of a rav4 with sleeping arrangement

This is pretty straightforward and the best way to sleep in the back of a RAV4.

Unfortunately, if you’re taller than 5′ 8″, you won’t quite have enough room using this method. There is a different method that I’d recommend if you’re too tall to fit comfortably in this position.

If You’re Taller Than 5′ 8″ (173 cm)

As mentioned earlier, it will be a bit more difficult to sleep in the back of a RAV4 if you’re taller than 5′ 8″, however it is still possible.

Since I am 5′ 11″, this is the method I used for comfortable RAV4 car camping.

Instead of sleeping with your head towards the front of the vehicle, you’ll want to sleep facing the rear. This will give you plenty of room to extend your legs towards the front in a comfortable sleeping position.

rav4 sleeping position facing the rear

Easy enough, right? Not exactly!

Unfortunately, the RAV4’s rear cargo area is angled slightly downward from front-to-rear. Even though it is only a slight incline, it’s pretty uncomfortable to sleep in this position (at least for most people).

The solution?

If your camping area has a small hill or incline, all you need to do is back up so the rear of the car is elevated above the front. This will level out your sleeping area, as seen in the photo below.

rav4 backed onto slight incline

Quick Tip:

If your camping area is completely flat, you can also use other objects to elevate your rear wheels, such as:

  • Flat rocks 2-4 inches in height
  • 2×4 wood blocks

A small difference in incline could make a big difference in comfort!

Do the RAV4’s Seats Fold Down Flat?

If you’re planning a car camping trip where you’ll be sleeping in your RAV4, you may be wondering if the seats fold down all the way. Of course, you’ll want the sleeping surface to be as flat as possible for maximum comfort.

The seats in the Toyota RAV4 fold nearly completely flat, however, there is still a slight angle when the seats are folded down.

seats folded down flat closeup
seats folded down flat

Even though the angle may look uncomfortable, I personally think it is negligible and did not notice it.

Toyota RAV4 Sleeping Platform

If you plan on car camping in your RAV4 frequently, you may want to consider a sleeping platform.

With a sleeping platform, you won’t have to worry about the angle of the seats folded down. You’ll also have more room if you’re tall.

If you want to take your RAV4 camping experience to the next level, you’ll want to build a DIY sleeping platform that fits perfectly within your RAV4.

If you’re not familiar with projects like these, don’t worry! It can be achieved with learning and practice.

There are a handful of instructional guides for building a RAV4 sleeping platform. Personally, I recommend the video below:

They have written instructions to go along with the video, which can be found here.

Using a MAttress in Your RAV4 for Ultimate Comfort

If you’re looking for ultimate comfort when sleeping in your RAV4, a mattress is the way to go!

The RAV4 is roughly 39 inches wide, which means a twin mattress, which is 38 inches wide, will fit perfectly in the rear cargo area with the seats down. The cargo area will be long enough to accommodate the 75-inch length of a twin mattress as well.

Choosing the best twin mattress for the back of your RAV4 is not easy. There are more things to think about when buying a car mattress versus a mattress for your home.

Consider these factors when choosing a mattress for your RAV4:

  • Frequency of use: If you plan on using your RAV4 mattress quite often, it’s worth spending more money on a comfortable one.
  • Space optimization: The mattress will take up a lot of space in your RAV4. You should consider a mattress that folds up, rolls up, or deflates. This means you can set it aside when it’s not in use.
  • Ease of cleaning: Choose a mattress that is easy to clean. You may track in dirt while on your car camping adventures.
  • Weather conditions: Consider the weather conditions when you plan on using this mattress. For example, you may want to opt for a mattress with cooling gel if you’re camping in the heat.

Here are some mattress choices I found which are good for different scenarios:

Privacy Tips for Sleeping in Your RAV4

If the thought of someone staring in your car worries you, you’ll want to cover the windows for increased privacy.

There are a few different ways to increase privacy:

  1. Create your own privacy curtains
  2. Purchase universal car privacy curtains
  3. Improvise with bedsheets or blankets

1. Creating Your Own Privacy Curtains

This is the overall best option for complete privacy while car camping. You can design your own curtains to perfectly fit the shape of your windows.

The downside is it can be a time-consuming process.

Here are the steps I’ve used to create custom privacy curtains:

  1. Using black fabric, measure and cut the fabric to fit the shape of each window leaving an extra 2 inches of length at the top of the cutout.
  2. Place small circular magnets across the top section of the cutout spaced 4-6 inches apart.
  3. Fold the excess fabric over the magnets and sew them securely into place.
  4. To install the curtains, place the magnetic strip onto the top metal frame of your window.

Quick Tip: You can also sew magnets into the sides of the fabric for an extra-tight fit in your window.

2. Purchase Universal Car Privacy Curtains

There are a few different companies that sell privacy curtains that universally fit any car.

This will save a lot of time when compared to creating your own curtains, but it will cost more and the fitment may not be perfect.

Universal Car Privacy Curtains by ZATOOTO

This 2-piece set of privacy certains are designed to fit any type of vehicle.

You’ll need to purchase two sets (one for back windows and one for the front windows).

Universal Car Privacy Curtains by ZATOOTO

This 2-piece set of privacy certains are designed to fit any type of vehicle.

You’ll need to purchase two sets (one for back windows and one for the front windows).

In addition to the privacy curtains from ZATOOTO, you’ll need to buy privacy shields for the front and rear windshields.

Front Windshield Privacy Shield

Rear Windshield Privacy Shield

Front Windshield Privacy Shield

Rear Windshield Privacy Shield

Although this is more costly than crafting your own privacy curtains, it saves time and you’ll be ready to embark on your car camping trip as soon as possible!

3. Improvise With Bedsheets or Blankets

Don’t feel like spending any money or time on privacy curtains? Just bring some extra bedsheets or blankets!

Wrap sheets or blankets around the RAV4’s interior grab handles, across the top of the front seats, and any other place you can find to block the view of the windows.

It won’t be perfect, but improvising to block the windows can be a quick easy solution, especially if you’re only camping for one night.

In Conclusion

Overall, sleeping in a Toyota RAV4 can be comfortable regardless of your size as long as you know how to make the most of the space.

Hopefully, this guide helped you make the most of your RAV4 car camping experience!

rav4resource shop screenshot
Toyota RAV4 mods & Accessories
rav4resource shop screenshot

Visit my shop to see the most popular modifications and accessories for the Toyota RAV4.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
Thank you for supporting my website.


  • Jonathan Buckley

    Jonathan runs and owns a 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE. He started RAV4 Resource, as well as other automotive websites, to help people understand their vehicles by answering frequently asked questions, addressing common problems, and providing general information to help people get the most out of their vehicle.

  • Brian Jones

    Brian Jones had worked as an ASE Certified Master Technician for several decades before opening his own used car dealership outside of Dallas, Texas. Toyota models, such as the RAV4, Corolla, Camry, Tundra, Highlander and Sienna, continue to be some of the top-selling vehicles at his car dealership. Aside from running the dealership, he also writes for some of the top auto publications, such as Motor1. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the country with his family and can also be found tinkering around with older pickup trucks.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *