My name is Charlie, I am from Austin, TX, and I am looking to learn all I can about vans and campers. My wife and I bought some property recently in Park County Colorado with the intention of building on it eventually, but camping on in the near-term.
We like camping out, but since the property doesn't have water or electricity, having a mobile base of operations with those things would be kinda handy for longer trips and/or times when we want to be out of the elements. We've been looking at bit at various RV options, but we don't want to spend a bunch and we'd rather not pull a trailer the ~1000 miles to/from Austin every trip (or leave one unattended for months at a time).
There are a few miles of dirt roads to get to the property that are not super well maintained, and the property itself does not (yet) have a proper driveway (or any improvements for that matter). A 2WD vehicle can get there fine in the summer, but in the winter is probably another story (not that we plan on doing a lot of camping in the winter).
We also have two dogs, and plan on starting a family pretty soon, so we'd like something that can accommodate ~3-4 people traveling, and isn't a total pain to park (both at home and in parking lots).
We've been toying with the idea of picking up a used luxury travel type van, but we went and looked at one recently and we think we want a bit more 'camper' than that. I am a relatively tall dude (6'2"), and so I'd prefer something I can lay down completely in, and potentially stand up in (less important).
I think our trips will be on the order of 5-14 days several times per year (spring-fall), with civilization pretty close by (Fairplay, CO is about 20 min away), but without immediate access to electricity, water, and wastewater. Our dream is to be able to stay on the property the whole time, but be able to cook/shower/use the bathroom. We can build up to a 200sqft shed without a permit, so there is the potential to store some camping gear there to avoid having to build all functionalities into the camper/van (e.g. larger composting/incinerating toilet, larger solar power charging system/array, shower stall).
We don't have a huge budget for a van/camper (ideally, <$15k), so used and/or self-built is definitely our market segment.
With all that said, what are your thoughts on:
-sportsmobile (or similar) type van vs. campervans like Pleasure Way etc.?
-Van (or vanbody type) vs. larger class B?
-2wd vs 4wd?
-What would you consider van necessities vs. 'nice to haves'?
-Any other random advice/recommendations?
I'd love to see some rigs in person to get a feel for different sizes/layouts, so if anyone is in/around Austin, let me know!