Is a 100 series the right vehicle for me?

BushHead

Adventurer
If you're happy with your expedition's size, just get a 4x4 one with the rear axle, they're dirt cheap and you know exactly what you're getting in to. Small lift, tires, winch... beat it to death!!
 

BushHead

Adventurer
guess I should add, I would love a cruiser too.... must resist the urge.... Super happy with my excursion, its plenty big!
 

spressomon

Expedition Leader
Just to resonate what others here have stated: 80/100/200 is not going to be adequate space for 5 plus camping gear; no way. And know, from my, et al, experiences, a SO that doesn't have camping in her/his blood is generally going to need more in the bulky creature comfort all things camping gear related dept.

The way I see it, based upon your stated objectives, you're either going to need to include a trailer in the mix or move up to a 4WD van...Sportsmobile or maybe a new AWD 2015 Sprinter...decked out of course ;)

Or a third thought, and this worked for a husband, wife and kid team we met in Death Valley a couple years ago: Two off-road capable rigs!
 

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JFarris

Wanderer
I didn't read through all the posts, but thought I would share my thoughts. We are a family of 6. It works for us perfect under 1 condition. Have to have a roof rack & trailer. When we go on a trip as a family, we definitely do not pack like were hiking Whitney. It fits every thing needed, and even the unneeded(I'm the only one who thinks this).

By a trailer, doesn't mean you have to spend $18-$20K. You can get by on something simple and cheap.
 

REDrum

Aventurero de la Selva
The big variable is how much, (or how little), stuff the OP's family of 5 needs for a weekend of camping and wilderness exploring. I have two friends who wheel and camp with 4 and 6 family members in FJ40s. Its tight and slow but they both do it.

FWIW....our UZJ100 has carried a lot of gear and people for near a decade now. Have used for both wheeling/camping adventures all over New England and as our Stage Rally service truck (which also towed our rally car) all over the Northeast. Other than the reliability and V8 power, the one feature that made it so successful for us is the Front Runner full length roof rack we installed; it pretty much doubles if not triples the cargo volume. Tents, ex-ups, spare wheel set, spare parts (in pelican cases), grill, camp bedding (again in peli cases) all goes up on the roof. Roof rack could be a good option.

The above is all shared with a sense that the OP has a strong interest in the UZJ100 platform over a Sequoia or Suburban; which have significantly more cargo space perhaps better option if space is more more of a priority to Land Cruiser marquee.
 

Dake21

Adventurer
In my humble opinion I think a lot of people like to have more space than what they need. It would be feasable to sit 5 in a 5 seater, it all depends if you are willing to sacrifice some comfort. Personally, I'm fit, my wife is too and she is expecting a 3rd boys (Oh yeah!) and my Grand Vitara is just enough spacious. Any extra could be placed in a roof rack or maybe a trailer, it depends how much stuff we want to pack but normally we travel light (well, as light as you could be with 2 boys under 3).
 

mph

Expedition Leader
IMO...The LC100 just won't cut with a family of 4. I wish I could say something different because I love mine...However, I just don't see how you could get everything in with a family of 5. Yes, you could pull a trailer. But, IMO you my as well get a bigger truck than pull a trailer. Roof rack? Might be your saving grace...But, three kids in the second row and then all the gear in the back? Hmmm...Think of 2-3 years from now. The kids are older, bigger, etc.

Good luck with your search. Nice to see that you are trying to get the family out:)



Hi! I stumbled across this site a few weeks ago and am loving the wealth of information.

I grew up doing a lot of backpacking, fishing, rock climbing, etc. My wife likes camping as long as the car is within sight. Therefore, I am trying to figure out a way to take the family camping but still appease my sense of adventure by getting off the beaten path. I have very little experience off road but get excited at the prospect of back county exploration. We have 3 boys ages 6, 5, and 2. I feel that the youngest is now old enough for us to have some back country adventure and explore the nation. Our current kid hauler is a 2wd expedition. Its big, heavy, and the lack of 4wd doesnt give me a lot of confidence. A couple weeks ago it struggled on occasion with traction on some dirt roads with steep inclines in the smokey mountains. Truth be told that 2wd would be perfectly adequate for the type of off-road exploration we want to do as a family, but I do want the added confidence that 4wd and a winch provides so that if I do get in over my head I have some options. My intention is to start slow by taking the family on weekend trips in here in the southeast, but my goal is to eventually take multiple 2-4 week trips to explore the nation (maybe starting in 2016).

I know that the Land Cruiser is more than adequate for the type of conditions I envision, but my real question is: Is it big enough? I have read a lot of threads here and I see many instances where families of 3 or 4 explore in a land cruiser. It seems that families larger than 4 tend to be in full size trucks (sequoias, suburbans, etc.) I am hoping some of you have experience with this and can provide some insight. I am sure its fine for a weekend, but is it big enough for a 2-4 week trip? Will we be miserable in a Land Cruiser? (I should mention there is no way I can get my wife to camp for 4 weeks straight. In reality it would be a few nights camping followed by a couple nights in a cabin followed by a couple night at a dude ranch followed by a few night camping etc...). I'd rather not use a trailer but am wiling to spend some money on a quality roof rack.

I will also mention that we will probably keep the wifes expedition. I am ready for a new daily driver and have a budget of ~$25k. One option is for me to get the lowest mileage 100 series cruiser I can find and outfit it the way I want for $25k to use as my daily driver. The other option is for me to spend $5-7k on a Isuzu Trooper as a weekend toy and buy used sedan as my dd.
 

BirchHill

goat farmer
I think The 100 series is plenty big. I see this same mindset all the time when it comes to space, its a modern concept that everyone needs their own room. I think this can really be traced back to the much smaller modern family, familys are smaller then ever while houses and cars are bigger then ever. Half my friends went and bought a minivan for their one kid. We fit our 5 kids in our discovery which is smaller then the land cruiser, its a bit snug and you have to be creative with packing. It may mean a carefully loaded roof rack and a rear hitch basket. Its better then the alternative which by others measurements would require a yellow short bus to fit everyone. Sure departure angles may be compromised with a rear basket but its not like the rubicon was in your plans.
 

SmoothLC

Explorer
There is a lot of good practical advice in this thread, so I don't know that I can add a whole lot, other than our own experience.

With kids ages 2, 5 & 6 in the second row a 100 for trips is certainly "doable". Just throw all your stuff in the back and away you go. Especially if you start out doing 1 - 3 day trips. That should give you enough experience as to what else you may want to pack as you contemplate longer and perhaps more involved trips.

As you already noted, a rack is a good first consideration. A full-length roof rack is good for everything from RTTs and awnings as well as a place to store gear you don't need access to as often as that stored in the vehicle itself. A smaller rack is just as useful but will carry less gear, etc.

A trailer is probably the next best consideration. Depending on the creature comforts wanted/needed, a trailer could range from a military trailer to a hard side camper. It just depends.

It might be practical to get a Cruiser and see how it works for a couple years while your kids are still young before determining what's best in the long term.

2 cents.
 
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