Greetings from a long term nomad, starting a new build.
Hello All!

I've been kind of a nomad for many years, grew up traveling constantly with my family and it just kinda stuck.  I've always had itchy feet, and this has manifested itself a couple times in different ways..... for many years I was certain a sailboat was the solution for me, and eventually bought a blue water capable boat... but it turns out being a sailer takes a certain something I don't have.  I lived aboard the boat for many years, and really enjoyed racing with my friends on the weekends, but never was comfortable single handing my boat.

Later I decided it had been too long since I was in europe and sold everything to travel full time... managed to make that work for half a decade before running out of money.

Now I finally have a job that is remote, which I can do from anywhere with a cell signal, and after a crazy week thinking I should buy a house, have realized--- I should buy a house on wheels.  (Won't be the first time, lived in a truck camper in alaska in the past.)

So, I'm about 3 weeks into the insanity of investigating and researching everything I can.... am I building from scratch?  shouldn't I just buy an RV? Geez they are expensive and so much optimized for the faux "luxury" that families of four want for their 3 times a year trips of only 2 days!

I've changed my plans so many times now I can't say anything is certain.... but I have finally started to see solutions that I like.

The road trek CS Adventurous with a bunch of Lithium Ion batteries looks possible-- but I don't really want to spend that kind of money (I could probably get that big of a loan, but it don't feel right.)

So, the current incarnation of the plan is to buy a cut-away truck and put a custom box on it.  Basically building a U-haul truck but buying new rather than used.  (These trucks are seemingly rather cheap-- around $40k, and then another $5k for the box.... though we will see how crazy I go with options--- the idea of a lift gate making a porch is certainly appealing.)

Anyway, hello!

Very keen to hear from anyone who has done a box truck conversion!

Also, a lifelong Toyota fan, I am now forced to decide what domestic engine and drive train makes the most sense.   I'm not even sure whether chevy, dodge and ram are chryster or GM!
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I too am still planning, changing my mind daily but keeping the goal in sight.
I read your other post -- love that kayak/cat with the pedals! I can understand wanting to accommodate that.

As I was reading and saw your needs: plenty of roof for solar, 19' accommodations for boat, office for your tech work, etc. I kept thinking "why not a bus?" how much is a newer one?? I have no clue, but you would have windows and built in door(s) already.

Well, you probably already thought of that as an option as you seem to have a well defined good luck! And please post pics once you get to the building stage!
a tag along vagabond, hopefully ftrv by 2020
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Why not a bus? Well, mainly I'm looking to keep my total over all length down as much as possible-- don't want something that's too much of a beast to drive. (though I may fail at this goal.) And I want to see, if possible, to buy / build something new, so new engine etc. Cutaway vans are actually pretty cheap (from my perspective) so I think this would be more cost effective.
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got it -- i was actually imagining a shorty, something like this:

but a whole different set of customization needed
a tag along vagabond, hopefully ftrv by 2020
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The following 1 user says Thank You to tav-2020 for this post:
Technomad (01-03-2018)
Nice. I didn't realize new Shuttle buses could be had for that cheap. Right now, though, with a box truck I think I can put the boat inside and have a shorter overall length. With a bus I would have to put the boat on top.... I guess I am trading vehicle height for length. I will have to watch low overpasses anyway, but am more worried about turning with a really long vehicle. (I think I can get to about 25 foot total with the solution I'm considering.)
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Having the means to get is great as long as your are fairly sure you know what you need verses what you want. They are often two different things. Having the means to get 4 wheel drive is great and if you use only a few times it is worth it but if you never ever use it was the piece of mind you have it really important to you. I have found for me it is. Most trucks can be ordered with or without a bed. To get the most floor space you need a flat bed over the wheels which puts a lot of weight up high. I'm thinking a standard bed with a vardo type sleeping arangement that extends the box while still keeping the 4' or so between the wheel wells would work as well. With some of the light weight building methods, top heavy won't be much of a problem even though you still have to deal with wind resistance. Using modular panels roof and carrying capacites will support racks and solar. If like my wife and I with grandkids you need more space you will have the towing capacity to pull a trailer with toys and extra sleeping space. I started a long time ago looking at "Roll Your Own" type vehicles and still would like a 2 1/2 ton truck with a house built on the back but after owning and living in a motor home with out moving for months at a time what a pain maintenance becomes, much better to stay small with something you can drive down to the store every week unless you plan on moving every 2 weeks or so. I've gotta get building! Good luck to you keep us posted.
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Technomad (01-03-2018)
(01-03-2018, 11:47 AM)bullfrog Wrote: Having the means to get is great as long as your are fairly sure you know what you need verses what you want.  They are often two different things. ....  Most trucks can be ordered with or without a bed.  To get the most floor space you need a flat bed over the wheels which puts a lot of weight up high.

I agree, and I had given up on getting 4WD, but now am considering going that route with a Cab Chassis, and then getting 4WD.  The trade off there is  that since the back of the Cab is present on the Cab Chasis, there is a gap between the cab and the box body, and no way to go from the cab to the truck box without leaving the vehicle. 

So I'm debating whether that's a trade off worth making or not. 

I know my limits for what I can build, and had been looking at building out a Van, but one of the appeals of the Box truck Body is that I can order it custom, and have them do a lot of the build work (like putting in windows).

It sounds like you're building a structure on a flat bed-- that's way too much for me, but I wish you the best!

As for the weight up high, I don't plan to have too much that's super heavy in there.... but I am also thinking that these bodies you can buy can have truck boxes attached under them.... and so I'm thinking that water and waste tanks, propane and batteries may all go in such boxes, so below the floor of the body, with the advantage of also being mostly external. 

One of the things that keyed me into this was seeing how cheap they were.  I saw, for instance a city delivery van type where the chassis was $35k new from Chevrolet and the custom Body was only about $5k.  Whole thing was $37k (first two numbers are the invoice prices and that last number includes dealer incentives.) 

Which is amazing since 3-4 year old box trucks the same size with around 80k-140k miles are selling for $20k!
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Welcome Technomad to the CRVL forums! To help you learn the ins and outs of these forums, this "Tips & Tricks" post lists some helpful information to get you started. We look forward to hearing more from you. highdesertranger
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So, one thing I've been doing is practicing-- driving as if I'm driving a bigger vehicle, being aware of bridge heights, using the "truck" side of rest stops, etc. I find this really useful because it brings up situations which I will have to deal with eventually, but better to be conscious of and take account of now.

One thing I've been wondering, though, is sometimes I'm driving and I'll be tired... this happened the other night and I just pressed on to get home. But when I have my home with me, my instinct will be to try and find a spot.

I've been doing the "try and find a spot" thing periodically .... and I find it's pretty hard to find a spot in rural areas that isn't someones acreage, isn't fenced off etc. I haven't been looking for state parks of national forest land.... though I think both are in rare supply here.

For instance, when traveling a long distance on the Freeway, you're likely going to have to go out of your way quite a bit to go to a state park or find national forest or BLM land, so where do you camp when it's late and you're in the middle of nowhere?

A random truck stands out a lot more in the country than in an urban area. Imagine the same is true with an RV.
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This map show's the government ownership of land on a state by state configuration. Keep in mind, this is from 2004, Government ownership has gotten even larger over the past 11 years..

Point being, finding a place to park, camp, hide out, get off the grid or whatever is entirely dependent on where you are....
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