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RichP
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PostFri Mar 16, 2018 3:01 pm 
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Looks interesting.


http://www.caravanoutfitter.com

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treeswarper
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PostSun Mar 18, 2018 9:17 am 
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I think a teardrop trailer would cost less and maybe have more space.  Mine was so light that three loggers could lift it up which they did when I needed to move it over a couple of feet.

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WaState
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PostSun Mar 18, 2018 6:12 pm 
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I think the best trail head rig outfit regardless of cost is a 4x4 truck with a lighter pop up camper.
If on a budget try to get a 4x4 truck with a regular canapy, good for over nights at trail heads.

If on a tight buget any 4x4 van or station wagon will work.

I have looked at the made for camping vans and I don't favor them,  not that much usable space and
expensive.  A pop up truck camper has a nice size bed over the cab of truck and living cooking space
down below.

Trail head rigs are great for driving in the night before for day trips. Breaks up the driving ,  get another
night outdoors , and can get up at your leisure the next day and still be early.
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DIYSteve
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PostMon Mar 19, 2018 9:12 am 
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I have had numerous camping vehicles. Our current camping rig is a 2014 Four Wheel Camper Hawk (lightweight pop-up) on a newer Toyota Tundra 4x4. Prior camping rigs included an old VW weekender, a VW Westfalia, a DIY converted Ford cargo van and a 2000 FWC Hawk on a 1998 F-150 4x4.

Each camper vehicle has its strengths and weaknesses. Our FWC handles great and works well for trailhead camping, dispersed camping via rough roads, ski are parking lot dirtbagging, USFS campgrounds, etc., etc.

A van is better for stealth camping in or near a town. The van in the OP looks pretty cramped, although might work fine for an average or smaller than average couple.

Westys have a great layout, but they are mechanical and electrical disasters.

A trailer gives you the option of putting up camp and having a car to drive, although they are not suitable for rough roads.

I made this wind fairing for our rig:

FWC fairing
FWC fairing
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Mar 19, 2018 4:32 pm 
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A Suburban, with the 3rd row seats removed and the 2nd row folded down gives you 9 feet of flat space, not much headroom though.

I wanted to buy a 2000-2006 truck, but a comparable year Sub is about 2k less, I guess the cool factor makes trucks more desirable, even though a Sub can do nearly anything a truck can. It's on a truck chassis with a built in canopy, and you can travel from cab to bed without exiting the vehicle, win-win.

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treeswarper
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PostMon Mar 19, 2018 5:40 pm 
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There are teardrops that are made for off roading.  They are heavier than a basic one. Most are home made.  They'll be higher off the ground, have guards where needed, some even have a skid plate.  They have a tour called The Trip To Mordar which goes onto and into some pretty rugged roads and country in Idaho.  No way would I want to pull my trailer on those barely a road roads.

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DIYSteve
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PostMon Mar 19, 2018 7:40 pm 
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I've checked out lots of teardrops, DIY and manufactured. Calling the most robust of them "off road" is a stretch. Teardrops are fine for some weekend campers who plan to spend their non-sleeping time outside, although a teardrop would not work for us because I cannot not stand up in them. (I'll never again have a camping rig I cannot stand up inside.) Most teardrops are little more than sleeping quarters with an outside kitchen. Even the biggest ones have very limited room and short ceiling height. But they look cool.
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Riverside Laker
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PostMon Mar 19, 2018 7:58 pm 
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DIYSteve wrote:
I made this wind fairing for our rig:

How well does it work? Any data?
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treeswarper
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PostTue Mar 20, 2018 6:18 am 
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I guess the "final word" has been pronounced therefore a trailer would never be good for anything other than a paved road. rolleyes.gif

However, this thread is about a van and if you've got the money to buy such a beast, go for it.

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DIYSteve
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PostTue Mar 20, 2018 8:01 am 
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You're the one who expanded the discussion to include trailers in post #2. A trailer with adequate clearance, tires and suspension can be hauled up maintained dirt roads. But that's off the point. You said "off road." Dirt roads are, well, roads, i.e., not off-road. Teardrops are cool looking and trendy, but I recommend that people check out a range of camping vehicles before making a buying decision. IME (25 years of owning various camping rigs), the inability to stand up is a deal killer. Also, note that my comments were limited to teardrops. There are relatively lightweight trailers in which you can stand up, e.g., Cricket, Scamp, Casita, pop-ups, A-frames.

Also, teardrops are not cheap. Converting an older cargo van or getting a used Scamp would usually be a less expensive option.

Riverside Laker wrote:
How well does it work? Any data?

It works great. 1+ mpg bump for highway driving, although the bigger plus is the elimination of bucking in windy conditions.

A lightweight slide-in pop-up currently works for us because one of our daily drivers is a pickup truck. In a few years, when Honey retires, we'll likely get a dedicated camping vehicle, likely a Class B (van based), although we'll wait to see where the technology is. We haven't ruled out a lightweight trailer (although trailers can be nasty to tow on icy winter roads --
we use our camper for ski trips.) Whatever we get, we'll be able to stand up inside it.
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bobbi
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PostTue Mar 20, 2018 9:32 am 
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this is our retirement rig
2006 Interstate Airstream (Mercedes Sprinter) Deluxe Camper 22 ft. Van, class B


things we love about it...

maneuverability
shower/toilet/microwave/fridge/stove/sink/tv (ha ha)
the back doors open completely for awesome view
we're both under 6 ft. tall so good headroom for us

we've got a hitch (for our travel motorcycle, 100 CL Honda) in the back that swings out so we can open back doors

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Hiker Mama
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PostTue Mar 20, 2018 7:45 pm 
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Well that's one I haven't seen before. Interesting, though it looks pretty cramped. I like the sprinter vans that are being converted these days better. If you go on Pinterest and start searching, you'll find all kind of nifty options.

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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Mar 20, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Beethoven

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joker
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PostTue Mar 20, 2018 11:05 pm 
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We used to have a VW Eurovan Weekender and now have a Ford E250 cargo van that's been  converted with high top, foldout bed, propane furnace and dual  fuel fridge (propane or electric), and inverter, etc. Even with stuff like the  fridge in the Ford it has a LOT  more interior space than the  VW did, and the  VW had just the foldout back seat/bed. I wouldn't want to go back to a minivan based camper, frankly.

I do like those Four Wheel Camper brand slide-in campers for pickups.  Talked to some landscape photographers who use them a LOT in places like UT and AZ including on some extremely rough roads and they hold up well for  that. But one of the owners did allow that  having  a single space for living/driving that  you can  move through w/o going outside has  its advantages and he was  considering possibly making  the switch on his  next camper as he's doing less of the  true four-wheeling than he used to. If I were spending more time in places like UT I'd want to  make the switch to  one of these on something like a Toyota Tacoma with  crawl  control, as there are a lot of places I'd love to go which require true 4wd (and as I understand it, the 4wd conversions done aftermarket to vans don't quite cut it for much  of this sort of  terrain; at least this is what I've  heard w/o doing  deep research).

OTOH for one-night trailhead bivies the Eurovan was just  fine,  as was my friend's old Chevy Astro AWD van.
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ale_capone
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PostWed Mar 21, 2018 3:55 am 
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Done all the above except the pickup camper. Even lived in a 33' 5th wheel for a year.

Kinda interested in getting a pickup camper for longer road trips. I already have a capable pick up.

What's some good brands for 4 season steve?  Not sure how luxury we will go, but this is more for us then me. One big plus is having a wc, which I would not want in a van.

On topic, I'm in the process of building out my own camper van. Used Ford van with a 4x4 conversion. Its functional, but spartan atm. Queen size couch bed, goodwill sewing cabinet converted into the kitchen.. room for 10 hitchhikers + ski gear. (And driver and dog), so cramped it is not.



Still trying to figure out the best layout for the sleeper. Couch or booth.
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