Camping does put a lot of pressure on a car. You need it to offer lots of space, for one, as heading into the great outdoors often comes with the requirement for lots of equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and roll-out mattresses – as well as you and your passengers, of course.

A lot of campsites are located in more rural areas, too, so you might want a small amount of off-road ability from your next camping car so you don’t get stuck if things do, inevitably in the UK, turn a little wet. The option of having roof bars can help extend the versatility of a car, too, allowing you to add space-boosting roof boxes or a bike rack.

The 10 best-used cars for camping

While a lot of people like to go camping on odd occasions, the list of cars we’re looking at today is for people who enjoy sleeping under the stars on a more regular basis. As a result, they’re angled towards the job in hand, making camping as easy and user-friendly as possible. After all, a car that detracts from the whole experience is going to prove to be a pain, right?

Fortunately, all of the cars that we’re looking at here can make camping even more exciting while providing the key features that can ensure your trip away is as effortless as possible.

1. Dacia Jogger (2021-present)

Dacia is one of the best brands if you’re after a car that has a true focus on value and the Jogger is a fine example of why this company has risen through the ranks in recent years. More importantly, it’s absolutely bang-on for camping.

Why? Well, despite its humble MPV bodystyle it’s actually got space for seven people. Don’t need that many chairs? You can remove the two rear seats entirely and they’re light and simple to take out, freeing up extra boot space in the process. We also really like the Jogger’s roof rails; they integrate special ‘fold out’ bars which you loosen off with a Allen key and then swivel to create proper crossbars onto which you can mount a roof box. It means that when you’re done, you simply fold the bars away neatly – simple!

Best Features

  • 160 litres of boot space with all seats in place, 565 litres with rearmost seats removed and 1,807 litres with all seats down.
  • The Jogger’s modular seat design means you can fold, remove or raise the chairs easily.
  • Available with cheap-to-run petrol engines and a more recent hybrid addition. Up to 1,200kg towing capacity.

Things to consider

  • Some interior plastics don’t feel that upmarket.
  • Suspension is soft so the Jogger can feel a touch wobbly in the bends.
  • Very rear seats are only best-suited to children or smaller adults.

2. Skoda Superb Estate (2015-present)

Sometimes, if you’re heading out camping, then all you really need is as much space as possible. In this instance, an estate car can make the most sense and the Skoda Superb is one of the very best around. Big, comfortable and with a boot that’ll leave most other cars looking pretty inadequate, the Superb is an all-rounder that’ll get the job done.

We like the Superb’s robust build quality that’ll handle anything you can throw at it, but it’s also great when it comes to accessories – you can get it with a variety of roof rack options, or even a split-design that means you can carry both a top box and a bicycle all on the roof of the car. Skoda’s involvement in world cycling means that the Superb has loads of bike carrying options, too, if you’re planning on heading out on two wheels once you’ve pitched your tent.

Best Features

  • 660 litres of boot space with rear seats in place, 1,950 litres with rear seats down.
  • Loads of Skoda ‘Simply Clever’ features such as an ice scraper in the fuel filler door and small rubbish bins integrated into the doors.
  • Plenty of engine options to choose from and the diesels are particularly frugal. Up to 2,000kg towing capacity.

Things to consider

  • Superbs are popular long-distance cars so look out for high-mileage examples.
  • As regular family cars, watch out for wear-and-tear both inside and out of a Superb.
  • The regular Hatchback is still very spacious if you can’t find an Estate you like.

3. Kia Sorento (2015-2020)

The SUV continues to be a popular option for all types of drivers and they do make a great choice for those who love camping, too. We’re big fans of the Kia Sorento, too, as it brings a no-nonsense approach which is backed up by some great in-car features and an excellent track-record for reliability.

With seven seats it’s immensely practical and ideal if you’re often taking more people along for the adventure with you. Plus, the Sorento comes with a seven-year transferrable warranty, so there’s a good level of coverage to be had even on older models. Headroom and legroom are both excellent – though the rearmost row is a little tight – so it’s a great place to passengers to get some kip if it’s been a busy weekend in the wild.

Best Features

  • 142 litres of boot space with all seats in place, 605 litres with third row down and 1,662 litres with all seats folded down.
  • Robust build quality makes this a great car for busy adventurers.
  • Engine on offer provide assured performance. 2,500kg towing capacity for manual gearbox cars, 2,000kg for automatics.

Things to consider

  • As a popular family car option the Sorento can be subject to interior wear and tear – make sure you check upholstery and trim for damage.
  • All versions of the Sorento are four-wheel-drive, so expect slightly higher running costs than others here.
  • Only one engine option – a 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel.

4. Land Rover Discovery (2017-present)

The Land Rover Discovery has always had close ties to adventure, with this car’s roots being well engrained in that go-anywhere spirit. With clever off-road systems, the Discovery should be firmly on the list of campers who like to take to the roads less travelled, but it’s also got loads of creature comfort for when you want to take things a little easier.

The latest generation Discovery might have been on sale for a little while now, but it still looks as fresh as the day it first arrived. With seven seats and a large boot, it’s great when it comes to space while plenty of USB sockets mean there are plenty of ways to charge up devices such as phones, torches and cameras. It’s also got acres of storage, with cubbies dotted throughout the cabin which can help to keep the inside of the Discovery as clutter-free as possible.

Best Features

  • 258 litres of boot space with all rows in place, 1,137 litres with middle row folded down and 2,406 litres with all seats folded flat.
  • You can get the Discovery with loads of accessories including top boxes, rails and bike racks.
  • Four-wheel-drive makes the Discovery a dependable tool off-road. Excellent towing limit of 3,500kg.

Things to consider

  • The Discovery will need to be maintained properly or they can go wrong – with steep repair bills ensuing.
  • Running costs will be high when it comes to fuel and tax.
  • The Discovery is a very large car, so can be a hassle in terms of parking and low-speed positioning.

5. Mini Countryman (2017-2023)

The Countryman is a car which packs a lot into quite a small package. Of course, being a Mini it’s got bags of character and charm, but the Countryman builds on this with a pleasantly spacious cabin and plenty of on-board tech, regardless of which specification you opt for.

You can get the Countryman with four-wheel-drive (which Mini calls All4) if you’re after a little extra security when things get slippery, but you’ll get the best efficiency from front-wheel-drive versions. One of the best features of the Countryman is that it can be equipped with a roof tent which was supplied directly from Mini – though third-party versions are available too. It’s a great way of making the Countryman even more useful, though it’s great for more ‘regular’ camping too.

Best Features

  • 450 litres of boot space with rear seats in place, 1,390 litres with rear seats folded flat.
  • All cars get a comfortable and well-made interior which is gets plenty of equipment as standard.
  • Mini offered the Countryman with a number of engine options, including a plug-in hybrid. Towing capacity of 1,500kg.

Things to consider

  • Countrymans hold their value well, so expect to pay slightly more than for rival offerings.
  • Ride can be quite firm on versions fitted with larger alloy wheels.
  • Space in the rear can be a bit tight for taller passengers.

6. Volvo V60 (2018-2023)

While Volvo might have recently stopped producting its estate cars, there are still plenty of used examples available of these practical wagons, which are ideal for camping. Though there’s the larger V90, we reckon the V60 should offer more than enough space for most.

With its large boot and generous rear seats, it’s ideal for family duties and for a camping holiday, with a comfortable ride making it perfectly suited for longer-distance breaks. Renowned for its safety, Volvo offers a more rugged Cross Country model, which gets raised suspension, a more robust look and all-wheel-drive as standard.

Best Features

  • 529 litres of boot space with rear seats in place, 1,441 litres with rear seats folded flat
  • Safe and comfortable for long journeys
  • High-quality interior and premium image

Things to consider

  • Volvo discontinued its estate cars in 2023, meaning demand for used models might be higher.
  • Cross Country model brings more rugged styling and greater capability
  • Plug-in hybrid model is available if you want to bring running costs down

7. Ford Puma (2019-present)

A compact crossover like the Ford Puma might not be the most obvious car of choice for camping, but this mini SUV has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to its boot, as it has what’s known as a Mega Box. It’s a plastic box beneath the boot floor that allows tall items to be stood upright, as well as muddy boots and clothes to be kept away from the main interior. It even has a plug so you can wash it out afterwards and then it can double up as a cool box filled with ice

It’s a cool trick, and ideal for camping. But there’s lots more up the Puma’s sleeve, including an excellent driving experience and plenty of standard equipment. Its small hybrid petrol engines are also fantastic in terms of performance and fuel economy.

Best Features

  • 456-litre boot with the rear seats upright (not including the 80-litre MegaBox), 1,216 litres with the rear seats folded.
  • Enjoyable to drive and fantastic small petrol engines
  • Plenty in the way of standard equipment

Things to consider

  • There are plenty of used Ford Pumas available so finding one shouldn’t be difficult.
  • Mild-hybrid models are the ones to go for.
  • Ride can be a bit firm on cars with the largest 19-inch alloy wheels.

8. Volkswagen Golf (2013-2020)

The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most talented cars around, and is suitable for a whole range of uses, and despite its small dimensions, it is also ideal for camping. Though available as an estate car, as long as you travel fairly lightly, you should be just fine with the regular hatchback.

The boot is a great size for a hatchback, with a height-adjustable floor allowing you to seperate different items. The Golf is also available with a great range of petrol and diesel engines, with the latter being great for longer trips. With great build quality and a huge choice of examples for sale, the Golf makes for a great buy.

Best Features

  • 380 litres of boot space with the rear seats upright, 1,270 litres with the rear seats folded
  • Great range of engines and models to choose from
  • This generation of Golf has exceptional build quality

Things to consider

  • The DSG automatic gearbox on the Golf needs regular servicing, an element that some owners neglect.
  • Used Golfs hold their value well so be prepared to pay for a good example.
  • Massive choice of used cars for sale makes finding a model simple

9. Ford Ranger (2011-2023)

Pick-ups were once purely used as working vehicles, but increasingly they’re being tailored more towards lifestyle. They appeal especially to those wanting to go wild camping as they’re easy to mount a roof tent to, or sometimes these are placed over the load bed, while you’ve also got the added benefit of four-wheel-drive if you want to head off the beaten track.

The Ford Ranger is one of the most popular pick-ups, and we recommend a look at the previous generation model sold between 2011 and 2023. Boasting great on-road manners, it’s available with all manner of personalisation options and boasts sturdy looks with the reliability to match.

Best Features

  • No boot size as such, but the load bay offers a great deal of space, and is ideal for a range of uses.
  • Great on-road manners by pick-up standards
  • Variety of models

Things to consider

  • Entry-level models feel a bit sparse and agricultural
  • Much higher running costs than with a car
  • Feels big to drive

10. Hyundai Ioniq 5 (2021-present)

Have you ever thought about choosing an electric car to go camping with? Well, if not, we reckon the Hyundai Ioniq 5 could be the car to prove just how useful these cars can be. This large crossover offers a huge amount of boot and interior space, and with a range of up to 315 miles, offers lots of scope for longer-distance driving.

The Ioniq 5 also has an easter egg that is very useful for campers; a feature known as vehicle-to-load (V2L). This allows you, with a special cable, to use power from the car to charge other electrical equipment, such as boiling a kettle or charging electronic devices.

Best Features

  • 527 litres of boot space with rear seats in place, 1,587 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
  • Hugely spacious passenger area offers lots of room for even adults in the back seats
  • Great range and very quick charging speeds

Things to consider

  • The V2L feature is only available on top-spec Ultimate models so if this is essential, make sure it’s included and comes with the right cable.
  • Lack of rear windscreen wiper has annoyed some owners.
  • The Ioniq 5 is a deceptively large and wide car.

What to consider when buying a car for camping

If you’re a regular camper, you want to make sure that you’re buying a car that is suitable for your requirements. These are a few things to consider before deciding on the right car for you.

How much space do you need?

This is ultimately the deciding factor. If you can travel lightly and don’t need a huge tent, you might only need a smaller car. But if you go on extended camping holidays with all the family, you will likely need a big car. If you want a roof-mounted tent, which are becoming more popular, you’ll need to purchase roof rails if these aren’t already included on the type of vehicle. Be aware that not all cars can handle the weight of a room tent, so it’s worth checking beforehand.

Where are you going camping?

If you’re sticking with normal campsites, there’s probably no need to choose a vehicle with greater off-roading ability. But if you intend to go wild camping or off-roading, you will need a suitable vehicle with specialist tyres, such as on the Land Rover Discovery.

Why should you buy a car with camping in mind?

If you only camp once a year, there’s no need to think about getting a suitable car. But if you regularly go away on camping breaks, you want to know that the vehicle you’re buying suits your lifestyle.

Roof tents are often popular with those with pick-ups, while the added bonus of being able to charge electrical equipment with some EVs means that this sort of vehicle should certainly be considered as it can make a real difference.

Some manufacturers are recognising the popularity of camping and offering specialist optional equipment with their cars that are suitable for those with this lifestlyle, with Mini, Jeep and Land Rover being some of the biggest names in this area. It could be worth considering a vehicle from one of these carmakers as a result.