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Windsurfing auto

I need to seat 2 adults and have AT LEAST 8’ behind the seats to store lots of windsurfing gear. My current Ford Explorer is too small. Good gas mileage and reliability are important. If this auto could also be a long distance travel car that would be a plus as my other car is a Prius and I don’t like using it for extended interstate travel. Sprinter, Sienna, Odyssey, etc. come to mind. Your thoughts and insights will be helpful as I’m stuck! Thanks

Take a look at the newish Ford Flex. With the rear seats lowered, it should have a longer load bed than your Explorer. I can’t guarantee that it will be 8 ft. of load area, but you can visit a Ford dealer to do some measurements.

The Flex is a long thing, I like that idea. If you can’t fit your gear in there, the Sprinter is a pretty good ride. Actually, so is the Caravan.

In the Ford Flex you get an 8’ area only with the passenger front seat folded down, but it’s there. An Expedition EL has boat loads ( pun intended ) of room inside, and 4x4 if you’re parking on the beach in the sand.

A Sprinter cargo van has 128 inches for cargo behind the seats. You could probably add a second row (or get the passenger version and remove the back row) and still have oodles of room for your windsurfing gear. Plus, you get a diesel engine for increased mileage. Don’t compare the Sprinter to minivans, compare it to full sized vans.

Does it have to be internal, or can it be a full size pickup with an 8’ bed?

EDIT: What’s wrong with the Prius for long travel?

Keep your Ford and try an enclosed Aluminum trailer. My open all aluminum Thule is outstanding… has near car size tires, will tow at any speed and has a capacity many times it’s weight with torsion bar suspension. It’s worth a much less expensive try. Wouldn’t hesitate towing x-ctry with it.

Which full sized vans? Which Sprinter; we got overwhelmed with the options. Thought the Sprinter hybrid might be the ticket, but doesn’t seen like they are available here…Are they sold in the USA?

The gear is stored in the auto so protection from the elements and theft are a must. We tried a Dodge Dakota, 8’bed with a camper shell and liner but it was too small.

The Prius is a great car and we use it for all local travel that doesn’t involve windsurfing. I just don’t like to think of the results of a wreck with a Prius and a large auto/truck at 70-80 mph. I 95, our local interstate, frequently has nasty wrecks, especially in the Melbourne, Fl. area.

We have looked at an enclosed aluminum trailer that was nice. DH isn’t especially fond of driving with a trailer…done that with small boats…and parking at our sailing spots is usually at a premium. It is an option…just not #1.

Keep the suggestions coming; this is helpful as we’ve been working on this for some time and keep getting bumped in the head with boards, masts and sails!!!

“The gear is stored in the auto so protection from the elements and theft are a must. We tried a Dodge Dakota, 8’bed with a camper shell and liner but it was too small”.

If that’s the case, then no mid size SUV will do. I was going to suggest a small long bed pick with a cap

All full sized vans from Ford and GM. The Sprinter is Chrysler’s full size van. Which Sprinter depends on your needs. The shortest one with the lowest height is probably enough. That’s the 2500. Decide whether you want a cargo van or passenger van. If you need a high roof, you must get a cargo van. Go to the Dodge web site and sift through the options. Then go looking for one.

I thought a bit more about this response. If you are overwhelmed by the choices, you aren’t sure what you want. Figure out what you need, and see what Dodge has available. If you really don’t need additional seating, go with the cargo van. It’s a lot cheaper than the passenger van. Just be aware that it won’t be quite as quiet since it is for cargo, not people.

Hi Peggy – In our windsurfing club, a few vehicles have proven outstanding: an old fullsize volvo station wagon, and a VW Eurovan. With the rear seats folded down, those vehicles eat gear, and then eat more gear, even masts, booms and a kayak. I haven’t tried, but I’d guess a Subaru Outback would also work.

My solution has been to buy a lightweight (240 lb) enclosed trailer, load it with windsurf gear (prob 100 lb total, it’s all light) and tow it behind my midsized sedan. That’s worked great, but now I’m looking to replace my '98 sedan, and having trouble finding a medium-sized new car, esp a wagon or hatchback, that will tow 1,000 lb. Any suggestions?

“I haven’t tried, but I’d guess a Subaru Outback would also work”

If a Ford Explorer doesn’t have a long enough load area, an Outback surely isn’t going to work!