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How to Sleep Two in an Outback (without killing eachother)

Alex Gauthier Alex Gauthier

Please enjoy this guest post from Christmas Ramirez of the True Subaru Couple. For more on their adventures, follow them on social media.

Before I even dive into how you and your significant other can possibly sleep in a Subaru Outback, you must know, I’ve tried every position and way possible. I’d like to sleep in a nice bed, on a fluffy mattress, or even in a tent with a blow-up mattress! BUT, when you work from 8-4pm, and often leave for a trailhead two or three hours away, you don’t really have time to pitch a tent. Enter the Outback.

Randy and I started out with the “normal” way of sleeping in a car, where you push all your belongings either to the front seats or on your roof rack, and fold the backseat forward as far as it will go. At first this was fine, and honestly the Subaru Outback and Forester have more room than other SUV’s or cars and is very roomy, however we still discovered several disadvantages to hatchback sleeping.


  • Foot/Hand to Face Syndrome in the tight confines of the back – AND we both are side sleepers!
  • Hard to level out- (your head is most likely too low- even adjusting with a pillow or moving your car to a slight incline)
  • No easy way out if you need to pee commune with nature in the middle of the night
  • You end up drawing straws for who has to get out of their warm sleeping bag to start the car and get the heat cranking
  • Sleepless nights were somewhat common, and our bodies were stiff from being in cramped positions

We’ve found a better way! We swear!

Instead of moving all of the cargo (which honestly with us can be quite a lot of moving.), we simply reclined back in the front seats. YES the front seats! Here are some reasons it’s a win for us:


  • Need to pee commune with nature at night? Easy, just get out of the door like normal
  • Spacious front seats- enough room for our legs since you can move the seats back or forward up to 43 inches! Plenty wide as well with handy spots for headlamps, phones etc.
  • Comfortable and cushy
  • Recline completely backwards with heated seats or AC vents by you- great for those cold mornings or hot evenings
  • Driver’s side sleeper can start the car immediately if needed to defrost the windows, run the heat or A/C for a few minutes

We aren’t much for “car camping” where one goes and sets up a tent after driving a car some distance. Rather, we would prefer to dispense with the “camping” part of this experience and just get some shut-eye before embarking on a climb or other adventure and this is the most efficient way we have found to get us that precious beauty rest before we disembark our beloved subie.

An interesting aside to this whole conversation is that if you have a Forester instead, you should definitely go traditional and crash in the cargo area. Much better that way for the Forester.

Are you a front seat sleeper or traditional hatchback sort? We’d love to hear what you do to solve this dilemma. Tried car top tents? Haul a little trailer? Tell us.

Instagram @truesubarucouple  | Twitter @subarucouple  | Facebook

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier is the head adventure junky for Subaru Adventure Team and part time outdoor adventure photographer. His first love is climbing of any kind but can also be spotted on mountain bike trails or working on building sea kayaks which he may or may not ever get to paddle.
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