Opinion

Yes, Our 1996 Chevrolet Suburban Served As An Exceptional Camper

Illustration for article titled Yes, Our 1996 Chevrolet Suburban Served As An Exceptional Camper

Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

I am proud to announce that my husband and I have survived camping out of the back of our 1996 Chevrolet Suburban, and it was infinitely better than camping out of a tent. I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers.

I’ll be the first to admit that our camping setup could be refined. We showed up with a massive suitcase and tons of loose bags of supplies, like toiletries and snacks. That meant that, every day, we ended up reorganizing our setup. If we wanted a bag of chips or a water, we had to throw our bags around and dig through things. Then, when we wanted to sleep, we had to stack up all the bags to sleep. On our next adventure, we’ll invest in some easily stackable boxes or some drawers. We just didn’t have the time to really organize for this trip; we got the Suburban back on Wednesday, threw everything in, and ran out.

Not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing setup, but it did the job.

Not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing setup, but it did the job.
Photo: Elizabeth Blackstock

But the actual sleeping was phenomenal. We bought a full-size three-inch mattress pad that could be folded up out of the way, but it was just thick enough that neither my husband nor I woke up sore. We removed the third row and folded down the second, and the mattress pad fit perfectly into the back with about a foot of space near the barn doors for other goodies. We bought some mesh window covers so we could leave the windows down and avoid bugs, and it let in a solid breeze. I honestly could not argue with it.

Some folks reading my previous blogs placed some bets on when my husband and I would crack and get a hotel room, and I will admit: once the Six Hour wrapped up, we were both ready to be indoors for a while. Four solid days of drinking, hot sun, and race cars took its toll, and knowing that we’d be camping again three days later was incentive enough that the indoors sounded wonderful. We booked a room at the Seneca Lodge to recover from our adventures. And the next weekend, as it poured rain, we were dry as a bone.

All that being said, I can’t say I’m ever keen on camping in a tent again. When we wanted to leave, we didn’t have to tear anything down or pack anything up; everything was already in the truck. When it was windy, we didn’t have to worry about our stakes flailing. When there was the threat of rain, we just had to worry about rolling up the windows and nothing else. The Suburban was large enough that we never felt cramped. It was exceptional.

Every other time I’ve been at the track, I’ve done the tent thing. I’ve slept on the ground. I’ve slept on yoga mats. I’ve brought self-inflating air mattresses. It always ends up feeling stressful and exhausting. The only way I’ll upgrade further is if we move from the ‘burb into a proper camper.


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