2017 Honda Ridgeline Truck Camping


Original Post
Karl Henize · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 560

Anyone have experience driving / using / sleeping / living in a Honda Ridgeline for long climbing road trips? Care to share your experience?

I haven't been able to find much information on living out of a Honda Ridgeline or accessing 4x4 only climbing areas on the internet. On paper, the 2017 Ridgeline looks like a better truck camping option than a Tacoma for most climbers that spend more time driving on cities / highways / dirt roads than they do rock crawling.

The main drawbacks (Relative to a Tacoma) that I can see are:

1. Ridgeline has a lower ground clearance than the Tacoma (7.9 in vs. 9.4 in). Approach / departure / breaker over angles are 20.1/22.1/19.6 for the Ridgeline vs. 29/23.5/21 for the Tacoma. However, I doubt reduced clearance would be limiting for the majority of major climbing destinations.

2. The Ridgeline bed is shorter and shallower than the Tacoma. Bed length is 5' 4" for the Ridgeline vs. 6' for the Tacoma. The bed depth is 16" on the Ridgeline vs. 19" for the Tacoma. I am 5' 10", so I can sleep diagonally in the bed with the tailgate up and can fit another person with the tailgate down.

3. The tailgate does cannot be locked. However, it appears that there are some aftermarket options (with mixed reviews) to install a lock on the tailgate.

However, it appears that these drawbacks would be outweighed by the following factors:

1. More storage space. The Ridgeline access cab has more storage space than a Tacoma. There is also lockable trunk under the bed (7.3 ft^3). Option for factory installed roof rack. For some reason, it appears that Toyota does not offer a factory installed roof rack on the access cab models, but they do offer this on the double cab Tacoma models.

2. Significantly better on road performance / comfort.

3. Marginally better gas mileage (~1 mpg difference).

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

Damn, they really fixed the body design problems of the Ridgeline. I would actually buy one now. That angled side thing they had just rear of the cab ruined any camper shell ideas. Not anymore.



Longtime Honda fan here. I have a 2004 Accord. Other than Toyota, it's the only brand of vehicle I will ever depend on again as a daily driver. Since the Ridgeline doesn't have the hype that the Toyotas have, perhaps you can get a deal on it?

Blakevan · · Dallas, TX · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 55

looking at this one as well but the short bed has me bummed. I will watch it for a few years to see what after market guys do for toppers etc.

N Nelsen · · Thornton, NH · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 140

I think its the short bed that will really be a big drawback. If you're looking to go with the bed/cap camping option that is weather/critter proof then I don't think lowering the tailgate would be an option.

I have seen folks use a slide in camper in short bed trucks which I think is the best option out there for truck camping. Here you'd still have full size sleeping accommodations above the cab but you also have the the option to keep more supplies/people in the full sized rear bench as well. If going with option A (cap) I do highly recommend a "full size" 6' bed.

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

So Honda doesn't make a long bed? Well, that's a deal breaker.

Gajewski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I just made the jump to a truck earlier this year to outfit for camping and I will agree with the above comments - bed length should be #1 IMO.

I am 5'7" and I still wouldn't go with anything less than a 6' bed. Sleeping diagonally seems fine in theory, but if your going to drop $20k on a new vehicle I would recommend getting something you can enjoy in the long run (and potentially share with a mate).

I ended up opting for a smaller cab (extended cab vs. crew cab) just for the longer bed. And I am super happy with my decision.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90
Karl Henize wrote:1. More storage space. The Ridgeline access cab has more storage space than a Tacoma. Option for factory installed roof rack. For some reason, it appears that Toyota does not offer a factory installed roof rack on the access cab models, but they do offer this on the double cab Tacoma models.
You need to compare like to like here. the Ridgeline is effectively a "Full Cab", and it seems like you're looking at an Access Cab Taco. Compare to Full Cab model. It still wins a bit due to seat structure, but not by much.

You can get a full cab, 6ft bed Taco.

Karl Henize wrote:2. Significantly better on road performance / comfort.
I haven't driven a Ridgeline, but my '09 Taco was very comfortable. I described it as driving very "car-like". So I would say this isn't really an advantage. It's night and day compared to say, the Ford Ranger I was driving this past week.
N Nelsen · · Thornton, NH · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 140
Brian L. wrote: You need to compare like to like here. the Ridgeline is effectively a "Full Cab", and it seems like you're looking for at an Access Cab Taco. Compare to Full Cab model. It still wins a bit due to seat structure, but not by much. You can get a full cab, 6ft bed Taco. I haven't driven a Ridgeline, but my '09 Taco was very comfortable. I described it was driving very "car-like". So I would say this isn't really an advantage. It's night and day compared to say, the Ford Ranger I was driving this past week.
I also disagree with the OP's concerns about tacomas on-road performance. One can spend a significantly larger sum for the TRD Off Road edition for the "rock crawling" (That is however what I chose, nearly just for better resale value down the road), but I drive over 20k miles a year in it last year and never found myself wishing I went with a more soccer mom like vehicle for better ride quality.

The 4 door long bed Tacoma is an excellent choice if interior space for more stuff/people is important, but you definitely feel the longer wheelbase. That truck can be a little awkward to drive and maneuver in tighter spaces.
Norse Force · · Nederland, CO · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0

I doubt a slide in camper would work on the Ridgeline. It would look like the older body style Ridgeline I saw on I25 with a full round bale of hay in the back. The rear bumper almost touched the ground because the rear independent suspension was fully collapsed riding on the bumpstops. Taco is a body on frame design, a real truck. Ridgeline is a neutered truck/crossover (unit body design).

Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 273

When considering a cheaper large camping/climbing vehicle, I thought a used Ridgeline and '06 Tundra Double-Cab were good choices (specifically the '06 was the sweet spot for that generation Tundra w/ 4 doors).
The Tundra gets shitty mileage, but so does any Taco. That year Tundra DC is dead reliable and can be had for decent prices now. I imagine its size is actually similar to the newest Tacos.

The Ridgeline scores points for a bit better mpg and road manners and is 99% of the 'truck' most people would ever need.

I'm talking more about a $10k price range, though, vs brand new. You can buy a lot of gas and repairs with the $ saved over a new one...

Gajewski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I will add in from my own experience that when I was shopping for a mid-sized truck I ended up with a Nissan Frontier.

They get bad reviews because critics say the styling is outdated but honestly I think it looks sharp, the ride is good, it can still tow, you can get it in a 6 speed! The one I got was about $5-6k less than teh Tacoma equivalent (2012 w/ 25k miles, 6-speed, 6 foot bed, extended cab).

Granted the Tacoma is a better vehicle but you pay the price for it.

For what its worth I have been super stoked on my Frontier.

jenren81 · · Frisco, CO · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 30

I have a 2016 tacoma, 4x4 offroad access cab with the long bed. I threw a topper on it and camp out of it. At 5'8", I couldn't imagine trying to sleep in anything shorter. Granted I usually have another person and 2 dogs in there too, but length is perfect. I built a platform above the wheel wells and can store all my crap underneath. On road it feels like a Cadillac compared to my 13 year old explorer, has very good road manners, although with all the extra weight in the back I might upgrade to some stiffer rear springs. Off road it rocks in stock form, I don't like the tires that come on it and will be upgrading those, they weren't very good in the snow.

I like the looks of it vs the ridgeline personally. I was bummed that the access cab roof isn't drilled to install an aftermarket rack, but I just set up the topper shell with yakima tracks and can hold all the extra stuff up there.

I don't really need a crew cab so the access cab works fine, and between my sleeping platform storage and behind the seats in the cab I have plenty of room. I do dislike that the rear seats in the access cab are like jump seats on an airplane, they retract up and leave a little box on the floor (which has storage) but is annoying because it's not a flat surface to put stuff on. I'm going to build a platform back there that is flat.

I've rambled on enough - if you want any more tacoma insight feel free to holler at me :)

TacoDelRio · · All up in yo bidniss. · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 2,355

IMHO inferior to a real pickup. I worked at a Honda dealer up until dirtbagging recently. Overpriced, undercapable (new word, whatever). It's a Pilot with a bed. Pilots are nice, but not really the kinda thing I'd wanna go dirtbag out of.

I'd go with a Tacoma.

Lucille Theteal · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Nissan Frontier is another option as well... Picked mine up in 4x4 for approximately 5k less than a comparable taco which is what I originally wanted, very happy with my choice...

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 655

Honda lover here too. (CR-V, Civic, Accord) Passed on the Honda due to shit ground clearance and bed length. Was going for the Tacoma until I found the F-150 4 X 4 with 18" tires. It outperforms the Tacoma in all aspects. My #1 criteria which caused me to miss looking at the F-150 was reliability. However, Consumer reports lists the reliability as the same for both the Tacoma and the Ford F-150 (above average). Coming back from Yosemite got 26.4 Mpg on the last stretch. I'm on some stupid rough roads (current climbing project) before the MPG goes below 20. 18 is the worst I've seen and that's on extremely deep rutted steep dirt backcountry forest roads. The extended cab F-150 has more back seat leg room, is more comfortable, bigger cab better payload - hauling and towing, and is cheaper than a comparable 4 door 4wd Tacoma. (paid $33,245 for a 2016 Vs $35,700 for a Taco Turd)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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