When you’re headed out for a weekend camping trip a spacious and capable vehicle is key. One could argue that any modern-day SUV would suffice, but where’s the fun in that?

Enter the 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62.

Equipped with 4WD, enough cargo space for a small army, and creature comforts new to the SUV segment in it’s day, you couldn’t ask for a better camping companion. Headed for Somerset, WI for a weekend full of campfires, music, food, and fun, we easily loaded camping gear and essentials for 4 people in the back with room to spare. The unique tailgate/hatch combination proved itself quite useful, making packing very easy and later providing a great place to take in the scenery. Once packed and ready we set out on the open road, only to find ourselves stuck in traffic headed out of the city. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the large open windows that are now a thing of the past due to aggressive styling and large B and C pillars made navigating through traffic a breeze since there really are no blind-spots in this beauty.

Finally making it out of the hustle and bustle of the city we sat back and relaxed, enjoying the steady hum of the 4.0L I6 under the hood. Earning its “Land Cruiser” namesake, it made short work of the 50 mile journey from Minneapolis, MN to Somerset, WI. We arrived in style and proceeded to our designated campsite. Cutting through grass-covered hills and dirt roads was child’s play for this very capable SUV, I really wasn’t giving it enough credit given its pedigree. Time and time again I found myself trying to coddle the Land Cruiser and every time it proved more than up to the challenge. Shame on me.

What’s more is that this 27 year-old beauty kept up with all of the demands of modern-day camping. We were able to use it’s factory-equipped power outlet to not only charge our various gadgets but power a pump for air mattresses as well. There was nothing it couldn’t handle (the new battery under the hood and inverter we outfitted it with may have helped our cause, however, I was still quite pleased with it’s reliability). It stood guard over our campsite and served as a vault for our valuables while we were away. After a weekend of good-old-fashioned camping we loaded up again and set out for the city.

All-in-all, the Land Cruiser is what truly set this weekend apart from any other camping trip. It really brings you back to your childhood when a roadtrip was about the journey and the memories made along the way, not watching Sponge Bob’s endless antics on the overhead screens and until arriving at your destination.
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