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Old 04-08-2014, 12:56 PM   #1
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Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

My wife and I are in the early planning phase of long-term North American adventure and an SMB sure fits our idea of the perfect vehicle. Destinations will range from Baja to Alaska, and Panama to Nova Scotia.

Kids are 2 and 4 and since they haven't started school yet, we aren't tied down to one location and want to make the most of our freedom. I'm a former US Marine and my wife grew up on a dairy farm, so were both used to living life as it comes at you.

Bottom line...Can it be done?

What layout ideas can you share that would sleep/seat 4 and allow us to maximize our adventure?

I'm thinking EB, Pop-top, 4x4, diesel to maximize space, milage and opportunities, but I'm just the new guy...


Brienne of House Duramax

2008 GMC LMM Duramax w/ Quigley 4 x 4
"I can see the concrete slowly creepin',
Lord take me and mine before that comes."
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

Anything is possible, but you might be more comfortable in something like this:



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Old 04-08-2014, 02:29 PM   #3
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

With the little ones, you'll definitely need forward facing rear seats so that knocks out any of the pass through type floor plans. EB50 or something similar to that layout will be your best bet.
2005 E350 Chateau - V10 - Agile Offroad 4x4
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:00 PM   #4
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

The human part of this equation far outweighs the equipment part of the equation. Resourcefulness, adaptability, patience and humor will determine the degree of success much more than any given vehicle configuration (though I agree that forward facing seats are a necessity for a number of reasons).

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:12 PM   #5
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

We got an RB50 type van when our youngest was a baby. Our second kid came along 5 years later. Once the second one started walking, the van was too small for hanging out inside. Kids need to be able to Move Around.

So I would say if you are camping in warm climates it might be OK. But we couldn't even stand one weekend cooped up inside the van with those 2 kids...

We got a 24 foot Class C and that was much better. I personally wouldn't want to live in it with small kids, but much more do-able than a van.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:21 PM   #6
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

My vote: No, if you want to enjoy yourselves.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:12 PM   #7
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

I would recommend something with a real bathroom/shower and at least one room separation, even if it's just a curtain separating a rear bed. We have two who are 8 and 11 now and have been camping and taking long trips with them since the start, but not in a small van when they were smaller. I think you would be happier full-timing in something just a little bigger. The Chinooks are nice but they don't have realistic sleeping for 4, and all beds are right in the middle of the floor plan. There are lots of small RVs with a rear bed/bedroom (usually a corner bed). That would be my choice.

Good luck!

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Old 04-08-2014, 05:08 PM   #8
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

If you didn't need the height clearance for the poptop, I think a fixed / high top may be a better option. You'd be putting the top up and down a lot I would think for continuous use and having the ability to stand immediately is pretty nice. You would also gain some additional storage space.
2009 Express AWD, CCV Top & 50-ish home build. Daily driver/camper/kid hauler
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:20 PM   #9
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

I have to agree with some of the posts above, I would love to tell you to join the club, but for full timing with 2 kids for 2 years...oh man!! I would get a nice ford F-250/350 diesel, 7.3L or a new one, avoid the 6.0, put a front leveling kit on it, some good shocks and tires, get a nice travel trailer, 5th wheel or better yet an airstream and enjoy yourselves and the convenience of the extra space, you can drop it and explore around in the rig, your wife and kids will thank me later....
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:29 PM   #10
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Re: Is it possible...2 kids, 2 adults, 2 years in a SMB?

Gotta agree with REF. I mean being stuck all the time in a van for a year+ is mega different than taking trips to and from home. Just the aspect of home schooling the kids might be a factor. Jeffery's post was blunt and he may have a point but in the end nobody here can guess your family's needs.

If you're not off roading then you don't need to spend the huge bucks for an expedition vehicle. Also does the thought of the kids away from you at night bother you? Some may say that's good but security means something also. Large trailers will give you a more home feeling and add safety as well. Small tent trailers behind a SMB to house the kids means a loss in security so myself would think a larger trailer/pickup combo like REF says. Kinda depends where you plan to travel and the terrain.

If you have the cash you can go with something like this or their smaller version.

Then there is this:


There are other larger high dollar 4x4 expedition rigs out there but I'm guessing you are after something W/I a particular budget?
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