Originally Posted by Joanna
If I had 3 little kids, I'd go for the extended body van. It doesn't sound like you don't have rock crawling in your near future but alot of gear and toys. You'd be surprised how much difference that foot and a half makes.
Thanks for that point. Part of me wants to design the SMB for JUST me and my fiancee, and the other part wants to make sure that the kids would have a place to sleep, too.
I *did* go see the local SMB owner's rig this morning. She had a 2004 (IIRC) Ford E250 RB V-8 gas with the PH top (and bed option), short Dinette W in the rear, then high cabinets (frig, microwave, storage) on the driver's side, and the galley on the passenger's side. No heater, no A/C, no water heater. Propane just for cooking. It works perfectly for her.
My initial thoughts on SMB? Read on....
1. Overall stealth is great. Just your basic E-250 type van on the outside (as long as the PH is closed). Looks "normal" LOL... no one in her neighborhood has complained (despite having "RV" tags).
2. The PH top w/ bed is an awesome idea, and I'll most likely be getting it in mine, too! Even w/ the bed hanging inside it, I STILL had a few inches of headroom, and I'm 6'-0" tall! I love that headroom! And she closed it before we left. It took her a few seconds! Put the bed down, grab the handles, pull... Whump! Lock the three latches. Done. How awesome!
3. There's a bit of a "scale" difference in the "feel" of the sizes of things while designing it online (DYO game), and actually being INSIDE one. The online version makes them feel a bit roomier than they truly are in reality. not significantly, but when I first looked inside (through the opened rear doors), I thought "Wow. It is
small." But once inside it I thought was certainly possible to live in it, even for a 6-footer.
4. Overall quality seemed to be good. Fit and finish was up to par as I was expecting. The cab seats and dinette seats were comfy. Plenty of storage was around, too. I liked the "wood grain" cabinets much better than the all-white cabinets I've seen in photos.
5. I will NOT get an awning. It looks like a tumor up there, and I probably won't ever use it anyway.
6. After seeing a RB size, I am definitely considering getting the EB, for the extra length (which is basically an additional cabinet's width).
Overall, seeing one in person SOLD ME on the SMB. I will definitely be getting one when the timing and finances allow it! Until then, I have plenty of time to figure out exactly WHAT I want/need.