When you’re blazing trails through the untamed terrain of the West and the Pacific Northwest, don’t neglect to choose a steadfast, strapping vehicle for the excursion. They chop wood, fish with their bare hands, and make the most effing delicious s’mores you’ve ever had. Because as the end of summer rears its ugly head, a sweet ending is our only reprieve. Even if you’re just tooling around a Pioneer Square or two, these are the cars that will keep the journey balmy and bright — and they will not slow you down with typhoid.
C.Y.’s Mazda MPV 2004
Everyone knows that a hardy woodsman comes with lots of gear. He’s got a different tackle box for every occasion, five sets of bike tires, and his bison burgers don’t turn out if he’s not wearing his lucky apron. Somehow he still prefers to sit on his little leather stool than the great camping chair always tucked behind the seat, but you’ll have no trouble with that.
Lee’s Volkswagen Jetta 2002
Do you live for eco-friendly woodsmen? Are you desperately seeking cabin companions who subsist entirely on leftovers? Does the smell of french fries bring you to joyous tears? Would you rather die than go without heated seats? Well, drama queen, meet your rock. This feisty Jetta runs on locally-sourced biodiesel and will never leave your precious tush out in the cold.
Nathaniel’s Volkswagen Beetle 2014
Some woodsmen make nature come to them. This sophisticated Beetle favors tables with unfinished bark edges, sweaters featuring woodland creatures, and candles that smell like deep, spicy pine. He can’t stand sap stuck to the back of his pants, so he’s gonna hang out at the wine bar while you hike, but bring him back some decorative moss and he’ll make it look very elegant.
Jacqui’s Toyota Prius C 2012
This woodsy Prius knows that the key to conquering the outdoors is not a delusional sense of bravery, but preparedness. Extra blankets, check. GPS, check. Pop hits for morale, check. Sunroof for quick temperature tests, check. He’ll pretend you’re out of trail mix when you’re not, just to make sure that there’s enough on the way back. Seriously, he’s got you covered.
Elizabeth’s Ford E-350 1991
Not all woodsmen are created equal. Watch this one flex and you’ll know what you’ve been missing. You probably haven’t considered which DVDs to watch from a van’s plush swivel chair, nor which shoes would be best lit by glowing footboards, and certainly not the ideal moment to engage the electric fold-out bed. All the little extras that you told yourself you could go without? This van is here to show you otherwise.
Elizabeth’s Honda CR-V 2011
With a cult of personality, a thick neck, and a chest too broad to fit through most doorways, this CRV is essentially the Gaston of cars — without the villainous attitude and the propensity to eat a few dozen eggs at a time. But if you’re looking for a car that uses antlers in all of its decor, and busts into and out of the woods unscathed, no one drives like Gaston.
David’s Fiat 500 2012
While other woodsmen are out to tame the woods, this Fiat is here for fun and games. He always brings his swim trunks, just in case, and he’ll advocate for stopping for Slurpees and chips at every gas station. Once, he tied a bag of apples up in a tree and spent the night up there to catch a glimpse of a bear in action. Which was awesome — and he resents the accusation that it might have been a waste of apples.
C.J.’s Ford Escape 2009
Just like Blade, the forest edition, this hybrid Escape is half vampire and half modern day woodsman. You can take it out during the day to deftly maneuver through thick forests, rocky roads, and the men’s skin care section. But at night, that’s when this car bursts into action, prepared to save you from were-wolves, were-bats, and those age-old bloodsucking mosquitos.
Jason’s Nissan Leaf 2014
Not to be confused with his oarsman cousin Leif, Leaf is a lean, mean outdoorsman machine. If you run out of water, he knows how to sniff the ground to find the nearest spring. Need to find a quick meal? He’ll fry you up a few bugs for the crunch, the protein, and the low environmental impact. As you may expect, he runs on pure electricity, which means he’s always in a good mood.
Joel’s Subaru Legacy 2014
This is your no-nonsense woodsman. Handy with a hatchet and a skillet, he does everything well or not all. He’s not trying to impress you, but he’ll still amaze. Even his pinecone bird feeders are better than yours. He’s more than happy to tour around Yellowstone or navigate icy back roads. If you sprain your ankle, he’s not phased by carrying you on his back while whistling old-timey tunes.