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    • Yeah, #vanlife. It's all the rage these days. Driving a sweet new Sprinter van rig through beautiful mountains seems like the new hipster thing to do. But the thought is kinda enticing, even to an old school dirtbagger like myself. What are your thoughts about the van life trend? Is camping in vans that much better than in an RV, trailer, tent, car, truck, etc.? I think the van life is overhyped. Curious to get opinions.

      What do you travel / camp in?

      Photo credit: insta_repeat

    • I have been dreaming of having a nice Sprinter Van for those epic getaways or just some long weekends far and remote. In fact, I subscribe to and watch a few YouTube channels like WTR (We're The Russos) that document everyday van life. Turns out the real van life isn't as glamorous as pictured on Instagram, but there are still many interesting stories and lessons to learn from. Since starting to watch WTR channel along with a few others, I've realized that this lifestyle is only possible under certain conditions:

      1. Complete independence from working specific hours.

      2. Steady income stream regardless of the work load, or enough savings in the bank.

      3. Embracing and living a spartan lifestyle. Van just can't fit all of my stuff 😭

      I also tried to calculate how much time I need to travel in order to make purchasing a Sprinter van worth while, but the math just doesn't add up. I would have to travel a few months every year, yet still pay rent... So financially this doesn't make sense.

      I still dream about this van life and even have my favorite van conversion company Outside Van bookmarked just in case... But I keep dreaming of this van:

      Image credit: Outsidevan

    • Many years ago, long before #vanlife was really even a thing (and long before hashtags were even a thing), I thought it might be cool to ditch my house and live in a van and travel around the country working remotely.

      But then I spent a lot of time researching it and figuring out all the logistics, and the more I figured out the more I realized what an enormous pain in the ass it would be. I like my comfy bed and my warm shower and my unlimited electricity and my privacy and all the other comforts that come with having a permanent home. 🛌

      Leaving those things behind for a week or two can be a fun adventure, but any longer than that and I think I'd go nuts.

    • Wife and I will be embarking on a 18-24 month #vanlife around the UK and Europe early next year living in a campervan.
      We've sold the house and will be using funds from that for the trip. We were planning on doing the trip in retirement but given both of us have health issue we decided to do it now while we know we still can.

    • Same. The math doesn't check out. But don't get me wrong. I do dream of a van ring.

      My ideal criteria for a vehicle for an adventure vehicle:
      1. 4x4 for off road access and snow travel
      2. Not a trailer for better gas mileage and to avoid the 55MPH trailer hauling limit
      3. Enough volume for a bed and gear storage. Approximately 60 cubic feet for my ideal travel lifestyle.
      4. Newish for a reliable drive train and eco engine for decent MPG

      And then I end up with a $100k+ Sprinter extended, high roof 4x4 rig. Saying in the Ritz-Carlton is cheaper per night.

      I'm thinking I'll sacrifice #2 so I can get an old trailer rig on Craigslist and buy a small truck, like a Tacoma to tow it. I'll park the trailer at the campground, and still have 4x4 access with the truck.

    • Can a taco tow much? You'll probably have a pretty small list of trailers that fit under the tow limits of a taco.

      I've found that snow travel really changes the game. To get a rig ready for winter use requires enhancements (or concessions) alot of people don't consider. If you're actively using the rig as, like, a slope-side home-base, you will need to either ignore the onboard plumbing and keep your water supply and waste contained inside, or spring for some pretty extensive plenum heating arrangements, like heating pads on the tanks. In fact, with all the salt on the roads, it is helpful to just completely seal off the plenum and have that space heated. Heat requires power. So one has to sort that out too.

      If I ever go with a class b arrangement, I swear to god I'm going to use it to pick up groceries and make starbucks runs, because there's no way in hell I'm buying a diesel engine just to use 3 or 4 times a year.

    • Sadly they can't tow that much. 6400 lbs with 640 lbs tongue weight. Put 4-5 people in a double cab with a ton of gear and water, tow it over the mountains, and you blow out the tranny. I'm not sure what I'd tow. My plan isn't well thought out. But I'd love a Tacoma-sized truck for offroad. It would be perfect for driving around town too. My brother has an F250, and it is a massive PITA to park in town. Plus, it's a diesel hog.

      I live in a warm coastal climate. Pipes freezing and cracking are a foreign concept to me, I'm going to have to learn a lot about winterization techniques.

    • When I punched the 40 body clock, I decided to move up to Alaska, buy my first house and assumed that would be the end of the trail for me. (not end of life, but, the end of my ~moving~) So, with my savings I bought a Ford F250 V10 and an Airstream Bambi because I thought this would be perfect.

      I really disliked towing. I was always paranoid if I had everything hooked up correctly.

      Unless I wanted to park at Wally World, even in Alaska, you had to pay to play. So, then I am thinking I am into all of this for about $50K and I still gotta pay $20/night to park? WTH?

      Lastly, when I was waiting for my house to close, I parked the Airstream at an RV park and nothing personal to RV enthusiasts, but after about 12 minutes of people talking about all their amenities in their RV's....I knew I had gone down the wrong path.

      So, back to your topic. Personally, I get everything done in a station wagon if I am planning to tent camp. If I cannot tent camp (too hot, crappy campgrounds, etc) a Motel 6 is still better than being "stuck" with a huge committment. I love seeing Sprinters on the road but it reminds me too much of that over $50K social group where your $50K Sprinter pales to the next guys $100K Sprinter which pales to the next guys $250K Sprinter.

    • We'll be retired in about 8 years, but young enough to have a lot of adventures left. We've looked at every type of Class B/B+ and C option that's available and have concluded that most RVs are constructed like shit, they depreciate fast and won't last. So despite the fact that they're really smaller than I would like, we're looking at the Dodge Promaster 3500 extended, and Ford Transit cargo vans. We're not considering a Sprinter due to purchase and maintenance costs. Also, we want a queen bed that fits sideways in the back, and the Promaster and Transit vans are boxier and easier to build out than the Sprinter. We've got a general idea of floor plan and are going to do the work ourselves. It gets us what we want, we can do a quality build over a period of time and end up with (hopefully) a superior product. We're planning to buy new for the warranty. We also considered the Nissan NV, but the gas mileage is just too poor.

      Would we want to full-time in it? Probably not. The idea is to travel a good 6-9 months out of the year and be home-based at our place in Colorado. We have a lot of places to see and things to do. Our one concern is that both the Promaster and the Transit are six cylinder motors. Will that be sufficient to tow a cargo trailer filled with two motorcycles, kayaks and SUPs? Not sure. We have many test drives in our future.

    • over the years I've met a bunch of 'vanlifers' and there is a similar theme to there answers -

      "no shower, no toilet - if I add those then space is dramtically reduced or I need more power."

      Shipping is another issue, yes its all well and good driving round the States and Canada or Europe, but if you want to get further afield, say South America or Asia getting your rig there is exhorbident, for one simple reason. Rigs that are over 9'6" tall so won't fit in a container and have to go either deck cargo (brave the elements) or a Ro/Ro and you better have a fat wallet.

      As others have said expect between $50-100k but still pay for parking, places to stay, hook ups etc. and get stopped going to certain places for height/ width/ weight restrictions

      For $7000 we have two motorcycles, travel the world, put them in hotel lobbies in South America for security (right now) when needed and pay minimal amounts for shipping from continent to continent

      So yes I see vanlife as a viable option if you want to see a select part a continent, but the whole world not so much, and I had to laugh at vegasphotog comment and agree glamping/ RV sites are a total yawnfest

      ...and what about resale vaues when you want out???