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Chevrolet’s Guide to ‘Car Camping’ in the Cool Season

Pickup trucks, SUVs offer best off-road capability, cargo capacity for camping trips

BANGKOK, THAILAND – If you are like Ms. Ju Sudarat Thongtae of Bangkok, then you are probably looking forward to Thailand’s “cool season” to get out of the city with friends and family to enjoy nature and camp in one of the country’s many national parks.

Ju has driven her Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck to Doi Mae Salong mountain in Chiang Rai Province and Doi Ang Kang – Thailand’s “Little Switzerland” – in Chiang Mai Province, where she’s also camped in Doi Inthanon National Park, home of Thailand’s highest peak.

To climb and descend steep mountain roads safely, Ju relies on Colorado’s Traction Control System, Hydraulic Brake Assist and Panic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. These features are also available on Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV and Captiva SUV.

“My Colorado can take me anywhere. It has good engine performance, can carry a lot of camping equipment and the interior is very convenient and comfortable,” said Ju, who recommends having a power inverter and lockable storage for all camping trips. Chevrolet offers a lockable rear cargo box as an accessory for Colorado.

For a quick nature fix and wildlife watching, Ju recommends Khao Yai National Park in Nakorn Ratchasima, the third largest national park of Thailand, which is only a two-and-half-hour drive from Bangkok. The experts at Thai National Parks also recommend Khao Yai, along with Kaeng Krachan in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces, and Doi Inthanon – all of which offer camp sites.

Other Thai national parks with campgrounds include: Doi Fa Hom Pok, Doi Suthep-Pui, Huai Nam Dang (all Chiang Mai), Erawan in Kanchanaburi, Phu Kradueng in Loei, Pha Taem in Ubon Ratchathani, and Mu Ko Similan and Mu Ko Surin in Phang Nga. Visit the Thai National Park Web site for campground availability and reservations.

Getting to remote wilderness areas is best done with a four-wheel-drive (4WD or 4x4) vehicle, such as a Colorado or Trailblazer, both of which offer maximum traction and off-road capability. Captiva’s available all-wheel-drive system offers mild off-roading capability.

Dr. Phuchit Phuripanik, the leader of the Spirit of Trailblazer Club, has driven his PPV to Doi Inthanon, Doi Suthep-Pui, Erawan, Kaeang Krachan, and Khao Yai, and says the vehicle is great for accessing remote campsites, and recommends getting it with a roof rack.

“Trailblazer has great performance, and it’s tough and very spacious. My friend often sleeps in it during camping trips instead of using a tent,” said Phuchit, who also recommends bringing an inflatable mattress for camping trips.

Regardless of terrain, Trailblazer’s four coil springs and a five-links rear suspension system help eliminate the bouncy and choppy ride character typical of conventional body-on-frame PPV and provides best-in-class ride and crisp handling. A coil spring setup also provides greater suspension articulation off-road and makes it more comfortable on bumpy roads.

PPVs and pickup trucks also provide ample spaciousness for passengers and camping equipment. Colorado X-Cab’s rear bed offers sufficient space for a small air mattress if its user wants to sleep under the stars. For those who want a roof over their heads, Trailblazer features three-row tumble and fold-flat seating, and 1,830 litres of interior space when all seats are folded flat – sufficient space to stretch out after a day of outdoor activities.

While a 4WD vehicle is the ultimate tool for reaching wilderness campgrounds, there are many vehicle accessories that experts recommend for comfort and convenience, including:

  • Roof rack or cargo carrier
  • Lockable storage box
  • Truck tent
  • Hard tonneau cover
  • Bed cargo liner
  • Seat covers (to keep upholstery clean)
  • Bike rack
  • Power inverter for charging electronics

In addition, many off-road experts recommend the following tools and accessories for accessing remote campgrounds:

  • All-terrain tires (and a full-size spare)
  • Tire gauge, deflator and electronic air compressor kit
  • High-lift jack
  • Safety kit, including medical aids and fire extinguisher
  • Winching kit
  • Hitch or tow strap attachment with tow strap
  • Multi-purpose tool, shovel and axe
  • CB Radio
  • Compass
  • Flashlight

Before going on a camping trip, Chevrolet Sales Thailand recommends its customers have their vehicle systems and fluids checked and serviced by a Chevrolet certified technician, available at dealerships nationwide.