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Thinking of getting a van to fix up for long trips. Would stay mostly in campgrounds without hookups, occasionally boondocking if no campground available. We wouldn’t be using it in winter. I am not at all handy nor do I have the place to work on the van myself since I live in an apartment building. I would be hiring people to upgrade the van little by little. After buying the van I would have a limited budget of around 5-7k, although I could go a little higher if need be.

Last year we rented an Escape campervan and I noticed it’s built out of a passenger van. My assumptions are that a passenger van gives you some level of insulation and finished walls and ceiling as well as windows all around. I would just have to remove all the back seats, put in some sort of bed and curtains and I’m good to go. Later I would add in battery power, a refrigerator, some sort of cooking area and a fan. I might have to spray in some additional insulation into the ceiling and floor.
The only down side I see is maybe having a few inches less space for the build.

Any opinions on buying a passenger vs a cargo. I’m thinking of a medium roof since we are both short.
 

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Wagons have 2.5" less standing height inside.
Windows are great! Don't want people looking in? Pull the curtains shut.
The factory insulation isn't all that great, but if you're not in extreme weather, who cares.
If you have a wagon, you can put one of the seats in and haul passengers.
Wagons have side curtain airbags for the back, and are LEGAL to have passengers.
I think all wagons have a rear sway bar (cargo do not)
There are a lot of used wagons for sale.

Spray insulation? Please don't.
For an on the fly roadtripping campervan, take out all the seats, put in a convertible sofabed like Ikea Balkarp or Lycksele, a folding table (4x2' works great), and your cooler and stove. You can get a little more complicated by putting in a media console or freestanding storage cabinet to put your cooler and other stuff in. Make sure to tie everything down so it doesn't go flying in a crash.
136451

136452
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wagons have 2.5" less standing height inside.
Windows are great! Don't want people looking in? Pull the curtains shut.
The factory insulation isn't all that great, but if you're not in extreme weather, who cares.
If you have a wagon, you can put one of the seats in and haul passengers.
Wagons have side curtain airbags for the back, and are LEGAL to have passengers.
I think all wagons have a rear sway bar (cargo do not)
There are a lot of used wagons for sale.

Spray insulation? Please don't.
For an on the fly roadtripping campervan, take out all the seats, put in a convertible sofabed like Ikea Balkarp or Lycksele, a folding table (4x2' works great), and your cooler and stove. You can get a little more complicated by putting in a media console or freestanding storage cabinet to put your cooler and other stuff in. Make sure to tie everything down so it doesn't go flying in a crash.
View attachment 136451
View attachment 136452
When you say wagon, is that the same as a medium roof passenger transit? How much standing room does it have? We’d like to do a fixed platform bed so it doesn’t have to be set up each night and for the underneath storage, can this be done in a wagon?
 

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A wagon is a passenger van, with rear seating from the factory. A Cargo is a standard van, with just the two front bucket seats.
Sure, you can "build out" inside a wagon, several people here have.
Standing height in a MR wagon is probably 5'6". In a cargo it's 5'10" (wagon has raised floor plus headliner)

My mentions for roadtripping was for immediate use before your "build", while you're deciding where and what to do.
 

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I wouldn't get a passenger van because having windows all around limits your options on how to use the interior space. Also, for boondocking, I consider it beneficial to have more ability to "stealth camp" which you can do better without windows all around. Yes you can put up curtains over all the windows, but then anyone looking at the vehicle can guess that someone's camping inside it. If you don't have as many windows this is less obvious.
I would only go with a passenger van if you really want all the windows to be able to sit inside there and look out through...as opposed to just leaving the side door open to look out thru or having one or two windows.
 

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There is no such thing as "stealth camping" anymore.
With so many people living in vans, or part-time "vanlifing", most anyone paying attention expects there to be someone camping in a van parked overnight. The police are obviously aware of this, if that's who you're trying to fool.

Come out of the stealth closet and be proud of living in your van, no one really cares. Besides, you want people to think there's someone inside, so they won't try to break in. We shove some pillows under a blanket and add a hat and shoes sticking out on the couch in back when we park it in town.
 

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There is no such thing as "stealth camping" anymore.
With so many people living in vans, or part-time "vanlifing", most anyone paying attention expects there to be someone camping in a van parked overnight. The police are obviously aware of this, if that's who you're trying to fool.

Come out of the stealth closet and be proud of living in your van, no one really cares. Besides, you want people to think there's someone inside, so they won't try to break in. We shove some pillows under a blanket and add a hat and shoes sticking out on the couch in back when we park it in town.
Made me laugh - So true! I spent ages watching YouTube videos about stealth camping but haven’t done any. Have found plenty of great places to park whether in national forests, BLM, Walmart, truckstops, Cracker Barrel. Been on the road 6 months in the SW.
 

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There is no such thing as "stealth camping" anymore.
. Besides, you want people to think there's someone inside, so they won't try to break in. We shove some pillows under a blanket and add a hat and shoes sticking out on the couch in back when we park it in town.
LOL! :geek: A van scarecrow.
There still is stealth camping in urban centers...and this often makes the difference between area residents being content versus those who get angry b/c of the large number of vehicle dwellers who make no effort to be discreet, and in some cases fill up entire city blocks with a line of campers and RVs, some in quite decrepit condition and with bags of refuse hanging off them.
If one is uncertain, regarding a particular vehicle, if someone's living or sleeping in it or not, that IMO is a mark of the vehicle owner's/camper's consideration and respect towards the neighborhood.
 

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I don't know how it is elsewhere, but in the Bay Area if there is a unrecognized van parked overnight in a residential area, everyone knows there's someone sleeping in it. Some people call the cops, a few go knock on the window and tell the people they can't camp there, but mostly people ignore it if it's only one night and not setting up home.

Going out of your way to make a "stealth" camper around here is as silly as wearing one of those big nose and moustache things as a disguise thinking it will not draw attention to you.

136475
136476
 

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I think this isn't the thread for in depth explaining of the futility of "stealth" vans nor the fact that unmarked vans stick out like a sore thumb especially in residential areas, and get broken into in commercial areas if parked overnight. Even if you're in them. Quite a surprise for the thieves, though. In my personal opinion based on my observations, reading forums, and experience, I will proclaim from my high horse (she had too much weed) that I wouldn't put too much effort or money in trying to hide that you're sleeping in your van on city streets. Privacy, sure, but disguising it just makes it look very serial killer.

sorry for hijacking.

@Sandman;
If you find a great deal on a wagon but want more headroom, you can always go to the not too laborious task of removing the raised floor and everything it's covering. The rear AC unit on the floor is a bitch, but I think someone posted a pic of how they relocated it to be higher on the wall. If it were me, I'd just incorporate it in a permanent cabinet. But also keep in mind that you spend the vast majority of your time in the van sitting or laying down. If you have to duck a bit to walk around, that might be acceptable.
 

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Sandman,

You can also get a passenger wagon without seats in the back, but has the flooring attachments to add just the seats you might later want ( members are selling seats they take out all the time on this forum ). That way you also have attachment points for a sofa / bed (fold out ) with room under the seat for storage.

Good Luck in building your wagon.

Semper Fi
 
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Hi, I am new here. I just purchased a 2020 Mid Roof Crew 148 AWD. It is waiting for me at the dealer ready to go. I could have easily gone with a wagon. The extra rear A/C and the options on seating was appealing. I needed a rear seat for the kids and dog. Only 4 mid roof AWD models available at the moment in Ontario. The Wagon that is available is black. Black is not an option. Too bloody hot in the sun. I am 5'10 and can stand in the back but won't have to. I am building a permanent bed and installing 2 smaller bunk windows and a fan. I considered the high roof for extra space above the bed, but this vehicle will be my everyday driver and weekender with the kids. In theory the mid roof should get better gas milage and get me into more drive thru's. Plus its over $3k more for the high roof and that is $$ I can put into unfitting. The wagon is finished to the back which creates a few logistical issues as much as it saves on others. The AC venting is in the way of a rearward roof vent and building a bed so I could sleep sideways. The extra windows are give or take, but the extra seats can be sold.
If you have some basic carpentry and mechanical skills, you can learn to do a lot with Youtube tutorials. Consider a crew van, but be warned, it is a new model so call your insurance company early. First time ever, having to wait for insurance approval. The vehicle is considered commercial.
 
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