Decided that I needed a 4x4 vehicle that I could solo camp in while out on photo safaris. After much looking around I found a 2004 Toyota 4Runner with a V6 in great condition.
Would love to take the SMB on these adventures but it is based on an 1989 2WD E150. Last summer I drove a lot of miles on gravel roads and the van felt like it was taking a real beating. Was concerned that it would have a catastrophic failure while out driving miles and miles of Forest Service roads. In addition, it would not handle the eastern Oregon desert sand and mud. We will be using the SMB for camping around the state at the different parks and recreation areas as well as trips to the racetrack. Seriously considered getting a 4x4 SMB but could not to grips with the cost of a used one or the MPG.
Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog, luinil.com.
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Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
My wife drove one just like that, only 2003. Same color. She loved it. It was her favorite car to date. She sometimes wishes we would have kept it, although it was getting up there in miles, so we decided to trade it in. It was very dependable, had no issues at all. I think you'll like it.
2006 Ford E350 6.0 PSD, RB 50, 4x4
I've had an '02, '05 and currently have 70K mi on an '06 4x4 V6 with stage 1 Icon suspension and 265/70/17's. It's gotten me through some pretty hairy situations with no problems. Great trucks you'll love it!
If you unbolt the passenger side rear seat bottom (two bolts) you can get an extra foot of length to sleep. Made all the difference for me on solo trips
I'm still vanless, but just picked up a 4WD 4Runner (silver). I reckon it will do very nicely for solo trips, including a long one this summer to WY/MT/AB/BC.
Yes, the rear seat bottoms are easy to unbolt -- two bolts each. Lots of examples of making storage pods/sleeping platforms on the 4Runners forum. I'm in the midst of building such a setup in anticipation of a mid-June departure. I had a similar setup in a 2001 4WD Explorer V6, and took it all over the west.
2017 T-250 MR 148" 3.7L cargo van. Slowly becoming a campervan...