What famiiy/rafting vehicle should I buy? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-08-2013   #1
Paul7's Avatar
Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 861
What famiiy/rafting vehicle should I buy?

I'm going around and around trying to decide what used vehicle I should buy.

My wife insists on a vehicle with a third row seat, I'm also wanting something that will be a good balance of towing power and daily driver qualities.

Currently we have two outbacks which is quite small for our three kids and rafting gear. It does have a tow hitch but I'm not comfortable towing a raft trailer with it.

I'm considering Ford Explorers, Honda Pilot although I'm not sure if a Pilot would tow that well. It looks like my trailer weight should be not much more than 1500 total.

I'm trying to avoid the big v8 SUV's or is that a mistake? My wife likes the minivans but I shudder at that thought. One van that looks interesting is the AWD Astro van it is more truck like than the other minivans.

What works for other families, you or others you've seen?

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Old 01-08-2013   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,858
we have an old F-150 with a topper that works great for raft and kids. also have an outback for non-boating trips. I say that or a Tundra if you can afford one.
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Old 01-08-2013   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2012
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80s suburban. Big and cheap, plus if you get a diesel, over 20 mpg! Use the money you save over a newer vehicle to make it sweet.
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Old 01-08-2013   #4
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 83
There is life after fuel mileage. We have 5 kids (no we aren't Mormon) and our family ride is the GMC Yukon Denali. We love this vehicle and use the crap out of it. It tows like an ox and seats 8.
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Old 01-08-2013   #5
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
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Chevy trailblazer
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 01-08-2013   #6
the grove, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
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chevy express AWD passenger van
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Old 01-08-2013   #7
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 27
96 burb (first yr with more efficient reliable vortec engine I think). It has transported everything from 8 kayaks to a 22' snout rig. Comes standard with yogurt covered raisins smashed into the beige cloth seats, sandwhich crusts in the cup holders and pbr cans on the floor. They get terrible mileage and occasionally break but replacement parts are plentiful and cheap.
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Old 01-09-2013   #8
Horserump, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 515
I have owned 2 GMC awd safari vans. But I would look at one of those Sprinter type vans with a diesel. I think you can get them in 4x4. They are a Chrysler/Mercedes product and come in multiple configurations.
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Old 01-09-2013   #9
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,824
Sprinters are pretty sweet, but my experience is that they handle like crap in the snow.... granted, your looking for a family boating ride but I would imagine you would have to deal with snow sometime in it living in Idaho...

My suggestion would be a full size extended cab truck with a topper. Tundra's are bomber.... and to keep a suby wagon.
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Old 01-09-2013   #10
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,344
Toyota 4 Runner, V6 is my choice. I've towed rafts all over Utah, Idaho, and out to Oregon with it. Good balance of fuel economy and power. Doesn't have a third row seat though.
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