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decisions decisions

2049 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  artmart
hello everyone, :10220:
I'm new to this forum & am seeking help
in finding the right camper vehicle. Am a
single gal in southern Alaska & will soon be
going south to buy an older used camper.
I have so far set my sights on either a Toyota
mini motor home or a used VW van. Am
not mechanically inclined, although am pretty
good at diagnosing problems. Whatever
vehicle I eventually buy will also be my daily
vehicle, so decent gas mileage is a consideration.
Eventually I'll be driving around down south
camping & traveling. So I wouldn't want to be in
a camper vehicle which would not make it
over the mountains.
Are there any people here with experience in either
above mentioned campers, & can point out the
pros & cons of either one? In lieu of that, if there
are any other suggestions for a used camper vehicle
which would double as a daily vehicle, gets decent
gas mileage, is easy to maintain & is durable, & can be
bought relatively inexpensively, say about 4k - 8k, I'd
appreciate all suggestions.
As it's likely just myself & maybe one other person,
space is not the consideration, but maximum efficiency.
It would be nice to upgrade whatever vehicle I decide on
so that there is a working kitchen, a bathroom, & even
a shower would be nice, but not necessary.
I'd really appreciate any words of wisdom from any
seasoned older camper vehicle aficionados.
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1 - 7 of 7 Posts
well I did some searching of the internet on your question.

a mini motorhome like a toyota will get about 14 to 16MPG and acceleration will be terrible, ability to drive up steep hills is terrible and "SLOW"

the next size up with a V-8 or V-10 engine might take hills decent but you can expect about 10 to 12MPG from it.

good luck on your search
Know what you're getting into...

Like PhilnJill mention, both of these chassis are severely under powered, however, will get you where you need to go. There's nothing wrong with that except when you are on a long one lane road and traffic starts backing up. Expect to turn off more often than not or you'll have some angry drivers following you. You will need to develop a driving style that allows for the slow driving and not impeding traffic.

Before making any other recommendations, you need to provide some other ideas for us to help you, for example.

1. Have you researched the expense and inconvenience of disconnecting your rig every time you want to drive it daily? A vehicle/trailer might do better.

2. Driving the vehicle daily with all your possessions in it, means you are paying much more for fuel for every mile you drive casually.

3. Are you mechanically inclined? Buying a used unit (or a new unit, but you can get a warranty) means things might break and Alaska is an expensive place to get these fixed. Doing it yourself will save money, but you'll have the inconvenience of "being down" until you can get it repaired and you'll have to allow for the learning curve.

4. How much convenience do you want? The more gadgets, the more weight (less mpgs) and more things to know about and more that can go wrong.

5. Maintenance is critical!!! More stuff to learn and do. Not impossible, not necessarily difficult, but can be messy and require lots of tools (that you must carry).

6. Are you ready for the cramped quarters, every day, every hour, every minute? Many who full-time in a rig like this also carry around a tent or screen room, etc. to allow for living space outside the unit. They also learn to use the outdoors as an extension of their rig.

7. Mindset? Think ahead, be prepared to want to upgrade. Avoid the expense by allowing that you should get something larger and intimidating and that YOU WILL get used to it over time with experience. Don't settle for something too small, that then becomes smaller when you get used to it and you should have gotten something bigger.

8. Unlike a used house, an RV has been subjected to perpetual earthquakes throughout its life if it has lots of miles on it - more to go wrong, when it does go wrong.

9. Homesteading - I can't provide details, but you'll need to prepare mail, medical, insurance and stuff like that. This entails more than I can provide.

I'm not trying to scare you away from your goal. I'm just trying to provide more information so you aren't blind-sided by something unexpected. I hope someone has more to add. Eliminate any surprises going forward.

Best wishes to you!!!

BTW: I LOVE ALASKA!!! I recommend that place to EVERYONE to visit at least once in their lifetime, and you'll want to go back!
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I think I would look at a small car or suv and a pop-up camper unless you plan on living in it full time or need a lot of heat for winter camping. You can probably find a small used pop-up for not a lot of money if you shop around a while, especially this time of year.
People I know who had popup campers in Alaska (friends AND relatives), didn't keep them for very long (the record was 2 years 3 months, but they were being stubborn... heh heh). Alaska roads and conditions seems to beat up these lightweight tents on wheels, especially in inclement, or cold weather.

I think Aflow has a good idea on a more durable unit, but keeping it light and as a drive around are mutually exclusive (you can do one or the other but probably not both). That's why I think our ideas of a towable are good, but might require a beefier trailer and thereby a tow vehicle. She'll have to get real lucky to find a VW bus or miniclass C to meet her needs. Haven't we all wondered why they are just not that popular? Not me, I can figure out why.
I certainly would not argue with experience.
I think the towable is a great idea, I just think a hard wall trailer would be much better in Alaska conditions.

There's the A frame type, or even a HiLo or TrailManor if wanting a small vehicle. Pay very close attention to the Gross weights.
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