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  1. #226
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    2
    I realize it's been a while since this threads last post. But I used this as a reference when trying to figure out how to approach camping/road/skat/ski trips with my wife. I have a 1998 Honda CRV. Just like the one with the seats pulled out.



    I decided instead of the huge investment in a brand new ride, or old VW that I'd work with what I had. The CRV has always been reliable, I've never been stuck in the snow, and I get about 25mpg on average and 27 on long road trips.

    I started a thread to document my build process. Since I also use the car 99% of the time as a commuter I wanted to make it easy to remove my setup at the end of the season. I basically removed the back seats (takes about 1hr) and built a frame that bolts to the anchor points in the floor (super solid).


    A couple of hinged covers on the frame (48" wide)



    And and extension on the front when the seats are slid forward gives me about 6.5ft of stretch room. And plenty of space for my gear.



    Folds down nicely:


    Also holds a full size mattress and has convenient points which curtains can be hung from.



    The best part is, nobody expects someone to be sleeping in one of these so you keep a low profile.

  2. #227
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    108
    Nice work on the CR-V. Should give lots of storage and reasonably comfortable sleeping in a very compact vehicle.

  3. #228
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
    Posts
    3,499
    What about teardrops?



    You can store it in the garage, tow it with a smaller rig, winterize it.

    The only con I can see is towing it in the snow.
    Best Skier on the Mountain
    Self-Certified
    1992 - 2012
    Squaw Valley, USA

  4. #229
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Ootarded
    Posts
    2,905
    Seeing as this thread has been resurrected from the dead kinda recently, I thought I'd chime in. As Mulletizer mentioned earlier, I've had an Element since 2003, the year it came out, and have mostly good things to say about it. Over the years, I've done a lot of camping and skiing in it. I've comfortably slept in it all seasons. It's roomy and very versatile. I've carried everything from passengers to building materials to firewood in it, (though I wouldn't torment it like a pickup). It's been stone cold reliable, except for its penchant for cracked windshields.

    As mentioned by others, original tires suck (replaced 'em) it's kinda gutless (but cruises at 80MPH just fine), it's not a real 4-wheeler (though no problems driving over plenty of snow as well as marginal Southern Utah and Eastern Sierra roads - no real offroading), and mileage could be better (get about 24-26 on longer trips, drop a couple MPG for dual Rocketboxes on the roof)

    I built a platform similar to the one above; it works well to allocate space. I was seriously thinking about a teardrop trailer for it. Instead, I recently put a down payment on the eCamper top, and should get it fitted in May. According to the eCamper guys, mileage isn't affected that much, mebbe 1-2MPG or so, depending if the rack is on. If Mammoth Mini is over Mem Day, I'll bring it out there.

    hop, you've already seen one in Nelson, but if you're still trying to decide, let me know if you have any questions either before or after I get the conversion.

    Note: Honda is discontinuing the Element after 2011.
    Last edited by Tri-Ungulate; 02-28-2011 at 01:10 AM.

  5. #230
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Wrong side of Denver
    Posts
    645
    Quote Originally Posted by Tri-Ungulate View Post
    Note: Honda is discontinuing the Element after 2011.
    Hmmm...wonder if this will help or hurt the resale value of my 2004 when I unload it next year.

  6. #231
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    108
    I sold my Westy, it was great with the subaru but i didn't like putting the top up during the winter, and it was not 4WD.

    This is my new rig. It's 4x4 and over 6' tall inside. Should be very heatable after a little insulation work and window panels, and will sleep 4 comfortably. Plus fridge, cooking, water, porta potti, etc. planned. There will be room for mt bikes and skis INSIDE the van. I'm estimating mileage of 12-16 mpg based on reports from similar vehicles. Obviously not a daily driver.








    Here's how i hope it will look eventually:




    ...it's gonna be a bitch to get a canoe on/off the roof though!!

  7. #232
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Tahoe/SF
    Posts
    633
    Quote Originally Posted by TroySmith80 View Post

    ...it's gonna be a bitch to get a canoe on/off the roof though!!
    That's my dream vehicle. I do have to ask, where did you find the 4x4 van? I am probably looking to pick one up early next year and have started browsing a bit but can't find any that aren't sky high in price.

    I'm willing to do the work myself like most people here it's just I don't want to be spending a shit ton for the 4x4 accessory.

  8. #233
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    268
    should get the job done




  9. #234
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    108
    That is a beast.

    As far as 4x4 vans, i found this one on ebay. They show up on craigslist sometimes too. There is a website www.thundersgarage.com that has some listings. You just really gotta keep your eyes open.

    If you want one that's less than 15 years old that is already 4x4, you're looking at a fair bit of money most of the time (15-30 thousand). You can find the older 80's 4x4 vans for 2000-10,000, obviously some are pretty hammered but a few are quite nice. Problem is a lot of them don't have overdrive or fuel injection and are pretty bad on gas.

    A good option is to get a late-model 2wd van (they are super cheap because nobody wants them) and convert it to 4x4 yourself. Google "Ujoint 4x4 van", that is a very nice guy who produces a very nice kit to convert a van to 4x4 using F-series parts. Cost to do that yourself is going to depend on what kind of deals you find on the axle, transfer case and other parts that can be sourced used. It will probably be somewhere in a 5,000-8,000 range for the conversion.

    Deals do come along on 4x4 vans if you have time. I suggest using searchtempest.com to generate an RSS feed for a large area, and then importing that into google reader. That way, each time a new ad is posted for a 4x4 van, it will appear automagically in your reader, and you just have to check your reader every day or 2 instead of constantly searching all over.

    www.sportsmobileforum.com and the camper van section of www.expeditionportal.com are great boards for tons more info.

  10. #235
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    5,911
    It sure seems like it would be a lot easier to take a 4x4 pickup with a high-boy camper shell and convert it to a pass-through. That's mostly a job for a Sawzall and some big rubber gaskets...

  11. #236
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    T-town, CO. USA
    Posts
    2,102
    I just bought a new 2011 Element and am totally phsyched with it so far. I have slept in it in both the Moab desert and in a frigid snowstorm in Crested Butte. Both in total comfort! I just put a thermarest on top of the sleeping platform (folded down seats) and slept like a baby. Plenty of room.
    I will do the Ecamper upgrade as soon as I can afford it but truth be told, I could live out of it in stock form almost as well.
    Leave No Turn Unstoned!

  12. #237
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Behind the Potato Curtain
    Posts
    3,363
    I too traded in for an Element this season. Love the interior. Coming from a 4.0 v-6 Nissan Frontier it doesn't quite have the giddeup but the gas mileage makes up for that. So far so good in the snow with standard at tires granted I drive slowwwwww when its slick.

  13. #238
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1
    hey cdlenfert love your crv setup. I'm considering buying a new vehicle for mountain biking and surfing. Do you think the CRV would be suitable for that? I'd rather just throw everything inside instead of attaching things outside the vehicle. I like your idea of the your camper setup but the 1 hour seat removal process is a bit discouraging. Must be tricky to get out? Do you happen to still have the designs for your setup? If i get a crv i might just try this out if i go for a summer trip. Although for weekend getaways it would be nice to have the flexibility in being spontaneous and sleep comfortable in a mattress fitted out in the back. Do you think there might be a way to do this without disassemblign the rear seats? Would there be room to just throw in a steel frame ontop of the folded seats? How flexible can the seats fold down? Would you have to sleep at an angle if you throw an airmatress ontop?

    I had a delica l400 when i was up in canada and it was awesome, although the fuel economy wasn't that good, it did make for a really comfortable living space. I would buy it again but it's not practical now that i'm back home in oz commuting to work. So i have to balance between a work commute vehicle and a camper/surf vehicle that is economical.


    I would definitly get vw transporter + spacecamper mod if i was bit cashed up and settled down.
    http://www.spacecamper.de/ - seriously just look at the site. The pictures are really inspiring It will give you some great ideas.

    check out the video http://www.spacecamper.de/downloads/...on_320x240.wmv



    Last edited by Movendi; 06-25-2011 at 08:00 AM.

  14. #239
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    108
    I'm selling that big beast of a 4x4 high-top van if anyone is interested. For me right now, it's bigger than i need and the fuel mileage is a bit much for me to justify.

    Info here: http://adventuresmiths.blogspot.com Click the tab near the top of the page that says 4x4 van for sale.

    Note: It's listed at $9,500 but i'll take 8,700.

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