Expedition Vehicle selection thoughts?

srqsup

Observer
Good answer . Just not to the question I asked.. I am asking about you choice to switch from the MTV platform to a pickup truck platform.. what aspect of your experience with the MTV prompted this decision to switch platforms? What are the driving (no pun intended) factors?
We fell in love with Alaska and plan on spending 6 to 8 month a year here the rest of the time we are going to be traveling in Canada and the lower 48. So we needed a vehicle built around two seasons worth of gear vs four and that gets better fuel milage and is more fun to drive between the lower 48 and Alaska .
 
My wife and I lived full time through a Rocky Mountain winter wild camping/boon docking every night in our truck. We also explored the High Sierras, Death Valley and plenty of southern Utah - including running the White Rim Trail as the first vehicle through after November snows.

The requirements:
25 feet or less in length
19ft
1. Really good off-road 4x4 not even close to stuck even once, rear and front locking differentials we don't have them but I believe you can fit ARB lockers, winch we have a Warn 12,000lb, decent approach/departure/breakover angles check, 3 point camper mount ours has a four point flex mount but does a similar job
2. Have or be able to be modded for large solar+lithium battery bank. Electricity the main power source. This is an option, as is an induction hob.
3. Bellow/portal access from cab to camper. Certainly possible but would require a custom build
4. Large freshwater/grey tanks, cassette or composting toilet, large diesel fuel tank(s). 80gal fresh (+ remote collection & filtering), 23 gal grey, fresh water Thetford cassette toilet. Space and payload for an aux fuel tank if required we didn't need one.
5. Must be 0F to 110F capable. Check. We saw -10 to 10f for weeks on end in Utah in Jan/Feb. Inch thick fibreglass/foam sandwich built in a female mould Double pane windows, Yes interior or heated tanks and lines Dedicated heat for water tanks. Air conditioning and heater systems that are commensurate with these temps. We have a Webasto DualTop which ran solidly for 3 months and was superb. No A/C but if you really wanted it you could fit it. We found the setting the fans to blow out worked well with vents opened in the right spots.
6. Parts have to still be available. Available in every town across N America
7. A vehicle cab that you don't have to put ear plugs in at 65 MPH and doesn't beat you to death. We cruise at 65 and do just fine
8. If foreign, must be left hand drive and registerable in the US. US Truck

Cost is $121k plus the truck

You'll notice that the first picture depicts a route that you couldn't drive in virtually all the vehicles discussed, and must be one of the finest trails in the whole world. Personally I wouldn't dismiss a popup hard sided camper: I was a buyer/owner before I set up XPCamper in Europe. Ours is the original Prototype 1.1 on a single cab 2007 6.0 F350 with 35" Toyo MTs we get 19mpg (US). We have 480w of solar and 420Ah AGM batteries, lithium is an option. After nearly 10 years in production the V1 is a really refined build now. There is loads of storage, and we managed with all our ski kit, despite having the only single cab in the fleet and no under tray boxes. If you ever did want to explore further afield it will fit in a 20ft shipping container. If you ever have an issue with the truck you swap the bed and camper onto a different vehicle - unlike a coach built camper.

Everyone has their own best set of compromises but having read the whole thread I'm not sure why you ruled out the very first suggestion. Best of luck with your search, happy to answer questions with my owners hat on, or my XPCamper hat on!

Hardscrabble Hill - White Rim Trail.jpg

White Crack at Sunset 3.jpg1490581_800111873350405_7877586198346552644_o.jpgjoeandjosees baja img_20501.jpgToward-Bed-940x463.jpg
 
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trailsurfer

Explorer
My wife and I lived full time through a Rocky Mountain winter wild camping/boon docking every night in our truck. We also explored the High Sierras, Death Valley and plenty of southern Utah - including running the White Rim Trail as the first vehicle through after November snows.

The requirements:
25 feet or less in length
19ft
1. Really good off-road 4x4 not even close to stuck even once, rear and front locking differentials we don't have them but I believe you can fit ARB lockers, winch we have a Warn 12,000lb, decent approach/departure/breakover angles check, 3 point camper mount ours has a four point flex mount but does a similar job
2. Have or be able to be modded for large solar+lithium battery bank. Electricity the main power source. This is an option, as is an induction hob.
3. Bellow/portal access from cab to camper. Certainly possible but would require a custom build
4. Large freshwater/grey tanks, cassette or composting toilet, large diesel fuel tank(s). 80gal fresh (+ remote collection & filtering), 23 gal grey, fresh water Thetford cassette toilet. Space and payload for an aux fuel tank if required we didn't need one.
5. Must be 0F to 110F capable. Check. We saw -10 to 10f for weeks on end in Utah in Jan/Feb. Inch thick fibreglass/foam sandwich built in a female mould Double pane windows, Yes interior or heated tanks and lines Dedicated heat for water tanks. Air conditioning and heater systems that are commensurate with these temps. We have a Webasto DualTop which ran solidly for 3 months and was superb. No A/C but if you really wanted it you could fit it. We found the setting the fans to blow out worked well with vents opened in the right spots.
6. Parts have to still be available. Available in every town across N America
7. A vehicle cab that you don't have to put ear plugs in at 65 MPH and doesn't beat you to death. We cruise at 65 and do just fine
8. If foreign, must be left hand drive and registerable in the US. US Truck

Cost is $121k plus the truck

You'll notice that the first picture depicts a route that you couldn't drive in virtually all the vehicles discussed, and must be one of the finest trails in the whole world. Personally I wouldn't dismiss a popup hard sided camper: I was a buyer/owner before I set up XPCamper in Europe. Ours is the original Prototype 1.1 on a single cab 2007 6.0 F350 with 35" Toyo MTs we get 19mpg (US). We have 480w of solar and 420Ah AGM batteries, lithium is an option. After nearly 10 years in production the V1 is a really refined build now. There is loads of storage, and we managed with all our ski kit, despite having the only single cab in the fleet and no under tray boxes. If you ever did want to explore further afield it will fit in a 20ft shipping container. If you ever have an issue with the truck you swap the bed and camper onto a different vehicle - unlike a coach built camper.

Everyone has their own best set of compromises but having read the whole thread I'm not sure why you ruled out the very first suggestion. Best of luck with your search, happy to answer questions with my owners hat on, or my XPCamper hat on!

View attachment 482745

View attachment 482746View attachment 482747View attachment 482748View attachment 482749


Is the top picture along the river on the White Rim Trail? Beautiful photos!
 
Is the top picture along the river on the White Rim Trail? Beautiful photos!
Yes it is. The photo with the top popped is White Crack Campground. The camper overhang is actually really practical; it keeps the sun off the cab in hot weather and mostly stops snow from falling on the windscreen in winter. You also end up with a short, light, wieldy and powerful truck that doesn't really notice the weight of the camper unless you have the 80gal water tank full. A custom passthrough could be an option.

Thanks 'Fugly'

Thelma & Louise Point.jpg
 
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beardinc

Observer
The new Chevy HD or International CV is now available.
-22,500lb GVWR in 4x4
-50k psi frame
-6.6L Duramax(after market DEF delete available!!)
-Allison trans(3 options available)
-Dual alternators available
-65gal fuel(25gal/40gal split)

It's a conventional truck which is a downside to me, but it's a real contender!
 

Chorky

Observer
Interesting convos and suggestions seen here. Zybane, have you come close to a decision?

Like many have said eventually you have to just pull the trigger and see where it takes you. As I have done with deciding to do a modified camper with custom bed for storage. Realizing it is absolutely not the perfect plan, but better than spinning wheels and not going on adventures. I'd rather adventure now while physically able than miss out on opportunities to see amazing things. You never know when a life altering event might happen that prevents such adventures..... Something to seriously consider. Making an informed decision that will get you 85% of what you want and not waiting too long to do it. Compromises all around, and there's no perfect solution. Even for billionaires.

Speaking of which, I'm seeing a ton of people talking about basically exploring 12 months of the year. How the heck do you afford to do that? Serious question!!
 

rruff

Explorer
Speaking of which, I'm seeing a ton of people talking about basically exploring 12 months of the year. How the heck do you afford to do that? Serious question!!
I did it for 13 years on ~$3k/yr in the '90s and early 2000s. Had $100k in the bank and CDs were earning >6%, so no reason to quit!

Just sayin' there is a wide spectrum of ways to do it, depending on what you can afford. Priorities....
 

beardinc

Observer
I think alot of folks from my generation (millennial) are doing online work. As more offices transition to online it opens up alot of opportunities for a nomadic lifestyle.
 

Zybane

Member
Interesting convos and suggestions seen here. Zybane, have you come close to a decision?

Like many have said eventually you have to just pull the trigger and see where it takes you. As I have done with deciding to do a modified camper with custom bed for storage. Realizing it is absolutely not the perfect plan, but better than spinning wheels and not going on adventures. I'd rather adventure now while physically able than miss out on opportunities to see amazing things. You never know when a life altering event might happen that prevents such adventures..... Something to seriously consider. Making an informed decision that will get you 85% of what you want and not waiting too long to do it. Compromises all around, and there's no perfect solution. Even for billionaires.

Speaking of which, I'm seeing a ton of people talking about basically exploring 12 months of the year. How the heck do you afford to do that? Serious question!!
I'm still searching. But since I have been extended a year in Saudi Arabia, I have more time to research. What I'm looking for really doesn't seem to fit my budget of $250-300K. I'm also curious to see how the electric vehicle revolution will affect expedition vehicles, if at all. I don't think solar (whatever you could carry on the roof of the EV) would be powerful enough to really charge the vehicle. But imagine the almost zero maintenance and zero "fuel" bills, would be pretty incredible.

It seems like almost everything I find has one or more "deal breaker".
 

rruff

Explorer
Nope, you are definitely not going to power your vehicle with solar panels! Not unless you want to "expedition" in something like this:


I look at a lot of these fancy expedition vehicles with wonder and awe. I appreciate them as an artful engineering exercise. But at the end of the day, physics (ie reality) rears its head, and you are making some serious compromises with weight, offroad ability, clearance, and complexity... no matter how much you spend. In fact spending more can often make it worse! And you are making these compromises because of comfort and convenience. How much of that do you really need? What is the reason for embarking on this adventure in the first place?

I spent 13 years living and exploring in the wilderness in a minimally equipped 2wd '84 Toyota truck. You'd be amazed at where I was able to go with that thing. I had no problem getting to places where I wouldn't see another human. About 3 years of that time I had a woman and dog with me. With that crew we hauled 10gal of wash water and 8gal of drinking water for a week in the desert. If camping in the mountains and there was a stram or lake near, then I could forget the wash water. I had no heat or cooling, just traveled to where the weather was pleasant. S CA/AZ or Baja in winter, and would make my way up north in summer. No toilet. Used sunshowers (sparingly). Portable propane stove. No cooler or frig. I eventually got a laptop and solar panel, but that was a mixed bag. Tainted the experience to a degree.

When I started this trip I had very little camping experience and thought I'd miss all sorts of things. I didn't miss any of it. Not a bit. Less is very often more. I often think the rig I'm building now will be too much, and that's for two people full time. Compared to what I did before it will mostly have more space inside and better off road ability. But I know from experience that neither is necessary.
 
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