Camping Lifestyle

Best Cars for a Camping Trip

Written by Kayla Beirne

Heading for the great outdoors? Want the option to sleep in safety, but aren’t interested in buying an RV? Here are the best cars for a camping trip.

RimUSA – Courtesy of Logical Position

Whether you’re going camping, glamping, or what have you in the Sierra, it’s nice to know your car can not only get you back to civilization in a jiffy but also provide a place to sleep under the stars in safety. Buying a recreational vehicle can provide all the comforts of home on wheels, but that might not be a practical or cost-effective consideration for you. But if you’re looking for a vehicle which offers transportation in the city and comfy accommodations in the great outdoors before taking your next road trip, here are some suggestions for the best cars for a camping trip.

Honda Ridgeline

Some describe the Honda Ridgeline as a pick-up truck mashed together with an SUV. This one drives comfortably, has plenty of passenger space, and provides extra storage space (including a lockable trunk). Roll out a mattress pad and a couple of sleeping bags in the truck bed whenever you want to crash. Also, if you want to spring for it, Honda sells a tent attachment to provide you with a simple shelter whenever you need it.

Subaru Outback

The Outback can carry all your stuff and tow a literal ton of equipment as well. It drives very well on your way to work or school, or even over rough, woodsy, and mountainous trails. Attach a trailer and you and another person can roll out the sleeping bags and snooze in the back. Attach a camper and it becomes a hotel on wheels.

Toyota Sienna Minivan

The roomy Sienna only gets roomier and more suitable for slumber when you lay down the seats (in some models the back seats can be removed, providing even more elbow room). An all-around great vehicle, most review sites praise not only its space, but also the way it handles and saves on fuel as well as its all-wheel drive which comes in handy during inclement weather and on rough roads.

Toyota 4Runner

About to head into rough country, well-away from well-maintained paved roads? The Toyota 4Runner can get you there, and more importantly, get you back. The extra room inside is complemented by its ability to tow larger cargo and equipment, whether it’s a couple of ATVs, a camper, or a trailer filled with everything you need to survive in the boondocks. Pack right and you’ll still have an instant bedroom in the back, providing protection from the elements and local fauna.


Those are the best cars for a camping trip. Remember that not all places allow you to sleep in your car, so be aware of the rules and regulations of an area before you start sawing wood in back. April 1 in most National forests in the Sierra represents the start of off road camping season. You don’t want to wake up to rapping on your window. If your back seats don’t convert into a bed, bring an inflatable mattress. Also, wool blankets are better than cotton ones, which fail to wick moisture away from your body. Above all, ensure you have adequate ventilation, and don’t sleep with the car running; you could risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

About the author

Kayla Beirne

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: