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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Splat's Garage
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    3,283

    Not Van life. More like Van trip? Need some recs...

    What do you think is a good for the following?

    1) Not going to be a primary residence
    2) Want to be able to move from driver's seat to the back with ease and without going out of vehicle
    3) Sleep in a dedicated spot fully stretched for one person (at least 6' long sleep zone)
    4) Don't need a high roof
    5) Keep a bike inside vehicle
    6) Don't care about any #vanlife luxury shit (sink, shower, swivel seats, storage drawers, etc.)
    7) Drives more like a car than a huge ass camper van

    I'm talking like rip all the seats out of a Toyota Sienna/Kia Sedona kind of dirtbag mobile. Any do this?

    Or maybe just a Ford Transit kinda deal but that is really low roof.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Valley of the Sun
    Posts
    4,120
    Do you need any 4x4 capabilities?

    If not I was thinking mini van before I read it.

    Only thing Iím not sure about is what you meant about the driverís seat. Assuming youíre talking about swiveling action?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Splat's Garage
    Posts
    3,283
    Quote Originally Posted by east or bust View Post
    Do you need any 4x4 capabilities?

    If not I was thinking mini van before I read it.

    Only thing I’m not sure about is what you meant about the driver’s seat. Assuming you’re talking about swiveling action?
    I made that confusing... I meant I just want to be able to go to the back without have to work too hard and not go outside of the vehicle.

    4x4 or AWD would be the preferred. Maybe front wheel drive with some good snow tires could work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sandy
    Posts
    1,136
    Sienna AWD if you can get past it being mini van. I wish I could lol.

    Or if you're handy with vehicles AWD Astro/Safari.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    295
    Minivan or Iím seeing a fair amount of used plain Jane commercial white transits for sale for not that much. Toss a bunk in back and a potty pail and you are GTG

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    righthere/rightnow
    Posts
    2,337
    Honda Odyssey, they have the most cargo room especially when you take out the last two rows.

    What’s your budget?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    257
    You can rent transits fairly cheaply if you want to do a short dry run. Rent a cargo transit, put a cot/gear in the back and hit the road. Depending on use it might be cheaper to just rent a few times a year

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,324
    What's your budget ?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    973
    6'5" homie of mine just picked up an AWD Sienna for this purpose. Mint condition, fully loaded, every option (including adaptive cruise control from 2006!), <100K mi all for <$9K. It's beige and mom-ed out in every way. Just needs an indicator light to tell you when you're ovulating.

    The thing has tons of storage space (stow n go seats baby!) and gets good mileage. My buddy has no children, insists on calling his a Sienna a truck, and uses it as his daily driver. His other car is an E36 M3. Coworkers, salesman at the dealership, pretty much everybody is dumbfounded by this level of commitment to practicality.

    I think it's the best budget dirtbag vehicle around. Lift recommended if traveling on FS roads with any sort of cargo load.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    29,185
    It's about time you got the fuck out of my garage!!!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,501
    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    Just needs an indicator light to tell you when you're ovulating.
    That could be extremely useful in the unlikely event he ever entices a lady into the van

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Wish I knew?
    Posts
    2,629
    I see your point about all the other stuff in a van but swivel seat aren't all that expensive and are nice to hangout in at the end of the day.
    The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    8,136
    Whatever is cheapest? Plain Jane transit would rock. And if it's a cargo/work van has the added benefit of few windows. So much easier to stealth. A simple platform bed of plywood and 2x4s gives room to stow shit and sleep. That's what I did in my old Chevy. I had dreams of all kinds of fancy shit. Faced with a deadline I built a platform and put my double futon on it. Bikes could go next to it for short haul, or under it for longer.

    If you don't mind sleeping in a fish bowl, Toyota Sienna is 2nd choice. Curtains if you want. Remove the center row of seats. Stowable rear seats are best of both worlds. Make your platform modular so it comes apart if you need to use the seats in a pinch mid trip. Or you want to be able to sit down and relax in the back after a day of skiing or riding. And the third row is 60/40 split so you could have a raised platform on one side and be able to use the other seat. Left side is the 40, if that helps. I find I wish it was the other side. I haven't slept in it, however I love our 2011 Sienna. It is a great gear hauler.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    8,136
    Edit to add:. My 2011 Sienna has a console between the front seats. It is useful however it is an impediment to climbing in the back. If I was setting up the van as my vacation condo I would remove it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    8,136
    Oops. Right side of Sienna is the 40. My bad.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    8,136
    Also, a full Transit not a Transit Connect. Those are probably good if you're 5' 0" and 90lbs. I hear they suck to drive in most conditions. My wife and I met someone who fits that description and she has hers done up pretty nice to spend summers kayaking and biking on the road. Very small niche.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    956
    Quote Originally Posted by Hott Butt Mud View Post
    I made that confusing... I meant I just want to be able to go to the back without have to work too hard and not go outside of the vehicle.

    4x4 or AWD would be the preferred. Maybe front wheel drive with some good snow tires could work.
    FWD low roof Promaster fits the bill. Far more room than a mini-van. Available in 118 wheelbase if you really want to keep it tight. Wide enough you can sleep sideways if you're under 6'.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    3,681
    AWD Sienna is the most obvious answer. Downside is you need to ditch the run flat tires most came with. And clearance ain't very good.

    AWD Safari/Astro is cheapest. But they are old and starting to show for most of them. Solid engines last a long time after you replace the lower intake manifold. The front end suspension is kinda a shit design which means you'll replacing parts every 50-60k mi. Better clearance and easiest to lift a few inches. Savannah / Express is the full size version and they made it more recently, but same basic tech. More room.

    The extended wheelbase Transit connect is a fine option too. Newer, FWD, drives better than the Astro, but not the Sienna.

    In any case -- with bike inside and no high roof you're only going to be sleeping 1 person plus bike.

    Budget for seat swivels. They are worth their weight in gold compared to 95% of other van upgrades.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    champlain valley
    Posts
    4,750
    does anybody use a pop-up camper trailer in the winter? Cary 2x4s to prop it up during snow storms?

    can you put a heater in one to dry gear?

    a pop up and a sienna mini van sounds like a great way to family camp

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    973
    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    That could be extremely useful in the unlikely event he ever entices a lady into the van
    Dude has a steady lady and she loves the *truck!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    3,681
    Quote Originally Posted by riser3 View Post
    Also, a full Transit not a Transit Connect. Those are probably good if you're 5' 0" and 90lbs. I hear they suck to drive in most conditions. My wife and I met someone who fits that description and she has hers done up pretty nice to spend summers kayaking and biking on the road. Very small niche.
    There are multiple wheelbases for the Connect. The long one is has 7ft+ of cargo length. I skied with a fellow who had this version and his camping setup was plenty comfy looking.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    135
    I use a Chevy Suburban.

    Pros: good 4x4 drive system - 4Lo, 4Hi, AWD (4 fulltime), 2WD. Clearance. Tons of length. Box on top for extra storage. Cheap as the all get out as they can be had for pennies on the dollar for various vintages.

    Cons: Not all windows open in rear (rear may depending on door style). You are trading head room against a van.

    I've slept in the back w/ a dog @ feet and a bike on either side of me - plus gear hear and there. You have to take the ft. wheel off tho - which is a pain. I just crawl from the front to the back sometimes if it's raining. It feels like a nice self-contained unit. Low visual footprint for on the sly overnighters. oh - I've even put my moto trials bike in the back upright.
    Last edited by Carl_Mega; 07-13-2019 at 01:44 PM.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    I smell poutine!!!
    Posts
    8,136
    Quote Originally Posted by DBdude View Post
    does anybody use a pop-up camper trailer in the winter? Cary 2x4s to prop it up during snow storms?

    can you put a heater in one to dry gear?

    a pop up and a sienna mini van sounds like a great way to family camp
    That combo worked for us. In the summer. No desire to try it in the Winter. However, you definitely want a light trailer. Ours I think is a little on the heavy side and I am not that excited to take it on long trips. The engine and transmission just don't sound as solid as they used to.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    8,750'
    Posts
    298
    I second an old Suburban, they are fucking huge and bombproof.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    129
    I did pretty good with GMC Safaris when I was younger. Theyíre pretty much the perfect size for what you want. As somebody stated earlier though itís been a while since they were discoíed so most of them are pretty thrashed now. Seems like the closest thing to that size now is the Mercedes Metris. Either that or a promaster with a long couch/sofa bed mounted length wise is what I would go for if I was in the market.

    Unless I could locate a clean AWD Astro or Safari with less then 100k on it.

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