Car camping is an adventure like no other. You do not even need a tent. All you need is your car, a sleeping bag, and you’re all set to go, along with plenty of gear of course. There are a lot of different ones to choose from though. It can be quite difficult to decide especially when you have asked, What is the Best SUV for Car Camping? To be frank, you have a lot of options on the table.
I am not going to recommend a specific vehicle I consider the best of the best, but I will give you a menu of options to choose from. All the choices you will read about below will be sure to knock your socks off.
Let’s get started.
Be Sure to Consider Some Important Factors
When you purchase a car, you are making a big decision. You are probably going to have it for 6 years or more. It is almost like a marriage. You enter the honey moon phase in the first year. If you like the relationship, you are bound to have the car for decades. If not, you can always find another (I know it’s a bad joke :(, but it is an appropriate metaphor :)). Unless you are quite well off, you are bound to have your car for quite a while, so you need to make a smart decision.
Consider the gas mileage. Gas prices aren’t getting any cheaper. If the gas tax in California has taught me anything, people are slowly turning against fossil fuels, so you want something which will hold its own and save your wallet a chunk of change.
How often are you going to be using it? If you go three times a month through bumpy terrain, then you are going to want a car that handles the rigor and ups and downs. If you plan to only use it every six months or so, you might want a car more designed for the city.
You want to consider usage.
Take your own height and weight. For the big and tall, car camping won’t fit them. Like in Jaws, “we’re going to need a bigger boat.” You might need to consider an RV or something similar.
Check out multiple sources. This blog is good, but it only gives you my perspective. Research from as many places as possible and you will get a 360 view of what you can expect from the SUV. Any university academic worth his or her weight will tell you they comb all the topical literature before publishing their papers.
You should also be aware you can upgrade any of the cars I list so you can go off-roading. You ‘pimp’ your ride.
1. Jeep Grand Cherokee – a Solid Choice
In this bad boy, you can tow up to 7,400 lbs. It is a lot of weight. Not too many other SUVs on this list can compare. This ain’t your Grandmother’s jeep. It is a titan. Like all the others on this list, there is plenty of room in the interior.
Considering it is an SUV, the gas mileage is pretty solid at 19 in the city and 26 on the highway. You get flexibility. It’s not too bad a car to commute from work each and every day. It is a 4×4 vehicle, so you can be sure to go off-roading like a champ. It can handle the bumps.
It is a mid size SUV, so it is not too overwhelming. You can switch between the tight city and open country comfortably. Some SUVs can get big while compromising maneuverability, not this one though. You can still plenty of room in your vehicle and maneuver it well.
2. GMC Acadia – Get Ready for Winter
This puppy fits up to seven passengers inside, so you can rest assured there is plenty of room inside for you to sleep at 79 cubic feet of storage. You won’t have any trouble fitting the tent, ice cooler, and camping chairs inside.
If you enjoy the finer things in life, the luxury features balance well with the rustic capability. Some people enjoy the bumps and bangs without comfort, the GMC Acadia is for those who want to be ‘stylin’ while they roar up and down the hillside. See yourself climbing up the hill like the outdoor adventurer you are.
It can tow anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 lbs, not as much as the former, but still a sizable amount. You won’t be having any problems for the vast majority of things you can expect to tow. Not only does it tow a lot, but it also receives solid gas mileage at up to 21 in the city and 26 on the highway.
3. Subaru Forester, the Trees Look Nice
The Subaru Forester gets 26 in the city and 33 on the highway. Compared to most others on this list, it gets substantially better gas mileage. You won’t have any trouble commuting to and from work on a Monday morning. You can look like an outdoor adventurer and reach your destination with little dent in your wallet.
The towing capacity leaves something to be desired though at 1,500 lbs. It will handle a lot of different items, but only so much. You can also expect to sleep comfortably in the back with up to 76.1 cubic feet of room.
This is a versatile crossover vehicle. You get the rustic handling of the outdoors with the comfort of a city car.
4. Toyota 4Runner – a Reliable Brand
You get up to 17 in the city and 22 on the highway in terms of gas mileage with the Toyota 4Runner. It is a solid choice. As with many Toyotas, the brand has an excellent reputation. The reliability is solid. They last for a long time.
5,000 lbs of towing capacity are sure to help you pull the boat no sweat. It is quite a lot, not as much as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but high up on the list. You can tow small town America’s giant pumpkin to the fair without any issues. You will win the grand prize.
You have plenty of storage space at up to 89.7 cubic feet. There is plenty of space for you to spread your legs and relax. If you are a college student who doesn’t want to pay for the dorms, then this car will offer you plenty of room to sleep in the campus parking lot.
You also get a lot of off-road capacity here. It has 4 wheel drive to keep you running through the thick mud.
5. Ford Expedition – Wonderful for Tahoe
You can tow up to 6,000 lbs and carry up to 8 passengers. You can fit a lot of stuff in here. Given its size, you would think the gas mileage is atrocious, not so. It gets up to 17 in the city and 24 on the highway. You can commute from work with a little pain, but you will have been able to handle all the rigors like a champ.
You have up to 104 cubic feet of space to fill up. No other SUV on this list has that much space. You will be able to spread your legs with a foot or two to spare.
Be warned this SUV is big. It is difficult to maneuver when you are in the city. If where you usually drive has plenty of room to move around, then the Ford Expedition is worth serious consideration.
Do You Want to Keep Your Bacon and Beer Cold?
You should be all set to go. There are plenty of SUVs for you to consider. Do your research, read lots of reviews, and then make your decision. You will be sleeping under the stars in no time flat.
Before you go though, I have one request of you. If you need to keep your food cold, then you are sure to need a cooler. Fortunately for you though, you have this article, The Best Ice Coolers for Camping in 2019 (do not fret if it is 2029 and this article still reads 2019; I update the ‘best of’ articles on an annual basis :)). It is sure to give you plenty to sift through. Check it out and you are sure to keep the beer and wine cold for those hot days.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!