4Runner Camping Isn’t as Bad as It Sounds

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A Toyota 4Runner on a camping trip.

If you think you have to have a massive RV or tent to go camping, think again. You can go on some epic adventures that you’ll never forget in something as small as a Toyota 4Runner.

Camping in one of these compact SUVs isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. We’ve even found several adventurers that regularly camp in their 4Runner.

Are you a 4Runner or compact SUV owner and want to use it to enjoy camping? If so, read on!

Can You Camp Out of a 4Runner?

Despite the 4Runner being a compact SUV, you can make it into your home away from home while camping with a few modifications.

You’ll have enough room for everything you could need during your camping adventures.

Whether you want to do some boondocking or stealth camping, a 4Runner will work great.

What Is 4Runner Camping?

When you use your Toyota 4Runner SUV for storage or lodging while camping, you practice 4Runner camping.

You can use your 4Runner to carry the gear and supplies needed for your adventures and keep you safe from weather and animals while you sleep.

It lets you reach some exciting places or stay undetected while sleeping overnight in public places during your adventures.

How Do You Camp in a 4Runner?

Camping in a 4Runner is much like those who camp in conversion vans.

With a few modifications, they can feel quite comfortable and are an excellent tool for camping in unique locations.

Some adventurers will convert the entire inside of their 4Runner to maximize storage space and have a comfortable spot to sleep.

Other camping enthusiasts install rooftop tents. This allows them to store a lot of gear and supplies without sacrificing comfort or space for sleeping.

Whichever option you choose, 4Runner camping isn’t as bad as it sounds. You can stay quite comfortable during your adventures.

The more you go camping, the more you can modify your 4Runner to improve your comfort.

Keep in Mind: Finding a camping spot can be difficult, especially if others beat you to it. Here are first come first serve camping tips to always get a spot

A grey Toyota 4Runner driving off-road to find a boondocking spot to camp for the night.

How Others Have Customized Their 4Runner for Camping

When we say you don’t have to sacrifice comfort while camping in a 4Runner, we mean it. We’ve even found a handful of camping enthusiasts that share an inside look into their camping cribs. Let’s look! 

1. Tails of Wanderlust 

In Tails of Wanderlust’s video, Cassi shows her set up for camping in her 4Runner.

She provides insights into how she has modified it for camping adventures between Airbnb stays.

Her unique position as a solo female traveler allows her to give some valuable insights to a very important segment of the travel community.

She walks through the various modifications she made to stay comfy and organized.

She had plenty of room for her and her dog, Jasper, to take adventures into remote wilderness areas. 

2. Wanderlost Overland

In this video, Mike and Merri of Wanderlost Overland share everything they’ve done to make their 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner their home on wheels.

They’ve made modifications to the front, back, inside, and outside of their vehicle.

Despite making many modifications, it still looks sharp and orderly.

This is a must-watch video if you want to modify your 4Runner or jump into car camping.

3. Overland Engineer

Zach of Overland Engineer shares his 2015 5th Gen 4Runner camping setup.

Zach’s upgrades allow him to enjoy overlanding as a hobby.

His configuration allows him to have a massive bed for sleeping and lots of storage in the pull-out drawer.

The design of his bed platform minimizes wasted space. He even has sleeping space for his dog in the passenger seat.

Zach knows his stuff, and it shows that his engineering skills have helped him convert his 4Runner into a superb overlanding vehicle.

4. Roman and Julia

Roman and Julia converted their 4Runner for more than just short adventures.

When they published this tour video of their vehicle, they had lived out of it for three months.

As they travel full-time with this setup, it has just about everything they could need to live off-grid.

They installed an outdoor shower, an awning, and a roof-mounted rack for more storage.

They’re not afraid of tight sleeping spaces because their setup isn’t for anyone with mild claustrophobia.

However, it works for them, allowing them to go on some epic adventures.

Keep in Mind: If you’re considering camping at the Salton, you have to read this! Is camping at the Salton sea even safe?

5. Jason Koertge

If you want a great 4Runner camping setup, Jason Koertge shares his SUV in this video.

He dialed in his 2016 4Runner to have everything you could need to hit the trail.

He mounted a roof-top tent and racks for all of his gear.

This served as his daily driver and for off-roading adventures.

It’s easy to see why Jason stated it attracted attention no matter where he went.

Which 4Runner Is Best for Overlanding? 

While 4Runners are all great for overlanding, many in the overlanding community see third-generation Toyota 4Runner as the best.

The third generation, produced from 1996 to 2002, have powerful engines and have been around the block a time or two. 

Because most of these are over 20 years old, you may not care as much if you ding it up or scratch the paint.

You also won’t feel nearly as guilty drilling in and mounting hardware or replacing components.

Toyotas have a reputation for lasting more than 200,000 miles and can take a beating.

Pro Tip: 4Runners aren’t the only Toyota that you can take camping. Check out these 5 Campers a Toyota Highlander Can Tow.

A grey Toyota 4Runner camping next to a wind farm.

Get Out and Adventure with 4Runner Camping

If you have a Toyota 4Runner, you likely already know how incredible they can be for adventuring. If you consider a 4Runner for camping, you’ll make a great decision.

They can take you on some great adventures and provide a lot of comfort for years to come. You can figure out the best setup for you with a few adjustments. If you have car camped, what worked best for you? 

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