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jerryneal

Boomers and luxury van life

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We actually started off looking at a class B but was tooooo cramped for our lifestyle.  Others love it

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Since I don't subscribe to the Wall Street Journal I can'r read the article. But, I am aware of this trend. There's a company in Ohio that converts vans that are well insulated with top of the line sound systems in them. But, I don't think any of their buyers are full timers. I checked into them when I was thinking abut installing a screen door in my Sportsmobile. They look like a good company but I couldn't get all my stuff in their limited cabinetry.

Linda Sand

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This story is on today's Drudge Report, if you use the Drudge link the WSJ subscription popup comes with an X you can click on to close the popup and read the story.  I'm not sure how that works, the link from Drudge is the same as the one above, but it works even if I clear cookies before going to the WSJ.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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Another similar option not mentioned is a truck camper.  The cost from truck and camper is typically less than for a van conversion.  There is also typically more room and typically also bigger water and waste tanks.  For either the lifestyle is similar.  They are designed for travel and ease of use.  They typically only comfortably accommodate 2 people or 2 adults and  maybe a child or two.   

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7 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

This story is on today's Drudge Report

Thanks. I went there directly and was able to read the article. I started reading the comments but it was soon clear most commenters had no clue what they were talking about so I gave up on that part. I could see me trying to educate them would be wasted effort.

Linda Sand

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A luxury van may work for some, just like a Tiny House may work for some.  I personally think both are silly and would never own either.

 

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1 hour ago, FL-JOE said:

A luxury van may work for some, just like a Tiny House may work for some.  I personally think both are silly and would never own either.

 

So let us both take a trip to, say, Yellowstone.  I drive in to Norris or Mammoth campgrounds and am likely to find a camping space.  My truck camper will fit into any available space.  You are unlikely to find a spot you can fit into.  In fact you might not even try because you might want a dump and hookups.  So you stay outside the park up towards Livingston.  Next day we both drive over to the Lamar Valley to watch the wildlife.  I drive my TC.  You have a longer drive but you are scooting along in your little toad.  We both get to the Lamar Valley pull off the road and spend the afternoon watching wildlife.  I setup my zero gravity chairs.  You get a canvas chair or nothing.  Lunch time rolls around and I get in the camper cook some food, use the facilities and take a nap.  You get a sandwich or whatever food you brought and need to drive to a trailhead to use disgusting outhouses.  No nap.  Later in the afternoon you are tired out and start the long drive back to the RV park or campground.  Meanwhile I have a snack of some leftovers, watch the sunset and return to the Mammoth campground as it gets dark.  I don't know that either one of us is "silly" but we enjoy different sorts of travel experiences. 

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Got to agree with JimK, spent years camping in a 4X4 diesel pickup with a Lance truck camper, go almost anywhere, park overnight, almost anywhere. But, as you get older you need more comforts and more room. Just the way things go.

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I am over 70 and don't see what more comforts I need when traveling.  My truck camper has plenty of storage especially because I also use the rear seat of the truck for storage.  I have a dual layer queen sized foam mattress that is more comfortable than my mattress in the house.  The camper has a 3 burner stove, furnace, hot water, and a microwave and A/C for when I have hook ups.  The dinette is a bit cramped for 4 but works well for 2 or 3.  The whole area works better now that I have a Lagun table leg.  Refrigerator/freezer is adequate especially since we don't spend much time with big meals while traveling.  Toilet and shower are also adequate and the only issue is conserving water when boondocking.

The only added comfort I can imagine is a couple of big lounge chairs and a big screen TV.  We have had the RV for 8 years and even used it full time for a couple of those years.  I have yet to check to see if the TV actually works.   

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Now I have 115 gals of fresh water, a 10 kw diesel generator that burns less than .5 gal per hour, 180 gal of fuel, diesel heat and hot water, 15 cf fridge with separate freezer and icemaker,  big battery bank, and solar and inverters to run everything except the air conditioners, so I can boondock for a quite a while with no problems.. My truck camper only held 22 gal of water and 10 gal of propane [which would run the generator about 10 hours] when using the ac, which is almost a requirement for a lot of people that camp in the central and eastern south in the summer. Camper was great for a long weekend, with no hookups, but now I can head out into the boonies and stay for a week or more without hookups, or water,  food or propane worries. I guess everyone has a different comfort level. Mine has reached the point where I appreciate that recliner, cool air, big screen, and a cold adult beverage,  at the end of the day. 

I guess everybody has their own version of "camping in comfort"

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My van had 40 gallons of fresh water. Everything ran off either diesel from my fuel tank or electricity and I had 400 watts of solar to supply the electricity so I could boondock for a week or two using everything except my A/C. I had a furnace, water heater, 7 cf fridge/freezer, microwave, induction burner, wet bath, space for my electric scooter, a desk with real office chair, tons of 110 and 12v outlets, and lots of cupboards including two pantries and a hanging closet. The only thing I wished I had that I didn't was a macerator for dumping black water. Yup, all the comforts I needed in a Sprinter van. My bed did only sleep one person but since DH would not go with me that was not a problem. True I did not full time in that van, I only went out October through April to escape Minnesota winters, but I did carry copies of my legal papers with me so I can't imagine what else I would have needed to bring to go full time. Oh, yes, I was in my late 60s when doing this so that marine toilet was important.

Linda Sand

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Yes, your version of camping is different than mine.  I only have 30 gallons of water and with daily showers we use 5 gallons/day for 2 of us or 3 gallons a day when I travel alone.  So that is only 6 days for the 2 of us.  I do hate sponge baths so water can indeed become an issue.  We have done that only when needed or when the temps are moderate or cool.  My refrigerator works just fine so I have no issues with cold drinks.  A/C or not I do not sit in the camper during the day.  I am usually out hiking and photographing all day, every day.  I often camp in hot locations and need to run the A/C for a couple hours in the afternoon or evening.  My RV is small and it cools down rapidly.  I think my generator would run about 6 hrs on a gallon of gas with the A/C running.  I carry 4 gallons of gas.  I have never come close to burning through that amount.  If it is too hot to be comfortable at night I would move on.  I travel.  I do not sit in one spot for more than a few days.  I certainly would not even vaguely consider camping in the southeast in the summer.   

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9 minutes ago, sandsys said:

...... I had 400 watts of solar to supply the electricity so I could boondock for a week or two using everything except my A/C. .....

I forgot to mention, my TC has 270 watts of solar and 2 AGM batteries totaling 300 AH.  400 watts would be even better.

The conversion vans I have seen have been really nice.  Sounds like yours was outstanding.

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My lp generator in the Lance was older and probably not too efficient. Newer models according to Onan burn .6 gallons an hour. Add in cooking, water heater and propane refrigerator and running your ac, and probably you will be  using closer to .8 to 1 gal per hour. I can only tell you that my two 20 lb propane tanks [10 gal propane] would last about day before needed filling when running the ac.

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/Cummins-Onan-RV-QG-3600/p6213.html

I started back in the 60's with a tent, went to a VW camper van, Class B, then Class C, then truck camper, then to Class A.  If you are happy with your truck camper and travel vans, more power to you. Wish I could be, would probably have a lot more money in the bank. HA!

 

 

Edited by jcussen

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1 hour ago, JimK said:

I do hate sponge baths so water can indeed become an issue.  

I guess I'm lucky. Using a damp washcloth on the critical areas daily let me do a full shower once a week. My water heater was 2.5 gallons but I never used all of it in a single shower. I would turn on my water heater, set a timer for 10 minutes, then turn the heater off. That made the water temperature just right without ever turning on the cold water so I didn't use water trying to get the mix of hot and cold right.

I did eat a lot of freeze-dried meals so I used a couple cups of water for dinner most nights.

Linda

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41 minutes ago, sandsys said:

Using a damp washcloth on the critical areas daily let me do a full shower once a week. 

I did eat a lot of freeze-dried meals so I used a couple cups of water for dinner most nights.

Linda

To be honest those both sound like huge compromises that most folks (ourselves included) are unwilling to tolerate.

I guess that is why the poll on this board shows that something like 85% of folks are full-timing in either a Class A or a Fifth Wheel. Doesn't make a van or truck camper right or wrong, but it does indicate the level of comfort/storage/amenities that most full-timers desire. 

And going back to the article referenced in the OP, I imagine that most of the folks starting out full-timing in "Luxury Vans" will soon find the compromises involved more than they bargained for. But there won't be an article about that...

Edited by mptjelgin

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At one time we kicked around the idea of a Class B (aka conversion or camper van) towing a travel trailer. The idea was that the TT would be the base camp and the tow vehicle would provide some comforts should we decide that we needed a break during a long day of sight-seeing.

After we bought the Foretravel we thought about such a vehicle as a towed, but finally decided against that and went with an MKT. Basically we decided that trying to be able to do it all means too many compromises. The Foretravel provides a great base camp and the MKT gets us around in comfort and fairly economically.

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It's my experience that a Class B is not big enough for two people to go full time. But it is big enough for one person if it is well designed. jcussen's link included a Winnebago Ravel with a 5 gallon cassette toilet. That would not do for me.

Linda

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11 minutes ago, sandsys said:

It's my experience that a Class B is not big enough for two people to go full time. But it is big enough for one person if it is well designed. jcussen's link included a Winnebago Ravel with a 5 gallon cassette toilet. That would not do for me.

Linda

Linda, why not a cassette toilet, a lot of the new truck campers and travel vans come with them now?

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I love my cassette toilet and would not want a standard toilet and black tank.  There are just too many places without dump stations nearby.  There can be problems even in major national parks.  I frequently stay at Mammoth in Yellowstone.  No dump station.  The next nearest campgrounds are the two in the Lamar Valley and Norris.  No dumps.  Remote campgrounds, forest service campgrounds and BLM campgrounds rarely have dump stations but there will always be an outhouse.  I can dump my cassette in any outhouse or any regular toilet. 

There is nothing fun about dumping a cassette toilet or a black tank but there are way, way more places to dump a cassette. 

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1 hour ago, jcussen said:

Linda, why not a cassette toilet, a lot of the new truck campers and travel vans come with them now?

It's my physical limitations not the toilet itself that would keep me from having one.

Linda

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22 hours ago, JimK said:

So let us both take a trip to, say, Yellowstone.  I drive in to Norris or Mammoth campgrounds and am likely to find a camping space.  My truck camper will fit into any available space.  You are unlikely to find a spot you can fit into.  In fact you might not even try because you might want a dump and hookups.  So you stay outside the park up towards Livingston.  Next day we both drive over to the Lamar Valley to watch the wildlife.  I drive my TC.  You have a longer drive but you are scooting along in your little toad.  We both get to the Lamar Valley pull off the road and spend the afternoon watching wildlife.  I setup my zero gravity chairs.  You get a canvas chair or nothing.  Lunch time rolls around and I get in the camper cook some food, use the facilities and take a nap.  You get a sandwich or whatever food you brought and need to drive to a trailhead to use disgusting outhouses.  No nap.  Later in the afternoon you are tired out and start the long drive back to the RV park or campground.  Meanwhile I have a snack of some leftovers, watch the sunset and return to the Mammoth campground as it gets dark.  I don't know that either one of us is "silly" but we enjoy different sorts of travel experiences. 

That may be a bad example.  We have been to Yellowstone twice, first time in our 39' fiver then in a MH.  We were fine going into the park during the day in our F350 on the first visit and then on our Harley during the second visit.  Didn't really feel the need for a nap or to sit around in zero gravity chairs.

Like I said in my original post, a tiny house or luxury van camper may be great for some.  As full timers it isn't for us and I still think they are silly.  

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