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Your Favorite Road Trip Vehicle
k1c1w

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October 29, 2016 - 10:26 pm
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Thinking about a major road trip next summer and am considering the purchase of a new vehicle that can sleep two, but don’t want an RV. Need to go as inexpensively as possible. What’s your favorite road trip vehicle and why?

jcarter

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October 30, 2016 - 11:30 am
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Tacoma with a cap and rack. Super reliable, boats go on top, plywood in the back to form a bed and gear space below.

k1c1w

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October 30, 2016 - 7:29 pm
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That was one thought. Do you have the Access Cab or Double Cab with long bed? Seems like with the Access Cab it would be difficult to use the space for storage, although that one is more in our price range.

WayneM
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October 30, 2016 - 7:42 pm
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I have a double-cab long bed Tacoma. Great vehicle for paddlers. But, I sometimes feel that a Honda Element, or mini-van type of vehicle with AWD might be more comfortable for living and sleeping in.

paddally

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October 31, 2016 - 10:19 am
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Going in a slightly different direction we bought a used Sprinter this year and WE LOVE IT! I am assuming new would be out of your price range, but we bought a 2008 Dodge with 80k for much less than a new Tacoma. All o fthe sprinters have a Mercedes diesel engine, so she is just getting warmed up at that mileage. Depending on the type of roads we are on we get 19-21 MPG which we are very happy with. We are working on the build out now, but we keep all of our WW kayaks, bikes, and gear inside with plenty of room to sleep! After buying a diesel I don’t know if I would go back – our second car is a Rav4 so I am a Toyota lover as well, but the van is the perfect home away from home! Being able to stand up is a major plus. But unless you buy new new you wont have a 4WD option, so if a lot of off roading is in your plan this may not be the vehicle for you!

jerseyjeff

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October 31, 2016 - 7:20 pm
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Hmm.. this is tricky… I have done both the truck and the minivan route, I will say it is fantastic to have all the stinky gear way way way out back, and in the bed of a pickup, and I rigged the cap on my first truck with a bunch of line to hang gear to dry. sleeping in the back on a plywood platform on a paco pad was great, some of the best nights sleep ever. The ground clearance and approach angles were great, and the first truck was a toyota t-100 extra cab, and the mileage was nearly 20 when I drove it carefully. They can be found used for a song, and they are a darn good truck. My next truck was a V-8 tundra, and although the gas mileage was rough 16-18, the thing went like stink, and felt more like a camry than a truck, so it made long hauls really easy. I have put helper leaf springs on my trucks, and although it raised the rear 1/2 inch it was worth it for both anti-sway and better behavior at near capacity.
The minivan? well, it is a 4 door 4 wheel barcalounger. The ground clearance is awful, and it drags the hitch often, but it is dreamy on the highway. it will do 85 with 3 boats on the roof and get 22… drop to 65 and I can get 24 (2011 sienna) the big issue I have found with the minivan is a weak suspension, and really awful brakes (car brakes on an suv weight) The other problem with a minivan is that it is really easy for badguys to window shop. Everything under plywood, under a cap in a pickup is invisible. Anything above in a heavily tinted cap, is really hard to see.
The sprinter is a neat option, especially a contractor rig where you cannot see into the back. The roofline is scary high to strap boats on to, but they could go in the back. I have been in awe of what sprinters can swallow up at the takeout, They also have proper cargo capacities, and often can carry more weight than a pickup.
If you don’t need 4wd, and ground clearance, I say go van, and make it a cargo van. If you think you will be in a dicey takeout/put in the old t-100s and tacomas are really hard to beat. Tough as nails, great ground clearance, and really well behaved on and off road.

My only complaint about the trucks is the gas gauge is bonkers… The E light comes on with 4-6 gallons left in the tank, and even in 4 low that is 30-60 miles before dry. in 2wd high it could be over 100-150 miles. (I had a honda when the light came on, there was 3/4 of a gallon left. When they said empty they meant it. )

Good luck!

k1c1w

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November 1, 2016 - 12:59 pm
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WoW! Such good info! Thanks!

Have gone window shopping, but have found negatives to everything looked at. That’s why it is good to get other opinions, especially if you have had such a vehicle.

Keep those cards and letters comin’ !

grandpa paddler
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November 2, 2016 - 1:36 pm
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Depends on the purpose. Chevy Silverado if taking canoes (hauls 3 easily) and camping gear. No cap but it’s easy and quick to throw a tarp over the canoe(s) GOTTA have plywood in the bed! Easily hauls a 3500# travel trailer even with canoes on the bed rack and comfortably seats 4 adults. Down side is mileage: 11-12 mpg w/trailer and 2 canoes; 16-17 w/2 canoes; 18-20 with minimal load and tonneau cover. Much over 70mph and the mpg’s go down.

General travel w/ 4 adults it’s a Grand Cherokee. It’s comfy and quiet and depending on the terrain, 27+mpg @ 70mph. Love that vehicle!!!

...,better to be up the creek without a paddle than not be on the water at all!

scagrotto

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November 6, 2016 - 1:36 am
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What about after the road trip? Unless you expect to sell whatever you get when the trip is over the road trip isn’t likely to be the primary or most important use. AWD or 4WD can be useful in some places, but a bit more ground clearance opens up a lot of places that you can’t (or probably shouldn’t) go in most cars. Unlike AWD and 4WD systems, extra ground clearance doesn’t add cost, weight , or maintenance issues. Those are reasons I wouldn’t buy a new or expensive vehicle that’s ideal for the road trip but not suited to most of what I use my vehicle for.

I’ve got a Chevy Express van because that’s well suited to my everyday need for a work vehicle, and it makes a pretty good RV for occasional use. Plenty of room on the roof, and even a road bike would still let it fit under most bridges you’ll encounter on secondary roads. A bit more height inside would be nice, but I wouldn’t really want the tallest Sprinter if I’ve got to put stuff on the roof. My sleep platform is only about 16″ high, which lets me sit upright; more room under the platform would be a nice benefit or a bit more height. One of my absolute must haves was side and rear windows that open. If you plan on sleeping in it the ability to move air will be really useful. Not sure about other van models, but Chevy changed the roof ridges so there’s not a flat spot for a standard 14″ roof vent. Even if you got the same total space with a pick up and cap it can be extremely convenient to get from the seats to the back without getting out and walking around to the rear.

There’s a lot to be said for some extra length, but besides some extra weight and expense it may eliminate the option of a more economical 6 cylinder, and may make parking less convenient. I very rarely need to haul much weight, so I opted for a 1/2 ton with a V-6. I get about 16 mpg around tow and 21 on the interstates. With a load and/or a few boats on the roof I may not be flying up all the hills at 70 or 75, but it’s not particularly slow either.

Our other vehicle is a Honda Odyssey, which is a very practical all around vehicle. It would work for a road trip, but it’s a bit over 2′ shorter behind the seats, a bit narrower, and probably sacrifices a solid foot of interior height. That’s going to be true of just about all mini-vans. They’ll work, but they’re much better suited to relatively short trips unless you’re traveling really light.

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BigSpencer

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December 13, 2016 - 9:47 pm
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Nissan Xterra has carried me many miles but the 17′ Tacoma looks great. The addition of a cab is nice. Toyota’s 4Runner is a terrific looking vehicle. Clearance, tough tires and 4wd(especially in the Spring).
$.01

k1c1w

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December 14, 2016 - 1:06 pm
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Strongly considering a ’17 tacoma dbl cab with cap, but no firm decisions yet. Would like to sleep in the vehicle in places where a tent is not possible. Afterwards, well, hope to do many more trips so it would become the Tripmobile. Have older Subaru for other travel.

jerseyjeff

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December 18, 2016 - 9:30 pm
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The tacomas are awesome rides, but the dealers have no interest in playing ball with pricing. As my dad says, they are REALLY proud of their product. I think the trd pros are a bit overrated, and unless you are pre running baja, you really do not want to have to replace remote reservoir shocks every 50k miles too… Definitely check on the capacity too, with the trucks some of them only can take 800-900 lbs of cargo and people….
Good luck with it.

k1c1w

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December 19, 2016 - 10:06 am
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Jerseyjeff: Don’t think the pro is the model we will consider. Having said that, I’m not sure what you mean by “unless you are pre running baja “. We figured there was little wiggle room on pricing. Tacomas seem to be in huge demand. Thanks for the info on the capacity. Will check that out.

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