Van-trailer combo idea

by Charles
(Louisa VA)

I am considering getting a travel trailer and I would need to get a new vehicle to haul it, since our SUV has a tow limit of 3500, which rules out all but the smallest trailers, and that won't serve our needs.

Then I came up with the idea of buying a Chevy 1500/3500 extended van. The interior can be out fitted like a camper for short trips of days to weeks. Boondocking would be less of a hassle with just the van, since it could be parked in a standard parking space. So you don't have the issues with towns that ban overnighters at Walmart, etc.

Plus, these vans have a V8, so they probably have the towing capacity equal to a large pickup. So we could also tow a 14-20' travel trailer, but now we would have the additional space in the van for storage. We could keep the trailer in a more permanent RV space on a monthly or seasonal rental, and go on trips elsewhere in the van. This provides a lot of versatility.

***ed. Note*** This is actually a real good idea to my mind! and, what this section is for! To share Ideas both about what we've done... and what we Could do! Yes!

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Oct 16, 2012
VAN - Trailer Combo idea is great
by: Lin

I got myself a 2002 Dodge 15 Passenger van. I took out all of the seats and put in a laminate floor. In the Back section is two beds with about 10" in between so you don't have to crawl out the foot and the foot can have more storage. It has been great for camping out with the two of us for over a week. Yep we have to drive into town on occasion but now we have our bikes and will ride in.

I want to start work camping next year and will get a small trailer for a/c and room for our two cats which have gone camping with us and love it. They have their own play pen and tent.

Tomorrow I am going to build a closet for hanging coats and shirts and a few shelves for pants. Under the closet will be the ever handy porta potty which gets pulled out for night time use which for us is mostly the only time we use it. Unless we are boondocking of course. Next to the Porta potty will be the kitty box which is 15" wide and then the 5 day cooler next to that.

There is a lot of room in the extended long Van. I had a smaller Astro before and it only had a foot of space behind the seats and was too tight to crawl in and out of bed and no place for the cooler but the front seat. So my advise is to get an extended 15 passenger van.

I lived in a 38' Diesel pusher and we never went outside. I love going outside and find the Van is all we need for comfort and affordability. 13.5 miles to the gallon 3500 Dodge and we Picked it up in Illinois and drove it home to CA.

I say go for it... I like it better than my old 25' Fifth wheel and 38 foot diesel pusher. I can take it almost anywhere.


Feb 05, 2012

While I understand your interest in having the "van" available for day trips and the like, I, as a life long tent, travel trailer, motorhome, and now retiree setting up a new rig for this lifestyle, always use the motorhome vs travel trailer comparison to make this type of decision.

My personal criticism of counting on the van as a primary part of your "digs" falls into the motorhome category. when ever you want to go to the store, etc. you have to break camp.

But more important to me was mechanical problems with the primary vehicle. Service on a conversion van can end up coming at the RV service rates- upward of $100.00/hour in my neck of the woods, worse if you are on the road and don't know the shop.

Also consider a vehicle accident which would surely cost you your accommodation, even if for only a nite or two. My suggestion is always a separate power unit from your RV. If a catastrophic event causes you to lose one, you still have the other to fall back on and at replacement, you should be able to deal and save by not having to buy a "specialty" unit at an inflated cost.

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