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Good vehicle for camping?

I am interested in purchasing a third vehicle for our family. We have two boy scouts and a tiger cub. I am starting camp a good bit with them. I want to get something that does not mind back roads and can carry dirty scouts and gear. I only want to spend $4-6k. I am considering a 90’s model Jeep wrangler. I also noticed some old Toyota land cruisers (with lots of miles 250k+) in this price range. I would probably also drive this vehicle to work some (only 8 miles). Any thoughts on these vehicles or others I should consider?


2000 Toyota 4Runner
2002 Nissan Xterra
2003 Ford Explorer

If you want 4WD, you will likely have to get an older one of these. Stay away from the Land Cruiser. It’s way too expensive. These other trucks will do what you want for a lot less money.

Isuzu Trooper

I think I have slept in every vehicle I ever owned,does that qualify as “camping”?

I think a full-sized van would be good. I would prefer a Chevy myself. I would look for former municipal vehicles.

I’d take a 4Runner over a Jeep.

A Wrangler is no good for carting scouts around. You need seat and storage capacity. Minimum is the 4Runner/etc. I had great results with a Suburban through 10+ years of scouting. Never underestimate the amount of stuff and scouts you’ll be asked to carry!

I bet you can get a pretty good used Suburban these days, now that they’re out of ‘style’…

I just went through 7+ years hauling scouts around to numerous camping trips. I used a minivan. Given the amount of personal and troop gear our son and all his friends had, there is no way I’d do it with anything smaller than a big minivan.

Up through cub scouts, they’re happy camping with just family members.
When they get older, they’ll definitely want their friends. In a scout troop, that means lots of scouts in your vehicle on the numerous outings.

I wouldn’t get the wrangler either. It’s great offroad, but there’s just not enough room in it to haul 3 kids and camping gear around. Instead I’d look at a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee. They’ll both easily handle back roads and worse, and especially in the Grand Cherokee, there’s room for 5 passengers plus lots of gear.

Been there, done that. Slept in my minivan when the tent flooded in a monsoon.

For $4-6K, you’ll not be able to be choosy. You’ll need to get whatever is available that’s passed a good going-over by your trusted mechanic. And that, my friend, is critical. You do not want to be stuck in some inaccessible spot in the middle of nowhere with a broken down vehicle full of kids.

You didn’t describe your current two vehicles. IMHO if one is reliable and capable of getting to the camping sites you might be better getting seat covers and a roof rack and using it instead of buying an unreliable beater. Any vehicle with reasonable clearance can be driven through fire roads if done slowly and carefully. Is this an option?

Amazing requests with so little to spend…for $4 to $6K I wouldn’t take 3 kids out into the willies with an unreliable vehicle. I’d find a more expensive second instead of a third car that could perform dual rolls like a newer 4Runner or Honda Pilot. Yeh…250K miles isn’t worth the trouble.