The 9 Best Cars for Camping

February 12, 2021

Ready to hit the road and go camping? Whether you’re a family who’s recently gotten into camping or an avid camper looking to explore more remote areas, here are the nine best cars for camping. From the family-friendly Subarus built for the snow and plenty of camping storage to the open-air Jeeps, this list is sure to have a vehicle you might like for your next camping trip.

1. Honda Ridgeline

A crossover vehicle with a pickup truck look, the Honda Ridgeline has many convenient features that make it one of the best vehicles for camping. With a truck bed that you can hang a small kayak out and a four-door cabin, the Ridgeline offers plenty of space for all your gear, coolers and more. You can even unfold the truck bed, roll out a few camp pads and sleep under the stars as you boondock. Keep gear dry in a protective case, all within reach in the waterproof trunk, too. The Ridgeline isn't great for offroading, but for car camping, it might be all you need. Honda even created a fitted tent that fits in the truck bed, making it an excellent option for sporadic campers who have a go-bag packed and ready at all times.

2. Honda Element

Stain-resistant seating and washable floors make the Honda Element another great camping car. While it has a boxy shape that looks a little clunky, the interior allows you to stack lots of large gear, from coolers to camping chairs and even grills. An SUV with all-wheel drive can navigate rugged terrains and dirt roads effortlessly. Need a tent? Honda offers a 6-person tent attachment, but the removable seats can also allow you to sleep inside. While this car has many cult followers, Honda has discontinued the model. So if you want it, you’ll have to seek out a used vehicle.

3. Mazda CX-50

The Mazda CX-50 is a newer addition to Mazda's vehicle lineup offering all-wheel drive technology well suited for navigating winding roads and rugged terrains. The model features high-strength roof rails and a lowered roofline making it easy to haul and access equipment and a deeper cargo capacity designed to fit coolers, cases, and camping gear. An added bonus for camping enthusiasts is the variety of camping accessories the model offers like cargo blocks and nets and all-weather floor mats to help you personalize the vehicle for your ideal adventure.

best cars for camping

4. Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is an iconic camping car that's stood the test of time for good reasons. Capable of offroading and towing, it's trail-ready and able to take on rugged terrain without breaking a sweat. With countless customization options, the Wrangler can be made specifically for you and your family. Plus, the Jeep brand offers lots of camping accessories such as air beds, hammocks and, of course, tents. Check out the new 2021 Jeep Wrangler!

5. Jeep Grand Cherokee

If the iconic Wrangler isn’t quite what you need, take a look at the Grand Cherokee. An SUV, this camping car is perfect for camping families, offering a comfy, roomy interior with functional tech and ruggedness. Head straight to the campground from swimming at a nearby lake with the kids.

6. Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback offers a nice balance between fuel efficiency and being a rugged camping car. While it has a low profile compared to a Jeep or Element, it's easy for families and kids to squeeze all their bags in its 73.3 cubic feet of space. Alternatively, you could sleep two in the back when a tent is unavailable. All you need is your trusty headlamp. Did we mention the 2,700-pound towing capacity that can bring along your pop-up camper?

7. Toyota 4Runner

Dependable and made tough, the Toyota 4Runner offers a four-wheel-drive capable of taking on adventurous travels. With lots of cargo space, you can also cram it with tons of gear. It’s also capable of towing more if needed, such as kayaks or a camper up to 5,000 pounds.

8. Toyota Tacoma

Another fantastic truck-style option is the Toyota Tacoma. Built for the outdoors, this truck features a 10-inch ground clearance to clear high rocks and the "Crawl Control" of the TRD Pro version of the Tacoma allows an automated system to navigate off-road terrain while you steer.

9. Nissan Pathfinder

If a substantial towing capacity is the goal, take a look at the Nissan Pathfinder. Capable of pulling a camper up to 6,000 pounds, this car is excellent for large families that need more space than a trunk. Plus, the three rows of seats can give kids their space. New tech modernizes this car's rugged meets urban design.

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