What is the best vehicle for car camping? Well, it just depends on a few things like location. What type of terrain are we talking about? And also, what are you and you’re fellow campers wanting to do once you get all settled in at the campsite? Go mud riding? Maybe you need to launch you’re boat to take the kids out fishing. Are you going to sleep in you’re vehicle or in a tent? Either way you need to have the right vehicle for the job so I wanted to share my take on the best car camping vehicles out there and what their benefits can be for us car campers.
So in this article I’m going to talk about what to look for if you’re looking for a new vehicle for car camping and I’ll also list
the top ten best cars for car camping.
Finding The Ultimate Camping Vehicle
There are several things to look for when finding the perfect car camping vehicle. How much space will you need for passengers and storage for you’re camping gear? Will you need to tow a trailer? Will you be going off-road mostly or hitting the family camp grounds?
Whatever it may be, there is a car out there for you. My wife and I mostly camp at state park camp grounds and it’s just she and I and Pepe’ (our Chihuahua) who doesn’t take up much space anyway. So our Nissan Rogue is perfect for us.
I just wanted to make a top 10 list that covered all the bases. In other words, I’ll try to include a vehicle for all the different scenarios one could have while car camping.
1. Subaru Outback
Probably the most obvious choice and most popular in the car camping world is the Subaru Outback. Fold the back seat down and you got 73 cubic feet for all of you’re camping gear and then some. And with 39 inches of head room, you can easily sleep back there in sleeping bags or on an air mattress.
And with all wheel drive, you won’t have any problems with most terrains.
2. Toyota 4 Runner
Much like the Outback you have plenty of room for passengers and storage. And the back seats fold down easily. Fold the seats down, roll out you’re sleeping bag and there you have it. The back window rolls down too so you can let all that fresh air in. And with 4 wheel drive and a lot of engine power, it can take you anywhere.
3. Jeep Wrangler
Now we’re talking! If you want to hit the trail and do some serious off-roading, this is the one! The design and build of the Jeep Wrangler is unmatched. But of all the vehicles on this list, it has the least room for passengers and storage. But it makes up for that with the fact that it’s a freakin’ Jeep and it’s awesome!
4. Toyota Tacoma
There’s a reason this truck is one of the best-selling trucks of all time. It’s very affordable and it’s built to last. And it has several packages to choose from like crew cab, or extended bed. And there are so many accessories available to make you’re Tacoma the ultimate camping machine.
5. Nissan Xterra
Discontinued in 2015. This is a really nice, tough, reliable SUV. The Pro-4x off-road package allows you to get through any terrain without getting stuck. I think the reason they pulled the plug on manufacturing the Xterra was because of poor fuel economy. They get about 15-16 mpg in the city, and 17-18 mpg on the highway.
6. Honda Element
Plenty of room for passengers and storage. Front and rear seats are so versatile. They can be folded down to form a bed or they can easily be taken out of vehicle to carry all of you’re camping gear or for you to lay out you’re sleeping bags and spend the night in. It gets decent gas mileage and you can get one with 4 wheel drive for off-roading.
Its kind of a cross between a mini van and an SUV. You have enough seating for seven passengers or you can put the seats down and it offers 79 cubic feet for you’re camping gear. With its nice, smooth 6-speed transmission and a powerful V6 engine and can haul you’re camper or boat with no problem.
8. Land Rover Range Rover
You wouldn’t expect a car that looks so extravagant to be something to take on a rugged camping journey through the woods. You would be surprised though. The Range Rover is a beast!
9. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mid-size SUV with plenty of engine power and superb off-road capabilities. But compared to the other vehicles in this list, it doesn’t have as much cargo space and not as good gas mileage.
10. Subaru Ascent
The Subaru Ascent is a three row, seven seat SUV with plenty of room for passengers and all of their camping gear. With the 2 back seats folded down, you get 72.6 cubic feet of cargo space. 19 cup holders, built in WiFi hot spot, and up to 8 USB ports, will keep everyone comfortable and plugged in. When properly equipped it has a tow rating of 5,000 pounds. The roof rails are designed to handle a roof top tent as well.
I hope that this list has helped you in any way. I didn’t go into specific year models with this list because I know some people prefer used cars and some prefer brand new. And my only advice to you is to use the internet to you’re advantage and do as much research as you need before you sign you’re name on that dotted line.
If you want some more info on car camping check out another article of mine. And as always, thank you for reading and I’ll see you on the trail.