A couple of weeks ago we had the amazing opportunity to try out one of Peak Overland‘s Jeep campers for a three night getaway in Colorado. It was our first time Jeep camping, and the kids’ first time camping in general. We had the most incredible time and we cannot wait to do it again!
We wanted to share some tips and tricks for jeep camping and how to go about finding a good option for your travels
I’ve been scouring the internet for many weeks trying to figure out the safest and easiest way for us to get out into some of Colorado’s back country. I considered all classes of RVs, trailers, fifth wheels, you name it, but most of these options were either way too big, not safe for kids (nowhere to attach a carseat), or would require a much more powerful car for towing than what our little sedan was capable of.
The challenges with RVs are that a lot of campsites don’t allow them, they’re not able to access some of the more secluded spots, they’re bulky and difficult to maneuver. Jeeps are able to get you to some of the more remote campsites that require 4×4 drive, have less crowds and are generally more scenic! They also take up a lot less space when setting up camp, so you don’t need to be able to find a large campsite.
Unlike most Jeep rentals in Colorado who prohibit off-road use, Peak Overland actually encourages their renters to take their Jeeps off-roading wherever it’s allowed, and have upgraded all their Jeeps to be better equipped for off-roading. What good is a Jeep rental if you can’t take it on dirt roads?! Having access to a Jeep allowed us to have a lot more camping options than we would’ve had with any RV or trailer.
Peak Overland is a Jeep rental near Denver, Colorado. They had everything we could’ve possibly needed for the camping trip; other than bedding, each vehicle they rent out is equipped with a full kitchen (propane grill, cutlery, cookware, electric fridge), camping chairs, camping table and either a rooftop tent or trailer. The only thing we had to bring with us was food, water and bedding!
Looking for beautiful towns to explore in Colorado? Check out our favorite mountain towns in Colorado!
It’s no secret that some of the best camping spots are tough to get to and require a 4×4. If you’re looking for an off road camper, Jeeps are some of the best cars for taking off-road. They can tow an off road camper trailer that’s equipped with off-road wheels or you can attach a popup tent on the roof of the Jeep.
There are several ways you can turn a Jeep into a camper. One of the most practical ones is by installing a Jeep roof tent on top of the Jeep. This allows you to quickly set up a sleeping area on the roof of the car while keeping driving hassle-free. It doesn’t require any towing and lets the Jeep maintain full off-road capabilities and movement freedom. It’s the most compact and light-weight option and lets you have the freedom to choose some of the harder sites to access. It doesn’t require much space for setting up as the size of the Jeep is basically all the space you need.
Jeep Camping Gear
Wondering what kind of things you’ll need to bring on your Jeep camping trip? Here are some of the common items we think you should bring:
Just like on a regular camping trip, you won’t have the luxury of kitchen appliances 🙂 A propane grill will allow you to cook meals on the go, especially during widespread fire bans when you’re not allowed to start fires.
Camping chairs are a staple item for camping and make sure you bring one! Although it’s possible to just use a picnic blanket, picnic chairs make it a thousand times more comfortable to eat meals and keep the kiddos in one spot 🙂 Target even has a camping highchair if you have very little ones that need to be strapped in.
You guessed it – with folding chairs, come folding tables! This one packs nicely into a flat rectangle box that you can fit on the bottom of the car or slide in between other items in your trunk. The legs are adjustable and it’s very easy to set up by locking into place.
You’ll still need your sleeping bag if you’re doing Jeep camping, since the top popup tent is still just that – a tent. It’s higher off the ground and has one hardshell side, so you’ll be slightly warmer than sleeping on the ground, but you’ll still need a warm sleeping bag if you’re going up into the mountains.
Something that’s easy to forget, but very important if you plan on cooking your own meals! You’ll need this to start your propane grill. 0/10 would not recommend starting to cook something and then realizing you don’t have a lighter 🙂 Thankfully, if there are other people camping nearby you could usually ask for borrow one, but it’s always good to have your own!
Depending on your preference, you can either get an electric fridge that plugs into your car or a cooler with ice packs. An electric fridge will keep your food cold indefinitely as long as it is occasionally plugged into your running car.
If you’re planning on cooking and using the propane grill, you’ll need to remember to grab some pots and pans. Camping ones fold together nicely and are compact enough to fit into your car without taking up too much space.
Luckily, Peak Overland has all of these things provided (other than the sleeping bag) if you rent one of their Jeeps so you don’t need to worry about getting any of the camping gear!
How many people can a Jeep Camper fit?
If you’re using a popup tent on top of the Jeep, you can easily fit 2-4 people in this king size tent. It’s a lot more spacious than it looks from the outside, and a lot more comfortable than sleeping in a tent on the floor since it has a fully flat surface and mattress padding. The Jeep has a leveling feature which tells you if the Jeep is positioned perfectly parallel to the ground. This will help you determine how well you’ve parked your Jeep and if you need to readjust in order for the tent to lie flat.
Another great option is to attach a trailer to the Jeep. Depending on the Jeep model, it can tow anywhere between 2,000 to 3,500lbs, which will allow you to tow a decently sized camper for more comfortable sleeping.
Peak Overland has several options and configurations for Jeep camping you can choose from and can fit anywhere from 2-4 people. If you’re looking for more space, Peak Overland has a 4×4 off-road camper trailer that can fit up to 4 people.
How to set up the Jeep Tent
There are multiple companies that create rooftop tents for Jeep camping and each one will have a different method for setting up. Peak Overland uses iKamper tents that take about two minutes to set up. When you go to pick up the camper from Peak Overland, you’ll get a quick tour of how to set up and tear down the tent. There are a few simple steps that are better explained by watching their 60 second youtube video!
Where to camp with a Jeep
If you’re going out camping in a Jeep, you can take full advantage of the 4×4 off-roading capabilities and find remote campsites that are not easily accessible to regular cars, RVs and trailers. Most dispersed campsites will have fairly rough roads leading up to them and less crowds than paid campsites. Dispersed campsites are free and can usually be found on National Forests’ service roads. You can check out the Bureau of Land Management to figure out which areas allow free dispersed camping and plan your route that way. There are also several apps and websites that help you find these sites, like Dyrt and https://freecampsites.net/.
If you’re looking for campsites with amenities you’ll need to make reservations at https://www.recreation.gov/ for the specific campsite you want to visit. Keep in mind most campsites fill up quickly and far in advance. These campsites often keep a few spots unreserved for first-come-first-served visitors so you could call a few of them to see if they have any available the day of.
Best time for Jeep Camping
Depending on where you are, the weather plays a large role in the best time for jeep camping. Sleeping in the tent can get cold since it’s not very well insulated, but with a proper sleeping bag you could extend your camping season into late fall or even winter. The rooftop tent is warmer than a regular tent since it has a hard shell on one side and is not positioned directly on the cold ground.
For a warmer option, you could consider renting a trailer to tow behind the jeep since it’s insulated and will keep you warm in winter months. The Jeeps are able to drive through snowy conditions so as long as you’re comfortable with winter driving, you can take it camping even in the winter!
Leave no Trace
As always, it’s incredibly important to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace when going out into nature.
- Plan ahead (research weather, terrain, regulations, group size)
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Have you ever Jeep camped with kids? We would love to know in the comments!