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Thread: The Nomadic Life

  1. #101
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Nice work John. Hiding in plain sight is a phrase which comes to mind.

  2. #102
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    I spent the past few years trying several options, inside sleeping platform in an LR3, roof top tent on an FJ80 (then a Tundra). There are much less expensive RTT options than the hard shell design pictured above by the way. I had a CVT that I bought used for around $900.

    Anyway, all the trips in all the vehicles above led me to conclude that I liked the idea of transitioning from the driver seat to the sleeping area without leaving the vehicle. This meant looking for a van. I ended up in a 4x4 sprinter high roof, so the added bonus of being able to stand upright is nice too.

    I rarely have success posting pictures here but Iíll try...

    sorry. No pictures. Again.
     

  3. #103
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Yes the roof top I posted was just one example. I used to see a lot of Tenturi near my place in Switzerland. The entry level model is not too expensive at 1300€.

    Price is relative, if you plan to buy a new vehicle to go nomad it makes sense to buy and equip a van. If you want to use your current car for randoms holidays/expeditions a RTT is nice as an alternative to use a trailer or mount a tent at every stop.
    --
    T h o m a s

  4. #104
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Nice work John. Hiding in plain sight is a phrase which comes to mind.
    Thanks. It works pretty well and yes, hiding in plain sight is the key. I found useful coaching on how to do it at the links below so I won't repeat the techniques except to say (if truly urban stealth camping): pull in well after dark and having completed ALL of your pre-sleep ablutions and van prep elsewhere, shut the car off, move into the back without getting out, close your eyes and go to sleep. No lights, no smartphone/tablet activities, no music, no nothing. Go to sleep. Get up early, before light and the neighbors, and quietly leave. And don't park in the same place on consecutive nights or near schools, fire departments or police stations. The good news for me is that my most favorite surf spot isn't too far from a FlyingJ so that's generally where I go; I haven't often had to truly stealth camp in the cities and towns near my surf spots...but I have done it and if you read the Cliff's Notes on how to do so at these links you'll know how to prepare.

    The Urban Vandweller: The Zen of Urban Stealth Parking

    The Urban Vandweller: The Zen of Urban Stealth Parking, Part Two

    As to the van: I started stealth minivan camping mostly to go surfing but it's obviously useful for all kinds of activities; going to cyclocross races comes to my mind but it applies to just about any activity; traveling across the country too.

    Things that made an otherwise plain vanilla minivan more habitable and easy for the odd night or three on the road:
    * Snug fitting opaque panels for each of the windows aft of the driver's seat row. I started out just hanging towels around the perimeter and that works reasonably well but the panels offer more privacy and darkness. I've used cardboard (currently) and luan door skin (wood) but some folks use that reflective bubble wrap window sun shade stuff. I'll probably end up with that too.
    * Wind deflector thingies you install at the top of the door frames so you can covertly crack the windows an inch or two for ventilation even in rain, and to prevent condensation on the glass (a sure sign that someone's sleeping in the car).
    * No-seeum proof netting anchored by closing the front doors on it, trimmed of material that would be seen by passers by. I did the same for the center doors. I use small but powerful magnets deployed around the inside the door frames to hold the material in position until I can get the door closed.
    * Slender prop sticks, cut to the necessary length, to pin the free end of the netting against the window/door trim, else the no-seeums will find a way in: [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/8161271877/in/album-72157621867029259/[/url] (I hope this takes you to the right photo)
    The one in the photo is much larger in cross section than the ones I use for the front doors.
    * I removed the third row seats so the aft cavity would be available for storage.
    * Small diameter clothesline around the interior perimeter for drying towels and clothing. A couple of towels across the headrests of the front seats is the curtain for that location and I always deploy my windshield sun shade.
    * I've settled on a thick Thermarest mattress. The cot was comfortable but just too much machinery and not necessary for two or three nights at the beach; wife doesn't surf or dig the beach in summer so I'm usually solo, or else with friends at a motel. Board and/or bike go on one side, most of my stuff is in Rubbermaid bins and that goes in the small area formed behind the driver's seat by the placement of the board.
    * Pee bottle and emergency poo container (never had to use it).
    * The smallest ice chest and whatever kitchen stuff you need. I prefer to not cook when doing this so I provision myself accordingly. My Trangia stove is perfect for my mocha pot espresso maker and reheating soup, chili and the like. If I needed to do that inside I'd set the stove up in a metal, secondary container (I carry a small, rectangular cake baking pan for this) and be damned careful about bumping it, but so far it's been unnecessary; and that's because you do one thing at you sleeping site Ė sleep. Everything else is done elsewhere, generally the beach in my case.

    Relevant Flickr album: Flickr
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

  5. #105
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    that teardrop trailer shot just takes the cake
     

  6. #106
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    I have been looking at a VW California for a few years because I find it cool. I am fairly certain I will almost never use it though :)
     

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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    A California is overkill if you don't plan on regular camping holidays. A lot of room is wasted on the california for the kitchen and storage area that you won't use on a day to day basis. For occasionnal week-ends in the wild a regular multivan + a mattress + a picnic table set + a gaz stool and a van tent does the job really well already and you can leave all this shit in your garage when you don't want to sleep in the van.
    Last edited by sk_tle; 09-03-2019 at 05:58 AM.
    --
    T h o m a s

  8. #108
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Quote Originally Posted by sk_tle View Post
    A California is overkill if you don't plan on regular camping holidays. A lot of room is wasted on the california for the kitchen and storage area that you won't use on a day to day basis. For occasionnal week-ends in the wild a regular multivan + a mattress + a picnic table set + a gaz stool and a van tent does the job really well already and you can leave all this shit in your garage when you don't want to sleep in the van.
    I know. I love overkill.
     

  9. #109
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    After a few days of sulking over not being able to post pictures, I revived my old Flickr account. Anyway, here are a few shots from a trip Iím in the middle of: New Jersey to Idaho with some downtime in Salida

    Flickr

    Flickr

    Flickr
     

  10. #110
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    this looks well set up, but also is a house on wheels

    28 Sportsmobile SPRINTER 25, Sonoma CA - - RVtrader.com

    I think a van and a hammock will work better for me
     

  11. #111
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    this looks well set up, but also is a house on wheels

    28 Sportsmobile SPRINTER 25, Sonoma CA - - RVtrader.com

    I think a van and a hammock will work better for me
    For one person it is a indulgence worth having. It's nicely setup and practically new at 1/2 price.

  12. #112
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    this looks well set up, but also is a house on wheels

    28 Sportsmobile SPRINTER 25, Sonoma CA - - RVtrader.com

    I think a van and a hammock will work better for me
    That thing is pretty, but way too rich for my blood. With my Tacoma I'm one small step ahead of the van/hammock setup, with more access with 4wd and more storage but no more frills...
    Guy Washburn

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    There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
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  13. #113
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    kinda cool off the rack camper van coming from the house of benz. stealthy and maneuverable, probably pretty well designed. likely out of my price range now, but in 10 years, i could see myself in a used one!


    Mercedes-Benz unveiled a new camper van with a pop-up roof that'''s coming to the US — see inside the '''Weekender'''


  14. #114
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    That is a nice Benz. Did you see that custom Van at Philly Bike Expo? I can not recall the name. That van was a heck of a value, well done.

    Brother, the used market for these Sprinter conversions is hot. Much buyers remorse due to aspirational goals and physical layout. I think they are great for one person. Everyone I've ever talked to who is traveling with two people is looking at their shoes trying to put a positive spin on the thing.

    #Vanlife is trending, that means there are tons of options.

    FWIIW the Airstream Forum I frequent is besot with Mercedes Conversion owners complaining of massive mechanical issues. The problem is not Mercedes, it is the third party conversion companies as far as I can surmise.

    Anywho, I like your trailer.

  15. #115
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    kinda cool off the rack camper van coming from the house of benz. stealthy and maneuverable, probably pretty well designed. likely out of my price range now, but in 10 years, i could see myself in a used one!


    Mercedes-Benz unveiled a new camper van with a pop-up roof that'''s coming to the US — see inside the '''Weekender'''

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    That is a nice Benz. Did you see that custom Van at Philly Bike Expo? I can not recall the name. That van was a heck of a value, well done.

    Brother, the used market for these Sprinter conversions is hot. Much buyers remorse due to aspirational goals and physical layout. I think they are great for one person. Everyone I've ever talked to who is traveling with two people is looking at their shoes trying to put a positive spin on the thing.

    FWIIW the Airstream Forum I frequent is besot with Mercedes Conversion owners complaining of massive mechanical issues. The problem is not Mercedes, it is the third party conversion companies as far as I can surmise.
    When we still lived in NJ and owned a home our contractor,electrician, and plumber said Chrysler/MB did a hard sell on the Sprinter for several years at trade shows and many contractors bought them as work trucks. They all said it turned out to be a terrible vehicle (bad paint, resulting rust, mechanical issues, electrical issues) with expensive maintenance costs ($2,000 for brakes even at a non-MB independent shop because the parts were so damn expensive). They and our electrician all went back to Ford/Chevy.

    Unfortunately, the Metris Weekender is apparently even worse than the Sprinter.

     

  16. #116
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    The Fit RV Youtube couple just did a quick video of 5 RV's for bike riders. The Tiffin on the Sprinter chassis, and the Leisure Travel van on the Ford Transit both looked pretty nice.
    Dan Bare

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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    What I like about that Benz is itís the same exterior dimensions as our Sienna and if they add the third row seat as mentioned in the article it could conceivably replace a minivan. Keep the price at 80k or below and itís doable as a family daily driver and weekend getaway mobile (if you squint.)

    Good to know about the MB drawbacks though.

    Hoping to have the wherewithal to be able to consider something like this in a few years so I will be watching the reviews closely.
     

  18. #118
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    LOL, I don't know about spending any $80K on a van. I have a $5K Ford Econoline that does just about anything.

    Speaking of, I have been developing an idle daydream. Maybe some Airstream nerds on here can steer me along: our orbit stops and starts with school schedules, meaning beaucoups time in the summer. I have thought about acquiring an Airstream to use as a backyard airbnb during the school year, and then hitting the road with the missus and our brood in the summers. Our little kids are at the age where they're portable or don't know/care where they are but need early memories of outdoor life.

    a) A good parking spot in the garden-y part of my yard, plus a nice deck built beside it sound like it could make an enticing Airbnb. I live in a hot spot near Duke U, and Duke Hospital, and sources tell me RDU is one of the top places in the country for my fellow millennials right now - I have a friend who is booked for months out on his tiny house Airbnb. I think it would do OK. What say ye to this kind of endeavor with an Airstream?

    b) I am seeing what look like nice (to me) Airstreams ca. 10-15 years old in the $15K range, looks like an Airstream International 23FB is a solid option. Any quick words of wisdom about this class of Airstream and managing them? I am not committed enough to go over and join the AS forums yet. :)

    c) My Ford is tragically an E-150 with the 4.6L V8; knowing what I know now, I woulda sprung for a 350 with the 5.4. But yeah.
    GVWR on the 23FB for instance is 6,000lb; Ford says 6,500lb towing capacity on the 4.6 E150. How long before it blows up? I do hear people like towing with vans based on the combo of wheelbase and forward steering position.
     

  19. #119
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    What I like about that Benz is itís the same exterior dimensions as our Sienna and if they add the third row seat as mentioned in the article it could conceivably replace a minivan. Keep the price at 80k or below and itís doable as a family daily driver and weekend getaway mobile (if you squint.)

    Good to know about the MB drawbacks though.

    Hoping to have the wherewithal to be able to consider something like this in a few years so I will be watching the reviews closely.
    Welp. My daydreaming didnít last thru the weekend! The Metris is RWD only which would be a complete nonstarter for a daily driver.

    Sienna plus a six man car camping tent and some chairs will have to suffice. 🏕
     

  20. #120
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    Default Re: The Nomadic Life

    Matt, that budget is certainly going to work for what you want. Have cash in hand and ready to run in order to seal a deal. Good older Airstreams that need nothing are not impossible to find.

    The only issue you'll need to sort to make it a good AirBnB are 30 amp electricity and a sewer dump located where you can reach. A "slinky" RV sewer hose of 20' long is ok. The sewer dump need to be level with the camper or slightly down hill cause poop runs downhill ;) A good plumber can set you up with a PVC dump that Ts from the house.

    Start your fantasy here: Airstream Trailers For Sale Archives - Airstream Trailer Classifieds - Airstream Trailers For Sale

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