How to Camp in a Chevy Suburban

by Zach Lazzari
The Suburban interior is perfect for building a nice bed.

The Suburban interior is perfect for building a nice bed.

The Chevy Suburban has a roomy interior that provides ample space for sleeping and camping equipment. Camping in a Suburban is a breeze on short trips lasting for several days. Long term camping requires more planning and preparation for gear storage and sleeping arrangements. The removable third row seating found in Suburbans is a great feature for camping.

Temporary Sleeping

The interior space of the Chevy Suburban has remained consistent since the mid-1980's. Remove the third row seating and build a bed in the back. Either place a foam cushion or an air mattress in the space and add sleeping bags and comforters to make a nice space. If you require space for camping gear, keep the bed in a compact, stored capacity to provide gear space during travel. Remove the gear and store it under the Suburban while you sleep in the bed. Break down the bed when you are prepared to travel.

Permanent Bed Option

The permanent bed is ideal for long-term camping. Remove the third row seating and build a wood frame, raised bed in the back. Either leave the second row seating for passengers or fold the seats down for additional gear storage space. The permanent bed will fill the entire back space, butting up to the second row seats. Use 2-by-4 lumber to build the legs and cover the top with plywood. Add cushions or a mattress to complete the bed. The space beneath the bed remains available for storage.

Storing Equipment

Although the Suburban is a large space, it does not take much to create clutter. Store your gear in several plastic tubs, separated by category. Carry only the necessities to maintain an organized, comfortable space. Keep your clothing in a soft-sided bag for easy compression and for transport into RV park and gym bathrooms. Keep your kitchen in a hard plastic tube and keep your food separate from everything else.

Cooking and Cleaning

Cooking and cleaning are the biggest challenges of camping in a Suburban. Carry a portable, roll out table and camp chair for cooking and eating. Also carry two plastic tubs and biodegradable soap for cleaning. The roll out table creates a space for cooking outside of the vehicle. Cooking inside is a risk for fire and rodent invasions. Cook and eat on the table, separate from the Suburban. Fill one tub with soapy water and one with fresh water. Wash each dirty dish in the soapy water and give it a quick rinse in the fresh water. Dry and pack everything back in the storage bins before travel.

Parking and Traveling

Camping in the Suburban is ideal when you have a predetermined destination and campsite. Forest service, BLM and park campgrounds are always a safe bet. RV parks have higher fees but they also provide showers and fresh water. Camping at random places on the road poses a risk. Look for 24-hour business like truck stops and super-centers that have RV's in the lot. These places are safe for a temporary sleeping place.

About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can view his work at zachlazzari.com

Photo Credits

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