The 10 Best SUVs for Camping

Wanna get away? These SUVs will make it easier than ever.

ford bronco sport camping

Whether you're planning on doing some car camping out of it or simply driving it to your preferred trailhead before embarking on an overnight hike, no vehicle is quite as well-suited to camping as the sport-utility vehicle. Like trucks, sport-utes offer the added ground clearance and payload and towing capacity to haul ample people and cargo; like cars, they offer a completely enclosed space for making sure valuable items don't fly away (either due to breeze or theft).

A few decades back, choosing which SUV to use as your camping vehicle would have been fairly easy; there were only a few types of them, after all, and they were all fairly equivalent in terms of capability. Here in the modern day, however, SUVs — both car-like crossovers and the more traditional truck-like models — have effectively taken over the new car market. It's almost harder these days to find a new car that isn't a truck or SUV than the opposite.

What to look for in an SUV for camping

Ground Clearance: Camping will likely involve leaving the pavement. Having solid ground clearance will ensure you can clear obstacles and won't get high-sided in an area with poor cell reception.

Cargo Space: When you're camping you'll want as much room as possible for storing gear and/or people. Vehicles with a larger cargo space — particularly with the rear seats lifted — will offer a lot more visibility.

All/four-wheel-drive: You don't need a full-on two-speed transfer case unless you're challenging tough terrain. But on a basic level, having four wheels moving instead of two increases the odds of one of them finding traction and you don't get stuck.

Price: You don't want to spend too much on this vehicle. Camping out of, say, a Lamborghini is something you could do. But it's much more pleasurable to do so out of a vehicle you don't feel obligated to be precious with.

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Kia Soul
kia soul 2021
  • Ground Clearance: 6.7 in
  • Cargo Space: 24.2/62.1 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $19,890

Okay, sure, calling the Kia Soul an SUV is a bit of stretch. Still, if you don't need all-wheel-drive and can live with 6.7 inches of ground clearance (which, to be fair, is only 0.6 inches less than the Seltos), it's hard to beat the Soul's versatile interior for the price. You may be tempted by the off-road-esque X-Line Trim seen here, but don't be fooled; the base LX has just as much capability.


Subaru Outback Wilderness
2022 subaru outback wilderness
  • Ground Clearance: 9.5 in
  • Cargo Space: 32.5/75.7 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $39,960

Really, any Subaru bar the BRZ and Legacy could arguably find a place on this list, but it's the brand's Outback Wilderness (which starts at $38,445) that deserves it most. Building on the already impressive turbocharged Outback XT, the Wilderness adds ground clearance (standing 9.5 inches off the ground) and off-road capability without compromising the excellent cargo space (33 cubic feet with the seats up, 76 with the seats down) and other traits that make the Outback such a great ride.


Ford Bronco Sport
the all new bronco sport enables exciting, high speed off road driving thanks to an available 20 liter ecoboost® engine with segment best horsepower and torque pre production model pictured
  • Ground Clearance: 8.8 in
  • Cargo Space: 32.5/65.2 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $29,215

With its playful attitude, rugged looks and arsenal of handy, outdoorsy features (MOLLE straps! A bottle opener!), the Bronco Sport was pretty much made for camping. Cargo space is limited compared to some vehicles on the list, but it still has up to 32 cubic feet with both rows up and 65 cubes with the back seats down.


Volkswagen Atlas
vw atlas
  • Ground Clearance: 8 in
  • Cargo Space: 20.6/96.8 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $35,150

With up to 97 cubic feet of cargo bay available and a starting price of under $35,000, it's hard to beat the VW Atlas when it comes to bang for your buck. And Volkswagen is enhancing its camping appeal with a rugged Atlas Peak Edition for 2024.


Dodge Durango
2021 dodge durango rt tow n go the rt tow n go leverages the srt’s menacing looks, 57 liter hemi® v 8 performance, unmatched, best in class towing of 8,700 lbs and an increased top speed of 145 mph, shown here in redline
  • Ground Clearance: 8.1 in
  • Cargo Space: 43.3/85.1 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $40,140

Every version of the Durango offers ample space inside, with 85 cubic feet of space after the second and third rows have been folded down — enough to sleep, in a pinch (we've checked). But the 4WD Durango R/T Tow N' Go (which starts at $54,685) takes things a step further; its 5.7-liter V8 delivers 8,700 pounds of towing capacity, and it even offers low-range for its four-wheel-drive system, for those times you need to take a campsite way away from everyone else.


Honda Passport
honda passport
  • Ground Clearance: 8.1 in
  • Cargo Space: 50.5/100.8 cubic feet
  • Starting Price: $41,100

Not everyone wants a third row of seats. If that covers you, but you also want 100 cubic feet of available cargo space (or up to 50.5 cubes with the second row upright), Honda reliability and a well-equipped price of around $40K with all-wheel-drive, the Passport is your...well, y' adventure.


Ford Expedition
2021 ford expedition
  • Ground Clearance: 9.8 in
  • Cargo Space: 20.9/104.6 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $55,725

The Expedition became an even better buy for adventurous buyers who don't need room for more than five people a couple years back, when Ford rolled out the more affordable two-row-only XL STX trim. No matter which trim you choose, you'll find 57.5 cubic feet behind the second row and 104.6 cubes with all the seats folded flat. (If you need even more, there's a longer Expedition Max, too.)


Land Rover Defender 110
land rover defender gear patrol
Land Rover
  • Ground Clearance: 8.6 in (up to 11.5 in)
  • Cargo Space: 27.1/76.1 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $69,100

By now, you probably know everything there is to know about the reborn Land Rover Defender. Whether you love it or hate it, there's no arguing that it's an excellent camping rig — especially if you're planning on going well beyond the beaten path. Granted, it's not the most commodious SUV for the money, what with just 58.3 cubic feet of space with the second and third rows down and just 15.6 cubes with the second row up. Still, its impressive towing capacity, gnarly off-road capabilities and extensive collection of accessories (both official and aftermarket) make outfitting it for your camping adventures very easy.


Chevrolet Suburban
2021 chevrolet suburban z71
  • Ground Clearance: 7.9 in
  • Cargo Space: 41.5/144.7 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $57,200

But if the Expedition still isn't big enough, you'll want to go Suburban. It's unmatched among in cargo space (except for amongst its GM SUV brethren), packing 41.5 cubic feet with all three rows up, 98.3 cubic feet with the third row flat, and 145 cubic feet with second and third rows down. Plus, if you're planning on doing some casual overlanding, you can even order the burly Z71 off-road trim.


Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class
mercedes benz gls580 gear patrol lead feature
Will Sabel Courtney
  • Ground Clearance: 7.9 in
  • Cargo Space: 18.4/84.7 cubic feet
  • Starting MSRP: $81,800

The Mercedes GLS may not have quite as much cargo space as you might expect given its size (you're looking at 85 cubic feet with the second and third row folded flat), but it's still ample roomy — and makes up for any deficiencies with an interior so luxurious, you might wonder why you bother sleeping outside.


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