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best car for family camping

(61 Posts)
oranges123 Mon 16-May-11 14:51:05

For some years, we have just about managed to get our camping stuff in our Fiesta with a roof box and the back seats folded down. Now we have DD though, either the car goes or she stays at home. After much thought we have decided to ditch the car.

Could all you family camping experts (particularly the less minimalist amongst you) recommend the roomiest most camping-friendly cars you have had? We thought about a van but this is probably going to be our only vehicle so I would prefer a car ideally, possibly an estate or MPV-type.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

BelovedCunt Mon 16-May-11 15:22:48

any estate car with roofbars i should think

bigTillyMint Mon 16-May-11 15:24:33

We used to have a Mondeo - usual saloon type - which had a huuuge boot. We now have a Mondeo estate. And a roof box!

My DH is Mondeo Mansmile

oranges123 Mon 16-May-11 15:31:15

Thanks both. Tilly - we are quite keen on the Mondeo as we hired one to drive to Ireland at Christmas and were impressed with its boot (sad though that sounds when written down). Is the Estate significantly bigger storage-wise? Having made the decision to upgrade we are keen not to end up frustrated at not having quite enough space - we are on the maximilist side when camping.

Slubberdegullion Mon 16-May-11 15:46:27

We have a Mazda 6 estate, a roof box, and not enough room.

The best car for camping stuff would be one of those old style really boxy Volvo estates. You know the ones that look like you could fit a wardrobe in the back.

dh caught me peering the one the other day, imagining all the kit neatly lined up along the straight sides.

thisisyesterday Mon 16-May-11 15:51:50

we have a volvo v70 and we got all our stuff in it for camping last year. no trailer, nothing on the roof... it all went inside!
there are 2 adults and 3 kids and I don't pack light wink

oranges123 Mon 16-May-11 15:56:59

Slubber - you are so right. I have seen a few recently and looked longingly at them. How times change - I used to lust after a TR6 and now look at me.

The first time we camped (for 2 weeks in France) we started the trip with a 2-man tent, an airbed, sleeping bags, a tiny (and useless) paraffin stove and two mugs. What innocent days - by the time we returned home we had filled the boot with camping "essentials" and now we could run our own branch of Millets (or its ethnic-rugged, cushion festooned equivalent).

oranges123 Mon 16-May-11 15:58:54

Right - both of you have convinced me. A Volvo is the way to go (how to convince DH?)

Slubberdegullion Mon 16-May-11 16:01:27

I know oranges, us too. Our amount of stuff depresses me tbh and I vow every time we go to take less stuff. Never seems to happen though and there are always random extra bags of crap that have to go in at the last minute.

thisisyesterday Mon 16-May-11 16:03:23

my favourite bit about the volvo is that it has FIVE cupholders that I can access. FIVE!

i like cupholders.

from a man point of view tho, um, most are diesel, and they're also pretty fuel-efficient. Ours is cheaper to run than either of our previous petrol cars (a ford focus and a renault scenic)
it's BIG without being an mpv or "family" car per se
the boot is humungous, you can fit vitually anything in it, dp and ds1 slept in it once with the back seats down and an airbed in it.
erm... according to dp if we tint the windows it will look very "pimp" hmm

oranges123 Mon 16-May-11 16:13:48

Random last minute extra bags of crap - the rows DH and I have had over those. They are always ESSENTIAL though. He just doesn't get it.

Tiy - five cupholders sells it to me on its own. I even have a cupholder on the pushchair - love 'em.

Diesel is a must apparently so that should go down well.

For some reason, the idea of being able to sleep in your car really appeals to me. A Nissan salesman almost got me to buy a Quashqai (sp?) the other day just by showing me you could sleep in it. I have no idea why as I have never ever slept in a car and what on earth would we do with all the crap we take everywhere?

2madboys Mon 16-May-11 16:19:17

We have a VW Touran - it's really big and square in the back. The middle seat in the back can come out and we put our tent in the space (tent bag is huge). We also have a big roof box and a dog guard, which means the back can be stacked up right to the ceiling without anything flying forwards when we brake!

Doyouthinktheysaurus Mon 16-May-11 16:56:11

We recently got a Ford Galaxy because we needed more space for camping gear. With the extra 2 seats down the boot is huge and each of the middle row of seats can be individually lowered which is great.

Also loads of cubby holes in the roof and massive door cubby holes which take alot of little extra's.

Before we had a vectra and roofbox but I hate driving with the roofbox so I was glad to get rid.

We still don't have masses of space but we have a huge tent and we don't camp light! I can see out of the back when driving and the ds's don't have to wear all their clothes for the trip so a big improvementgrin

ENormaSnob Mon 16-May-11 17:36:27

I have a rav4 which has a decent boot.

Will be getting a roofbox for longer trips though.

Friends Audi a4 has a fab boot and she fits her camping stuff in easily.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 16-May-11 17:42:16

We have just changed from a huge 4 x 4 that was impossibly expensive to run to VW Passat estate and we are really happy with it. It has as much space inside as our touareg but costs a third to run and actually has a bigger boot. We have had 5 vws and they have all been very reliable (touch wood). The passat isn't the most glamorous inside but the seats are really comfy for long journeys, the insurance is cheap and the road tax cheap. (although I am comparing this to the £480 we used to pay)

bigTillyMint Mon 16-May-11 17:48:06

Oranges, the boot in the estate obviously has the advantage of being floor to ceiling IYSWIM, so can hold more stuff. I don't know whether the Volvo estate boot is bigger though.

wednesday13 Mon 16-May-11 18:35:03

Oranges, you mentioned vans: the best camping vehicle ever was the time we borrowed a mate's VW transporter van with a second row of seats in the back. Shall we take that extra chair? oh just throw it in grin.

Normally we cram everything in or on top of the Passat estate, but we do have a very big tent. If we are using a normal tent we can get it all inside.

So true about innocent days, before DC we camped in France for 2 weeks travelling by (one) motorbike. Where did it all go wrong?

Lovecat Mon 16-May-11 19:18:19

We used to go camping in a tiny 2 man tent & one camping gaz ring in a 2CV.... <sob> We once had to push it up a hill in Glastonbury, though, as it was too back-heavy to get up under its own steam...

Now we have a BMW Touring (500 series) which isn't quite big enough for all our crap stuff - apparently it's "not really an estate" (c.DH). Our last trip we fitted it all in the boot, but one of DD's friends and her mum came too and were dropped off separately with their stuff, so on the way home the two girls ended up in the back engulfed by duvets and extraneous bedding (DD's friend's mum NOT a natural camper...wink) so now that I have additionally purchased a proper camping kitchen, an inner tent and a windbreakish thing, it may be that we need more room.

So I am trying to persuade DH that a roofbox is in order. We already have the bars on the roof and because his brother already has one (roofbox that is), he's slightly more open to the subject than he might otherwise have been. Just have to drag him to Halfords in the right mood!

BelovedCunt Mon 16-May-11 19:21:07

campervans are the obviously solution ...

herbietea Mon 16-May-11 19:30:35

Message withdrawn

Tangle Mon 16-May-11 22:32:32

The Honda CRV has a pretty substantial boot for its size - it drives very much like a car - and having the split load shelf thing in the boot means you can leave a corner on the bottom for the tent to wedge in and get everything else packed in the car out of the rain. With 3 of us (packing not terribly light) we can get everything inside for 2 weeks, with nothing above the parcel shelf in the boot.

When I was growing up we used to take a little 2 man tent. We'd get across the channel and drive till we'd have enough, stick up the little tent for mum and did and Dsis and I would sleep in the car. Then get off the next day and arrive in the Loire in time to put up the BIG frame tent. They had an Austin Maxi (with nice plastic seats) with a trailer. And took the kitchen sink. I kid you not grin

BikeRunSki Mon 16-May-11 22:35:56

Skoda Octavia Estate is the best car for family anything... and the diesel is good for family finances too!

EmmalinaC Mon 16-May-11 22:41:10

I've got a Skoda Octavia Estate too and we camp every summer and it's berloody BRILLIANT. Oh, and my DH used to be Road Test Editor of one of the UK's best selling car mags and he chose it, so there! (He is, however, also a huge fan Volvos but we couldn't afford one. I liked the Mazda 6 but he said absolutely not - can't remember why. Am happy to ask him if you need more info!)

VivaLeBeaver Mon 16-May-11 22:43:52

DH has a Mondeo hatchback, its a diesel. Big car, big engine but fantastic mpg, better than my 1.0ltr Yaris for mpg. The boot is massive, we can get 3 of us a big outwell tunnel tent, table, chairs, stove, cooler box, bags of clothes, food, wetsuits etc in it no problem.

Fuchzia Mon 16-May-11 23:00:00

Octavia Estate - has to be. A volvo without the price tag. I got a wardrobe in mine yesterday. I'd happily picnic in the boot.

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