From car camping to overlanding to hike-in camping, SUVs are the preferred vehicle to get you out there. The criteria that denote the best SUVs for camping are all over the place, given the wide variety of camping scenarios. Due to this variety, the list of Best SUVs for camping is pretty varied as well.
There are only a handful of hard and fast criteria that makes an SUV one of the best for camping. Since any good campsite will tend to be found a bit off the beaten track, it is best to have an SUV with a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Secondly, it needs to be roomy and have plenty of storage options. Lastly, it needs to be rugged and dependable, so you aren’t stranded out deep in the wilderness.
The Kia Soul is one of the best SUVs for camping
This may come as a surprise, but the Kia Soul ticks all the boxes and wears a friendly price tag. As I mentioned, most folks don’t need a massive $100k overlanding rig to get out and go camping. The Kia Soul is the most rugged or tough “SUV” (using the term a bit loosely.) Note that the 2021 Soul does not come with an AWD option, but the 2019 and 2020 models did.
As noted by Gear Patrol, you can get away with the new Soul without AWD and its 6.7-inch ground clearance depending on where you are trying to go with it.
The “off-road-focused” X-Line series might be a temptation, but the LX is just as capable, cheaper, and comes with a manual gearbox. For $18k, the Kia Soul is hard to beat for a roomy, versatile SUV/hatchback for camping.
The Subaru Outback is an absolute no-brainer
Subaru has been all over the outdoorsy market lately. The normal Outback has been a staple for the adventurous outdoors types for many years. However, Subaru has recently introduced the Wilderness model. This off-road-focused model takes the already capable Outback and sends it to the Moon.
The Subaru Outback wilderness is easily one of the best SUVs/crossovers for camping on the market. It has a smaller footprint making it nimble and easy to maneuver through tight trails, yet the Wilderness package adds bigger tires and increases the ground clearance to bolster its off-road chops.
The Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport can’t be left out
The Ford Bronco has made more noise than almost any other vehicle in recent memory. Aside from delays and parts shortages, the Bronco and Bronco Sport are both massively exciting SUVs.
The Bronco Sport, which is currently stomping around the country, is a nice middle-ground for someone who may want an SUV but still doesn’t want to go full off-roader. The Bronco Sport was made for lovers of casual camping.
It sports AWD as standard. It rides on independent suspension all the way around as opposed to a solid axle found in more serious 4x4s. The result is a friendly SUV that is plenty capable without being too intimidating or expensive. The Bronco Sport starts at $28,115.
On the other hand, the full-blown Ford Bronco is still yet to put tires on the road in significant numbers, but it is more akin to a Jeep Wrangler than it is anything else. The Bronco will be a staple in the 4×4 and overlanding world with its killer 4×4 system, optional off-road packages, and a manual transmission.
Camping will be a foregone conclusion for many Bronco owners. This is easily one of the best SUVs for camping that has been made in a long time. Rugged, dependable (hopefully), and capable, the Ford Bronco should live in the dirt.