These are the 7 Best Cars for Your Camping Plans

These are the 7 Best Cars for Your Camping Plans

Camping is one of the most relaxing outdoor activities that you can experience, from picturesque mountain landscapes to sparkling lakeside vistas. This recreational pastime has seen a boom in popularity in the last few years, especially in the post-pandemic era.

Who wouldn’t want to go outside with all that pent-up energy?

With this in mind, car camping has become one of the most popular forms of this activity. If you find a suitable campsite with the right weather, your road trip will turn into a dream. However, you still need to have the right vehicle to make it all work, so how do you go about doing that? How do you turn your short-term getaways into a weekly occurrence?

The first thing you’ll want to do is look for camping vehicles that are all-wheel drive, which will allow the car to handle rugged terrain, including dirt and gravel. You’ll also want adequate cargo space because the longer you go camping, the more that you’ll carry, too. Additionally, you’ll need a vehicle that can handle a decent amount of weight inside of the cargo area because all of that gear can get heavy fast.

If you’re hauling a camper behind your vehicle, towing capabilities are also a must. Lastly, you’ll want a car model that is reliable, sturdy, and secure, not only to handle offroad scenarios but to protect the contents inside your vehicle from any wildlife you may encounter.

With that in mind, here are some of the best cars for camping.

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1. Toyota Tacoma

1. Toyota Tacoma

Before you decide on a pickup truck for all your camping needs, it’s important to stress that the kind of camping they’re best for – AKA hauling a recreational trailer – is not an ideal form of relaxation for all. Trailers are heavy to pull, hard to maneuver around tight corners, and are met with limited spaces to park near a campsite. There’s also maintenance and bodywork involved in their upkeep.

That said, recreational campers are also the most luxurious form of off-road adventure to hit the market. You’re basically bringing a portable cabin along for the ride, where you can sit down with your friends around a summertime feast.

Suppose this idea of comfort and relaxation appeals to you. In that case, one of the best camping vehicle options is the Toyota Tacoma: a well-regarded, reliable truck that can tow a max of 6,800 pounds. Its two different trim levels – the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro – allow the vehicle to handle uneven terrain. Additionally, you can read up this list of the best off-road trucks to buy for other features you should consider.

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1. Toyota Tacoma

Before you decide on a pickup truck for all your camping needs, it’s important to stress that the kind of camping they’re best for – AKA hauling a recreational trailer – is not an ideal form of relaxation for all. Trailers are heavy to pull, hard to maneuver around tight corners, and are met with limited spaces to park near a campsite. There’s also maintenance and bodywork involved in their upkeep.

That said, recreational campers are also the most luxurious form of off-road adventure to hit the market. You’re basically bringing a portable cabin along for the ride, where you can sit down with your friends around a summertime feast.

Suppose this idea of comfort and relaxation appeals to you. In that case, one of the best camping vehicle options is the Toyota Tacoma: a well-regarded, reliable truck that can tow a max of 6,800 pounds. Its two different trim levels – the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Pro – allow the vehicle to handle uneven terrain. Additionally, you can read up this list of the best off-road trucks to buy for other features you should consider.

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2. Toyota RAV4

2. Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 is another widely praised vehicle that functions as an attractive option for car camping. With its slick, compact design, nimble handling, and optional all-wheel drive, this vehicle is perfect for rural adventures while doubling as your day-to-day city vehicle.

Featuring upgraded fuel economy in newer models, with two rows of seating, the RAV4 possesses enough legroom that even adults can fit comfortably in the back. It also boasts ample cargo space for your tent supplies, and it works as an adventure vehicle for driving to remote locations for day hikes. All in all, it’s one of the best cars for camping and outdoor activities.

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2. Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 is another widely praised vehicle that functions as an attractive option for car camping. With its slick, compact design, nimble handling, and optional all-wheel drive, this vehicle is perfect for rural adventures while doubling as your day-to-day city vehicle.

Featuring upgraded fuel economy in newer models, with two rows of seating, the RAV4 possesses enough legroom that even adults can fit comfortably in the back. It also boasts ample cargo space for your tent supplies, and it works as an adventure vehicle for driving to remote locations for day hikes. All in all, it’s one of the best cars for camping and outdoor activities.

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3. Ford F-150

3. Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is another big beast of a truck that has enough power and cargo weight capabilities to provide you with all your car camping needs. With its best-in-class towing weight, it means that it’s well-suited for hauling trailers, too.

Features of the Ford F-150 that are perfectly designed for this adventurous purpose are its onboard generator and 4-wheel drive system. Not hauling a trailer? Never fear. Its ample flatbed space means you can use it to store small recreational tools to take with you on an extended hike, too.

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3. Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is another big beast of a truck that has enough power and cargo weight capabilities to provide you with all your car camping needs. With its best-in-class towing weight, it means that it’s well-suited for hauling trailers, too.

Features of the Ford F-150 that are perfectly designed for this adventurous purpose are its onboard generator and 4-wheel drive system. Not hauling a trailer? Never fear. Its ample flatbed space means you can use it to store small recreational tools to take with you on an extended hike, too.

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4. Subaru Forester

4. Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has excellent safety ratings. In fact, it won the coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick in 2018, 2019, and 2020

On top of this stellar rating, the Forester happens to be one of the best cars for camping. With its ample cargo space, passenger seating, and infotainment options, it will keep your whole crew comfortably entertained for a long drive. The Forester's standard all-wheel drive can handle rougher roads, including gravel, dirt, and acclimate weather. 

With this Subaru, you know you'll be getting to your location in one piece.

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4. Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has excellent safety ratings. In fact, it won the coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick in 2018, 2019, and 2020

On top of this stellar rating, the Forester happens to be one of the best cars for camping. With its ample cargo space, passenger seating, and infotainment options, it will keep your whole crew comfortably entertained for a long drive. The Forester's standard all-wheel drive can handle rougher roads, including gravel, dirt, and acclimate weather. 

With this Subaru, you know you'll be getting to your location in one piece.

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5. Subaru Outback

5. Subaru Outback

The Outback is the second Subaru vehicle on this list. Still, like the Toyota, it's a brand that's long since taken the car camping world by storm. 

The Outback's reputation as a camping-friendly vehicle is a long one spanning decades, and its dual-purpose features mean that it can perfectly marry your interests between urban living and rural weekend delights.

Aspects of the Outback that make it excellent for regular camping trips are its ample cargo space and its X-Mode or Dual-X-Mode driving that make it more reliable in snow, dirt, and mud. All-wheel drive is standard, and it has 2,700 pounds of towing capacity.

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5. Subaru Outback

The Outback is the second Subaru vehicle on this list. Still, like the Toyota, it's a brand that's long since taken the car camping world by storm. 

The Outback's reputation as a camping-friendly vehicle is a long one spanning decades, and its dual-purpose features mean that it can perfectly marry your interests between urban living and rural weekend delights.

Aspects of the Outback that make it excellent for regular camping trips are its ample cargo space and its X-Mode or Dual-X-Mode driving that make it more reliable in snow, dirt, and mud. All-wheel drive is standard, and it has 2,700 pounds of towing capacity.

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6. Jeep Grand Cherokee

6. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee has a vaunted reputation for being a reliable off-road vehicle. When it comes to finding an outdoor-friendly ride, this is one of the best cars for camping. 

The Cherokee has an off-road drive kit that allows you to handle rugged terrain. Its 1,300-pound payload capacity, combined with its 7,000-pound towing ability, means that this vehicle is one of the heaviest lifters for this purpose. What’s better, you can find a fantastic deal on earlier all-wheel models in a pinch. 

For example, you can buy any of Shift’s Grand Cherokee options online from the comfort of your home. When you buy, you’ll not only know they have no hidden issues from their 150-point inspection but that you’ll get a fair, up-front price too.

Simply put, the Grand Cherokee is one of the ultimate camping vehicles.

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6. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee has a vaunted reputation for being a reliable off-road vehicle. When it comes to finding an outdoor-friendly ride, this is one of the best cars for camping. 

The Cherokee has an off-road drive kit that allows you to handle rugged terrain. Its 1,300-pound payload capacity, combined with its 7,000-pound towing ability, means that this vehicle is one of the heaviest lifters for this purpose. What’s better, you can find a fantastic deal on earlier all-wheel models in a pinch. 

For example, you can buy any of Shift’s Grand Cherokee options online from the comfort of your home. When you buy, you’ll not only know they have no hidden issues from their 150-point inspection but that you’ll get a fair, up-front price too.

Simply put, the Grand Cherokee is one of the ultimate camping vehicles.

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7. Toyota 4Runner

7. Toyota 4Runner

Last on this list of camping vehicles to buy? The Toyota 4Runner, another stalwart of the Toyota brand. It’s also a vehicle that has an incredible reputation for reliability.

Built on a more traditional body-on-frame, this SUV can handle the roughest of roads, and it has the carriage clearance to ride over those road bumps, too. Inside, it has ample storage and seating space, with the ability to carry up to 1,500 pounds. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, and its roof space is ideally suited for storing different recreational vehicles like kayaks. Essentially, it’s one of the best SUVs for camping.

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7. Toyota 4Runner

Last on this list of camping vehicles to buy? The Toyota 4Runner, another stalwart of the Toyota brand. It’s also a vehicle that has an incredible reputation for reliability.

Built on a more traditional body-on-frame, this SUV can handle the roughest of roads, and it has the carriage clearance to ride over those road bumps, too. Inside, it has ample storage and seating space, with the ability to carry up to 1,500 pounds. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, and its roof space is ideally suited for storing different recreational vehicles like kayaks. Essentially, it’s one of the best SUVs for camping.

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Buy a Vehicle for Your Car Camping Needs

As mentioned, camping is a perfect summertime activity, full of picturesque adventures and lazy outdoor fun. With the right car for the type of camping you plan to do, you can get to where you need to go, regardless of how remote your campsite is. 

If you’re looking for additional ideas when it comes to the best car for camping, read up on the most excellent used cars for road trips.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team