Car camping has experienced a renaissance in recent years as vehicle owners have discovered a new use for their cars, trucks, and SUVs. Weekend excursions into the mountains, forests, and deserts can be exhilarating, especially with the right vehicle.
While car campers should understand the differences between front-wheel, all-wheel, and 4-wheel drive before taking their vehicles off-road, there’s another important factor to consider. A vehicle that lacks spaciousness and comfort can make car camping stressful and unpleasant. Keep reading to learn about the most spacious and comfortable vehicles for your car camping excursions.
Getting Away in the Toyota 4Runner
The Toyota 4Runner is a top choice for car campers because it combines style, comfort, and off-road reliability. The 4Runner’s interior is very roomy no matter which model you choose. Toyota offers nine choices for 4Runner buyers, including the popular SR5 model as well as the powerful Venture Special Edition.
Car campers should have no problem converting their 4Runner interior into a sleeping area for several people. When the rear seats are removed and the middle seats folded down, the 4Runner interior is spacious enough for two to four people to sleep comfortably. Another great feature of the 4Runner is its Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, which senses when the vehicle goes off-road and automatically adjusts the suspension for optimal comfort.
Going Off-Road in the Nissan Pathfinder
The Nissan Pathfinder is another familiar favorite. It’s a comfortable and reliable choice for families and nature lovers who plan to go off-road on the weekends. Camping in the Nissan Pathfinder is a pleasurable experience because it offers up to 79.8 cubic feet of room with all the passenger seats folded down.
With its powerful V6 engine offering 284 horsepower, the Nissan Pathfinder has no problem driving smoothly on hills, paved roads, and rocky mountain paths. The Pathfinder includes a continuously variable transmission system that automatically senses how much torque is required for a particular stretch of road.
With its powerful drivetrain and automated features, the experience of driving the Pathfinder is wonderful. With its seats upright, up to seven passengers can comfortably fit in the Pathfinder for trips of any length. For overnight camping trips, two to four campers can sleep comfortably in the Pathfinder with its seats folded down.
Experienced car campers may already be familiar with the benefits of owning a Subaru Outback. When it comes to comfort, style, off-road handling, and traction, the Outback is a great choice.
One of the reasons the Outback is so beloved by car campers is its symmetrical AWD system, which senses when each wheel needs extra torque for better handling. Its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is turbocharged to provide added torque for off-road and inclement conditions. Campers will love the Outback’s interior for its comfort, roominess, safety, and convenience. Driving the Outback is a wonderful experience, especially in higher elevations where typical car engines can have difficulty functioning.
With all of the rear seats folded down, the Outback offers 75.7 cubic feet of room for sleeping. Lifting and lowering the rear seats is easy with the convenient pull handles located on either side of each seat. Overall, the Subaru Outback is specifically designed for car camping as well as driving on slippery roads, inclines, and bumpy trails.
The Comfortable, Roomy Honda Passport
The Honda Passport makes this list because it offers excellent handling, plenty of horsepower, and abundant interior room for long trips into the wilderness. With four models to choose from, the Passport is a convenient and reliable choice for a wide range of car campers.
All Passport models come equipped with Honda’s proprietary I-VTM4 AWD system, which includes active torque vectoring for better handling at each wheel. The Passport’s interior is large and comfortable, providing ample space whether the seats are folded down or set upright. With the seats folded down, the Passport offers 77.9 cubic feet of cargo room, so several people can easily sleep inside.
If you want even more comfort for long trips, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your Passport with some of its optional features. Frequent car campers may get a better value from their Passport with the optional heated seats and steering wheel.
With six models to choose from, the Jeep Cherokee offers car campers a wide range of features to make their off-road excursions more comfortable. The top-of-the-line Trailhawk model features a 3.2-liter V6 engine as well as off-road suspension and Jeep’s proprietary skid plate protection. It’s the ideal vehicle for going off-road in places where you’ll need high clearance and maximum reliability.
Other Cherokee models feature excellent power and handling, as well. The basic package includes a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 171 foot-pounds of torque, enough to tow a small trailer along a bumpy mountain trail. The Cherokee is a compact crossover SUV with enough room for up to five passengers. Not only does it look great on the road, but it outperforms other vehicles in its class with its turbocharged engine and AWD handling.
Taking a Trip in a Chevrolet Blazer
With its powerful engine and great handling, the Chevrolet Blazer is a top choice for car campers. Chevrolet offers six models of Blazer with varying levels of comfort and control. Most car campers will want to opt for the AWD feature, which is optional with base models and comes standard with higher-end models.
The basic Chevrolet Blazer features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with 193 horsepower and 188 foot-pounds of torque for modest hauling capabilities. The high-end Premier model features heated seating and steering, a 3.6-liter V6 engine, and 270 foot-pounds of torque for hauling small travel trailers. The interior is big enough for five passengers to sit comfortably for trips of any length. With the rear seats folded down, the cargo area reaches a maximum size of 64.2 cubic feet, which is enough room for two to three people to sleep comfortably.
The Land Cruiser is Toyota’s luxury SUV for off-road travelers and weekend campers. It’s by far the roomiest and most comfortable choice for long trips through deserts, forests, and snowy mountain roadways. The base model features a 381-horsepower V8 engine with 401 foot-pounds of torque, enough to haul a moderately sized travel trailer. It also comes with a complete set of off-road features to make every excursion comfortable and worry-free.
Up to eight passengers can easily fit in the cargo area with the seats upright. With the seats folded down, the Land Cruiser boasts enough interior room for four people to sleep comfortably. Because the interior is so roomy, the Land Cruiser features a four-zone climate control system and speaker-specific volume knobs for each row of seats.
Car campers with families will appreciate the rear entertainment system with its dual viewing screens, DVD player, and wireless headphones. In the front seat, the Land Cruiser features a 9-inch touchscreen navigation system and a center console cooler, making it one of the most comfortable choices for frequent camping trips.
With the right vehicle, your car camping trip can be as pleasurable as sleeping in a hotel room with a breathtaking view of the surroundings.