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 > minivan as alternative to a tent--suggestions/experience?

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coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 09/03/12 01:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So to make a long story short, my boyfriend and I split up and the trailer in my signature is for sale. I don't want to buy the gas to tow it, or back it by myself. So my tentative plan is to take my cash from the trailer sale (part of it, anyway) and whatever I can get for my Sequoia, and buy a minivan for camping.

I don't want to mess with putting a tent up & down, so I would get a fold-flat rear seat minivan, with the second row seats that come out. A mattress, thermo-electric cooler, some bins for clothes and non-perishable food, and I am good to go.

Does anyone have experience doing this? Any suggestions? I'm really wondering if any particular brand of van is better than others with space, etc.

I've read a lot of sites where people do elaborate but cheap DIY van conversions. I don't want to do that, since this van will also be my daily driver and I will need the rear seats part of the time.

I know I will need screen for the windows and some type of shade for privacy. I won't be camping in extremely hot weather, at most would want a battery operated fan.


2006 Toyota Sienna
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DesertHawk

Las Cruces, New Mexico

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Posted: 09/03/12 02:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CoolMom, We had (if I remember correctly) a '92 Chevy Conversion Van back in the middle/late '90s. We didn't use it a lot for camping or overnighting, but we did a couple of times (mainly an overnight). At least my kids did a few times. Once at an relatives home, a couple of times camping & needed a little more room & my son & I did a camping trip (overnight) once. The fold down back seat made a pretty nice & comfortable bed. It had two captan chairs in the middle, between the front seats & the rear. It came with a few narrow screened windows below larger non-opening windows (on at least one side, away from the sliding door). But you can get screens to go into or over the windows in the doors as well.

It could work. IMHO.

Not sure how large your TT is: Have you though of getting a small trailer instead of the van. Still might have to back it up at times, but practice can solve the backing up problem.

There are several smalls ones out there, such as 13' Scamp & Casita as well as many other ones. The Little Joe TTs are neat. Maybe a teardrop would work as well; or even a RoughNeck ---- half a Little Joe

A Van could work for camping as you are thinking, espc'lly for one person.

Hubert (U-Bear) was able to get a van for his wife to do camping in Europe: Euro/Van, but not as you want/need, but interesting anyway. The first photo on the link is not of the van they converted. Click on that photo & you start the slide show.


DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
*2015 Lance 1985~Casita de Campo~23' 4" Tongue to Bumper, Dinette Slide
160 watt Solar Panel/GoPower! Solar Controller
*2009 White Ford F-150 Reg. Cab
Long Bed with A.R.E. Molded Fiberglass Topper
*Previously~ 2005 16' Scamp


cm

Dillon, CO USA

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Posted: 09/03/12 02:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You might want to add a porta potti. It will take up some room but could be handy depending on where you plan to camp.

Also solar shower bags can be handy. The Coleman brand at Walmart is less than $10. Even though it might be a sponge bath in the mini van a few hours in the sun with the solar shower bag will give you warm to hot water depending on the weather.

safn1949

Mankato,MN

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Posted: 09/03/12 03:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Had a 1984 caravan and a 1990 astro,both were cargo vans and I spent many a night in them. Also had a 1988 chevy conversion van that I used a lot. The cargo vans are nice because they are empty and smaller ones are cheap and way better on gas. The 88 got 14mpg and the astro 20. The vans can be stuffy inside,the conversion had the small screens and was better in that area,a 12 volt roof vent fan would be a great addition,just run a whopping big battery in it and try it overnight at home to make sure it doesn't kill you battery.

My girl uses a 5 gal pail w/liner and cat litter along with the snap on toilet seat from gander mtn in our big truck,saves a lot of stops.

The coleman 12 volt coolers are junk.....really junk,been thru 5 of them in 5 years. Spend the money for a domitec but remember,they are tough on batteries. A 1500 watt invertor is nice to have as it will run all kinds of stuff,but again,tough on batteries. I have a $59 weber gas grill that is fantastic and very small but I can grill 2 big steaks on it easy.

You can use the grill to heat water for whatever,I use a backpacking stove also,I have spent 15 months in a row living in a class 8 truck with 56 sq feet of space,bed included. I have the big batteries that can run the cooler and microwave in it,much harder to do in a van.

coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 09/03/12 03:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good suggestion on the solar shower. I have a pop-up shower tent that we have used when tent camping, but collecting the run-off is an issue.

This is the cooler I was thinking about. Ex-boyfriend has an older version and it works really well, we used it a lot tent camping. We found that if you get it cold while the car is running, then put a blanket or other insulation around it at night, it's still cold in the morning. And like I said, I don't plan to be camping in extremely hot weather, which will help.

safn1949

Mankato,MN

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Posted: 09/03/12 03:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

coolmom42 wrote:

Good suggestion on the solar shower. I have a pop-up shower tent that we have used when tent camping, but collecting the run-off is an issue.

This is the cooler I was thinking about. Ex-boyfriend has an older version and it works really well, we used it a lot tent camping. We found that if you get it cold while the car is running, then put a blanket or other insulation around it at night, it's still cold in the morning. And like I said, I don't plan to be camping in extremely hot weather, which will help.
I also put frozen cold packs (the cheap plastic bag type) and frozen water bottles in mine,really help keep it cool for a few days.

dadechil

Georgia

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Posted: 09/03/12 06:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

try this alternative ?

http://www.meijer.com/s/sportz-82000-suv........ogle_G_US_Meijer_eCom_PLA_Sporting_Goods

coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 09/03/12 07:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

safn1949 wrote:

coolmom42 wrote:

Good suggestion on the solar shower. I have a pop-up shower tent that we have used when tent camping, but collecting the run-off is an issue.

This is the cooler I was thinking about. Ex-boyfriend has an older version and it works really well, we used it a lot tent camping. We found that if you get it cold while the car is running, then put a blanket or other insulation around it at night, it's still cold in the morning. And like I said, I don't plan to be camping in extremely hot weather, which will help.
I also put frozen cold packs (the cheap plastic bag type) and frozen water bottles in mine,really help keep it cool for a few days.


I've always started out with the cooler cold, all the drinks etc cold, and added a couple of those big blue ice packs in there too. You are right, they make it run a lot less.

coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 09/03/12 07:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator



I've looked at those. However, there is a problem being in a tent in bear country, with your food in an attached vehicle. And black bears are moving into most any undeveloped area of East and Middle TN now.

Campalong

Edmonton, AB

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Posted: 09/03/12 08:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not too sure if your interested in older model minivans but I know the Ford Aerostar Eddie Bauer Edition has a fold down rear bench seat that turns into a bed. The Dodge Caravans have Stow And Go (makes a flat and roomy space). IMO removing and installing seats will become tiresome in no time. Good luck in your decision


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