So... We need to talk about your weight.

alanymarce

Well-known member
Firstly bear in mind that for me a Land Cruiser is a “full size” vehicle (and many pick-ups sold in the USA are, for me, HUGE vehicles).

You can get most places on the planet in a big vehicle - in remote corners of Bolivia and Kenya you’ll see 20 seater ‘buses and 10 tonne trucks/lorries - they can get to most villages.

However… if you want to get into some places (the centres of old colonial villages in South America, hilltop villages in Vietnam, etc.) then a big vehicle is just too big - so you have park it somewhere and walk, cycle, take a taxi, whatever. Also, some wild areas in game reserves, mountain areas, etc., have narrow, winding, steep, rocky access tracks and once again a wide, long, and/or tall vehicle is not going to get in. Desert crossings may also be sufficiently challenging to make a big vehicle impractical, not least in terms of extricating it when (not if) bogged. If your track is wider than that of the vehicles typically used in the area you’ll have to make new, wider, tracks and this will add stress, consume more fuel, and expose you to punctures from buried sharp rocks, tree stumps, etc., (and in Angola, for example, UXO).

So, to answer the question, we’ve done our major trips (11 months, 10 months, 10 months, in South America, Africa, and Australia) in an X Trail T31, a Land Cruiser 80, and a Montero. These latter two are as big as we’ve considered possible. Any bigger and we’d have been unable to get to many places we enjoyed. Having said this, an Iveco Daily 4x4 would have worked but was way over our financial capability.

So, how to travel for nearly a year at a time in these vehicles? A minimalist approach - start by removing what you don’t needs, which for us is all of the seats except what we need (i.e., the two front seats); then add only what is necessary - for us this is a bed, a fridge, some storage, systems to manage the cameras/lenses, and a few more things. WIth this approach we’re well below GVM most of the time. We get close to GVM only when we have to add extra fuel for long range travel where there’s no refuelling capability (e.g. Simpson), this takes us closer to GVM, however once past the need we’ll have used the extra fuel, and give away the fuel tanks. Our current vehicle has no extra battery/ies hence no extra electrical control system, saving the weight and space of these. The same thinking goes for everything else - how many cooking pans do we have? One. How many plates? One each. How many cups? One each. How many wine glasses? None (we use the cups). etc., etc.

Hence, no problem for long term travel, under GVM, manoeuverable, good fuel consumption, and we’ve been able to get into narrow streets, narrow tracks, and remote areas, with no problems.
 

beanmachine314

New member
I don't disagree with your point, but to add a bit of context to the choice between full or midsize trucks: 1/2 ton trucks have a better payload than mid-size, but it's not that much better when all is considered. I've shared this example before but I have both a full size truck and a mid size truck. The full size truck only offers about 350 lbs more payload than my midsize truck. However, it's about a thousand pounds heavier overall, and the footprint is much bigger, so the scant advantage of 350 lbs in payload is quickly washed away by the disadvantages of the size in other respects. Fuel economy is about the same, so that's a wash. If I were to go for a full size truck, I would go for one of the HD offerings because if my needs could be met with the half-ton, odds are with minimal sacrifice I can make them work just as well in the mid-size and not have to worry about the disadvantages.

Your overall point is spot on though and I totally agree with you -- one has to figure out what weight they plan on first, and then size accordingly; which brings me to my next point for the OP as figuring out those weights is an important step. And there are needs beyond weight to consider too -- there may be other advantages to the 1500 series trucks for some users that don't apply to me (for example, cab space is not high on my priority list, but it's immensely better in the full size as compared to the mid-size which might make the 1500 series more attractive for others).

(I should also mention that not all 1500-series are the same; I've learned from users of this forum that Ford has a high payload option which is definitely an exception to the above observation).




I emphasized the "Testing" above because that's exactly what I was going to suggest. From personal experience, I have travelled around the world out of a backpack. I had all my stuff that I thought I needed to meet my needs. About a month in, there was a large box of "essentials" on it's way to my parents house -- there was a ton of stuff I just didn't need after all. My first time doing any adventure travel on a motorbike was the same; I had a ton of stuff I didn't really need or use and left behind more and more as I travelled more frequently. And, our approach to our 4x4 touring has the same pattern.

When we finally settled on a mid-size for our needs, we did so because we wanted the maximum payload available (at the time) in a mid-size footprint because of exactly what you've described -- we don't want to limit where we can go, and a North American "Mid size" is a "normal sized" vehicle pretty much everywhere else in the world. We were coming from a Jeep, so we had our system pretty dialled in, but we went through a huge process just to make sure we were making the right call because in reality we actually wanted to keep our jeep, but that would mean fitting an 850lbs payload. We already knew what our "essentials" were because we had travelled so much -- if you don't have that figured out yet, as my story above illustrates, I'd test the heck out of your systems on longer trips and figure out what's a "must have" versus a "nice to have". I also suggest ranking according to flexibility -- what are you least willing to compromise on? And what are you most willing to compromise on? That's a slightly different lens than "must" and "nice" that can help with deciding what you actually bring with you.

Anyway, once we had our system dialled in and knew exactly what we needed for long-term living, we busted out the scale and weighed everything we intended to bring with us. I mean everything, right down to the toothbrushes. We then researched lighter alternatives -- again, for everything, including considering titanium cutlery; grams and ounces add up fast. Some stuff was obvious -- swapping a metal winch line for synthetic for instance (Still TBD for us, but it's on the list!). Other stuff was a bit more of a cost benefit analysis -- is it worth spending hundreds on a titanium fork to save 3 grams? Not for us. You might find that if you do a similar exercise with your "must have" items, you will similarly be able to shave a fair bit of weight by looking to alternatives, which might help you get into a payload range of a vehicle with the footprint you desire.

There are also other compromises you can explore - when you are away from civilization for over a week, are you also far away from water? In our case, we like to shower daily, cook and clean as you've described, and all we use is a 5 gallon jerry can. But we make due for several weeks at a time just fine because invariably, we encounter water somewhere in a day and can refill (and have a pump and filter system that allows us to do so easily and safely from virtually anywhere). We had to do that because we didn't have the payload for extra water storage. When we are going to places where water is less available (i.e. arid climates), we acquire some extra water just for those times and accept that we'll be a bit heavy, but for the majority of our trips we are able to resupply more often and avoid the weight penalty.

And finally -- there's a vehicle that checks literally ALL my boxes and will likely be the next overland rig for me, and it might be for you too as there's currently nothing quite like it on the market except maybe the LC Troopy. The Ineos Grenadier is promising the "Mid-size" footprint with a 2000 lbs payload; if they deliver on this promise it will have a lot going for it as an overloading rig and so if your purchase timeline is next year, you might want to look into it (they are slated to be up for pre-orders at the end of this year, I think).
I've been following the Grenadier for a couple years now and I'll be interested in seeing it when (if?) it gets here. It's release has already been delayed in Europe and from what I've been hearing there's somewhere close to a $75k USD price tag potentially. Interesting, and definitely exciting, but I feel it will be an uphill battle for it to be brought to the states.

There IS 1 vehicle that would be absolutely perfect. The Jeep J8, a Wrangler width chassis that has been lengthened with up to a 6000kg GVM would be perfect. IF normal people like us could actually buy one :(. I'd pay $75k for that, add a water tank, some cabinets and a toilet and one of those pop tops and leave. Still trying to figure out how to start an NGO lol.

Firstly bear in mind that for me a Land Cruiser is a “full size” vehicle (and many pick-ups sold in the USA are, for me, HUGE vehicles).

You can get most places on the planet in a big vehicle - in remote corners of Bolivia and Kenya you’ll see 20 seater ‘buses and 10 tonne trucks/lorries - they can get to most villages.

However… if you want to get into some places (the centres of old colonial villages in South America, hilltop villages in Vietnam, etc.) then a big vehicle is just too big - so you have park it somewhere and walk, cycle, take a taxi, whatever. Also, some wild areas in game reserves, mountain areas, etc., have narrow, winding, steep, rocky access tracks and once again a wide, long, and/or tall vehicle is not going to get in. Desert crossings may also be sufficiently challenging to make a big vehicle impractical, not least in terms of extricating it when (not if) bogged. If your track is wider than that of the vehicles typically used in the area you’ll have to make new, wider, tracks and this will add stress, consume more fuel, and expose you to punctures from buried sharp rocks, tree stumps, etc., (and in Angola, for example, UXO).

So, to answer the question, we’ve done our major trips (11 months, 10 months, 10 months, in South America, Africa, and Australia) in an X Trail T31, a Land Cruiser 80, and a Montero. These latter two are as big as we’ve considered possible. Any bigger and we’d have been unable to get to many places we enjoyed. Having said this, an Iveco Daily 4x4 would have worked but was way over our financial capability.

So, how to travel for nearly a year at a time in these vehicles? A minimalist approach - start by removing what you don’t needs, which for us is all of the seats except what we need (i.e., the two front seats); then add only what is necessary - for us this is a bed, a fridge, some storage, systems to manage the cameras/lenses, and a few more things. WIth this approach we’re well below GVM most of the time. We get close to GVM only when we have to add extra fuel for long range travel where there’s no refuelling capability (e.g. Simpson), this takes us closer to GVM, however once past the need we’ll have used the extra fuel, and give away the fuel tanks. Our current vehicle has no extra battery/ies hence no extra electrical control system, saving the weight and space of these. The same thinking goes for everything else - how many cooking pans do we have? One. How many plates? One each. How many cups? One each. How many wine glasses? None (we use the cups). etc., etc.

Hence, no problem for long term travel, under GVM, manoeuverable, good fuel consumption, and we’ve been able to get into narrow streets, narrow tracks, and remote areas, with no problems.
I've found that GVM in countries other than the US is much higher. Like a Ranger or Hilux can easily have a 1000kg payload in Australia, but similar trucks in America are limited to around 700kg or less. I think we could probably get away with 1000-1200kgs of payload, but in America that means going to a commercial van or a full size truck. We've talked about traveling for a year in the US, then attempting to move to Australia and work there for a bit (I'm in the mining industry so may be possible), then buy a vehicle and set off. It gives us access to a better selection of vehicles, but the uncertainty of getting in and working keeps it a "back burner" idea.
 
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Deleted member 9101

Guest
American truck fanboys please move on.
I have traveled to a lot of places on 5 continents in my life. I have noticed that “typical American pickup trucks” have huge tow ratings, but comparatively tiny load capacity and load space.
As someone who has also traveled the world, I can assure you than Americans use their trucks differently than most other places...hence why they are built and rated differently. If America consumers wanted what is built overseas... we'd have it. The gods honestly truth is that trucks sold overseas are useless to many Americans, myself included...lol.
 
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As someone who has also traveled the world, I can assure you than Americans use their trucks differently than most other places...hence why they are built and rated differently. If America consumers wanted what is built overseas... we'd have it. The gods honestly truth is that trucks sold overseas are useless to many Americans, myself included...lol.
Towing a 30’ luxury trailer habitat plus another 12’ trailer behind it with toys is super useful on a twisting dirt road in high mountains, or a sandy track in a desert, as well as down an arrow straight Interstate highway.
(I am being sarcastic).
 

OllieChristopher

Active member
As someone who has also traveled the world, I can assure you than Americans use their trucks differently than most other places...hence why they are built and rated differently. If America consumers wanted what is built overseas... we'd have it. The gods honestly truth is that trucks sold overseas are useless to many Americans, myself included...lol.
This makes sense to me. Many other countries load things ONTO their trucks whereas Americans seem to prefer to load things BEHIND their trucks.
This is a great thread and discussion guys!! I never considered what is the obvious here in the US. Granted I look at payload and total GVWR over "towing capacity". But a lot of manufacturers are designing this trucks for towing and not much else. Hell, I have owned pickups almost all my life and look at what I can haul in weight inside the bed. What you are pointing out is I am in the minority. It's all about the towing capacity for most.

Towing a 30’ luxury trailer habitat plus another 12’ trailer behind it with toys is super useful on a twisting dirt road in high mountains, or a sandy track in a desert, as well as down an arrow straight Interstate highway.
(I am being sarcastic).
Ironically Chraliea you are not far from the truth in that statement. It blows me away at how much is towed behind some of these pickup trucks. In a lot of cases those "hot shot" drivers running a huge dually with dang near a big rig flatbed overloading the tire and vehicle rating by thousands of lbs.
 

beanmachine

New member
This is a great thread and discussion guys!! I never considered what is the obvious here in the US. Granted I look at payload and total GVWR over "towing capacity". But a lot of manufacturers are designing this trucks for towing and not much else. Hell, I have owned pickups almost all my life and look at what I can haul in weight inside the bed. What you are pointing out is I am in the minority. It's all about the towing capacity for most.



Ironically Chraliea you are not far from the truth in that statement. It blows me away at how much is towed behind some of these pickup trucks. In a lot of cases those "hot shot" drivers running a huge dually with dang near a big rig flatbed overloading the tire and vehicle rating by thousands of lbs.
I have to say I did get a little annoyed when the discussion drifted a bit off topic but, in hindsight i realized I was being a bit selfish and that there is generally something wonderful that comes out of natural, organic discussion.

On that note

About 4 years ago we had discussed traveling full time, but it never panned out, and when we did the first idea we had was a midsize truck/SUV and medium sized off-road camper. Very easy to do with what is available in the US seeing as you can find midsize trucks and SUVs with 5k lb+ tow ratings left and right. Only after more research did I realize towing a trailer outside of North America was a terrible idea, especially for someone who has never driven in those places before.

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Deleted member 9101

Guest
This is a great thread and discussion guys!! I never considered what is the obvious here in the US. Granted I look at payload and total GVWR over "towing capacity". But a lot of manufacturers are designing this trucks for towing and not much else. Hell, I have owned pickups almost all my life and look at what I can haul in weight inside the bed. What you are pointing out is I am in the minority. It's all about the towing capacity for most.
Yep...10 out of 10 times, if given the choice, I'll tow something on a trailer rather than haul it.

My F150 has a ~1600 lb payload rating and I'll probably never get close to it.... The 7500lbs tow rating on the other hand, I routinely max out...lol. usually when I trailer something it's heavier than what a pickup truck can haul anyways....so it's kind of predetermined.
 
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Deleted member 9101

Guest
It blows me away at how much is towed behind some of these pickup trucks. In a lot of cases those "hot shot" drivers running a huge dually with dang near a big rig flatbed overloading the tire and vehicle rating by thousands of lbs.
Not necessarily... A 30,000 lb tow rating it pretty normal for a new dually these days. IIRC the new F350 can be rated for something like 35,000lbs.
 
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Deleted member 9101

Guest
Towing a 30’ luxury trailer habitat plus another 12’ trailer behind it with toys is super useful on a twisting dirt road in high mountains, or a sandy track in a desert, as well as down an arrow straight Interstate highway.
(I am being sarcastic).

Well...not everyone wants to live out of a camper shell or sleep in the back of their SUV. People have different needs and wants when it comes to camping.
 
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Deleted member 9101

Guest
I thought this was “Expedition Portal”, not “Let’s drive down the Interstate from one KOA to the next”.
1. KOAs are usually pretty nice..some of them are a resort...haha.

2. Not everyone can travel everywhere via dirt roads.

3. Not everyone wants to play "expedition" and dress like they are trying to be the next Steve Irwin and camp in unnecessarily auster conditions while boasting about their over priced bespoke "expedition" gear.
 
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Deleted member 9101

Guest
This makes sense to me. Many other countries load things ONTO their trucks whereas Americans seem to prefer to load things BEHIND their trucks.

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Yep... Probably because we have room for trailers. We also use our trucks for family vehicles...so a high payload rating would also come with an uncomfortable ride, which isn't very passenger friendly.

Also... Why beat up your truck bed when you can keep your truck nice and let a trailer take the abuse...lol.
 

beanmachine

New member
1. KOAs are usually pretty nice..some of them are a resort...haha.

2. Not everyone can travel everywhere via dirt roads.

3. Not everyone wants to play "expedition" and dress like they are trying to be the next Steve Irwin and camp in unnecessarily auster conditions while boasting about their over priced bespoke "expedition" gear.
Hey now, I happen to enjoy my safari shorts and boots... Guys in the office just don't understand.

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vtsoundman

OverAnalyzer
Sprinters are actually pretty reliable. I have one as does a buddy - no real issues in 4 yrs of ownership. It is a short wheel base 6 cyl 4wd 2500. I run 35" tires and avg 17mpg. Ground clearance is massive - never hit anything underneath. The only low point is under the front end - but proper tire placement on rocks does wonders. (This is the same as an IFS front end)

It is about the same length as a suburban, has a much tighter turning radius than any pickup, has plenty of weight carrying capacity, and is very composed in a variety of conditions. It does well when lightly or heavily (over)loaded. I've been all over the Sierras, eastern CA, the Rockies, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, etc... on all manner of trails and roads. The selectable AWD is awesome - most don't know how to drive with it and it gets a bad rap.

The real thing is are you really going to be doing any trail/rock crawling in your house? Answer is no.

When I want to really push it, I take my Rubicon and camp/live out of it for periods of time.
(As an aside - 99%of the YouTubers that 'live' out of the jeeps/small trucks, spend 3 nights/week or more in hotels/in their apt.)

At most you will build a soft roader, not an off roader for your home. Building a long distance vehicle/platform is about reliability and vehicle preservation...many people live out of small vans, small popup/truck campers, and the like. The harsh reality is unlike North America (and a few other places like Australia and maybe parts of Africa), the rest of the world limits 'off road' travel - the locals traverse these roads in Corollas all the time. And you're not going to be beating on your house...

NA travel is at far higher speeds and longer continuous distances than most of ROW - and therefore the NA use case is very different than RoW. Is it legal to go 70-80MPH up and down 7-9% grades for hours on end in RoW? Nope - and that's why places like Europe and AUS have 'identical' vehicles with higher tow and payload ratings. Speed matters.

It seems like you have this process upside down and you're evaluating platform before detailing lifestyle and base comfort level.

Before going down the path of GVWR and contemplating how NA vehicle options limit payload, you need to evaluate what you /your partner's minium levels of comfort. Hard sided shower and toilet and oven and this and that always ready to go = lots of weight. Backpacking ethos = just about anything.

Figure out your lifestyle, then figure out your platform.

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