Van or truck?

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Lil Bear

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Looking for some input on the best platform for a full time overland build. Since the subject has been something that has come up at home more and more, I am seriously looking at what would be the better route. Right now I have a Nissan Titan XD truck which I love. But I'm wondering if maybe a good van build would be better or a camper build on the back of the truck. It would be 3 of us most of the time. But there will be times when my 2 daughters will also be with us. The youngest is 4 months and we have already had him out camping in the roof top a few times. I'm trying to think about what's better in the long run and what will be less annoying and easier to deal with. Probably my main concern would be setting up and taking down. Roof top tents are great but that's the worst part to me. Also if we have to run to a store or something like that. Now the other side to my thoughts is I also want to be able to get to the good places and camp like I would in my truck. We have a home base but we are thinking if we could travel and work from wherever then we can save a good bit of money and get our mountain house we want. She can travel all around as a travel nurse and I am looking to find a job I can work remotely with. It's just seems to be harder to want to come back after every time we go out on an adventure and camp! No one is getting any younger so why not do it right?!!? So what's your thoughts or ideas or anything?
 

Lil Bear

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F350 DRW and a Bundutec Roadrunner.

Three women in a van. Haha, good luck with that. Hope you like sleeping under the van.
I just looked up those Bundutec's! Those are nice. Definitely will have to look into them some more. Thank you! And I keep a ground tent so I can always escape to it when I need to get away from the women!!
 

RoarinRow

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I watched many hours of van conversions on YouTube. So many creative people out there. Looks better that some homes I've seen lol. They've got all the conforts for traveling full time, plus you can stand up and move around, but a ground tent would be a good backup.
 
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trikebubble

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I spent a couple years mulling over our next step when we were adventuring in a suv and rooftop tent. At the end of the day (4 years and many thousands of miles ago now) we purchased a Tundra and Four Wheel Camper. For me, the main advantage over an all-in-one van was I had the choices of what combination of power train and camper I purchased. This also gives me piece of mind if i ever have vehicle issues, or camper issues, then the other is not totally left out of service. The only single perceived benefit I felt that a van had over a separate truck/camper is the vans living compartment to vehicle inside access. At the end of the day it seemed more perceived benefit than real, and was not near enough of a concern to sway my decision.

As it goes, my Wife and I are now in the beginning stages of contemplating our next step. We want something larger, with more comforts, more range, and more payload capabilities to allow us to eventually pursue longer multi-month trips. After lots of considering I still keep coming back to a seperate truck and camper. In our case we will be looking at a large daully (think F-450) and some sort of 4-season traditional camper (such as a Northern Lite). For me, the advantage even here, over a single "adventure-ready" large set-up is the ability to very easily split the camper from truck when staying in one place for multiple weeks.

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Lil Bear

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I spent a couple years mulling over our next step when we were adventuring in a suv and rooftop tent. At the end of the day (4 years and many thousands of miles ago now) we purchased a Tundra and Four Wheel Camper. For me, the main advantage over an all-in-one van was I had the choices of what combination of power train and camper I purchased. This also gives me piece of mind if i ever have vehicle issues, or camper issues, then the other is not totally left out of service. The only single perceived benefit I felt that a van had over a separate truck/camper is the vans living compartment to vehicle inside access. At the end of the day it seemed more perceived benefit than real, and was not near enough of a concern to sway my decision.

As it goes, my Wife and I are now in the beginning stages of contemplating our next step. We want something larger, with more comforts, more range, and more payload capabilities to allow us to eventually pursue longer multi-month trips. After lots of considering I still keep coming back to a seperate truck and camper. In our case we will be looking at a large daully (think F-450) and some sort of 4-season traditional camper (such as a Northern Lite). For me, the advantage even here, over a single "adventure-ready" large set-up is the ability to very easily split the camper from truck when staying in one place for multiple weeks.

View attachment 177017
Yeah that's my biggest concern probably. I thought about the convenience of being able to pass through the vehicle to get into the rear but it really isn't terrible to walk 5 feet right lol?! A good awning system and you wouldn't hardly notice! I like the idea of two separate components incase I need to move one and not the other but I've seen some really cool ideas and builds on the vans. But in my mind I won't be able to go to all the spots I want in a van possibly!
 

Billiebob

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Pickups offer flexibility.
Vans tend to be dedicated campers.
Sounds like you are getting closer to the dedicated camper with talk of working remote and travelling with more family.
There are some great AWD vans out there. Easily as capable as a stock pickup.
Then you talk about buying a mountain home, maybe you need the pickup.

Pickup equals flexibility.
Van equals faster setup and pack up.

I've often considered a Nissan Van
18tdi-nvchelios701.jpg.ximg.l_full_m.smart.jpg
 
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MidOH

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That's not as capable as a truck. Even a truck with 2500# on it's back. If I get moved into one of those at work, I'm quitting. You have to be very careful with weight in those. If you upgrade to a larger Sprinter that can handle more weight, then you just spent as much cash as an F550 and a camper.

Option C. A chassis cab truck with a flat bed camper box on it's rear. As permanent as the van, triple the room.

Flat bed trucks and tray style campers, give more room, and have a priceless side entry. The downside is that the bed has to be carefully installed so that the trucks frame can flex properly. There's a reason that dealerships will sell a chassis cab truck, but they won't service them. Also permanent camper bodies, should NOT have a cab over bed. The entire camper should be behind the cab, never over it.
 
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Road

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I've used both pickups and vans extensively for adventuring, though have been a solid van guy now for 20 years.

I *really* like being able to crawl in back without getting out of my vehicle. From crashing at road side rests in blizzards to stopping at truck stops or even on a city street, being a little more stealthy is handy at times. My living area is also then at the same temps as my driving area; something not always possible with a slide in camper. It's a real comfort in lousy weather.

vannery-int_6042-900.jpeg

With an extended body van, at least in the Chevy Express & GMC Savana, you have about 12' of floor from the rear of the front seats to the rear doors. That's 4' more than a long bed pickup, or 50% more storage and living space. I can put 14' lumber in there and still close my rear doors.

In the image above, I have another 3' in front of the white bulkhead on the left, accessible from the side doors. The bed that goes crossways in this image can be slid anywhere along the length of the van on the built-in sideboxes seen to the right of the bike (and below), set up length-wise along either side, or folded up and stored by the half bulkhead. That gives me an extreme amount of flexibility if I want more space the other side of the bed, want a full pass-through floor plan with bed down one side or the other, or no bed at all.


offroad-vannxv2-900.jpg

I go everywhere I want with mine, even towing a trailer. It's high clearance, so able to handle every trail I've wanted it to for years.

It's an extended body, so longer wheelbase than many trucks and other vans at 155", which I was worried about at first for some trails. But it has never been a problem yet, and I go all over hither and yon.


vancamping-Chisos_1359-900.jpg
Full pass through front to back with a bed on each side, and still considerable storage.

I've used it in a number of different configurations over the years, though always with easily removable units. When needed, I can easily go back to a full-sized van for hauling cargo and helping folks move; materials for building projects; or to use as a solid work vehicle.

Savana-empty_600x450.jpg
Ready for Work.

The side boxes, each having three top lids with finger holes, hold a ton of gear. It's where I keep seasonal items, power tools and batt chargers, tow straps, and vehicle liquids etc; stuff I don't access every day. Storage in the side boxes stays pretty much the same year 'round, leaving my main cargo area free and open. Space measures a full 52" between wheel wells and is over 8" long (those are 8' e-tracks in the floor) if I leave the removable half-bulkhead in place, and almost 12' long if I take it out.

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