Road Trippin' Rigs

  • @NickG God, I love Canada!! 🇨🇦

  • One of the bigger parks up there was closed and gated We parked by the gate but not blocking it. Climbed the tallest Mtn in New Brunswik. because of the closed gate it ended up being a 33Km hike which we didn't start until after lunch. Very beat that evening and crawled into the van and crashed. In the morning the rangers came by and waved..

  • @toby - We love this whole setup.

    Pros: super affordable, lightweight, well-made, highly tweakable options, incredibly comfortable night's sleep, allows the tow vehicle to drive to crags while keeping camp intact, doesn't have a VW engine that breaks down on schedule, etc.

    Cons: the interior is pretty much for sleeping, or sitting up watching a movie in bad weather. Some may find it a bit questionable during really cold winter weather. Me, not so much.

    Regardings winds: I've not driven in crazy high winds, but I have in pretty brisk ones. I don't notice any difference in how it handles.

    The little blue popup tent could be used with a Port-a-poti, but we just use it for a changing room if we're in a campground where quarters are a little closer. You could also use if for a shower.

  • @Moose I know they're already posted elsewhere but would you mind adding a couple interior shots to your pics above? In this day of "more is more betterer" it is nice to see there's a few of us "less is more" types still alive and kickin'.

  • hen the Vanagon Syncro died I had to replace it with a 4x4 van. found this Aerostar for $1,800 that was the first generation sleeping platform. Curtains partially left over from the VW. I think one of these curtains still lives and is in the Sprinter. Very agresssive 4x4 and lots of power. still in the 19mpg range... got rear ended and salvaged but then the tranny went 6 moths or so after that. didn't quite make it to 200k... very thin and rust issues. lots of spray foam in the rockers by the time I was finished with her. Not the room of the VW but she gout the job done for a few years..

  • @NickG Take Home: The Ford "syncro" rigs were fails. Avoid??

  • Ford aerostar was fast, powerfull, great 4x4, front brakes wore quickly. maybe a tiny bit smaller than the Chevy astro? Previous owner had towed a good sized camper with it. I don't know if that or the rear end collision eventually contributed to the demise of the tranny. It was No VW vanegon Syncro that's for sure but it had some adventures. I like the Astro a bit better.

  • the next incarnation of the wannabe 4x4 camper van. This was the first of 3 AWD Dodge grand caravan/Chrysler town and country rigs. 20mpg,drove like a car not clunky like a van and had almost as much room as the Ford Aerostar. Good AWD and enough clearance to get there and back.. the sleeping platform had to be retooled slightly smaller. curtains and bug screens were transferred. Tight and another step down from my Gold standard of the time which was the beastly VW Syncro. These rigs got it done though on my budget of being a full time starving artist photographer.

  • another Chrysler product, same rig,same platform bug screens and curtains. Same destination 😉
    IMG_1813 copy.jpg

  • @toby Here you go, with some interior shots:





  • Moose, can you grab the tong of that thing and manhandle it around to get it in or out of a tight spot or do you have to actually be skilled at maneuvering with the vehicle?

  • @NickG Excellent query. I feared I was too anal to inquire about total and tongue weights. As measured, if possible, cuz sometimes manufacturers are out in left field about such details.

    Looks like you could tow that rig w/next to nothing special, drop it if/when you ever get into tight spot and then simply man handle as necessary to get yer'self sorted.

  • my dad would punish me for doing that with the farm tractor and wagon. the shit spreader was too heavy and you just had to suck it up and maneuver it with the tractor. We had another wagon with a light enough toung you could unhitch it and swing it around if need be, It was also short enough to be a PINTA to back up with. I guess Pa wanted me to get good at it. I just wanted to get the job finished without jacknifeing and getting stuck. .. Never did get very good at backing up with a trailer...

  • @NickG It's super easy to handle by hand on pavement, but a little more challenging on dirt or gravel. I pride myself in being a superhero when it comes to backing it into place, though, so... 😉

  • Good for you. When I pulled a 32ft camper with 8ft toung for our photo crew I hated it. My boss Gary Coeimg224.jpg
    was a legit tractor trailer guy. He pulled our film photo lab behind a Peterbilt and had driven for a living before and after he became a photographer. Anyways he would tuck our 40ft Lab in where ever the show wanted us and if the camping spot was tricky Gary would take over … He says you have to be pretty good to back up to some of the loading docks in big citys.. I was wicked stoked to finally have my own VW buss so that I both had privacy and a bit of space when we were on the road as well as not having to pull that camper anymore.. Poor Kino, the 70 yr old Japanese guy who got stuck being the driver when I bought my Syncro lost a wheel off the camper @ 70mph a few weeks after I graduated from driver..

  • This rig is pretty cool. Unfurtunatly he does not mention anything about his solar system. it would have been nive to know how much power and what kind of batteries etc he was using. I love the windows but can't imagin how much Dometic windows go for. that fridge was probably 2K and its only 40L I did catch a glimps of the solar panels and they are on the front gable end right behind the cab.

  • I used to drive tractor trailer. Used to be pretty good at backing trailers. Long time since I practiced such but not intimidated. Like, @NickG, however, been there, done that, and rather not have the associated hassles. Obviously there are benefits that outweigh such, depending on situation. @Moose 's rig is so small that it almost "isn't" though so many of the traditional grouses are no longer applicable. Instead, the trade-off optimization targets a different set of criteria. I do not think it would work for us due to wife requirements fer' more rather than less: Mainly indoor toilet and shower. Otherwise, she's pretty minimalist. Comparatively, as I still travel with tons more than I did. But I am also typically providing in some manner for more than myself too. Read kids, nieces, etc. And it is good to have them along so the younger gen can gain an appreciation and some knowledge of such things.

    @Moose I am curious if you ever camped w/that rig at Stanley Lake? I recall seeing a yellow rig much like this a few years ago and being intrigued then as well. Was kind of rainy and we needed to get camp set up ourselves so I did not get a chance to visit w/these folks about their tiny trailer rig before they bailed. I recall it did have Washington plates.

  • The 170" wheelbase sprinters have enough room to be full tilt class B motorhomes with shower,pooper etc...

  • @NickG Yep. I think pooper may be the compromise. I can live without a shower when camping almost indefinitely. Otherwise check into a hotel as necessary if/when you want/need to be "presentable". For me, road trippin', that may be once per week or two. Others, daily. Which is why I asked way upthread for evaluations and criterias. It's all a mix of cost:benefit analysis. And it is good to know your starting points, assumptions, and constraints. 🙂

    Freakin' Sprinters look hard to beat. Especially when you toss diesel and 4x4 into the mix. 👍

  • I just got home from 3 days of "social-distancing" car camping & hill-hiking, with SLC friends John & Jerry. I slept in the back of my 4-Runner, & Jerry in the back of his Chevy. John suffered in a tent.


    A shower tonight is a must. I definitely am aware of my own, & other's body-odor, more-so than some other friends. I confess to pointedly offering certain fellow climbers our solar-shower, during climbing campouts. A shower is a "must" in any "sissy-wagon" I invest in.

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