Suggested used vans for "camping" and driving on dirt roads


#1

Which small ones are most reliable? Which ones to avoid? Will be at 8000 to 11,000 feet fishing.


#2

Small vans? You got me there, but if you find one it may be wise to get one with AWD for those hills and possible greasy rainy days.

If FWD get a set of winter rubber for better traction.

I learned how to drive on dirt/gravel roads and it made quite a difference to have the proper tread.

Any minivan with the rear two rows of seats out will give you lots of "camping’ space.

Not that I care for them, but GMs’ Asteck was always advertised as having a tent adjoinment capability.


#3

Asteck? (sp?) Aztek?


#4

Well, if you’re really going on really rough roads I’d say steer clear of the car-based mini-vans-- bad roads will trash them quick. I drove a 94 Astrovan AWD for work, which was great on roughish dirt roads, but I was otherwise unimpressed with it-- not great on paved roads and we had a lot of trouble with our example. A Ford Aerostar I believe is similar.

Another one that jumps to mind is a VW Vanagon Synchro (4wd version), which again, is very good on bad roads, but Vanagons have notoriously bad track-records reliability-wise.

If you’re just a weekend-fun vehicle that didn’t really need to be driven often or long-distances I’d say either would be okay. I actually am quite partial to the Synchro’s in terms of capability and general feel, but they can be a pain in the butt.

Really, what I’d say in the end is that if you’re not looking for a vehicle that can do seriously bad roads/off-road, just get any old minivan. You can get a late-80’s Caravan for next to nothing, and they’re not really too bad. If you do need a serious off-road vehicle, there’s not really anything avaliable in a small van I could recommend. There’s full-size vans with good ground clearance and even 4wd conversions that would be good, or else a compact pickup with a camper would probably be the best bet for you, in my opinion.


#5

Thanks for your help. I would only use the vehicle for sleeping in campgrounds in nationl forests, to protect me from ??? I live close to good fishing spots and find myself driving home in the evening just when the fishing is best,to be home by dark. Think it is a waste of money?


#6

Not a waste of money at all if it allows you to enjoy more fishing:)


#7

I think you would be happy with an extended version, AWD Caravan or Chrysler Town & Country van with the 3.8 liter engine. If you can afford a limited model I would recommend it for the features it has.