10 Best Pickups For Outdoor Sports And Recreation

Ethel Walsh

Many gearheads live by the motto ‘work hard, play hard,’ and several of the latest pickups make this possible. They are not only some of the best vehicles to take on off-road adventures. They are also cool rides to take surfing, fishing, camping, or whatever the leisure seeker’s outdoor pursuit. For example, the Toyota Tacoma proves small pickup trucks can bring you a perfect camping experience.

Some of the features on the latest pickups reinforce their recreational value. For example, the rock-crawlin’, jaw-droppin’, seat-massagin’ 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X offers a range of cab options with an enviable V8 powerplant. The possibilities for a fun adventure ride are limitless. Matching the right pickup and its features with the adventure is the next choice. Let’s check out some of the best pickups for sports and recreation.

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10 Toyota Tacoma

2022 Toyota Tacoma Trail Edition Exterior Front Angle Driving
Via Toyota

The Toyota Tacoma first came to our attention in the mid-nineties. A 2.4-liter or 2.7-liter four-cylinder powered this first-generation Tacoma. The optional 3.4-liter V6 was also available. The second generation Tacoma (2004-2015) spoiled us with a facelift. It became beefier with a range of cab options. Since then, the Toyota Tacoma has only got better. Fishing, camping, and off-road trailblazing are taken to a new level.

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma is tough and reliable. It makes for the ideal pickup for fishing and off-road exploring. A 3.5 liter V6 powers this ride, delivering 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. This 4×4 has a 6-speed automatic transmission. It offers a 6,800-lb towing capacity with a maximum payload of 1,685 lbs. Go wild! Throw a fishing rod, a surfboard, a tent, or a cooler into the 73.7-inch bed. Do it in style with the latest features, such as an 8-inch multimedia touchscreen premium audio system.

9 Ford F-150

2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R White Going Uphill

The first-generation F-series (1948-1952) was the beginning of an adventure. It may not have been an adventurer’s pickup, but it was certainly built tough. This adventure navigated through an evolving string of pickups. For example, the 11th-generation F-Series (2004-2008) dominated with its larger and taller presence. It offered more storage space and was a welcome redesign on previous models. However, the adventurer’s spirit always wants to take on more. And like an adventurer, Ford delivered. Just check out the 2023 Ford F-150.

The Ford F-150 is one of the best off-road vehicles for adventure seekers. Heading to the beach or taking on a wilderness adventure has never looked so good. A 3.3 liter V6 powers the F-150 XL. It delivers 290 horsepower with 265 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, a 5.0-liter V8 powers the F-150 Platinum. It delivers 400 horses and 410 lb-ft of torque. The F-150 has a towing capacity of up to 14,000 pounds with a payload of up to 3,310 pounds.

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8 Hyundai Santa Cruz

2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz not only looks sporty but also delivers. Take the surfboard to a favorite beach. Put the bikes in the back. Throw in a cooler for a camping holiday. Whatever the sporting adventure, the recreational thrill seeker can take on their next adventure with the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz.

A 281-horsepower 2.5 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powers this adventurous ride. The Limited Edition offers dark chrome features, such as the grille. The interior delights with its leather-trimmed seating and heated steering wheel. The 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation does not disappoint. The 52.1-inch long bed may not be as long as other pickups. However, it will still suit the weekend leisure seeker. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz Night Edition also deserves a closer look. Overall, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is perfect for a recreational escape.

7 Toyota Tundra

2023 Toyota Tundra
Via: Toyota

The Toyota Tundra first appeared in the late nineties. The first-generation Tundra was a smaller pickup compared to later models. In the naughties, Toyota offered a TRD supercharged model. Gearheads soon took notice. The TRD Pro was introduced in 2014. The special features of the 2022 Tundra TRD Pro enamored the off-road adventurer.

The 2023 Toyota Tundra offers an awesome ride for the adventurer and the thriller-seeker. For example, a 389-horsepower i-FORCE Twin-Turbo V6 engine powers the 2023 Limited Edition Toyota Tundra. There is the optional 437-horsepower V6 hybrid with 583 lb-ft of torque. This leisure seeker’s dream ride is offered as a double cab and as a CrewMax. The 6.5-ft bed offers plenty of space for camping and fishing gear.

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6 Ram 1500

2022 Ram 1500 TRX

The 2023 Ram 1500 offers everything that an adventurer desires. The Ram 1500 is built tough with a 98% high-strength steel frame. Its many features combine to make for a perfect ride to go camping, caravaning, kayaking, fishing, surfing, or off-road driving. The 2023 Ram 1500 has a range of engine options, including a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, delivering 395 horsepower, or the more powerful supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 delivering 702 horsepower. Its towing capacity reaches up to 12,750 pounds. It has a maximum payload of up to 2,300 pounds.

The 2023 Ram 1500 includes those extras necessary for a great adventure. Night driving is covered with LED lighting. Its multifunction tailgate allows you to access the truck bed in different ways. The RamBox Cargo Management System can even act as a cooler when loaded with ice. Its interior is spacious. It includes 45.2 inches of rear legroom. At the same time, heading to the next beach spot or the next camping site need not be a boring ride. The 900-watt, 19-speaker Harman Kardon Premium Audio System makes for a fun ride.

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5 Toyota Hilux

Bronze 2022 Hilux driving
Via: Toyota

The Toyota Hilux is a legendary pickup truck. Its list of features makes for a solid vehicle for the avid adventurer. The toughness and ruggedness of the Hilux are desirable and the numerous options are welcoming. For example, the 2022 Toyota Hilux Rogue offers the double-cab option, seating five. It has a 3.5-ton braked towing capacity. It also features a connected 8-inch color touchscreen display.

A used Toyota Hilux is also a solid option. For example, the 2016 Toyota Hilux range includes the Workmate with its range of engine options, the SR (4×4), the SR5, and the SR5 Hi-Rider. The adventurer can choose a range of cab options.

4 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

The 2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 parked.

The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 ticks all the boxes for the recreational enthusiast. It’s rugged build with an aggressive look. It has the ideal storage compartment with the StowFlex Tailgate, perfect for storing fishing gear, camping accessories, and emergency equipment, or can even act as a cooler. A 2.7-liter Turbo high-output engine powers this pickup. It delivers 310 horsepower with 430 lb-ft of torque.

When tackling off-road terrain, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 gives more traction for less stable surfaces. It offers five drive modes to choose from and an off-road performance display. This Colorado is fitted with 17-inch wheels with 33-inch OD MD tires. The 11.3-inch touchscreen and the 11-inch diagonal Driver Information Center are welcome features.

3 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X

GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X

The 2023 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4X brings off-road adventuring to a whole new level. A 6.2 liter V8 gas engine powers this beast. It delivers 420 horses with 460 lb-ft of torque. It has a 10-speed automatic transmission. The AT4X looks imposing, while built to take the knocks of an off-road track or the thrill of a beach adventure while still enjoying the ride.

The Sierra 1500 AT4X is packed with front-winch capabilities, a superior front, and rear suspension system, and comes with terrain mode, perfect for off-roading. The AT4X is fitted with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory mud terrain tires. Comfort is not sacrificed. The interior looks luxurious. The 12-speaker Bose Premium Series with Centerpoint Surround Sound will please the weekend outdoor leisure enthusiast.

2 Ford Maverick

The 2023 Ford Maverick on the highway.

The 2023 Ford Maverick offers a versatile ride for enjoying the great outdoors. The Ford Maverick XL is powered by a standard 2.5-liter hybrid engine. It has a 1,500-pound payload capacity. Seating five, the Maverick XL offers an 8-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connection, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto Compatibility.

On the other hand, the Maverick Lariat boasts a more refined ride. It includes a 6.5-inch instrument cluster screen and the comfort of a power eight-way adjustable driver seat with a power lumbar. The Maverick Tremor off-road package offers an off-road-tuned suspension with a one-inch lift and rugged all-terrain tires. It is powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. When you check out the costs and figures of the 2023 Ford Maverick, this is an affordable ride for a weekend leisure seeker or a relaxed road trip.

1 Jeep Gladiator

2023 Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator is a rugged and uncompromising vehicle that would suit the adventurer. The Gladiator has a durable high-strength steel frame and a heavy-duty suspension setup. The five-foot cargo bed is all steel. The Gladiator has a 1,710-pound payload capacity. The traction on this beast is maximized. Precision steering makes maneuvering the Gladiator easier.

Whatever the adventure, there is a pickup to match. Whether it be a day trip to the beach for a spot of fishing, a road trip with friends, or a wilderness escape, the latest pickups will handle the ride.

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