Stuff yer Prius

Prius work-truck

A third-gen Prius can hold an awful lot of stuff, even though it looks like a relatively small car. But there are some places where support underneath could be better, or a pointy object could poke down through the carpeting. And it's definitely best to NOT place a lot of weight directly on the battery box. So the answer to spreading out a load is using some wood to construct a "freight bed" for the car.

The basis is a large sheet of 5/8" plywood, cut so that it *just* fits into the hatch diagonally and then drops down to hook in front of the fender-well covers by the rear seat. A couple more pieces fill in over the "secret luggage compartment", which is sort of a hack simply because the piece of plywood happened to be a little short. A nice perk is that the large piece extends the bed surface all the way up to the back of the front seats, closing the eight-inch gap and turning it into more weight-bearing area.

For completeness, the bed is continued all the way up to the front of the car with another piece, this one made from an old door. The front seatback is laid all the way down [sans headrest] and tucked under the rear seatback, and the freight-bed piece drops in perfectly. This makes the total bed length just over eight feet, albeit with a width limitation up by the driver's seat. But you can get 8-foot theatre setpieces in here.

The front piece later got a little cutout to accomodate whatever's plugged into the power outlet, in this case the GPS power/speaker assembly. Otherwise, it's wedged up against the lower glove box.

Never underestimate the *kinetic energy* of 500 pounds of lighting gear! This is how I loaded a batch of lights, wire, and sandbags with impunity and tooled off to a gig. Regenerative recovery became a somewhat more interesting game.

Sure, it was saggin' a bit in the butt with all that in, but nowhere near the 850-pound limit.

This is a different load from earlier in the year, not nearly as heavy, and not with the bed over the front passenger seat [since I had a rider]. Nonetheless, my 6-foot stepladder fit in easily with the legs tucked around the passenger seatback. At the event, the freight-bed board got used as a temporary table. Yay, utility.

Another lighting and power gear-haul, in the wikkid-cold dead of winter. Each of the big long roadcases weighs about 140 pounds, and there's more stuff behind them and the ladder makes another appearance. I'm not even sure *how* I got out of those rock-solid ice ruts.

At some point I needed to haul a full-size dryer to the boneyard, along with parts of another one. This was a bit of a headscratcher since the little bump where the back seats hinge down was actually *just* in the way. Four easy bolts later, both seatbacks were moved aside to allow the dryer to slide in tilted slightly down toward the front, and it fit in with enough room for the extra pieces to be thrown in behind it and the hatch to fully close. This is actually without the freight-bed in, since I needed that one extra inch of clearance.

And that's the last I ever saw of it.

Another easy major appliance move. I could have probably gotten *two* of these superinsulated 40-gallon water heaters in there. But it's more fun to think of this as the "Mad Max extra long-range hydrogen storage".

Several years later, the car was heavily utilized during a major house cleanout and renovation in which several large loads of old electronics, bicycles, and just plain junk were hauled away, and then the leftover siding from the project taken up and donated to Habitat for Humanity. The full siding pieces are 12 and a half feet long, but curved just enough and landed in the footwell to fit in with the hatch closed.

So, you can have just as much fun playing Load Tetris with your Prius as you can with a box truck and a bunch of roadcases...

or just helping your friends recycle.

For some more entertaining reading, see

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