Unplugging from the pressures of modern life and going off-grid to spend time in nature can be a great way to relax. And while using the KOA method is an option, the finest camping is often located off the beaten route.
Although having a vehicle designed specifically for off-roading definitely makes it much easier to get to these locations, there are plenty of practical, off-road-capable SUVs that can get you to basecamp on the weekends while still acting as a reliable daily driver from Monday through Friday.
And in this article on the best cars for camping, we’ll be looking at this group of vehicles.
Factors to consider while Choosing; Best SUVs For Camping
While there are many smaller considerations one may make when looking for an SUV for camping, there are a few that unquestionably take precedence over the others.
We’ll touch briefly on eight of the most important points to consider before purchasing an SUV for camping down below.
- Daily Drivability: An SUV must be suitable for commuting, grocery shopping, and other typical on-the-road duties if you intend to use it for regular daily driving as well. Even if some of these considerations will come down to personal taste or opinion, one should still look into features like technology, fuel efficiency, maneuverability, and comfort.
- Storage Space: Having the ability to haul plenty of gear and equipment is a need when looking for an SUV for camping, even if you pack little. As a result, it’s critical to investigate the cargo capacity options for a particular model, taking into account both inside cubic footage and additional storage options like outside roof racks or rail systems.
- Ground Clearance & Suspension Travel: Ground clearance and suspension travel play a big role in what sets off-road-capable vehicles apart from their purely road-going counterparts. These measurements provide a precise idea of the ride height of a model, the height of obstacles it will be able to overcome, and the effectiveness of a vehicle’s suspension in absorbing dips, impacts, and bumps. It’s important to remember that a lift kit and new shocks can be used to enhance these components.
- Powertrain: The powertrain is crucial since it acts as the engine of any vehicle. One should consider an engine’s displacement, number of cylinders, cylinder configuration, forced induction or natural aspiration, presence of a hybrid system (or a fully electric powertrain), and horsepower and torque output in addition to the transmission it is mated to. Furthermore, the way a vehicle’s power is transferred to the ground is crucial because all-wheel and four-wheel-drive cars often perform significantly better in off-road conditions.
- Range: Given that camping SUVs are used off-grid, frequently far from the closest gas station, having the ability to travel a significant distance between fill-ups is absolutely crucial. The size of an SUV’s fuel tank should therefore be investigated, along with how many miles per gallon it can travel. In order to increase autonomy between fill-ups, one may also buy additional jerry cans or fuel cells for storing additional gas.
- Tech & Connectivity: With a few exceptions, nearly every new automobile on the market today comes equipped with a respectable amount of technology, and SUVs are no exception. Alexa, Siri, Apple Car Play, Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, touchscreen displays, 360-degree camera systems, HUDs, auto-piloting features, blind spot detection, lane-keep assist, auto-braking, intelligent traction management, and hill-descent control are just a few examples of contemporary technology and connectivity features to look out for.
- Off-Road & Off-Grid Features: Some automakers equip their sport utility vehicles with off-road-specific features such steel bumpers, rock sliders, crash bars, auxiliary lighting, and skid plates to improve an SUV’s off-roading capabilities. These features are frequently standard on various trim levels with an off-road focus or are available as factory extras. Also available from the factory are SUVs with complete off-road packages that are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
Some SUV models lend themselves incredibly well to off-road and overland builds in addition to being offered with optional off-road components right off the showroom floor.
Some of the more well-known platforms have hundreds of off-road upgrades available from third-party and aftermarket companies.
Among the most popular and typical improvements are auxiliary lighting, winches, skid plates, bead-lock-capable wheels, roof racks, rooftop camping tents, slide-out kitchens, and lift kits, to mention a few.
A smart approach to rapidly improve your mobile basecamp setup without affecting your SUV’s daily usability is to buy an off-road trailer.
Best SUVs For Camping
Subaru Forester Wilderness
With symmetrical all-wheel drive, a full-sized onboard spare tire, 9.2” of ground clearance, a 3,000-lb towing capacity, a 180-degree front-view monitor, exterior cladding along the wheel wells and lower impact zones, a roof rail system, and a dual-function X-MODE with pre-tuned settings for snow, mud, and dirt — all included as standard.
The Subaru Forester Wilderness offers arguably the best The Forester Wilderness doesn’t compromise on technology however, including Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology and its STARLINK Safety and Security system. The interior is finished with tough textured StarTex leather. It is the best car for camping.
Honda Passport Trailsport
Honda introduced its TrailSport off-road brand beginning with its 2022 Passport SUV in late 2021. The Honda Passport’s TrailSport trim level includes a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine with independent suspension, a cargo attachment-ready roof rack system, intelligent traction control.
Honda’s i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system, 18” TrailSport-specific wheels, LED fog lights, cargo area under-floor storage, flared reinforced fenders, Honda’s satellite-linked navigation system, and all of these features as standard equipment.
Additionally, the Honda Passport TrailSport has a variety of contemporary technology and a surprisingly well-equipped interior.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited High Tide 4×4
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited High Tide is a high-performance limited edition 44 that has a number of factory-installed enhancements and is only available in 5,000 vehicles worldwide.
The High Tide-spec Wrangler features wheels wrapped in 35” all-terrain tires, LED headlights, fog lamps, heavy-duty steel rock rails, a Sunrider hardtop roof, slush floor mats with a topographical pattern, and a windshield made of incredibly durable Corning Gorilla glass.
All of these features are model-exclusive decals. Like all Wrangler models, the High Tide is a great candidate for more customization, and there are several aftermarket improvements now made for the four-wheel drive vehicle.
Toyota 4runner TRD Pro
The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is a highly proficient off-road SUV that greatly benefits from the lessons acquired by the Japanese automaker’s off-road racing division. It is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270hp and 278ft-lbs of torque.
The top-of-the-line TRD Pro-spec 4Runner has part-time 4WD and is equipped with a TRD-stamped skid plate, 17” flow-form TRD alloy wheels, a TRD roof rack, TRD x FOX shocks paired with TRD-tuned front springs, an electronic locking rear differential, a distinctive “TOYOTA” front grille, and a multi-terrain monitor and mode selector with a dedicated Crawl mode.
Ford Bronco Everglades
The Ford Bronco Everglades was built with an abundance of off-road upgrades, including a factory-installed snorkel with a quick-swap, reversible air vent designed by Ford and a Ford Performance heavy-duty modular front bumper with an integrated 10,000-pound ZEON 10-S WARN winch.
The Ford Bronco Sasquatch package is included as standard equipment on the Everglades-spec version of this well-liked revived model, which also includes high-clearance flared fenders, locking differentials fore and aft, and 17” bead-lock-capable wheels with 35” all-terrain tires.
Land Rover Defender 130X
The Land Rover Defender 130 X is a very high-end and high-tech take on an off-road-capable SUV with room for up to 8 passengers.
The Defender 130 X has 20” Style 5095 diamond-turned wheels, an electronic active differential, all-terrain progress control, wade sensing, and a maximum wading depth of 35.4”.
It also has an electronic air suspension with adaptive dynamics, a 3D-surround camera, second-generation Terrain Response, and approach, departure, and break-over angles of 37.5, 28.5, and 27.8 degrees, respectively.
A 395-hp, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine gives the Defender 130 X exceptional road-going capabilities and a 6.3-second 0-60 mph time.
The Rivian R1S is an extraordinarily high-tech and well-equipped fully-electric best car for camping that lends itself just as well to off-roading as it does to family hauling and on-road everyday driving activities.
It is the SUV counterpart to Rivian’s Motor Trend “Truck Of The Year” award-winning R1T.
The R1S has a variety of drive modes, including off-road-specific settings, a wading depth of at least 3’, an advanced all-wheel-drive system, a towing capacity of 7,700lbs, a crossbar cargo rack system, a ride height adjustable between 8.8” and 14.9”, and a range of between 260 and 320 miles on a single charge. It is also equipped with 11 cameras, five radars, and a dozen ultrasonic sensors.
Porsche Cayene E-Hybrid
A high-performance, daily-drivable SUV that can nevertheless take you off the beaten road is the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid. The Cayenne E-Hybrid, which weighs 5,164 lbs at the curb, has approach, departure, and break-over angles of 27.5, 24.4, and 18.7 degrees, respectively.
It also has a maximum wading depth of 11” and 8.2” of ground clearance, which can be increased to 9.6” with the Porsche Air suspension.
The Porsche is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with a 100-kW (134-hp) hybrid system that produces a combined 455hp and 516ft-lbs of torque, allowing for a top speed of 157 mph and a 0-60 mph time as fast as 4.7 seconds.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I
Jeep has brought back the legendary Grand Wagoneer model after a break of about three decades, producing the most opulent, competent, and technologically advanced version of the full-sized luxury SUV to yet.
The Grand Wagoneer Series I’s Quadra-Lift Air Suspension with semi-active damping, a healthy 10” of ground clearance, and a roomy 94.2 cubic feet of total cargo space provide a special blend of comfort and off-roading prowess.
This American-made SUV comes equipped with a powerful 471-hp 6.4-liter V8 engine, Jeep’s ParkSense automated parking system, 24-way-adjustable heated and ventilated Napa leather seats, a 12.3” info cluster display, a 12” Uconnect touchscreen, and an industry-first MX950 19-speaker entertainment system from renowned American audio brand McIntosh.
GMC Hummer EV SUV
The GMC Hummer EV SUV, which is appropriately referred to by its manufacturer as a “super truck,” is concrete evidence that the electric car age has brought about new levels of performance that would have sounded completely absurd just a few years ago.
The Hummer eSUV features independent front and rear suspensions, optional front e-lockers, virtual rear lockers, an Infinity roof with modular Sky panels, a 14-speaker Bose audio system, 10.1” of ground clearance, plus an extract mode that raises the SUV up by an additional 6”, along with available four-wheel steering and the capacity to crab walk diagonally.
A triple of electric motors driving the electric truck enable this fully-electric SUV to produce 830 horsepower and even more torque.
Tesla Model X
For people who don’t want to leave their technology and devices behind when going off the grid, the Tesla Model X makes a terrific best car for camping even though it lacks many of the tough features and go-anywhere capabilities of some of the other cars on this list.
With 670 horsepower, a 5,000-pound towing capability, and a 348-mile range, this mobile base camp on wheels has a variety of displays, including a 17” touchscreen, as well as a 960-watt 22-speaker stereo system, smartphone connectivity, and a plethora of other high-tech goodies. Additionally, this electric vehicle is more than capable of performing some mild off-roading tasks because to its slightly over 8” of ground clearance.
The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is an ultra-premium luxury SUV that provides a smooth yet high-performance ride whether on or off-road. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.7-liter V12 engine that produces 563hp and 627ft-lbs of torque.
Additionally, even though the Cullinan might seem like an unusual choice for camping, Rolls-Royce recently unveiled a line of specialized slide-out lifestyle module kits that can be configured for Over landing, camping, or other off-grid excursions.
Additionally, the Cullinan is suitable for some mild off-roading thanks to its approximately 70 cubic feet of storage space and roughly 7.5″ of ground clearance even in factory configuration.
Having said that, the Cullinan also has upgrade kits in the style of a safari that significantly improve its ability to travel anywhere.
What SUVs Can You Camp In?
More than just increased cargo room and a bit extra durability are offered by the best SUVs for camping. These vehicles’ versatility, endurance, and additional space for camping supplies have unquestionably made them a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking for exhilarating experiences.
Popular vehicles with a reputation for being excellent off-roaders include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Bronco Sport, Toyota 4Runner, and Subaru Outback. Furthermore, these SUVs make excellent camping vehicles as well.
What Makes The Outback Wilderness Model Great For Outdoor Adventure
The Outback Wilderness model is a great car made for adventure seekers, so nature lovers looking for a trustworthy travel partner should give it some thought. Its 9.5” ground clearance (four inches higher than that of comparable vehicles) enables safe passage across treacherous terrain without having to worry about what is under your car’s tires.
This special feature, which also has an upper-body protection covering made especially for hard terrain, protects against rocks or other debris found during off-road hikes along unpaved paths.
Less deterioration of the exterior of the car results from this. Improved roof rails are beneficial to campers since they can be used to attach campers or tents when traveling outside of a regular campground or park.
This gives you more route choice while yet providing every adventure with contemporary luxury.
With the Subaru Outback’s all-wheel-drive system and its X-mode setting, which is created expressly for dirt and sand terrain, you can combine these comforts with excellent performance. The Subaru Outback Wilderness is one of the best car for camping and other outdoor activities thanks to these features.
What To Look For In An SUV For Camping
A few important considerations for camping trips must be kept in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing an SUV. Ground clearance should be given top priority because it is crucial when venturing off-road. In locations where cellphone connection may be spotty, adequate ground clearance provides assurance that off-road conditions won’t obstruct your path or harm your undercarriage.
Because of the Subaru Outback’s higher ground clearance, damage to your car can be reduced or completely avoided. Another important consideration is cargo capacity; having enough space for storage is essential when getting ready for a camping trip with friends, especially if there will be kids or pets.
Last but not least, Subaru’s all-wheel drive cars will increase your likelihood of gaining quick traction without being stranded.
Why Is It Important To Select The Right Vehicle For Camping?
It Affects the Comfort of Passengers
A bigger car might give you a lot more room for passengers. SUVs are the best option for larger families with more than five members because they can fit everyone. You’ll have more room for carrying your stock, camping gear, and luggage.
It promotes security
To lessen the chance of accidents and lessen the severity of any injuries that may ensue, safety measures are vital. Due to the potential absence of contemporary safety equipment like airbags and anti-lock brakes, older vehicles may have limitations. Due to its age, this type of vehicle could additionally need to adhere to the most recent federal safety regulations. Additionally, driving off-road may be challenging for smaller and lighter cars. It lessens the impact on the environment and helps save money.
It Helps Save Money And Reduce Environmental Impact
In order to save money on gas and reduce carbon footprint, it is best to use fuel-efficient vehicles for camping. Compared to conventional gasoline-powIt Helps Save Money And Reduce Environmental Impact higher fuel efficiency. These vehicles use cutting-edge technologies that enable them to use less gasoline over extended distances, providing substantially higher economy.
Are There Any Cheap Camping Vehicles?
Yes, there are a number of reasonably priced camping vehicles available. Depending on its size and features, a camping car’s price can vary greatly. Fortunately, there are many choices available that provide excellent value without going over budget. Purchasing used cars is a choice to take into account while trying to save money.
Where can I find used vehicles that I can use for long drives?
Used vehicles for road excursions are accessible from a variety of locations. These include private vendors, internet auto marketplaces, and car dealerships. In Wangara, Western Australia, Mad Man Motors is a car shop where you can discover inexpensive vehicles starting at $9990.
Can a Sedan Take Me Camping?
Although there may be more popular camping options, it is possible to go camping in a sedan. Given the constrained space, you must, nevertheless, pack shrewdly and carefully, taking the best camping equipment into account.