The Best Car-Camping Cars

Camping doesn't have to be a grueling endeavor deep into the hinterland. Sometimes you just want to rent a plot, pull your car up between a couple trees, set up a mosquito canopy, and crack a beer.

So naturally you don't need an entire apartment mounted on a lifted Mercedes Unimog to do what basically amounts to multi-day tailgating. Nor do you have to match the creativity of this guy who strapped a pop-up trailer to his enormous tricycle.

The Honda Element and Subaru Baja, two cars essentially designed for casual car camping, are sadly no longer with us. Since picking a pickup truck, van or anything with towing capabilities would just be too easy, I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and recommend the Ford Focus for its favorable balance of cargo capacity and fuel economy.

It's cheap to buy, cheap to run, and 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space is plentyfor two little tents, a Smokey Joe grille, four folding chairs, and all beer the two couples could crush in a weekend... which you could afford because you spent so much less on gasoline.

Who's got a great car-camping story, or pick for an ideal car-camping car?

Image: "Camping 1970" by Tiffany Terry/Flickr