Our Ranger pitched up in West Sussex recently to prove itself the perfect camping companion. James Dallas reports from a soggy field where the Ford demonstrated hidden depths of talent.
W e recently took our long-term Ranger on a camping trip to one of the least accessible locations one could hope to find within a couple of hours of London.
Its satnav has manifested eccentric behaviour once or twice, but on this occasion it directed us as near as it could to the sodden field we were looking for in West Sussex before the country tracks fell off the radar.
The journey to our destination consisted of motorways, A and B roads and country lanes, all of which the Ranger took in its stride.
With a substantial load on board of tent, tables, deck chairs, bedding, bags of clothes, cooking stoves, food, drink and all the other paraphernalia required to take the edge off a weekend’s worth of roughing it, the Ranger’s rear-end was well-anchored, which improved a ride quality some rear occupants have remarked can be bumpy when the vehicle is unladen.
Once on site, with the ground saturated and boggy after weeks of summer rain, it was reassuring to know that, although some of our fellow campers might be getting stuck on the way out, we would not be among them. If only our Ranger had a tow bar…Oh well, never mind.
The two 12V sockets in the Ranger’s cabin came in handy when setting up camp – we plugged an electric pump into one of them to rapidly inflate the airbeds.
Clambering over the 835mm load floor height to get everything out of the cargo box was a bit of a strain, however, but the open tailgate then converted into a table of ideal height to hold the cooking stoves, with the added bonus of moulded-in cup holders.It also served as a bench-seat for the kids.
We took advantage of the Ranger’s potent sound system too, by flinging open the doors and plugging in the iPod.
But perhaps the best thing about camping with the Ranger is you know that, if the tent leaks, you can throw the sleeping bags in the back and kip in there.