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That Fuso looks like a Survival Beast, way cool 馃槑 but it would be a dead give away the mindset of the person driving it. I like that big boat thing and having a some kind of off road van/jeep/ATV on board. The plain white stealth van idea also....at least to survive in a city or flee from a city. If money were no barrier, I would also look at a helicopter or plane...there are so many small dirt air strips in these hills and NV desert.
now we've peaked past vans!
Planes are intimidating to self-teach, but I remember the story of my grandad's ranch in Northeastern OR bought a helicopter in the early 60's to get to the back 40. It came on a flatbed, and the pilot guy was there for half the day giving instructions. A couple of the ranchhands learned to fly it by afternoon! One of them was always scared to fly it, and wouldn't take it more than 10' off the ground, which actually made it harder to handle...I never heard if it was ever crashed.

but back to topic; we went over to Reno for the car show this week, and I saw the usual cornucopia of campervans, both DIY and retail, on the road the whole way. BUT, surprisingly, very few parked at the event lots. A couple were in the hipster part of town (aka "midtown"), including two Revel vans, a millennial hipster favorite. Most of the ones I see are gray, like my friend's, but there was a tan one that caught my eye.
 

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Did early morning Drive to store down hwy 101 about 5 mile and saw about
4-5 promasters one was ready made rv the rest was white home conversions
so many Promasters this summer?? Maybe it was a group road trippers :unsure:
The promasters size (wider and slightly different total height) is somehow slightly better for how people park in SF.

They also fit into garage heights that are more common in SF. Not sure if this was brilliant market research or just that some versions are pretty similar to a dodge mini van for clearance and total height.

There is also a promaster specific upfitter with specific standard models in the area and they make quite a few - I think in Emeryville.

At this point, my ratio of projects for sprinters : transits : promasters is almost exactly 1:1:1.

At least 50% of them (all brands) are moving into their van for economic reasons, not necessarily because they want to.

So is it a camper vs weekender vs a few months to escape the pandemic vs economic ? Not sure how to break that down.
 
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SierraGal said:

Hi there Gregoryx, I have a question for you鈥鈥檓 a senior citizen and disabled. After exhausting the last 75 K out of my savings to buy a Transit to hopefully live in, my sole income will be just what I receive from social security. If I fail at being able to convert the van into a safe RV to live in would this put me in your 鈥淒irt-Baggers鈥 group or 鈥淒IY鈥 group?

@SierraGal, I fear you read "dirt-baggers" as a negative thing. In the rock-climbing and some of the back-country community, that's a desirable moniker. In fact, there are terms intended as insults that are given to those of us with our fancy, high-dollar rigs. I'm sorry if you saw that differently. It's not an insult. It IS what the early van folks were - proudly - in our crappy metal tents.

FWIW, I don't see senior citizen, disabled, political or religious preferences or experience with building a van or anything else meaning anything WRT whatever you or anyone else are any of these terms.

Building a $75K van? Not dirt-bagger by rock-climber / dirt-bagger standards. So... not that term. I know I won't meet the "dirt-bagger" moniker with my climbing community; but that doesn't mean they don't like the rig... but they're likely to call me "bougy" or something like that.

DIY? As I suggested, "DIY," now means a LOT of things with the van community. So... you decide. Although I hire out for most things in my house, office, cars, etc; I do most everything on the van myself - with the help of my adult boys. But I'm not doing the body-repair from the accidents. So... 馃し鈥嶁檧锔
 

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At least here on the north east coastal area, I think it鈥檚 actually slowly gaining traction as more builders pop up. I鈥檓 seeing more Winnebago class-b models on the road than 2-3 years ago, and a slight up tick in DIY/Pro build outs. What was shocking to me was in a trip to Maine this past April/May the sheer volume of trailers. I was expecting to see a lot more vans, but I maybe saw 4 or 5 the whole time in Maine. I saw more on my drive through NY and CT. I will say I鈥檓 noticing some vans on Vanlifetrader being relisted, with prices reduced, compared to 10-12 months ago. I think it鈥檚 cooling overall, but not in a way that鈥檚 going to lead to some dramatic drop off/flooding of the market.

Did early morning Drive to store down hwy 101 about 5 mile and saw about
4-5 promasters one was ready made rv the rest was white home conversions
so many Promasters this summer?? Maybe it was a group road trippers :unsure:
If you don鈥檛 need 4x4 or AWD, you get more space for the money in a more compact option. The high roof 159 Promaster is around 10鈥 shorter in height than a Transit high roof, while still offering almost 6.5 feet of interior head room. Not to mention they鈥檙e far easier to get and much cheaper; you can get a 159 high roof for 50-54K with some safety features packed in. There鈥檚 obviously downsides (no eco, fwd) but from the reading I鈥檝e done their reliability is no better or worse than transit鈥檚. There鈥檚 common issues with certain model years, random gremlins across all models, but then there鈥檚 people that have ones kicking well over 100K miles.
 

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Adding to the DIY vs Retail campervans;
DIY can range from some horrible cobbled-together thing by someone with zero skill/experience to something that far exceeds anything offered by any professional upfitter at any cost.

In 2022, I've noticed an uptick in retail campervans, like the Revel, Travato, etc.
In the SF Bay area, there has been a steady rise in the number of affluent homeless people for the last 3-4 years. They have jobs and aren't addicts or mentally ill, they are just living in vans to save money. Because of the homeless crisis, cities aren't rousting you for sleeping in your car as much, if ever. So, the adventuresome and able are taking advantage of that and just spending 6-12 months rent on a vehicle they can live in rent-free. YEARS ago I knew someone who worked at Google and lived in a van in their parking lot, saving at least $30k that would have gone toward rent on an apartment they would only have time to sleep and shower in (60+ hour work weeks in tech are common).

And because no one is doing anything about people living in vans on the street, the whole concept of "stealth camping" is pass茅. Everyone knows you're sleeping in there, it would be weird if no one WAS.
 
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And possibly a good way to survive a zombie apocalypse.
Some friends and I already have plans to get boats, raid the Costco along the shore, and hole-up on Angel. Until the zombies walk on the bottom of the Bay or float randomly to the island, of course. Everyone should have contingency plans for Zombie Apocalypse.

Other than RHIBs and diving off them while being shouted at, I have no boat experience. Oh, I have a kayak. I hear that boat ownership is sign of financial success, and/or mental illness. But, what if you don't OWN it, you "borrow" it?

edit:spelin rong
Any boat is a sure sign of mental illness says someone who had a series of boats for over forty five years. Never had the financial success.
I borrowed a lot of vessels during the course of my madness. So, yes, it does count.
 

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OMG! How will we make toast?!
Will life be worth living?

Good point on this post-apocalypse vanlife aspect. Maybe a pre-1980 vehicle would be the best choice to doll up to impress other vanners if you ever come across one? Shoulda kept one of my Greenbriers!
View attachment 176678
Nice wheel covers!
 

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They also fit into garage heights that are more common in SF. Not sure if this was brilliant market research or just that some versions are pretty similar to a dodge mini van for clearance and total height.
They just pulled over the Fiat from Europe, same one they've been building for more than 15 years, well before the Fiat Chrysler merger. But hey, maybe someone's crystal ball in Italy was really clear back in 2002 or whatever when they were designing it. :ROFLMAO:
 

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I don鈥檛 see many people living in their vans around me, it鈥檚 just a convenient way to do days that don鈥檛 involve work. Vans get used for fun then parked back in the driveway after the fun has been had. Probably with a Porsche or two inside the garage. Still dirty but that鈥檚 by choice
 

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Nice wheel covers!
that's a pic I grabbed, but one of the vans was that color. Actually, those are INCORRECT wheel covers, they have 3 spinner prongs, Corvairs had 2-prong spinners. I had a set of very good condition 2-prong, and someone bought them for about half the value of the entire car!
 

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that's a pic I grabbed, but one of the vans was that color. Actually, those are INCORRECT wheel covers, they have 3 spinner prongs, Corvairs had 2-prong spinners. I had a set of very good condition 2-prong, and someone bought them for about half the value of the entire car!
Fake beadlock wheels = bad
Fake knockoffs wire wheels = good
 

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I know I'd rather invest in my van than spend 1000s on crappy hotel rooms across the country.
"Hotel room"? How archaic. I hardly remember them.

They just pulled over the Fiat from Europe, same one they've been building for more than 15 years, well before the Fiat Chrysler merger. But hey, maybe someone's crystal ball in Italy was really clear back in 2002 or whatever when they were designing it. :ROFLMAO:
The PM body, first introduced in 2006, is the brilliant result of cooperation between Fiat, Peugeot, and Citroen engineers. Drivetrains differ, but the body of a 2006 Fiat/Peugeot/Citroen is the same as a 2022 PM. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

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For the people who are actually looking (thieves, law enforcement, rent-a-cop), it's not that hard to spot a roof vent, a solar panel, etc., to know that it's a campervan.

But for Joe Blow who has no exposure to van dwellers, I doubt they'd know (or care).
 

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Prime designs Alu-Rack, It has five inch high sides which hide the solar panels and also cause some panel shading. Low profile FantasticFan roof vent with optional low profile flat vent cover, It only sticks up one inch above the roof and fits under the roof rack/Solar panels. You can only open this 14"x14" vent three inches before the cover hits the bottom of the solar panel but the 8 speed fan still moves a lot of air. The chimney for my Dickinson Marine propane fireplace heater sticks up about four inches above the roof but I am sure nobody knows what it is and it might look like a roof rack support.
a high end Ranger Designs aluminum contoured bulkhead clearly makes it look like a work van when viewed from the front windows, Steel security screens on the rest of the windows. Oxford white cargo van with stock tires.
The 3M 5% limo tint on all of the windows might be some kind of give away but so far the out of state cops have not pulled me over for it, It is legal in my home state.
 

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I don鈥檛 see many people living in their vans around me, it鈥檚 just a convenient way to do days that don鈥檛 involve work. Vans get used for fun then parked back in the driveway after the fun has been had. Probably with a Porsche or two inside the garage. Still dirty but that鈥檚 by choice
Looks in garage :unsure:, I feel attacked by this statement, haha.
 
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