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  1. #1
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    Travel vans. Any advice?

    I am thinking about getting a new car that leans on travel and bikes. There was a big Tacoma bump going on but I don't think that will work as there may be times when I am hauling wife and 2 kids to near and far locations. I am looking to step up from a traditional mini van which served me well to something that is more travel/camping friendly, can maybe do a bit more off road, but yet doesn't get 2 miles per the gallon. I would look at getting a more RV type vehicle but this car will also be something I need to drive around town (it will be our second car). I can't see hauling an mini RV just to go ride Demo or pick up some cheese at Trader Joes, for example.

    Does something like this exist? Any suggestions?
    I'm not sure how this works.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I am thinking about getting a new car that leans on travel and bikes. There was a big Tacoma bump going on but I don't think that will work as there may be times when I am hauling wife and 2 kids to near and far locations. I am looking to step up from a traditional mini van which served me well to something that is more travel/camping friendly, can maybe do a bit more off road, but yet doesn't get 2 miles per the gallon. I would look at getting a more RV type vehicle but this car will also be something I need to drive around town (it will be our second car). I can't see hauling an mini RV just to go ride Demo or pick up some cheese at Trader Joes, for example.

    Does something like this exist? Any suggestions?
    I've been thinking of something similar, but am still considering a crew cab Tacoma or (cheaper) Nissan Frontier. That way I could haul 4 with gear, a rooftop tent and then another tent for kids. Another option, but with no real off road capability is a Ford Transit Connect. Next step up would be a converted Dasher van or the like.

    Curious to hear what others have/recommend.

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  3. #3
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    Look for a used 4wd sportsmobile. I haven't looked in years but they used to be relatively cheap if not common.

    I you buy a tacoma, get a shell for it and you'll have room for mom, kids, and lots of stuff where it is a little less likely to disappear while your shopping.

  4. #4
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    For fun, check out the new Dirt Rag mag, it's got 4 #vanlife stories in it. Cool cover, too.

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    Nissan reliability sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by telemike View Post
    Look for a used 4wd sportsmobile. I haven't looked in years but they used to be relatively cheap if not common.

    I you buy a tacoma, get a shell for it and you'll have room for mom, kids, and lots of stuff where it is a little less likely to disappear while your shopping.
    Holy crap, those Sportsmobiles look awesome. Unfortunately, they're a wee bit overkill for what I need/can handle right now. If I switch to getting a third and truly dedicated camping vehicle, I will check those out.
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  7. #7
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    I got a Eurovan Weekender a month ago and am stoked. It's pretty pimped out for camping and it's still small enough to drive around town. Not the best for off road, but I'm going to put a small lift on it to manage rutted fire roads. I have a 4 runner if I need 4wd.


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  8. #8
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    Eurovan weekender. Happy to chat at length about this. We have a full camper which is too tight for sleeping 4. The weekender has a queen bed downstairs which is much, much better for spending the night.

  9. #9
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    vans are jsut so much useful than Suvs imo.

    I got a dodge grand caravan because it's the only model where middle seats and back seats fold in to floor. to do this, the middle seats are compromised for comfort though. I get 3 guys + 3 bikesin van easily.

    for california it's gotten me to backpacking dirt roads, camping, and biking everywhere. sometimes i hit stuff but who cares, it's a beater van i bought used for cheap.

  11. #11
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    Mercedes sprinter van. The possibilities with that are endless is you have a deep wallet.

  12. #12
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    Good list so far...some of these are a bit burly for every other day vehicle but drool.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Travel vans.  Any advice?-screen-shot-2017-04-28-8.11.00-pm.jpg  

    I'm not sure how this works.

  13. #13
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    4 door long bed Tacoma 4xx4 sport edition. Family friendly.
    I'm the problem....

  14. #14
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    An additional dimension to consider would be adding a hardshell rooftop tent to the vehicle. They have definitely come a long way and the new iKamper (available in September) sleeps 4. I don't personally own a rooftop tent but have been drooling over them for quite some time... especially when my friend rolls up and has his camp (aka rtt tent) set up in 60 seconds.

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    Tacoma Habitat | AT Overland

    tacoma + habitat looks awesome. I'm considering one for my first gen double cab for road trippin and weekend camping. don't want to give up offroad ability or sacrifice toyota reliability to get the big interior of a van...
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    Half a mil!!!


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    Nissan reliability sucks.
    This old myth again? They have one (almost) common issue and it is easily rectified. Aftermarket transmission cooler. No worse than Toyota. They have more power than Toyota too.

    Let it rest already.

  18. #18
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    Just get one of these:


  19. #19
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    For CA, I'd get an old Land Cruiser.

  20. #20
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    diesel or gas? ford transit or the prerequisite sprinter....nissan nv for the darkhorse. quigley does a lot of 4x4 van conversions from the factory. what's your budget? the more i think i really wanna van i think i'd just get a pop up camper for my full size 4x4 truck (a nissan). and yes i own a tacoma too!

  21. #21
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    I have a SUV and I've been thinking about this as well. Right now, I'm leaning towards a Honda Ridgeline.

  22. #22
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    I don't really know about gas yet but my hunch is unleaded. The truck option would be my choice but how would doing a road trip to say Oregon be for people having to sit in the back? Doesn't sound ideal to me.

    I'm thinking customized 4x van of some kind. Maybe truck though.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  23. #23
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    I bought an older one owner low mileage conversion van and removed the seats ect. Made it into a camper van that is very comfy and useful. Gets decent mileage plenty of space, can fit in regular parking space. I can also remove everything in 1/2 hour then I have a cargo van. Best of both worlds and not a lot of money.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Travel vans.  Any advice?-20170408_161533.jpg  


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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by palerider View Post
    I bought an older one owner low mileage conversion van and removed the seats ect. Made it into a camper van that is very comfy and useful. Gets decent mileage plenty of space, can fit in regular parking space. I can also remove everything in 1/2 hour then I have a cargo van. Best of both worlds and not a lot of money.
    That is perfect... What is the model?

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    I'm not sure how this works.

  26. #26
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    Its a 1999 chevy express 1500 gladiator. They easily go 200,000+ miles properly maintained. Ford and dodge also made similar type vehicles. Mine has small lift kit, posi, & larger tires. I can go anywhere a sane person would care to go without the expense of a 4x4 van. The raised roof makes it so much more useable when camping. Look around your area they are always for sale.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I don't really know about gas yet but my hunch is unleaded. The truck option would be my choice but how would doing a road trip to say Oregon be for people having to sit in the back? Doesn't sound ideal to me.

    I'm thinking customized 4x van of some kind. Maybe truck though.
    A four door tacoma is plenty comfortable for those in the back....at least that my guess, I always drive.
    I'm the problem....

  28. #28
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    Ride in style with the fam like this:




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  29. #29
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    But seriously, a truck will be your good friend forever.
    Mine is a 7.3 Diesel Power-stroke that has seat belts for 6, can hold over 20 bikes on a big shuttle day, gets 19 mpg commuting and 12 mpg with a self-contained Cabover camper with shower/bath fridge/freezer, oven/stove, etc.
    Which I am currently using on an mtb road trip to Auburn


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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by enicma View Post
    Tacoma Habitat | AT Overland

    tacoma + habitat looks awesome. I'm considering one for my first gen double cab for road trippin and weekend camping. don't want to give up offroad ability or sacrifice toyota reliability to get the big interior of a van...
    They're making one for the Ford 150 too. More space is always good. Long bed version should be announced in May in Flagstaff, short bed version to follow after that.

  31. #31
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  32. #32
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    Travel Vans. Any advice?

    Yeahhhhhhhh!

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  33. #33
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    Travel Vans. Any advice?

    Honda Element


  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMachinist View Post
    This old myth again? They have one (almost) common issue and it is easily rectified. Aftermarket transmission cooler. No worse than Toyota. They have more power than Toyota too.

    Let it rest already.
    Consumer Reports puts Nissan pretty far down on the ol' reliability scale.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I am thinking about getting a new car that leans on travel and bikes. There was a big Tacoma bump going on but I don't think that will work as there may be times when I am hauling wife and 2 kids to near and far locations. I am looking to step up from a traditional mini van which served me well to something that is more travel/camping friendly, can maybe do a bit more off road, but yet doesn't get 2 miles per the gallon. I would look at getting a more RV type vehicle but this car will also be something I need to drive around town (it will be our second car). I can't see hauling an mini RV just to go ride Demo or pick up some cheese at Trader Joes, for example.

    Does something like this exist? Any suggestions?
    under full sail at Hendy
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Travel vans.  Any advice?-20141025_103806.jpg  


  36. #36
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    something like this drives past me daily..it is so cool it hurts.

    it is a diesel rig. it really is the best option for me.

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    Surly Crosscheck.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by palerider View Post
    I bought an older one owner low mileage conversion van and removed the seats ect. Made it into a camper van that is very comfy and useful. Gets decent mileage plenty of space, can fit in regular parking space. I can also remove everything in 1/2 hour then I have a cargo van. Best of both worlds and not a lot of money.
    Nice. I've done two big 7ish months, and many 3ish months crosstreks out of simple cargo vans. Maneuverable, affordable, tuff/capable, some what incognito, and can easily park/sleep in the city.

    I've now got the bug to do another big trip again (spring summer 2018) and have started looking at what's out there. I've noticed that the late 90's through early 2000's conversion vans are cheaper and have way fewer miles on them than their cargo equivalent. Not to mention less beat up.

    One concern going conversion is the windows. Between 2-3 bikes and my climbing gear I can have a lot of value sitting idle at the trailhead on say a 10 day backpack trip. Not sure if that's an issue for you or not but wonder how you get along with the windows for outfitting it, offroad flex etc? Also what kind of actual mpg's are you getting?
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  38. #38
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    Yes these vans are much lower mile and less beat on than reg cargo vans. As for the windows I use that thin plastic sheet called corplast, and cut templates that simply wedge in the window frames, blocks all light, and use velcro to attach them on outside of windows in hot climates as the big black windows are like heaters. As for leaving your vehicle for 10 days unattended at a trailhead is asking for vandalism / theft if you ask me. I try to camp in remote spots and only use van for weekends and week long trips. Mileage is 15-17+ hywy.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    Good list so far...some of these are a bit burly for every other day vehicle but drool.
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  40. #40
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    Probably not quite what you are looking but I've got a '79 pathfinder 4x4 conversion with 17k original miles. Lift clears 44" tires. It has been sitting for years at my dad's shop and now his house; runs but needs a tune up.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-wal View Post
    Probably not quite what you are looking but I've got a '79 pathfinder 4x4 conversion with 17k original miles. Lift clears 44" tires. It has been sitting for years at my dad's shop and now his house; runs but needs a tune up.
    Dig it but wife and kids wouldn't be too keen on that I thinks.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  42. #42
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    Yeah my wife has never been a fan of it either...

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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    Dig it but wife and kids wouldn't be too keen on that I thinks.
    Clears 44 inch but sits on 27 inch with steel rims. Sweet!

  44. #44
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    The current wheels/tires are just spares...

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  45. #45
    Axe
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    I really want Mercedes Sprinter 4x4. Short wheelbase, low roof, crew cab. Trying to convince my spouse, who hates the idea of a large van parked in our driveway, or in front of house.

    6-cyl diesel, up to 20mpg, and fits in regular parking spots.. mostly.. but not in regular garages.

    I wish they sold MB Metris 4wd with diesel around here. Would be another option - surprisingly more interior space than my Odyssey, for about same external dimensions.

    But Sprinter would be the perfect ski/bike/climb/camp/kayak trip mobile, as well as almost a daily driver capable.. I would rather get something cheap and tiny for a second car..

  46. #46
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    Wanted to make sure you guys knew about the Car and Biker forum on this site.

    Car & Biker - Mtbr.com

    We discuss this subject a lot. Ideal vehicle!!
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  47. #47
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    I really want Mercedes Sprinter 4x4. Short wheelbase, low roof, crew cab. Trying to convince my spouse, who hates the idea of a large van parked in our driveway, or in front of house.

    6-cyl diesel, up to 20mpg, and fits in regular parking spots.. mostly.. but not in regular garages.

    I wish they sold MB Metris 4wd with diesel around here. Would be another option - surprisingly more interior space than my Odyssey, for about same external dimensions.

    But Sprinter would be the perfect ski/bike/climb/camp/kayak trip mobile, as well as almost a daily driver capable.. I would rather get something cheap and tiny for a second car..
    Being able to stand up inside the van makes the difference on bad weather days. Don't get me wrong - I drool over the 4x4 MB diesels, but being able to cook standing up without craning your neck is one of the bonuses of a pop top.

    Also, an e-bike makes a great car alternative if you sell your daily driver and go the van route. My commute is pretty short, and the grocery store is around the corner. But if I had to drop the kids off on a longer commute to work, I'd think about one of the cargo box e-bikes or one of the Yubas with the monkey bar rack and e-assist.

  49. #49
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    has this become the norcal overland show us ur rig thread? want(ed) a sprinter badly...my buddy who has owned a few doesn't really like the newer motors doe.

  50. #50
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKD View Post
    Being able to stand up inside the van makes the difference on bad weather days. Don't get me wrong - I drool over the 4x4 MB diesels, but being able to cook standing up without craning your neck is one of the bonuses of a pop top.

    Also, an e-bike makes a great car alternative if you sell your daily driver and go the van route. My commute is pretty short, and the grocery store is around the corner. But if I had to drop the kids off on a longer commute to work, I'd think about one of the cargo box e-bikes or one of the Yubas with the monkey bar rack and e-assist.
    Sprinter has the tall roof option, good enough for average height people like myself, but with 4x4 lifted body that does not make it to too many public parking spaces.

    Not sure about ebikes, but was looking at Zero motorcycles. If those drop in price some further, an interesting and fun commute option.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    has this become the norcal overland show us ur rig thread? want(ed) a sprinter badly...my buddy who has owned a few doesn't really like the newer motors doe.
    Heard that - monitoring some forums. It being a commercial van, plenty of mileage and use reported. But then, I would not be doing deliveries on it.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    Heard that - monitoring some forums. It being a commercial van, plenty of mileage and use reported. But then, I would not be doing deliveries on it.
    Drove behind 4x4 sprinter van with high body. That thing was really tall, to the point where it would seem scary to drive in cross winds.

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    These guys do great work. Not cheap but nothing good ever is. Sorta. lol

    Tom was at TDS this weekend.
    Freedom Vans | Van Conversions and Services

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/lauren...-van-2016.html
    Travel vans.  Any advice?-p5pb13383619.jpg
    Travel vans.  Any advice?-p5pb13383588.jpg

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Drove behind 4x4 sprinter van with high body. That thing was really tall, to the point where it would seem scary to drive in cross winds.

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    the newer vans have a crosswind assist....https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/techn...00ccec1e35RCRD

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by tunajuice View Post
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    Sweet! I opted for the almost free TinTop and DIY subaru engine.....Travel vans.  Any advice?-japanagon2_1.jpg

    But all the bike racks came with the chassis!
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  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCWages View Post
    These guys do great work. Not cheap but nothing good ever is. Sorta. lol

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    Freedom Vans | Van Conversions and Services

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/lauren...-van-2016.html
    Click image for larger version. 

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    That looks awesome!
    I'm not sure how this works.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    That looks awesome!
    What do you want? That's what it boils down to? You did the minivan route and seem ready for something new.

    You want a conversion van? truck? Suv? Wagon?

    Europe is peppered with this little transport vans that are ideal for the bike life. But we don't have em. The Ford Transport Connect and that lil Nissan cargo van are starting to make their way here.

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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    What do you want? That's what it boils down to? You did the minivan route and seem ready for something new.

    You want a conversion van? truck? Suv? Wagon?

    Europe is peppered with this little transport vans that are ideal for the bike life. But we don't have em. The Ford Transport Connect and that lil Nissan cargo van are starting to make their way here.

    Nissan NV200 Review | Auto ExpressClick image for larger version. 

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    I am taking it slow but what I want in a vehicle that I can stand in, can convert to a camper vehicle easily, is comfortable for long haul trips with the family, that can be driven as an all around vehicle (and one that the wife can drive without paranoia), can handle a little off road (think Pinecrest shuttles), isn't totally ugly or rape-van looking, and yet, somehow, does not completely break the bank.

    The Sprinter seems the closest but I would likely have to do the customizing myself. STill shopping.

    Still working on a strategy and still looking around for options.
    I'm not sure how this works.

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    I have the smallest sprinter. Short wheel base and short roof. My conversion is going very slowly.

    I can walk around inside it, but I have to bend over. Everyone else in my family can stand up. Even the small one creates paranoia for my wife, but she doesn't really practice.


    Given how slow my conversion is going I often look enviously at some of newer outdoor travel trailers. https://taxaoutdoors.com/

    This guy is selling turn key conversions for the NV200. https://www.reconcampers.com/

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I am taking it slow but what I want in a vehicle that I can stand in, can convert to a camper vehicle easily, is comfortable for long haul trips with the family, that can be driven as an all around vehicle (and one that the wife can drive without paranoia), can handle a little off road (think Pinecrest shuttles), isn't totally ugly or rape-van looking, and yet, somehow, does not completely break the bank.

    The Sprinter seems the closest but I would likely have to do the customizing myself. STill shopping.

    Still working on a strategy and still looking around for options.
    So you're not getting a Tacoma? Good.

    I was hanging around with the Fiveten Crew and they were raving about their new ProMaster van. Baller and around $30+k


    Travel vans.  Any advice?-2014-ram-promaster-drivers-side-view1.jpg

    Travel vans.  Any advice?-promaster-cargo.jpg
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So you're not getting a Tacoma? Good.

    I was hanging around with the Fiveten Crew and they were raving about their new ProMaster van. Baller and around $30+k


    Click image for larger version. 

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    I had a Tacoma and it was awesome. But now I want something a little more versatile. That van is cool but the lack of windows gives it a (sorry for lack of a better word) rapey vibe but a good theft prevention angle.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    The Ford Transport Connect and that lil Nissan cargo van are starting to make their way here.
    Bigly. Check these out.

    Travel vans.  Any advice?-ea99c6_2caa3f4c119d4a8cb01b265f16bca0f9%7Emv2_d_5472_3648_s_4_2.jpg
    Travel vans.  Any advice?-ea99c6_d1f0754192954d89ad542a694f7dbbdc%7Emv2_d_5472_3648_s_4_2.jpg

    If AWD is your thing, perhaps a late-model Honda Element witht a Ursa Minor Vehicles conversion with the Fifth Element interior.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayPee View Post
    Bigly. Check these out.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If AWD is your thing, perhaps a late-model Honda Element witht a Ursa Minor Vehicles conversion with the Fifth Element interior.
    Serious contenders here!
    I'm not sure how this works.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I am taking it slow but what I want in a vehicle that I can stand in, can convert to a camper vehicle easily, is comfortable for long haul trips with the family, that can be driven as an all around vehicle (and one that the wife can drive without paranoia), can handle a little off road (think Pinecrest shuttles), isn't totally ugly or rape-van looking, and yet, somehow, does not completely break the bank.

    The Sprinter seems the closest but I would likely have to do the customizing myself. STill shopping.

    Still working on a strategy and still looking around for options.
    The Eurovan Weekender or Camper would fit the requirements. The Weekender is shorter and lighter so it skews towards the easy to drive. But it lacks the sink and stove and 18" of length in the Camper. The Eurovans are now 15+ years old for the newest and they're from the bad years of VW quality. Mostly evident in the switch gear. Many EV owners carry a spare ignition switch just in case. 2001 and on have the best engine. We're no longer camping so I have a 2001 Weekender I need to sell. Check out CaveVan for some ideas what can be done for Weekenders/Campers and the ev_update yahoo mail group for support.

    For Sprinter/Transit/Promaster conversions check out Outside Van or Van Specialities. Not cheap and a full size van is more of a hassle to drive in town. But they're newer and roomier. Each of those models has at least one forum for owners with lots of home conversions going on.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I had a Tacoma and it was awesome. But now I want something a little more versatile. That van is cool but the lack of windows gives it a (sorry for lack of a better word) rapey vibe but a good theft prevention angle.
    I know for mercedes sprinters, you can get one with full cabin windows. Just know it's added weight and less security. You also start to lose the stealth ability to sneak into commercial parking.

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    Pick up plus popup camper

    You can put a pop top on a pickup truck and remove it quite easily. Most manufacturers make them for both small pickups and full size pickups. They also make them in long bed, extended cab, and four door versions. If you get regular four corners jacks they remove pretty easily.

    Mine is a Four Wheel, the prime light weight off road camper but there are other types available also. The really hot one right now is the Haulmark camper. I've never seen one but there seems to be less potential for leakage, a perennial problem in campers.

    I've had mine for 25 years, two trucks, and 3+ years of nights spent skiing, hiking, paddling, and, of course, mountain biking.

    They are often available on Craig's list and ebay and are cheapest in the fall after the hunting seasons are mostly done. However, no truck less than a 1 ton or greater is capable of carrying any kind of camper, even one as light as the Four Wheel, without suspension work and high load range tires. I use Air Lift 3500 pound air bags with an onboard compressor but there are much cheaper alternatives. The new truck is also a big diesel that gets remarkable mileage (for a camper) and has the power of a locomotive. My older V6 Tacoma would be hard pressed to carry a camper on steep roads.

    The Southwest entrance station at Lassen Volcanic National Park - Telemark heaven

    Travel vans.  Any advice?-img_0034.jpg

    Camping along the Burr Trail east of Boulder, Utah

    Travel vans.  Any advice?-camper-fremont-cottonwood.jpg

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    ^^^That and a solid used 7.3 F250 is what you want.

  69. #69
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    So when you get your Mercedes Sprinter van serviced. Do they treat you like a Mercedes customer at the dealer or like a delivery driver?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomchakabowwow View Post
    something like this drives past me daily..it is so cool it hurts.

    it is a diesel rig. it really is the best option for me.

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    I agree, although mine would be just a tad bit tamer for my use.

    A few friends have them over the years and its seems the shorter version is much easier to deal with if your drive more frequently. I've seen some really nice DIY build as well.

    I have been looking for a few years now as well, Dodge ProMaster is interesting as well.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurtssogood View Post
    ^^^That and a solid used 7.3 F250 is what you want.
    While I find this to be rather awesome, I would prefer a car that I can access the rear from the cab. Quicker getaway. This is pretty sweet though.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    While I find this to be rather awesome, I would prefer a car that I can access the rear from the cab. Quicker getaway. This is pretty sweet though.
    yes! van just seems mo stealth. this flippin thread makin me wanna go van route again in the future. just kinda waitin for more companies to make off the shelf 4wd or awd cargo vans. thought i read somewhere that the ford transit will be awd in 2020.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The Eurovan Weekender or Camper would fit the requirements. The Weekender is shorter and lighter so it skews towards the easy to drive. But it lacks the sink and stove and 18" of length in the Camper. The Eurovans are now 15+ years old for the newest and they're from the bad years of VW quality. Mostly evident in the switch gear. Many EV owners carry a spare ignition switch just in case. 2001 and on have the best engine. We're no longer camping so I have a 2001 Weekender I need to sell. Check out CaveVan for some ideas what can be done for Weekenders/Campers and the ev_update yahoo mail group for support.
    We've got the EVC. I'd trade it for a weekender in a heartbeat. Pretty easy to throw a camp stove in the cargo space. The sink and water tank/sprayer are nice (trailhead showers wherever you are!) but the "downstairs" bed is cramped for two adults, so the EVC is really a 2-3 person vehicle. Our kids are small (4), but we'll be adding a tent and cot to the trip gear list in short order so everyone can sleep with a little shoulder room.

    The maintenance headaches are real. Our AC blew up (traversing Sacramento on a 103 degree day), and it was a $3,500 fix (everything had to be replaced). And I just spent three hours swapping the vehicle battery, as some smart VW engineer put the very, very fragile fuse box and relays directly in front of the battery retention clip screw (plenty of room to either side, but that would be too easy).

    Even so, I'm looking forward to taking this thing out again (it's been a long, long ski season). Drives pretty easy, good acceleration even for a 5,000 pound van driven by a Jetta engine/transmission, and the kiddos love it more than I do.

  74. #74
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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So when you get your Mercedes Sprinter van serviced. Do they treat you like a Mercedes customer at the dealer or like a delivery driver?
    If you bought 1 mercedes S class from them..your service is probably shittier then the guy who just picked up 6 mercedes sprinters and a C class for his company.

    With that perspective in place..considering how a sprinter is more expensive then a CLA, I'd imagine the service to not be much different. aka..rush you in, take your money, and throw you out.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clue View Post
    If you bought 1 mercedes S class from them..your service is probably shittier then the guy who just picked up 6 mercedes sprinters and a C class for his company.

    With that perspective in place..considering how a sprinter is more expensive then a CLA, I'd imagine the service to not be much different. aka..rush you in, take your money, and throw you out.
    You making all that up or real experience?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clue View Post
    If you bought 1 mercedes S class from them..your service is probably shittier then the guy who just picked up 6 mercedes sprinters and a C class for his company.

    With that perspective in place..considering how a sprinter is more expensive then a CLA, I'd imagine the service to not be much different. aka..rush you in, take your money, and throw you out.
    The service on those things is ridiculous, especially at a dealer. Like $800 to fix a radio antenna that was placed right above the windshield where all the snow accumulated on the roof slides down after every single snowstorm. The shedding snow also takes out the wipers, which of course are proprietary to Mercedes. Seriously, every part on that thing is specific for Sprinters and seems designed just to prevent people from doing their own maintenance. After driving several for a few different jobs, no way I would ever buy one.

  78. #78
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    Heard every diesel Sprinter has a fatal flaw too in the particulate filter.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fatal...-tom-robertson

    I've talked to otherwise happy owners that said this issue makes it not worth it to do the diesel route for this type of vehicle. Save on mileage but have to pay this bill too soon.

    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Yeahhhhhhhh!

    How are these things when you have to get up to take a leak in the middle of the night? I have always been interested but the prospect of descending a 6' ladder when I'm half asleep actually concerns me a bit. God forbid I get drunk and pass out in there.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohmygato View Post
    How are these things when you have to get up to take a leak in the middle of the night? I have always been interested but the prospect of descending a 6' ladder when I'm half asleep actually concerns me a bit. God forbid I get drunk and pass out in there.
    They suck in that regard. I always have to go in the middle of the night!

    I'm thinking pee bottle or hose plumbing system to route sewage to the squatters.
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  81. #81
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    Problem solved:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    I'm not sure how this works.

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  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohmygato View Post
    How are these things when you have to get up to take a leak in the middle of the night?.
    Don't get up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I had a Tacoma and it was awesome. But now I want something a little more versatile. That van is cool but the lack of windows gives it a (sorry for lack of a better word) rapey vibe but a good theft prevention angle.
    I hear what you are saying man. A riding buddy has one in white and his teenage daughters call it the "rape van." I think the color has everything to do with this stigma. Not just the lack of windows... which he has added.

  86. #86
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    Why do you need four wheel drive? Put some decent off-road/on-road tires on it. Better mileage, opens up more options, less weight... etc.

    I can see a few people needing four wheel drive from a van, are you one of those few? Or buying into the marketing? Honest question to ask yourself. Tires trump 4wd in snow, and forest roads don't require 4wd. Sure, it looks cool...

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P View Post
    Why do you need four wheel drive?
    Chain requirements on I80 and steep driveways in Truckee, mostly.
    Some loose fireroads on the way to good climbing spots.
    Part time system with a low range in Sprinter is perfect. No need for AWD.

    My current Rclass is RWD, and van FWD, for the exact reasoning you just presented, and it turned out to be a mild annoyance on occasions. Also, some extra ground clearance can be useful.

  88. #88
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    Sounds like you have it figured out. When I was looking for a new vehicle, doing research, I was surprised by how much myth I had in my head about 4WD/AWD.

    P

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P View Post
    Why do you need four wheel drive? Put some decent off-road/on-road tires on it. Better mileage, opens up more options, less weight... etc.

    I can see a few people needing four wheel drive from a van, are you one of those few? Or buying into the marketing? Honest question to ask yourself. Tires trump 4wd in snow, and forest roads don't require 4wd. Sure, it looks cool...
    who wants to put chains on when it's dumpin snow? remote camp spots, deep sand, loose rocks, boulders, whateves....looks coo yeh, i really use my vehicles. although we did make it up mills peak fireroad in a buddy's prius.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    who wants to put chains on when it's dumpin snow?
    This. We don't take our Eurovan to the snow. When repairing that beast gets too expensive, the next van is going to be 4wd/awd so it can be a winter base camp too.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKD View Post
    This. We don't take our Eurovan to the snow. When repairing that beast gets too expensive, the next van is going to be 4wd/awd so it can be a winter base camp too.
    right...we don't have a ski lease so you'd imagine that a van you can crash in will eventually pay dividends (tamarack lodge got hella my $$$ this season). both sides of tahoe were a complete poop show w/kook drivers, stopping in the middle of the road, leaving chains anywhere, and the pothole fest. i've been going to tahoe since the 70's (i'm 42 now) and like most haven't seen it this bad.

    akd...i lurked the teton gravity forum all winter, pretty sure you're there too. we live about 10 minutes from the beach near moss landing, i got 41 ski days in this season. when i go up to tahoe i usually stay for a bit because it is kinda far.

    maybe try n shred squaw next friday!!! and in the next few weeks possibly ride prosser on a dual sport then go ski...CA's so rad, but miserable w/traffic and infrastructure at the same time. who knows how long CA winters are really gonna produce snow for the next 10-20 years at least my 4wd van will be paid off.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeson View Post
    right...we don't have a ski lease so you'd imagine that a van you can crash in will eventually pay dividends (tamarack lodge got hella my $$$ this season). both sides of tahoe were a complete poop show w/kook drivers, stopping in the middle of the road, leaving chains anywhere, and the pothole fest. i've been going to tahoe since the 70's (i'm 42 now) and like most haven't seen it this bad.

    akd...i lurked the teton gravity forum all winter, pretty sure you're there too. we live about 10 minutes from the beach near moss landing, i got 41 ski days in this season. when i go up to tahoe i usually stay for a bit because it is kinda far.

    maybe try n shred squaw next friday!!! and in the next few weeks possibly ride prosser on a dual sport then go ski...CA's so rad, but miserable w/traffic and infrastructure at the same time. who knows how long CA winters are really gonna produce snow for the next 10-20 years at least my 4wd van will be paid off.
    Hah, yeah, driving up 80 this winter was a junk show until late February. Excellent timing for us to have the kiddos in ski team every single weekend. And my avatar is the same over on TGR, with slightly different initials (FKD...).

    The van is more of a base camp for farther-flung adventures. Taking it out to the east side this weekend for what may or may not be a corn harvest. Then it's time to throw on the bike rack and explore Mendocino, Quincy, and Montana de Oro over the summer.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P View Post
    Why do you need four wheel drive? Put some decent off-road/on-road tires on it. Better mileage, opens up more options, less weight... etc.

    I can see a few people needing four wheel drive from a van, are you one of those few? Or buying into the marketing? Honest question to ask yourself. Tires trump 4wd in snow, and forest roads don't require 4wd. Sure, it looks cool...
    Actually, funny thing is I only thought this to be a valuable addition so I can use it in a pinch for shuttling Pinecrest (and beyond). I tried to use my mini van there one season and almost destroyed the poor thing.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  94. #94
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    Yeah that fire road up to the Pinecrest Peak staging area is rough AF. My GF made it up there with a 2wd pickup without issue though.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRP View Post
    Yeah that fire road up to the Pinecrest Peak staging area is rough AF. My GF made it up there with a 2wd pickup without issue though.
    Oh, I made it a few times too...but the van was really never the same after that.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  96. #96
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    squashyo...we've got a squeaky wheel complaining about this thread being in the wrong forum...somebody might have to move it

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    Lame. This thread is great for NorCal. I'll post photos and thoughts on my Four Wheel Camper pop up on a Ford Truck unless you move the thread, in which case, never mind.

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronski View Post
    Lame. This thread is great for NorCal. I'll post photos and thoughts on my Four Wheel Camper pop up on a Ford Truck unless you move the thread, in which case, never mind.
    I'm not moving it...fc will have to

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    Travel Vans. Any advice?

    Well maybe squashyo needs to rename to "best travel vans for norcal. Any advice?"

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by OS-KR View Post
    Well maybe squashyo needs to rename to "best travel vans for norcal. Any advice?"
    Make sure they cost at least $100k and use them as your daily driver.

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