If you would like to go camping without the hassle of having to take the time to pitch a tent, you should really look into investing in an SUV. Here you will find the best camping SUVs, most of which include a spacious interior, plentiful power outlets, and the ability to drive in all kinds of terrain. All of the mentioned SUVs make way for an easy trip, and allowing more time to enjoy the outdoors!
Top 11 Best Camping SUV Options
1. The Subaru Outback
If you are a person who enjoys a vehicle that has great fuel efficiency, but is also rugged and sporty, the Subaru Outback may be the SUV for you. Although it is not as rough as some of the other SUV’s out there, it is much more agile and can still withstand the uneven dirt roads that lie in the outdoors. This SVU is for a smaller party, generally a party of two as there is not a ton of room. Most people find it beneficial to fold the two back seats down in order to be able to set up their blankets so that they can sleep comfortably. The Subaru Outback can also tow a reasonably sized camper if you have more people on board. So, if you are looking for an SUV that is economically sound, but can also be used for your outdoorsy trips, go ahead and look at the Subaru Outback!
If you are someone who does not like the look of a minivan but likes what it has to offer, take a look at the Toyota 4runner as it offers a happy medium. Perhaps the best thing to know about this SUV is that it has a tremendous amount of interior space for the passengers/luggage and it is very dependable.
Moreover, this SUV can tow a generous amount of weight, making it great for a caravan or small camper as well. Lastly, the Toyota 4runner is equipped with all-wheel drive, so the rugged back roads should not be a problem for your extravagant camping adventure, just make sure to be cautious when taking tight turns as the vehicle is large!
3. Mini Club Van Camper
As you can tell from the name, this SUV is on the small side so there will be less interior space for sitting and laying, but that is the only downside to this fine vehicle. This SUV is known as the “camper” because that’s what it is made for surprisingly enough! This SUV is preferable for a one-person traveler but can encompass two people.
Furthermore, this SUV has some unique features that most SUVs do not offer. To start off, this SUV has a cot on one side of the vehicle and an expandable kitchen on the other. As well as a fridge and, a portable shower which is probably something you never expected! All in all, this SUV is basically a small house on wheels.
Plus, there’s a handheld shower which means camping now comes with luxuries! So, you can sleep in it, cook in it, and shower around it as well. Plus, with its ergonomic size and driving capabilities, it the perfect camper for a romantic getaway for two. Or one. To each their own!
4. Honda Ridgeline
Looking to get the best of both worlds with a truck that is also an SUV (known as a crossover)? Well turn your attention over to the Honda Ridgeline. If this vehicle wasn’t unique enough, the truck bed is able to open both upwards and downwards which is perfect for fatigued campers to lay on.
Furthermore, the bed of the truck can be used to hold any of your valuables and will keep them safe due to its waterproof capability. There is also a customized tent that can fit into the bed of the Honda Ridgeline so that you don’t have to go through the extra stress of finding a wide-open spot on the group for your tent. The only con of this vehicle is that it is not the best for off-roading adventures.
5. Jeep Wrangler
Jeep is known for being a classic, reliable off-roading vehicle for many reasons. Specifically, the Jeep Wrangler can handle almost an off-roading trip as it is tough and contains a body frame that was made explicitly for handling nature’s rigid back roads.
Although the Jeep Wrangler may not have a ton of room, you can still take off the doors and roof to create extra space for all of your camping additions. Moreover, the Jeep Wrangler continues to upgrade for the better offering traction control and many other key features.
If you consider yourself to be an economical camper, you need to know about the Scion XB. It may not be the most visually appealing, but this little SUV gets 32 miles to the gallon which is perfect for people who like to travel far distances for their camping adventures.
Aside from its great gas mileage, this SUV has a roof that allows for an attachable tent. The square shape of this SUV offers a great amount of cargo room.
Do you have kids? If so, the Nissan Pathfinder could be the perfect SUV to suit your family’s every camping need. Even if you have some friends that want to tag along, they will easily be able to fit as there are seven seats available. This SUV offers 79.6 cubic feet in the interior if you fold down the seats, making it perfect to set up a sleeping bag or two. This SUV is especially useful if you plan to tow something because its tow capacity is 6,000 pounds! In addition to its tow capacity, the Nissan Pathfinder has three rows of seats, upgraded technology, prime navigation, a space under the floor, a motion-activated trunk if your hands are full, and a top driving frame which makes it an exceptional choice.
This SUV is on the larger side and this one has to be the best for camping. This SUV comes with the perks of washable seats and even stain-resistant seats which really can’t be beaten for an off-roading vehicle. Some people may not like the boxy frame, but it is perfect for storing large, heavy equipment that is used for camping.
This is an AWD SUV that comes with a six-person tent and can get you to your destination no matter where it is. Even if you don’t want to use the tent, it can be detached so that the seats can be taken out to provide room for people to sleep.
The Ford-F series has so much to offer. More importantly, the Ford F-150 offers balance for anything, but especially for camping. There is a great amount of interior and exterior space for your passengers and everything you will take on the road. In addition, this vehicle has all-wheel drive and the capabilities to get through tough terrain are endless.
Each of the F-150’s contain engines that have a lot of power, a truck bed that is spacious (can fit a pop-up tent on top as well), and pretty good gas mileage for a large truck.
This may be one of the least appealing SUVs on the market, but it is also one of the best SUVs that can be used as a camper as well. There are many features that most people don’t know about such as the center console that can be used as a cooler and a tailgate that swings open.
Aside from those two features, this SUV also comes with an air compressor, a portable tent that can be attached, and a much-needed air mattress. Lastly, there is a ton of space for contents and also has ten speakers so it is a great choice for a camper and SUV all in one, just not as visually appealing.
11.Land Rover Discovery Sport
Leaning towards the more expensive side of SUVs, the Land Rover is known for its luxuriousness. So, you may never plan or think to take it off-road, but the sport package is fully capable for these endeavors.
The sport package offers a system called “Terrain Response” and this allows the SUV to adjust its suspension, transmission, and traction so that you can get through the various surface terrain on your off-roading trips. This terrain could be plain dirt roads, sand dunes, rocky roads, and so on. Lastly, this luxurious SUV has space for seven passengers, is priced at under $40,00, and can do just about anything.
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing The Best Camping SUV
The average seating for SUVs fits five people whereas some can fit up to nine passengers. As the seating space goes up, the space in the truck for cargo decreases as there is usually a third row of seats but it can fold down in most cases.
Two, Four, or All Wheel Drive
Most SUVs are AWD. Many people tend to think that AWD and 4WD are the same, but they are very different. If you are a camper or a person who will have to conquer tough terrain, 4WD is the way to go. This is because 4WD has gearing that is low range which is meant for traveling on surfaces that have rocks or dirt hills that are steep. On the other hand, AWD is used for more conventional driving.
Crossover or Conventional
A crossover is a small SUV and can be compared to how a car handles terrain/tow capacity. On the other hand, conventional choices are more like a truck making them have more power.
Certain crash avoidance technologies are very important when you are buying any vehicle but are especially important for vehicles that spend a lot of time off-roading for activities such as camping. To be more specific, crash avoidance technologies include blind spot warnings, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection.
Trucks are more likely to be able to tow more weight. The lowest towing capacity is usually 5,000 lbs for a smaller SUV, while a truck can tow up to 9,000 lbs. It is important to assess how much of a towing capacity you would like your SUV to be able to tow because some people prefer to tow larger items such as a big boat.
Overall, SUVs are a great investment if you are someone who likes to camp and must off-road on rugged terrain in order to get to the destination. SUVs have a ton of pros for camping such as spacious interiors, attachable tents, high towing capacity, AWD/4WD, safety, maneuverability, and many more. On the other hand, there are a few cons. For example, some SUVs have a boxy shape and the emissions are higher. A major benefit of SUVs is their versatility in terms of sizes, budget, and shape. Some people prefer to have SUVs that are smaller in size and more fuel-efficient, while others prefer to have a larger SUV for more space and power.
This is a great feature because there is an SUV out there for everyone. It is also important to keep the truck-based SUV in mind as it has many benefits that can surpass those of the regular SUV. A truck-based SUV has a much higher tow capacity, has a large truck bed that can be used to transport equipment/luggage, or can be used to set up a tent. All in all, I hope this leads you to the best camping SUV for your needs.
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Is it colder to sleep in a car or a tent?
This can depend on the season and climate. There are things you can do to keep your car warm like covering the windows but be aware of condensation inside the car. A tent can be more insulated or breathable in some cases as well. In both situations, you can bundle up in warm blankets and wear layers of clothes. A high quality tent, however, can still keep you warm and tents have a smaller volume which means it warms faster. There’s also the option of sleeping by a campfire. It really depends on how you weigh the pros and cons and what you prefer as an individual.
Written by Ella Suliman