Fred the Van. The More We Explore's Adventure Van Build Thread

sixstringsteve

Explorer
We liked the graphics too, but they Drew a lot of attention. My wife hated driving it around alone. We are considering some new graphics, but we will make them removable so we don't have to draw so much attention to ourselves (let's face it, this van will always draw attention).
 

sixstringsteve

Explorer
Exactly. :)

The theory is that while we will still stick out without graphics, people won't feel comfortable approaching us saying "hey, I follow you on YouTube" or "hey, what's the more we explore?" We'd like to find a balance between good marketing and privacy.
 

justbecause

perpetually lost
Exactly. :)

The theory is that while we will still stick out without graphics, people won't feel comfortable approaching us saying "hey, I follow you on YouTube" or "hey, what's the more we explore?" We'd like to find a balance between good marketing and privacy.
"hey look at me look at me, no one is around and there is a ton of expensive camera equipment and electronics in here"

I laughed out loud at xpedition overland when they said "we chose the hidden winch mount to keep things low key"; then put the biggest double rear swing out tire carrier on the market on every vehicle along with matching full wrap graphics.

No one asked me what my RTT was on the land cruiser but in the short time I had it on my frontier I had tons of strangers walk up and start asking questions.

The struggle is real.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
"hey look at me look at me, no one is around and there is a ton of expensive camera equipment and electronics in here"

I laughed out loud at xpedition overland when they said "we chose the hidden winch mount to keep things low key"; then put the biggest double rear swing out tire carrier on the market on every vehicle along with matching full wrap graphics.

No one asked me what my RTT was on the land cruiser but in the short time I had it on my frontier I had tons of strangers walk up and start asking questions.

The struggle is real.
Definitely a balance between wanting to meet new people, share overlanding with them, etc....and not advertising all the awesome gear you have inside.
 

derjack

Adventurer
The van is pretty light inside. We have the top (240 lbs), (2) 30lb bikes, (2) 25 lb packrafts, then about 100-150 lbs of extra stuff. So I'd say about 500 lbs of cargo. The Airstream is rated at 8800 lbs GVWR, but we don't think we're anywhere near that weight since we don't have much heavy stuff in it. Last time we weighed it it was 6500lbs empty. I highly doubt we have 2300 lbs of stuff in here. We need to weigh it again now that we have it all loaded up. Airstreams tow extremely well. A stock dually cummins would be the ideal way to tow an Airstream, but I don't see us ever going back to a truck after having the utiliity of a van.
Hey

The Top made of fiberglass weights 240ibs??? Really?

Here we have thousands of VW buses and bigger LTs with similar glasfibre tops. Easy to carry by 2 people. So estimated eight 20-30kg, ~50ibs.
Sure it's not made of thick steel?
 

Corneilius

Adventurer
Hey

The Top made of fiberglass weights 240ibs??? Really?

Here we have thousands of VW buses and bigger LTs with similar glasfibre tops. Easy to carry by 2 people. So estimated eight 20-30kg, ~50ibs.
Sure it's not made of thick steel?
These tops aren't like Westy tops, they are multiple layers, plywood and 2x6 reinforced and I think his has a reverse flange (more material still). The ones I've worked with you can jump up and down on quite safely. They do weigh a couple hundred pounds, I've never had one significantly effect a Ujoint vans handling though.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Fiberglass top from a 1985 Toyota 4Runner isn't much lighter. There are no 2x6's for sure, but it is not 50 pounds either. It is a struggle for one person to get it off and I would guess 150 - 200 pounds.

I can see the advantage of a super lightweight top on CoG and possibly cost as well, but you would then lose the ability to install a roof rack, wall on your roof to install solar, etc. Maybe something halfway in the middle constructed from an engineered composite, thus eliminating the heavy dimensioned lumber and thick fiberglass?

I know this is not a hard core off roader for you guys, but wheeling a 4Runner on 35's was scary with the fiberglass top on it, as I was always afraid that I would drag it on something or hit something and crack the top.
 

normal_dave

waytoomuchwritinginposts.
Behind the information curve on Fred since I've added a 3rd gen Montero to the stable, and been hanging out in the Expo Mitsu forum, but still have the van!

So, not enough room in Fred for self-contained solo adventures...?
Tired of hassling with bikes unloading/loading?
Airstream too big for small trips?
What's an explorer to do?
Hmmm, sounds pretty familiar.

Nothing, but nothing beats Fred for functionality and capability vs. cost.
I quit trying to redesign and pack the van for 6 folks and gear a long time ago. I spend way more time playing than building now and it's great.
Built a cargo trailer conversion, so handy, it now goes even on some day trips, biking, paddling, weekends, capable on many reasonable off road conditions.

It may well be that the new high top meets all the needs, but being sort of in your situation (just washed in hot water...2WD, smaller living sized trailer, but more kids) it seems you might just consider "a two-trailer solution"?

What!?!... holy ridiculous duplicity batman!

Keep the Airstream for larger adventures, get something smaller for summer/short trips, while keeping the van available for passengers, light gear. While the two of you are mostly full timing and/or solo, know that some of our most fun adventures included bringing family/friends along for the ride. This is were Fred excels in addition to a bulletproof tow platform.

So maybe re-consider something like ours (but smaller) for a fraction of the cost of larger tow rigs, different airstreams, etc. It will go most places Fred will go, and when it won't just make your base camp out of it. I really enjoy the simplicity of popping open the back door and rolling the ready to ride mountain bike right out the back, and at the end of the day when I'm tired muddy and wet, rolling it right back in (yes even in all it's muddy glory). The benefits of the mobile changing room, secured gear, and easy access to everything make the cargo conversion a real hit with our family, and really friendly to the budget.
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=48345

Here's another one ready to go, that would hold bikes (ready to ride), and any gear that won't easily ride in Fred. Built by Cargo Craft of Texas for Colorado trailers.

For now, our kids are too big to go with us, so we end up hauling empty space, but we solider on, enjoying the modular capability of the trailer. So if you are really full-timing, then you may not have a "home base" to keep the smaller "adventure trailer", so maybe not the best plan, but who knows? you've considered everything else.

Keep going, (literally), whatever path you choose.
 
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