johnny August 8th, 2007
At this point, it’s almost a joke. I talked with my folks the other day and the first question they asked was ‘So, have you decided what you want yet?’. The answer is ‘yes, but…’
Our goals are (in no particular order):
- The ability to go almost anywhere
- Maintaining as much self sufficiency as possible
- Keeping to a modest budget during both the purchasing and living phases
- Being able to bring along a few toys to help occupy the time
- Having enough living space to not kill each other
The perfect vehicle would be roughly:
- no more than 25′ long
- larger on the inside than the outside
- very popular in order to be available used and at more affordable prices
Amazingly enough, we can get everything except popularity with… wait for it… coming back full circle to… the venerable truck camper. It’s not too difficult to find a 4×4 diesel truck for a reasonable price. Truck campers are relatively small and many of the more modern models are ‘bigger on the inside’ thanks to slide outs.
The two problems we run into with truck campers are weight and availability. In Florida, there just aren’t very many available and the ones that are available tend to be older or smaller with no slide outs. Luckily, its the end of the model year. We can probably get more or less what we want without spending an arm and a leg, but it’s still going to cost a bit more than a good 3-4 year old camper.
The other tricky thing with a truck camper is weight. The nicer units with lots of space because of slideouts, overall length and insulation are just darn heavy. On top of that, we need to carry fuel, water and a few more batteries than the average camper. Depending on the unit, we’ll either be pushing the max cargo capacity of top tier ‘consumer trucks’ or well over into the range of commercial trucks.
Now, maybe 500 pounds over max capacity is ‘safe enough’ on a dually with an exhaust brake if we tool along at 50 mph on the highways, but I’d sure hate to find out the hard way that it’s not.
All things considered, you gotta admit, this just looks like a helluva fun way to live: