What Car Should You Get If You Are Into Camping?
It’s never too early to start looking toward warmer weather and outdoor activities. Camping used to mean heading to a semi-deserted campground that had barely any running water, a crusted-over fire pit, and a mucky swimming hole for entertainment.
But these days, camping has taken on a whole new meaning: It’s become a means of getting out and away after maybe being cooped up at home for a little too long, and enjoying the perks of outdoor living without sacrificing indoor comforts.
In the days of limited social activities, parties, celebratory get-togethers, and well, just about any type of fun, more people have gotten into camping. Kampgrounds of America (KOA) reported that about half of all campers surveyed in 2020 were camping for the very first time, or renewing their interest in camping after eschewing sleeping bag sojourns for years. As effects of the last couple years were felt in every way, camping accounted for 11 percent of all leisure travelers’ excursions; with that number reaching as high as 15 percent more recently.
And getting to your favorite campground spot? Well, that’s changed a lot as well. Forget the ol’ family station wagon, the pick-up truck that’s seen better days, the hand-me-down car that’s, hands down, the most uncomfortable ride ever. Some of today’s vehicles are well equipped for camping, which means you can get even further away than you ever imagined, and do so in comfort.
Here are five of the top vehicle picks, listed from lowest to highest price, that can make driving to your camping destination a walk in the park.
Crossover SUV | Subaru Forester | Max. Cargo Volume: 76.1 cubic feet
Priced from $24,745, the Subaru Forester has a lot going for it, wherever you’re going camping. A price that starts at $24,745. All wheel drive (AWD). 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Good fuel economy. And a 19.6-degree breakover angle, which makes traveling to remote locations more relaxing, less taxing. And if you’re looking to set up a rooftop tent, it’s good to know that the Forester has a 700-pound roof capacity.
Sports Car | Subaru WRX | Max. Cargo Volume: 12 Cubic Feet
Can your the Subaru WRX handle loads and loads of gear you’re toting to your camping destination? That would be a no. But priced from $27,495, it can serve as base camp, owing to its hatchback feature where you can stretch out and relax. If you’re looking to make some modifications that will take the WRX to the next level camping-wise, consider something like the LP Adventure Lift Kit, which can raise the ride height by two inches while keeping the original camber specifications.
Minivan | Toyota Sienna | Max. Cargo Volume: 75.2 Cubic Feet
Not looking to lug a tent with you to the campgrounds? The Sienna might be just the ticket at a price of $34,460. The third row folds into the floor, and if you choose to leave the second-row captain’s chairs behind and bring an inflatable mattress along for the ride, you can camp comfortably on the floor. Add in Timco’s Skeeter Beaters, a set of magnetic screens you can place on the open windows, and presto – you’ve got ventilation without the aggravation of mosquitos and other outdoor pests.
Mid-Size Pickup | Honda Ridgeline | Max. Cargo Volume: 33.9 Cubic Feet
Considered one of the most comfortable trucks out there, the Ridgeline offers AWD and fits comfortably in average garages, which many full-size trucks can’t do. If you’re looking to haul a lot of gear, there’s a thriving aftermarket that will sell you roof racks for carrying everything from tents to kayaks to boats. An under-bed storage box allows for easy food storage or use as a mobile cooler, and the price starts at $36,490.
Full-Size Van | Ford Transit | Max. Cargo Volume: 148 Cubic Feet
Think of the Ford Transit as an all-in-one mobile living quarters for a price of $40,180. With up to 148 cubic feet of cargo volume, it offers plenty of room for all of your gear, stuff you want to wear, and ease of travel when going from here to there. Available with AWD, the Transit can be reconfigured to include everything from chemical toilets to screened windows to flip-top styles, depending on your camping needs.