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Find The Perfect Getaway With The Best Cars For Camping

Updated February 4, 2020 592 votes 46 voters30 items

For gearheads who love the outdoors, it’s time to rate the best cars for camping and spending time in the great outdoors. Whether you enjoy roughing it far away from the city, or car camping at your favorite beach campsite, these are the best camping cars and SUVs for camping. For those who require extra room, we’ve also included the best trucks and vans for camping.

Grab your favorite hiking shoes and a stick for roasting marshmallows, and get ready to embark on an adventure exploring a list of the best cars for hauling gear and getting your crew safely and comfortably to your favorite camping spots.

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    Volkswagen Vanagon

    Manufactured in the States from 1979 to 1991, it’s difficult to find a vehicle better equipped from the manufacturer for camping than the classic Vanagon. Featuring a built-in pop-up camper, propane-powered stove, propane-powered fridge, a sink, and enough room for four to comfortably sleep, this Camper has everything you need to escape to your favorite destination. There’s plenty of built-in storage space for kitchen utensils, cooking ware, and extra gear, in addition to 93 cubic feet of available cargo space. Some models even feature Synchro four-wheel drive. You may need to update the decades old brakes and motor, but if you can find one of these gems in good condition, it will make an irreplaceable adventure buddy for decades more to come.

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    A great camping car?
  • This SUV is the dream-child of Akio Toyoda, and was built to be the ultimate off-road vehicle. It offers the rugged durability and iconic style of its predecessor, the FJ40, along with modern features and tech, additional reliability, and extra storage and passenger space. Featuring bulletproof off-road design and a more than 70 year history of production in both military and civilian applications, the FJ will get you where you need to go, regardless of how demanding the terrain is. It’s the perfect vehicle to load up with your gear, or haul your toys or trailer, on your next camping trip.

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  • The 4Runner offers unbeatable reliability, plenty of storage space, and a bulletproof drivetrain, making it the perfect off-road and camping vehicle. The first generation (1984-1989) features a removable top and backseat on a pick-up truck platform. This makes these years versatile enough to sleep in, store a lot of gear, or seat several people. Any year 4Runner is a dependable, fun option for loading, hauling, rock-crawling, or car-camping when pursuing the great outdoors.

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  • Honda Element
    Photo: DB's travels / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    With nearly 75 square feet of cargo space, easy-clean flooring, optional four-wheel drive, and a user-friendly layout, this makes an excellent platform for the ultimate car-camper. Fold the seats down for an instant bed, or extra storage space for gear and pets. Plus, you can easily convert the back into a pop-up trailer. The Element is so intelligently designed it was voted “Dog Car of the Year” in 2007, and "Top Safety Pick" in the "Small SUV" category in the 2010 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Annual Awards.

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    A great camping car?