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Old 11-03-2010   #21
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 88
Worlds Most Expensive RV - Platinum Plus RV - StumbleUpon

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Old 11-03-2010   #22
north little rock, Arkansas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 341
Originally Posted by Kendrick View Post
Ideally you'd want to build your own, but it'd cost a lot of time and money. You could reinforce the whole thing with anti-ballistic, bullet-resistant materials, high-rise it, put a roll-cage on, and mount a turret on top. That's just the beginning of adventures to come, and your river-access options open up a lot more if you're able to drive through war zones.
And, you'd have a lot less trouble with those pesky landowners when putting in or camping on their property.

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Old 11-04-2010   #23
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 64
Well, I am learning alot abnout very top end and expensive vehicles. All of these are out of my price range and I will bet, most of yours.

Kind of sounds like 4x trucks are limited especially if weighted down with even a pop up camper slide in.

I think the comment about roof top campers/tents was somewhat inaccurate though. The Autohome tents that I mentioned are light very high tech and super easy to set up and drop down. Try looking at them at

Some look just like the old vw westfalia top, others are a straight lift. Both use pneumatic shocks to lift. Both are sided with goretex. All are protected by an upper and lower hard shell which can be made very light by using carbon fiber. All can be lifted off and set on the ground with their own legs. Some of the units actually have a rack on top for carrying kayaks etc.

It does get heavy though so 3 crossbars are needed. A self contained ladder allows access. They sell these babys in Jackson hole and down here in Denver. There is a fully contained bed inside with all the bedding pillows etc , pockets reading and lights.

In my world this would be a pretty sweet set up for even extended travel/camping.

My next question is what vehicle to mount this all on. I currently have a full sized Ford E-150. Good brakes plenty of power, incredible room inside (enough for 8 playboats and 8 boaters on short shuttles without even using the racks). It holds bikes, rafts, kitchen gear anything you want with ease.

But I don't get to go to those tough places like Crystal above Marble. Not sure I really want to run that stretch but it would be cool to get there anyway. I also don't want to pay for camping either and I bet that the end of those tough roads are the best place to be free of fees etc.

So, to get to a place like Crystal does one need a full on 4X to get there, or would one of the other SUV type vehicles have enough clearance, durability and guts to get up there with a full load of play toys?
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Old 11-04-2010   #24
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 64
Actually what we have right now is an excellent set up. The same E-150 with racks for any size raft. Plenty of room inside for the 5 people and boats bikes etc.

For sleeping we pull a Coleman pop-up camper. There is a queen sized bed and a double bed. A dinette that seats 4 and a U shaped couch for sitting/eating. Great stereo to play the I-Pod. Solar panel to keep the batteries topped up. Hot and cold water with an electric pump. Refrigerator. Furnace. Lights. Fully rain proof. Two deep cycle batteries, two 20 lb propane tanks.

Sure it takes about 10 minutes to set up but then it sits in your camp site while you hit the river to do laps. When you get back the beer is cold and you can stand up and cook on a 3 burner stove in a fully enclosed screened tent without the bugs.

The van gets about 20-22 mpg if you take it easy. While pulling the trailer the mileage is more like 15-16.
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Old 11-04-2010   #25
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 428
Tacoma with topper got me through 3 months in hood river last winter. If you are loking for cold weather camping check out the TGR forum about winter car camping, it will give you tons of great ideas. The hardest part is finding a place to dry your gear at night and keepin moisture out of your topper. Either way it is cheap and your house is always at the take out. Th important thing is to find showers (ymca, boat docks, etc). It smells bad all the time.

ps friend with a welder can make you a rack for about $40 that has been bomber so far. pm me for details
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Old 11-05-2010   #26
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Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 329

My stock 99 4runner drives up to the Gorge and the N fork never had a problem
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Old 11-17-2010   #27
Tempe, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 40
VW Syncro

I bought a 1987 VW Vanagon Syncro AWD. Vanagon Syncros manufactured between 1986-1991. Put a upgraded Impreza 2001 2.5l engine in it and love it. I am self contained, queen fold out bed in back, built a new kitchen cabinet with LP stove, heater, sink... I even adapted a Zodi shower and 12 v Waeco fridge.

About 14 k invested. 4 cyl gas milage, VERY short wheel base which comes in handy !!! I can haul up to 4 people comfortably and gear, if need be 6-7 people. 4x4 when I need it (installed a decoupler). Never been stuck in sand or snow.

These Syncros can be picked up already refurbished from many sources. One high dollar source is Home - GoWesty Camper Products - parts supplier for VW Vanagon, Eurovan, and Bus (40k roughly).

Try Yahoo groups and look for Syncro, 2 groups there if you want to find other sources/info.
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Old 11-17-2010   #28
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Farmington, Utah
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 707
Just watch this movie today. Check out this adventure vehicle.
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Old 11-18-2010   #29
sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 148
This sportsmobile is awesome.
BadgerTrek: The Camper Van (Sportsmobile)
I have a Quigley E250 with a camper conversion built in that I love too. Sink, stove, heater, fridge and bed. I call it my DAV, Desert assault vehicle.
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Old 11-18-2010   #30
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Thank you for all this information

Taking the time to document and then share all this information is much appreciated. You have given a great guide for anyone attempting serious van conversion projects.

I did a van some years ago just not to the extent you guys did. We did not have the interior kitchen you guys have, using the van interior for sleeping space and storage of gear.

I have often looked at the conversion van setups similar to yours and the high cost of these conversions is more than I can take.

Your experience with trouble shooting problems with OEM dealers and even after market add on items just goes to show how bad quality work is from many OEM types. It was very interesting for me to read that after the so called professional OEM mechanics gave up on your problems, you went in and found the real issue was a lack of attention to doing the job right IE loose bolts, missing connections and sloppy work. The old adage that you get what you pay for is just not true these days. I see more and more hi dollar work that ends up being sloppy.

Again, thanks for sharing all this information.

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