Camping With Model X

Camping With Model X

This thread is about taking Model X camping. What are your needs?

I have no idea how many people are planning to take a premium crossover vehicle camping--but I certainly am! Here are a few items from my wishlist that I hope end up on Model X.

1) Leveling. I imagine instant-torque AWD will make leveling the traditional way pretty easy. But air suspension should allow for even easier leveling! When the terrain is only slightly uneven, it would be great if the suspension could auto-level: Pull in. Hit a button. You're done. In those rare instances when level is beyond the range of "Very High"/"low" then it should be easy to switch the low-side tires to "Jack" one at a time and put the required number of legos underneath. Then you could auto-level again for the perfect level. Presumably, after the initial adjustments are made, there would be no additional energy usage while the vehicle remained stationary.

2) Sleeping in the back. Hopefully the seats will fold flat for maximum cargo space, which will make it no problem to throw down a queen-sized air mattress in the back after you unload. Room for two, even tall people should fit fine. And if the seats don't take up all the space when flat, then you could have additional storage underneath.

3) No Auto-Lock. You should be able to leave doors unlocked indefinitely. No auto-locking, and it should be possible to leave the key in the car without it complaining and without any energy drain.

3) No flashy lights or noises. So many premium cars have non-camping-friendly behaviors, it would be nice to be able to turn these off manually when needed. For example: at 3am when someone I don't know's tent is right in front of my Model X, I would like to be able to open the door/back and get in without interior lights coming on, DRL/headlights turning on, any kind of flashing, beeping, alarming, etc. Dark and silent!

4) Low Energy Usage. I know several vehicles that keep the dashboard electronics running whenever any door/sunroof is open. This has resulted in many drained batteries while camping. It would be nice to be able to leave doors open indefinitely without any energy usage. It would also be nice to be able to turn off some of the background energy drains. When I'm outside of cell service, for example, I don't want Model X to keep trying to connect to TESLA, etc. Something along the lines of airplane mode. It should stay in that mode until you turn it off, so that even if you do need to turn the car on to roll up a window or something, you're still in low energy mode.

5) Jump Starts. It would be nice to be able to give a jump start if that were ever necessary when out in the woods. As mentioned above, sometimes those ICEs need a little help from their friends. Could be an optional adapter that could plug into a 12v outlet. Rather than have to remove a fuse (I'm guessing 12v ports are limited to a lower amperage than a starter needs?), it'd be nice to be able to temporarily override via software. Perhaps the adapter has both a DC plug and a USB connection so that Model X knows what's going on.

6) Towing. The combination of aerodynamics, curb weight, power, and low center of gravity would seem to make Model X an ideal towing vehicle for small trailers. Everything should still work properly when a trailer is attached (electrically). I know of vehicles that won't lock, or won't unlock, etc. when they're connected to a trailer. Also, regenerative braking (on 4 wheels!?!) makes choosing the correct threshold for electric trailer brakes a little more interesting. :-)

What are your camping needs? Please chime in!

Teoatawki | 24 september 2012

Assuming 'jack' mode is the same as the misnamed mode on the model S, all it does is disable the auto leveling.

Steven.Haver | 24 september 2012

Yeah, I saw that. While not as cool as the suspension doing it, a well-engineered jack stand that easily slides under Model X will make jack mode (as is)useful enough.

After reading the Owner's Guide for Model S, it seems auto-leveling (#1) is standard behavior and there may be a 12v auxiliary battery (#5) for jump starts!?! And, based on how many options are already in the menus, it seems likely you will be able to disable unwanted behaviors (#3).

So my needs are nearly met already (with free supercharging to boot)! Life is good.

BarryInBoulder | 26 september 2012

Probably wildly impractical . . .
Sitting in a tent while it's raining isn't much fun.
Sitting in a car while it's raining, even with friends facing the same direction, isn't much fun.
However, if the middle row of seats could spin around to face the back row, or if the outer seats in the middle row could spin to face outside with the falcon door open, then maybe things are a little more fun.

Also, a rack on top for a canoe. If a rack on one side of the roof electronically disables the falcon door on that side, you can still get out on the other.

jerry3 | 26 september 2012

BarryInBoulder -- Probably wildly impractical

I dunno. There are a number of folks who camp in their Prius.

adiggs | 28 september 2012

I'm looking to do some camping and road tripping in the X. I'd have had a hard time coming up with such a comprehensive list as you assembled Steve.

That said - the ability to get the back folded flat and stick an air mattress in the back is also important for me. If I also had the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat to further expand the interior cargo area, that would be ideal.

vivadna | 28 september 2012

Those are all good suggestions and would be concerns of mine as well.

BarryInBoulder | 28 september 2012

No, no, no. I meant having seats that rotate is probably impractical. I absolutely intend to take my X camping! And with the SuperChargers going up, I won't have to stick to a 100 mile radius from my house. I'm actually kinda happy it will be another year and a half before delivery, as the vehicle will be unlimited from the get-go (not to mention financial concerns).

Brian H | 28 september 2012

Yes, the SC stations each establish a circle around themselves for camping, don't they? And if one is downhill from a desireable area, the circle oval gets very large!

Brian H | 28 september 2012

And you allude to a point which will be a major plus for X sales: the network will be substantial (90+ stations) and still growing fast (~20+ per year) when the X débuts.

By the same token, there will be about 160 stns. when the GenIII hits the roads!

Life is (will be, shortly,) good.

Sparky | 5 oktober 2012

How about a small high quality travel trailer (something like a single axle Airstream) with a 40 Kvh battery in its floor which connects directly to the X model drive train in order to extend range while towing? A trailer like that with a solar panel roof and a stowable wind generator for charging would make an ideal camping system and would add EV buzz to the campground!

DrT | 8 oktober 2012

The show stopper for me purchasing the X is the inability to put a roof rack for bikes, kayaks, cargo and ski's. The access of the falcon wing makes this a mini van, not a crossover. I agree on the ability of the X to tow as well. I want to use the vehicle, not just show it off. If there were these functional options I would slam down a a deposit in milliseconds.

RDoc | 11 oktober 2012

We're also planning on using our X for tent camping. Since there are just 2 of us, I'm not worried about roof racks, etc. Just so the seats fold down completely flat so we can use it all for storage.

My main concern is charging in the boonies since we like to go to smaller state, county, and provincial parks. Some do have RV hookups, but a lot don't. A really good, frequently updated, map of charging points that worked even when not connected, would be the first thing I'd ask for.

I suspect that in a lot of such parks, the manager's attitude will be a big deal, so having the ability to post comments to the map would be quite useful. It would also be a good way to add spots not yet listed on the map.

Steven.Haver | 12 oktober 2012

Yeah, I'm sure by the time the X hits the road several apps (with user comments--good point!) will be available and it will be easy to find charging points even in remote areas.

I don't plan to use one much but I can't imagine the X not having a roof rack. There are rumors of dual hinges so the door could open straight out with a rack on top. I think Kayak would be the only thing I'd put on top though, everything else would probably be better off (aerodynamically/range-wise) in the back on the trailer hitch. Unless, of course, you're already towing something. We may get an update today because I think a new X is at the Garden State store. If not, I bet we'll get another X update before the end of the year at least.

aaronw2 | 16 oktober 2012

The biggest problem I have with the model X for camping is it restricts where I can go. The place I usually go camping is unlikely to get a charging station anywhere nearby (too low of a population density). To get there I take Sonora pass (9600 feet, 26% grade in places) and it's several miles over dirt roads from the highway. I'd consider it if they added a rapid charging station in Bridgeport, CA or Lee Vining. Lee Vining might be a possibility since it's at the base of Tioga Pass which leads into Yosemite.

One other problem with taking a family camping is that you're limited on what can be placed on top of the model X due to the falcon wing doors.

sims | 17 oktober 2012


I know it has been publicly announced that the Model X will have around 10% less range than the Model S. How do reservation holders feel about that? Personally, I would expect that people who buy a Model X want to drive even further than someone with a Model S (think of it this way: I think an Audi Allroad Quattro owner takes longer trips than someone owning a plain A6 sedan. The Allroad is made for road trips).

So here is my ultimate question: Any chance that we will see Tesla surprise us with a 100kwh option to keep the 300 miles? After all, the battery tech is already here.... with the same supplier as they are currently using.

(For the record: I have reserved a Model X and I will be taking it on road trips. I don't drive down-town, I take public transportation.... or my bike. The AWD feature and the good feedback from Model S is what sold me this car).

Alex K | 17 oktober 2012

@sims | OCTOBER 17, 2012: So here is my ultimate question: Any chance that we will see Tesla surprise us with a 100kwh option to keep the 300 miles? After all, the battery tech is already here.... with the same supplier as they are currently using.

That is what I'm hoping for. I would think that since the Model X will not be released until 2014, the higher battery capacity will be more mainstream.

bens-tech-toys | 27 oktober 2012

Agreed. I want 100kW. 300 miles is the minimum. I don't care about the roof rack being missing. It's a large vehicle.

jk2014 | 8 januari 2013

Look at the "v" cut in the lower bumper on the x page pictures... Could this be where a potential hitch might be placed?

mvbf | 16 januari 2013

Provided the Model X gets a hitch this trailer would make the Model X very camping friendly:

Brian H | 16 januari 2013

I guess the issue will be whether a trailer will reduce range so much you can't get far enough away to need a tent!

mvbf | 25 januari 2013

It would probably effect range less than putting two bikes on top of a Model S which I am sure many owners plan to do. Scroll down to the bottom of this review and read the bonus section:

Timo | 25 januari 2013

@mvbf: It would probably effect range less than putting two bikes on top of a Model S which I am sure many owners plan to do.

I'm not at all sure about that. Bikes do increase air resistance, but they incorporate only their own pretty insignificant weight to the car and bikes are actually quite aerodynamic (very small frontal area), trailer is much much heavier (840lbs for empty sylvansport go which is advertised as light trailer) and it too increases air resistance (a lot in most cases). I would say that probably even empty trailer would cause bigger drop in range than those two bikes.

OTOH I don't think range reduction (in either case) is very significant (meaning 20+% of max range) if the trailer tries to be aerodynamic. Unfortunately I haven't seen many (or should I say any) aerodynamic (car) trailers out there, and that sylvansport trailer definitely is not one of them.

mvbf | 10 februari 2013

I was somewhat going off the reviewer experience who actually used the the trailer and said,

"Beyond the utility of the Go, I was blown away by how little its svelte 840-pound aluminum frame affected the mpg of my ’95 Toyota 4Runner when towing it up and over 11,306’ Berthoud Pass. I experienced nothing more than a 1-mpg penalty. In terms of fuel economy, that beats what I experience when throwing two bikes up on a roof rack."

No he did not go back the way he came, take off the trailer and strap two bikes to the roof. So this is still guess work. The point is losing only 1mpg up a serious mountain pass sounds pretty good to me. Still just in case this author is not being so precise, it would be helpful to get a couple of links to the aerodynamic (car) trailers you allude to Timo. I do not want to win an argument; I just want to offer good solutions to everyone.

JonathanLocke | 16 juli 2013

Ability to sleep comfortably in the Model X when camping or in a pinch is a do-or-die feature for me. Seats that fold into a perfectly flat and uniform sleeping platform would be positively ideal.

vperl | 23 maj 2016

Relax, if your able to sleep, you will.

Be Happy
Don't Worry

aesculus | 24 maj 2016

Way to dig up an ancient and mostly irrelevant thread now that we don't have 2nd row folding seats. :-)

sp_tesla | 24 maj 2016

"JonathanLocke | July 16, 2013
Ability to sleep comfortably in the Model X when camping or in a pinch is a do-or-die feature for me. Seats that fold into a perfectly flat and uniform sleeping platform would be positively ideal."

Surprising miss due to CEO genius engineer would sleep in really tiny little office in Palo Alto at night and shower at the YMCA & “I have a sleeping bag in a conference room next to the production line that I use quite frequently.”

Did CEO genius engineer ever camp?

rdainer | 25 maj 2016

Cross your fingers for us cuz we are taking theX camping this weekend !!

Mom2Dancers | 25 maj 2016

I'd love to hear how it works out for you @rdainer! Are you towing a camper? Using an SUV tent?? My girls are dying to get a trailer and head out for some camping this summer, but I wish the seats could just fold down to accomodate an air mattress (like the S) and we could use it with an SUV tent.

rdainer | 25 maj 2016

Well...I'm probably going to set up a tent on the ground! I'm so old school! But I was proud of myself that I agreed to drive it on dirt roads out to the campground!! Anyways, I"ll update you all Sunday!

raging.dragonfly | 26 maj 2016

@rdainer, fingers crossed, have a great time! We have used our tow pkg. twice now, X tows like a dream, even pulling our ancient trailer :-) We towed our bikes across town a couple of weeks ago for bicycle event, and made a trip to the dump this past weekend. Will be heading to a pirate camping event this weekend, about 3 hrs. from home, towing gear in trailer. Our 2nd trip in the X, first camping trip, and 3rd trailering job with it. Looking forward to it!

rdainer | 26 maj 2016

@raging.dragonfly - cool!! Two questions for you ...which bike rack do you use - I lm looking for a 4 bike one and did you wrap or coat your paint in anything before you went camping?

Mom2Dancers | 26 maj 2016

We are in need of a 4-bike rack, too... Would love to hear what has worked well for others.

aesculus | 26 maj 2016

We like tent camping but I also have the shower requirement. Most RV parks are not set up well for tents but do have the shower thing going, and now with the Tesla, a need to plug into 240V for overnight charging.

I need to find a list of places that are tent friendly (ie you just don't get wedged between 2 motor homes with the AC running all night) but still have showers and 240V.

aesculus | 26 maj 2016

As an example here is one that made the grade over on the eastern Sierra.

Mom2Dancers | 26 maj 2016

Unfortunately, summer here in So Fla makes tent camping miserable with the heat and humidity... I was thinking it would be nice to run the A/C from the X into an SUV tent... Has anyone tried that?

raging.dragonfly | 26 maj 2016

Been trying to post an answer for last half hour, the engine/server/whatever keeps blocking me as spam! Wtf is wrong with this thing??? (This post, of course, will likely make it through!!!)

raging.dragonfly | 26 maj 2016

See?! One more time...

rdainer, our 3-bike rack doesn't fit the X, so we trailer our recumbents. Also, we are different from most owners in that Blue was a gift. We don't have the income to support most of the niceties others are able to, so no wraps or coatings. We'll be waxing though!

moms2, your idea sounds terrific, if you can make it work! I'm originally from Miami, I definitely hear you re: heat & humidity!

Mom2Dancers | 26 maj 2016

I was getting blocked a lot, too @raging.dragonfly, even on a response to my own thread!

c3 | 26 maj 2016


Tents offer no insulation at all. At best you can count on them to block wind and water. If you pumped cooled air from the Tesla into an SUV tent it would be almost the same us pumping it out an opened door (i.e. very inefficient). This is not to say that it would not cool the tent somewhat, just that you would be using a ton of energy to do so. If you have a 6 seater and are willing to fashion a small console (between the 2nd row seats), however, you could create a flat sleeping space for one adult. I am planning to do this as soon as my car arrives. I enjoy tent camping but like the option of ditching into the car in case of torrential rain or unbearable heat/humidity.

raging.dragonfly | 26 maj 2016

I guess this is where discussions of camping in the X with more than one person, under less-than-ideal circumstances, turns to trailers/campers/RVs! Husband (Papaeus on these forums) has been looking into tiny trailers (less than 2500 lbs.) that we can tow, for sleeping, cooking, & storage. Some interesting stuff out there, but most things in decent shape are minimally several thousand $, and usually $8-$25k. Not in cards for us for now, but we'll see! @Moms, there are nice, new ones out there, with A/C, kitchens, even showers/toilets for $18-$22k. Well built, nicely designed. We currently camp w/canvas tent, cots, chairs, tables, etc, which we pack in our trailer easily. It's cool at night, so no worries, there - except it can be cool enough for us to bring the propane heater (over night temps are still in the high 40's now!). Speaking of's time to pack!

c3 | 26 maj 2016

Small trailers will work for local travel. If you plan a trip of any distance, however, I believe it will become a big hassle to unhitch and re-hitch at every SuperCharger. When towing your range will decrease ~25% ish which will increase the number of charging stops needed only making matters worse. I looked at this pretty extensively and as much as I would like to, I don't think trailering with a MX makes sense if you are travelling beyond charging range. It is certainly doable. I just think it would grow tiresome very quickly.

aesculus | 26 maj 2016

These still look the best to me but I think they are north of $10k. Maybe you could find a distressed sale on a used one.

aesculus | 26 maj 2016

Lets try this again.

Mom2Dancers | 26 maj 2016

Thanks for the advice. for sure, hitching/unhitching to charge would be a pain long distance... That's a shame. Some of the lighter-weight trailers I liked included the R-Pod, JayCo Feather, FRCherokee WolfPup, and Safari Condo also looked interesting... I found Airstreams models to be way too expensive and too heavy compared to these others, but had not seen this Nest option. Very cool, lilbean... But long distance, it may be better to use our ICE for towing.

Mom2Dancers | 26 maj 2016

Thanks for the advice. for sure, hitching/unhitching to charge would be a pain long distance... That's a shame. Some of the lighter-weight trailers I liked included the R-Pod, JayCo Feather, FRCherokee WolfPup, and Safari Condo also looked interesting... I found Airstreams models to be way too expensive and too heavy compared to these others, but had not seen this Nest option. Very cool, lilbean... But long distance, it may be better to use our ICE for towing.

raging.dragonfly | 26 maj 2016

@Mom2, they are trying to make up for blocking your previous posts by double-posting, now! lol

Aesculus & lilbean, thx for the links, those are very cool lil trailers :-)

We will be braving the inconvenience of unhitching to supercharge in Centralia, WA tomorrow, & again on our way back home on Monday. Shouldn't be too bad, as it's just the once each way. Having to do it multiple times in one day, for multiple days, would indeed be very much of a pain. Ok, Elon, you've known you were building a towing-capable vehicle for minimum 4 years - why isn't there at least one pull-thru spot at every supercharger??

Mom2Dancers | 27 maj 2016

LOL dragonfly... Have fun this weekend!

aesculus | 27 maj 2016

@raging.dragonfly: If you could pull up to a last charger you might be able to charge outside of the stall by only blocking one additional charger slot. Then if the site gets full you could offer to unhook and backup to let another in next to yours and then rehook until you are charged or they need to leave.