I thought I’d write a separate guide for car camping in the Jimny. It’s something a lot of people are interested in and I can understand why. It’s super convenient and a ton of fun. It’s cheap (if you don’t listen to my mattress selection advice lol), warm, quiet and comfortable when set up correctly. It can be done stealthily too, which is impossible in a roof top tent.
First off, some of the photos used are just for show, they’re staged. However, in practice sleeping in the Jimny for 1 or 2 people is extremely workable. Some on Facebook might disagree but we’ve done it and can vouch for authenticity. Crucially, and I would recommend this for any aspiring Jimny camper, keep equipment minimal, simple and efficient. Don’t necessarily do what I do! Make sure you have some form of waterproof storage boxes for your gear when you hit the hay and this is where a roof basket or rack can be your friend.
So here goes, this is everything I’ve learnt so far.
- Car camping in the new Suzuki Jimny
- It’s a tiny car, there’s not enough room?
- Setting up
- 1 person set up
- 2 person set up
- Mattress selection
- Staying warm
- What’s it like to sleep in?
Car camping in the new Suzuki Jimny
One of the most notable features of the Jimny is the ability to drop the seats flat (well… almost flat) and this is what opens up the opportunity for excellent car camping.
It’s a tiny car, there’s not enough room?
Yes and no.
Yes, it’s a tiny car. No, there’s a surprising amount of room.
When there’s 2 people the taller person will sleep on the passenger side which has a maximum length of around 170-180cm. The shorter person will have to position their feet either side of the steering wheel if they happen to reach that far. No big deal.
For reference I’m 6 foot tall and my wife is 5 foot 5 inches.
Initially during early tests it felt a bit snug on the length for me but this was due to lack of space width wise. Don’t laugh, but on our first attempt at sleeping in the Jimny my wife was cold during the night and shuffled over pressing me up against the side of the Jimny. Silly me, kept waking up thinking there’s hardly any room. It was pitch black I couldn’t see that she was hogging all the space ?.
If you’re a strapping specimen of a human standing taller than 6ft you’ll find it a bit lacking in length but sleeping on your own you’ll obviously have more room. It’s doable by sleeping on an angle or tucking your knees up.
After you’ve dropped the seats down, open the rear door and blow your mattresses up from that end. Position the mattresses and sleeping bags in place then close the rear door. There’s no easy way to open or close the rear door when inside the vehicle (unless you do this mod). Therefore you will enter the Jimny from either of the main doors.
1 person set up
If you are solo camping then leave the drivers seat upright and get in on that side to shimmy over and lie down. Watch your bum doesn’t sound the horn on the way in ?.
Here’s some pictures from my solo trip to the Lake District.
Here’s a full woodland camping trip sleeping in the Jimny. I had a fantastic nights sleep. Arguably better than the roof tent so far.
2 person set up
It’s just as simple to set up, however you need to make sure you buy 2 single mattresses rather than a double mattress. The obvious reason for this, which you’ll have figured out already, is the gear stick. It will get in the way of a double mattress meaning it won’t lie flat.
Unless you do something like this which is using our old replacement tent mattress that measures 193cm x 120cm x 7cm. It was an improvement on the Front Runner mattress but still not princess and the pea comfortable enough for us softies.
There’s also companies making Jimny specific mattresses (thanks Pavel @shad0wrunner for the link). I’m not certain about the comfort of these though and have obviously not tried them personally. Looks awesome though.
Here’s how our Jimny looks with the 2 mattresses in we find work the best for us. What we love about this set up is when either of you move in your sleep you’re not bouncing the other person up and down, waking them up. Each mattress being independent of each other.
I’m not affiliated to Exped or any company for that matter. I’ve bought everything with my own money. I simply want to share information to help other Jimny owners.
We’ve tried a number of mattresses and they all have different degrees of comfort and suitability. Naturally the more you pay, the better the mattress and the better nights sleep you get.
If you’re using a thin inflatable or foam cell mattress you can choose to place a heavy duty rubber boot liner or some other sort of underlay to help cover the gaps between the front seats. We found that it wasn’t necessary when using a thicker mattress. Try it out, you’ll not break anything.
You can optionally use the headrests to help fill the sloping gaps of the front seats if you wish, it’s only your feet at that end though and we generally slot the headrest in the footwells.
Aim for a mattress that’s 170cm to a maximum of 183cm in length.
Most inflatable mattresses are longer than the length of the Jimny so you need to make sure it’s not longer than 183cm or things start to get too awkward to fit.
Even with the 183cm mattress you need to tuck one end under the glove box and the other under steering wheel. This will give you a decent fit as shown in the picture below.
Additionally adding a cargo net on the rear of the boot helps keep everything in place when you open the rear door.
Ideally you need a mattress that is 55-60cm wide.
It’s very comfortable sleeping in the Jimny when you use an inflatable mattress thicker than 7cm. We use a 10cm and 12cm thick mattress and have spent a few quid to get decent quality ones. In our opinion you can’t put a value on a good nights sleep.
I do recommend the MegaMat 10 MW for a single sleeper. It’s a bit too wide but very good when set up as shown above. This set up also allows for access to some storage and leaving one or both seats upright helps keep the mattress from sliding around. Please note that 2 of these mattresses will not work together for a 2 person set up.
The two mattresses shown above were fine to sleep on but as I’m a side sleeper the thicker mattresses offers more comfort.
I’ve researched a lot of candidates for the ultimate Suzuki Jimny mattress set and here’s my current recommendations if you’re up for spending on comfort.
Best 1 person mattress
Best 2 person mattresses
- Exped MegaMat 10 MW – Passenger side (183cm x 65cm x 10cm)
- Exped MegaMat Lite 12 M – Drivers side (183cm x 52cm x 12cm)
These are ultra comfortable! Extremely well insulated for cold nights and we even use them in our roof tent having removed the mattress that came with the tent. The MegaMat 10 MW is by far the best mattress I’ve ever tried and it’s better than the MegaMat Lite 12 M. Unfortunately due to width requirements you are forced to either buy 2 MegaMat Lite 12 M, giving you a total coverage of 104cm. Or 1 MegaMat 10 MW and 1 MegaMat Lite 12 M for a total (and full) coverage over 117cm.
There’s a significant difference in pack size and to some extent the weight between the 2 mattresses we use and recommend. This may help you decide what’s best for you.
In case you’re wondering how the narrower and smaller pack sized Exped MegaMat Lite 12 M fits as a single sleeper, here’s a few pictures. 2 of these would also be a good options if you’d like to have a bit more storage space for other kit.
Other contenders that I’ve not personally tried are 2 of the SynMat 9M by Exped. These will fit great and they pack down nicely too for storing in the back. They’re 1 cm thinner but I’m sure that won’t be too noticeable. I’ve not personally tried these.
Thermarest and other manufacturers do awesome mattresses too, so do your own research and comment below if you find other mattresses that fit and are worth a mention.
There is nothing worse than waking up to condensation pouring down the windows. So don’t forget to make sure there is enough airflow when sleeping in the Jimny. Keep both the front windows open an inch or two for ventilation. This does mean in certain climates it may be bloody freezing or even worse letting rain in. The Jimny wind and rain deflectors on the doors are a good idea to have installed if you’re car camping for this very reason. I think they look awesome too.
I saw a cool mod on youtube. If you car camp a lot you might fancy some DIY fun.
A good quality sleeping bag and an insulated mattress with a decent R rating will make your nights more comfortable. I got a brilliant tip on instagram from @jimny_style to turn on the heated seats for ten minutes before you go to sleep for toasty feet. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that sooner ?.
Fact is sleeping in the Jimny is warmer than a tent and just as you would in any other outdoor situation, layer your clothing up if it’s below freezing.
Where do you keep your kit?
Theres lots of choice here from all the well know manufacturers. For the sake of completeness I’ll briefly mention a few bits of kit we’ve tried so far.
The Thule Canyon XT Roof Basket is a lovely piece of kit to add some internal storage space, as will any roof basket of course.
We have a front runner 3/4 slimline II rack that would hold plenty of boxes for all your camping essentials. Most Jimny owners go for the full size rack but we felt we didn’t need the extra weight.
There’s waterproof roof storage bags on Amazon that fit into the Thule Canyon XT roof basket and some even have a streamlined profile to match the front of the basket. You can tuck the front under the baskets wind deflector.
There’s also waterproof storage boxes from the likes of front runner and other companies. They’ll be way more knowledgable people than I on these types of products so give youtube a trawl for some reviews.
What’s it like to sleep in?
The main thing that makes sleeping in the Jimny better than the experience of sleeping in a roof top tent is noise. Wind noise and nocturnal creatures (inc. piss heads stumbling passed) are drowned out well in the Jimny compared to a tent.
If you’re a cold sleeper then you’ll likely prefer the extra warmth of the Jimny too in comparison to a tent.
Additionally when the weather is extremely windy sleeping in the Jimny is a fantastic option. This happened to me on my 1st Lake District overnighter when gale force winds were shaking the Jimny like a sailing boat lost at sea. Popping the roof tent would have been a mistake.
As long as you keep the inside of the vehicle well ventilated and invest in a decent sleep system you’ll be happy sleeping in the Jimny.
This setup is as basic as it gets if you throw in your current camping mattresses and sleeping bags and you can try some budget gear to test out whether it’s worth investing in better kit to improve the experience.
We 100% recommend car camping if you’re lucky enough to own a new Jimny. Even if you’re not the outdoor type it’s good fun. It’s like playing camps when you were a kid. Anyhow, after few whisky’s you’ll be wondering what took you so long to try it.
51 thoughts on “Sleeping in the Suzuki Jimny”
Thanks so much for your very useful information. Just heard about the emissions problems, but as I live in Guatemala we can still buy them. Considering a long trip around South America in a new Jimny. Thanks again
you’re welcome, hope it helps. Your trip sounds like fun. Best wishes ??
Hi, Geordie Jimny,
Still havent bought my own, but continue to fantasize re travelling in South America (assuming we survive this pandemic). I have a question re sleeping. Was wondering if it were possible to unscrew the gear knob every night, just to give that little more space. I presume its possible, but maybe not a good idea???
Hi Mel, good question. I know you can’t on the auto but assume you can on the manual version. We sleep with our heads at the other end so it doesn’t get in the way! It’s a brilliant option for situations when packing light.
Thank you for sharing with us all these informations (especialy thé youtube link for opening the backdoor from inside ^^I was wondering about doing this for a while)
For stuff that doesnt weigt too much I attached à bag with à chain on the extrawheel maybe à jerrican would fit too (the base looks sturdy)
Hi, yes that’s an option for sure. I’ve a link on my kit list to a spare wheel mounted waterproof bag and there’s a company selling a multi bag kit now too
Hi Geordie ….re the post from Dividi on open the back door of the Jimny from inside …please send me the link …I’m considering camping in my Jimny and wondered about opening the back door ……enjoyed reading your posts and it’s inspired me to try a solo camp ….😀😀😀😀
Brenda ….south africa
Hi Brenda, glad it’s helped!
The link is in the article. Tap where it says Unless you do this mod In the Setting up section.
P.s. actually I’ll embed the video instead. 🙂
Thank you for such a thorough article! This is exactly what I was looking for.
G’day mate, fantastic read and very helpful. I just bought. 2020 Jimny and am still smiling. I’m planning on driving Perth to Cairns early next year so will be experimenting with your suggestions, starting today. Happy Zuking ?
Congrats on the new car mate ?? Happy days indeed!
Thanks so much for the article some really great stuff, says the exped megamats are 197cm’s long on there website though not 184cm? Have they gotten longer or are you just not fully inflating them?
You’re welcome Adam, glad it helps.
Yeah some of the newer models are longer. You need to try find the M instead of MW or LW models. Two of the 12cm light weight ones would fit great too and pack down to the size of 1 of the Megamat M’s. Or the synmat 9 is a good size too I believe ?
This is fantastic!
Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to buy a last generation Jimny.
Do you know if the same is doable in a gen 3 ?
Hi, A few people have commented on my videos on YouTube that they slept in the gen 3. I don’t believe it transforms as flat a base as the gen 4 though. The thick mattresses make all the difference in my opinion, if you’re not really tall it might work.
Hello. Thanks for the article and for the site more generally, great stuff!
Do you think using 1 MegaMat 10 MW + 1 MegaMat Lite 12 M (your recommendation for 2 people) would work for a solo camper? I am 6 foot also but I’d love to have a bit of extra shoulder room, so I am thinking of using your 2 person set up but for a solo camp. But I note the difference in mattress width between the MegaMat 10MW and Lite 12M, so not sure it would work (it might not be flush between the mattresses)? Any advice would be appreciated!
Hi Mike I’ve used both solo. The extra 2cm in height on the 12cm narrower mat wasn’t really noticeable. Especially if you throw a sheet over the two of them. Maybe there’s other mattresses on the market now though.
If you’re sleeping in the jimny anything no more than 60cm wide is workable.
You could get 2 of the 12cm inflatable ones and the link strap system they sell. They’re far less bulky to pack too mate. Hope this helps.
Thankyou, that is helpful. I think I will experiment a bit with a few different mattress combinations as you recommend. The other option I am looking at is buying a tri-fold foam mattress that is custom cut for the Jimny cabin, and also looking at tents of course too. Thanks again for your site and videos, they are great! Please keep it up!
Check out Jimny CampStyle that might be a better route for you to go.
Hi Geordie, loved the article was a great help. Haven’t got my Jimny yet sometime in May. I have been ordering parts for it in preparation. From New Zealand had to order the megmat from the UK, NZ agent didn’t want to know. I do notice a side table in your pictures, did you make or purchase this. Thanks Phil
Hi Phil, glad the blogs useful!
That table I made out of a chopping board 🙂 Collapsible Table
Congrats on your jimny order 👍
Thanks for your article on the Jimny. It has made me more convinced that I am to get one. The in vehicle camping sounds great for short overnight trips.
You’re welcome mate 🙂
Thanks for the helpful article. Is there any reason why it needs to be a new Jimny specifically for car camping?
Hi Emma, The article is about car camping with the new jimny. Car camping is fairly universal though 👍
I have the the 2020 Jimny automatic and would like to where I can buy a mattress to fit that has some comfort
Hiya, aim for a mattress size mentioned in the blog. Models change all the time. The ones I link to I’m not certain they’re easy to come by anymore. There’s new versions though. Just make sure the width and length are not too big. You can squeeze a wider single mattress in on one side but if you need 2 to fit you have to go for mattresses that are 60cm wide x ~180cm (or tuck the length underneath the glove box/steering wheel.
Hey, thanks for your article! Super helpful for me in my hopes of camping in my car! One thing I’ve noticed with my Jimny, though, is when I lower the back seats it doesn’t lay down completely flush flat. The seats go down but has a slight yet noticeably ~3 degree slant going up towards the front seats. Looking at your photo, it looks like your back seats go down flush flat (or does the cover you have that goes over your backseats make it look flat?) Just curious if I’m doing something wrong or if I need to purchase something to make it a bit more flat so that I don’t have a sore back from sleeping on a misshapen floor 😛
Hi Mike, the rear seats should go flat, certainly flat enough once you add your mattress. I’m sure you have, but take the headrests out. It could be those stopping them from laying flat.
This is a useful item for storing your headrests https://jimnystyle.com/collections/interior/products/headrest-holder-for-suzuki-jimny-2018
I find that the 10-12cm thick mattresses stop any of the issues with an imperfect floor surface. Or double up thinner mats if needed.
What type/model/year Jimny is yours? I know theres different types of Jimnys so trying to find one where the seats fold down like yours. Thanks :).
Hi Shona, it’s the SZ5. The SZ4 also has fold down seats the same. The only difference is it doesn’t come standard with the rear luggage box. You can buy them on JimnyStyle.com though.
I can’t find your mattress in my country.
But i found a mattress that measures 195x60cm.
Do you think 195cm lenght will be a problem?
As you recommend 185 at max. And I am talking about +10cm.
Do you think those extra cm will go under steering wheel and I won’t notice it?
Maybe those extra cms will lock the position of the mattress or maybe It won’t never fit?
Thank you in advance, love your posts!
As it’s 60cm wide there is a chance you can push the excess under the glove box. I think you’ll need to use it on the passenger side rather than the drivers side as there’s more room. It might work on both though. It can be hard to find 183cm length mats.
This is why it sucks to be 193cm/6.4 long and 115kg/18 stones. It has its benefits in life in general but it sucks when it comes to traveling, furniture, and camping. Anyways, good run through mate.
Regards from Sweden!
Hi Magnus, yeah I’ve never thought about bigger guys for camping kit. They’ll be so much of it useless! Are there any of the Australian style swags big enough? They look great for convenience and not too horrible pack size.
Bought my Jimmy 3 months ago in Santiago Chile, brand new for 17,000£. Took out the rear seats and it In some brackets (front runner style, thanks West highland adventures). Here I can store tent mattress sleeping bags ets. Must admit I camp in my tent mostly, but have slept comfortably in the Jimny. Had a sea to summit 183 cm mattress. Perfect, really comfortable, but had ripped the end, tried 5 times unsuccessfully to repair it, and only replacements were much longer which is OK in the tent but is a likely complicated, as you said in the ,Jimmy
Been down South and did first part of the Carratera Australia but passed into Argentina as my visa was about to expire. Now heading North into the deserts
Anyone interested in doing something similar, I really recommend Suzi Santigo who help find the vehicle and the paper nightmare
Do you think this system would work for taller people sleeping in the Jimny ?
– sleeping with the rear door / tailgate open (I would secure the door using a ratchet strap tied from the spare tyre to the rear wheel on the right hand side of the car, so there’d be no risk of it closing in strong wind)
– buying a rear awning or tent to cover the rear of the Jimny (eg, Slumberjack Roadhouse rear awning/tent or similar) https://slumberjack.com/roadhouse-screen-tarp/
– setting up an extension to the back of the Jimny to increase the available length (my idea is to use a piece of particle board about 500mmx700mm and simply have one end resting on the loading edge above the rear bumper and the other supported by 2 small tent poles).
My only concern is whether it will be warm enough with the rear door open but I think it will be fine with a nice big mattress and good quality sleeping bag (the rear awning /tent should be just as good as a normal tent in terms of warmth and ventilation).
I like this idea because it frees up weight on the roof (no RTT or heavy swag up there). I should still be able to pack all my camping gear in the back, and then I would set up the rear awning, unload my stuff, then set up the bed.
Anyway, I’m going to give it a try – if you’re interested let me know and I will post some pics. And if you have any ideas about this system please let me know!
You’ll never know until you try mate. Please feel free to post any updates of how you get on 🙂
Can you put a mica wave in the jimmy
If you can figure out how to power it, I guess so. I’ve no knowledge of that kind of products suitability for mobile use.
Thanks so much for this article! So helpful!
I have ordered the ‘Exped MegaMat 10 MW’ although I cant find the ‘Exped MegaMat Lite 12’ anywhere! From what I can see it doesn’t look like Exped make it anymore?
Do you have any recommendations for another option that will fit next to the Exped MegaMat 10 MW??
Everything I find is too wide unfortunately
Sorry I missed this comment Michael!
I struggled to find the Lite 12 at the time. It’s the only one I could find narrow enough in the range of thickness to match the 10 MW. These mats are classed a luxury basecamp /car camp style mats and it seems having narrow ones aren’t popular. 🙁
Ordered an Exped MegaMat 10 MW, but found it too wide to comfortably fit with gear in my Jimny (left hand 2019 model). Was too wide to comfortably tuck it into the front towards the glove box/compartment and also it kinda was pinned between the front passenger door and drivers seat, which made it go slightly on the diagonal thru the cabin and luggage area. Sending it back to retailer in a few days.
Have a hard time finding Expedition MegaMat Lite 12, so it seems like Exped pushed it out of their mattress lineup. Found their Exped Deepsleep Mat 7.5 M instead and just ordered it, as I type. It’s narrower than the MegaMat MW (52 cm instead of 65 cm width), which makes a world of a difference. Have tried to sleep in the Jimny with my Thermarest xTherm (51 cm width) and that worked out just fine. I’d say a 54-55 cm width pad would be perfect for a Jimny.
I’ve just sold my 12M lite but they don’t seem to make them anymore.
The Megamat 10MW fit for me as you can see in the photos. It’s best not to pump them up too much though. In fact I found uncomfortable when inflated fully. Least that’s my experience. I still use it on occasion.
60cm is better but you won’t find many high R rating thicker 60cm mats for sale unfortunately.
I used a different DIY approach and built a folding bed base that allows me to then use any cheap foam mattress on top. Works brilliantly.
Great article, very informative. Thank you.
Hi 👋 friend having watched some of your videos and tempted to get a Jinmy you and Dentan inspire me to expensive 💸💸💸💸💸💸💸 month this month Mot time I hope my little Mary pass it I’ll work this season to get 1 probably have d cash by June hopefully and getta hardtop jinmy!! Discovered somting useful can cook ready meals in a marksman grill bein a hopeless cook that’s wot I’ll do looking 4ward 2 Ur next video!!👍 In dentans Jimmy he’s got som fancy sleeping mat don’t fink u can get those in d UK!! Stay Stealthy 👍
Cheers mate 🍻