Can You Camp In a Toyota 4runner ?

Can You Camp In a Toyota 4runner ?

Before you embark on a camping trip, you need a reliable and efficient vehicle that won’t hold you back – no matter how off the path you wish to go. Toyota 4runner is one of the best unique off-road vehicles for outdoor enthusiasts.

It’s spacious to drive your family around and powerful to enjoy some camping in the wilderness.

What’s more, it has plenty of ground clearance so you can climb roads where other utility vehicles cannot reach.

Can you camp in a toyota 4runner

The 5th generation Toyota 4runner is suitable for camping on city streets and wooded campsites.

For outdoor lovers, the Pro-Trim comes with upgraded skid plates, tires, springs, and shocks.

For starters, these machines ride smoother and handle better too. The SUV can take you far off the unbeaten path if you want to spend the night in a remote location.

But a 4Runner is much more than just a family vehicle. It offers a healthy towing capacity and is more rugged than the traditional SUV options.

It may not be the most polished car in the market but gives tons of utility features.

Also, the big size makes it easy to set up a sleeping platform and has ample space for your cargo.

In terms of comfort, the 4Runner will meet and exceed your expectations. Even after installing your camping gear, it won’t feel shaky.

The TRD features and the 4-wheel drive system is what campers need to attack the trails effectively. If you’re a serious camping enthusiast, your investment will pay off in the long run.

Can you sleep inside it?

Yes. It has enough room to catch a quick snooze on a road trip. You can fold the rear seats and fit an air mattress or roll out some sleeping bags.

If you own the 4th or 5th generation 4runner, it can comfortably accommodate an average-sized male (5.9”). And it’s wide enough to share with your partner.

When you fold the rear seats, the hatch extends to 73 inches – the narrowest area being between the wheel wells. This means that you can use a twin-size mattress for a comfortable sleeping experience.

Did you know you can add more space for sleeping? Simply remove the bases of the rear seats and fit them on the backside of the front seats. Normally, the bases sit higher than the floor of the cargo. This can compromise your legroom.

First, you should take out the 14mm bolts. This is something you can do without removing the plastic covers. You can leave the chunks of upholstery or leather at home.

There’re many advantages of sleeping inside your Toyota 4runner. Technically, you can convert your SUV into a hotel with just a few pillows and blankets.

Another big positive is safety. If you’re camping in a remote location, you can lock yourself in the car and protect yourself from wild animals.

If you have ever slept in a tent, you know the importance of sleeping on an elevated ground. You won’t wake up soaking wet, and the creepy crawlers can’t give you a surprise wake up.

If you need to pack up and leave early, a Toyota 4runner provides a quick getaway. You only need a few things, and you’re good to go.

How many people can camp in 4runner?

When the rear seats are folded, the space can accommodate two adults. The latest model comes with a seat delete plate system to provide additional storage.

And because the seats are offered in different configurations, you get an incredible amount of space at the center and rear of the vehicle. This guarantees better stability.

How to do the camping conversion of toyota 4runner

If you’re not pitching a tent, you can sleep on the cargo section of your 4runner. For the older generations, you could fold the rear seats and throw in an inflatable mattress.

But with the introduction of the 4th and 5th generations, this is no longer the case.

A basic camping conversion can consist of four parts assembly –slide-out table, sleeping area, cabinet door, and under storage. The middle section features some slides that can fold up.

The first step in converting your car is creating a platform. You can trade off the headroom for storage space, so you don’t have to pull everything when it’s time to sleep. The cooking gear can be stored underneath the bed.

What you need

You need a few sheets of inch plywood, carpet, hinges, staples, tape measure, gate latch, glue, and crews.

Flattening the cargo area

Measure the distance between the wheel wells (43 inches) and the front of the cargo area halfway to the back (35.75 inches).

These measurements give a slight gap between the wheels, so you can install the plywood when needed.

Next, cut the plywood and wrap it with the carpet. This will not only give a consistent look but also reduces friction.


Cut out the plywood, measure the cabinet door, and secure the hinges. Then, cover with a carpet and add a handle. You can also use a gate latch, so the cabinet stays at the same level as the floor.

Slide-out table

For the slide-out table, you should only use a small section of the middle seats. First, cut the plywood and ensure the legs are of the height you want. Then, cover the carpet and create a lip to hold on the other side.

Cover the back seats

This is a tricky section because you must add hinged legs. To start with, cut the plywood and measure the legs (height and angles).

Place it well to secure the seat hooks. Next, insert it in your vehicle and add metal brackets to keep the cover in place.

Bed setup

The 5th generation Toyota 4runner fits a rock-solid bed frame. To ensure your camping is easy, you can place a single or double-sized mattress. You can also use a sleeping bag or full-size bedding sheets.

For extra comfort, you can incorporate the rear seat cushions in the bed design.

But again, you must keep the height of the bed as low as possible for easy entry and exit. This setup is simple and features a minimalistic design – no cumbersome legs.

What mods to do

Since a Toyota 4runner is not designed for camping, you can do a few mods to make it spacious and comfortable.

If you plan on traveling in your SUV full time, some of the mods you can include are:

1. Add a tent and roof rack

You can add a sturdy aluminum rack that holds up in all conditions. And to ensure you don’t sacrifice some of the comforts at home, you can include a roof tent.

Be sure to invest in a unit with built-in pockets, large living gear, and places to hang your essentials. Of course, you ought to confirm the applicable weight limitations.

2. Hidden gear storage compartment

You can add a rear storage compartment to prevent the gear from rolling in the back of the vehicle.

Alternatively, you can create hidden storage space under the bed or built-in jack tables for extra counter space.

3. Install a DIY kitchen

4. If you have the older generation 4runner, you can upgrade to all-terrain tires.

What gear you will need

When out there in the wilderness, you need a method of obtaining power and a bed for sleeping.

In addition to that, you need portable power stations, a toilet, folding chairs, water jugs, and collapsible cookware.

Can you pull a trailer behind 4runner

Yes. A Toyota 4runner comes with a standard hitch receiver and 4-pin connectors as an additional towing package.

The connectors are designed for convenience – you can secure trailers, campers, and other cargo carriers with ease. It’s worth mentioning that Teardrop trailers are no match for a Toyota 4runner.

The best trailers to attach to your car are the pop-up trailers. The sides are made of lightweight materials and have a low profile. Best of all, they fall within the hauling range for a Toyota 4runner.

This SUV offers unmatched capabilities, thanks to the active traction control and locking differential.

These features prevent the wheels from turning or slipping when pulling a trailer behind it.

How much weight camper can Toyota 4runner pull

Toyota 4runner can pull 5000 lbs. camper with ease. But this SUV doesn’t just stop at the impressive pulling capacity.

It comes with incredible towing features like a 4.0-L V6 engine that generates 270HP and 278 lb. ft. torque.

In addition to that, the 4th and 5th generations 4Runners feature an integrated towing hitch receiver that fits on a standard hitch.

You can also choose a 4 or 7 pin connector and attach whatever you want to pull in no time.

Besides pulling RV campers, the 2020 model can tow a standby trailer under 1500 lbs. You can also pull a reasonably sized boat and ATVs as long as they are within the recommended towing limit.

Keep in mind the pulling capability will depend on the trim level and drive configuration.


If you love camping outdoors with your family, purchasing a Toyota 4Runner can be a worthwhile investment. It’s durable, comfortable, and powerful to tow up to 5000 pounds.

Since the first generation was introduced in 1984, these machines have proved sturdy enough to match your outdoor style. Be sure to choose a setup that best works for you.

Karuna N

Karuna is a RV enthusiast who loves outdoors and passionate about writing about RV's and camping in general.
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