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Any SUV dwellers?
#11
PT, gear on one side and sleeping bag on the other side with back seats folded flat. The Durango is wider and longer than the mini SUVs (like Forester). We used to have a Kia Sportage and it was too short to stretch out in the back. (nice car, but a gutless wonder).
Traded the Kia straight across for our MoHo 1 1/2 yrs ago.

I traveled for nearly a year in a fastback Toyota, so I know it can be done in a full sized SUV. Besides, Johnny's Durango looks nice enough he could make good trade (provided its paid for) if he wants something with more room if he continues the traveling lifestyle.
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Jay and Margie. 92 Dodge Maxi van. 300 watts Renogy solar, 2X 6volt deep cycle @ 230Ah.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. ~Edward Abbey
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#12
Hey bobbert ...


you can post all the pics of your rig as you want, without worrying about your 'stealth' (a highly over-rated term) being blown.

as long as you don't have your license plates showing, or anything that shows who you are or where you're located...noone will know that the photos are of your car or someone elses.

it's cool, I dig the 'stealth' thing....but relax man.
"Good Times & Good Friends Make Life Better!" Big Grin
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#13
(12-20-2013, 11:27 AM)Johnny Utah Wrote:
(12-19-2013, 08:53 PM)PastTense Wrote: Problems:
1. Lack of storage space
2. Where to you go to the toilet, bathe?
3. Where do you prepare food?

I really think the minimum is either a van, a truck camper, or a vehicle/trailer combination.

I don't expect life to be the same as in a fixed residence, so I'm prepared for the challenges/difficulties of living out of an SUV.

1. I don't plan to have a ton of stuff crammed in the car with me. Just a minimal amount of clothing, supplies and equipment, etc. By the time I'm ready to embark I'll have narrowed this list down to the bare essentials. All other stuff will be put into storage.

2. I'll either be camping, at a rest stop, truck stop, or in some urban setting. So I'll be able to find a bathroom somewhere or I'll be out in nature, and a bucket and toilet lid should be adequate then. As for bathing, I'll have a gym membership to Planet fitness which has locations in nearly every state that I can shower in, or sponge baths, baby wipes for when I'm camping.

3. As for food I'll have to simplify my diet. I have a small camp stove I can cook with at campsites, rest areas and parks, along with a hot plate when I'm staying in a motel or even in the car with an inverter to heat up soup, ramen and other simple meals. A 5 day max cold cooler for extended refrigeration if I need it. Lastly, I'll probably be healthier living off staples like PB&J, fresh fruit and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, granola bars, etc along with the occasional visit to a restaurant.

Again, I'm aware that you'll be a lot more comfortable in a larger vehicle that can provide the amenities of home, but I'm willing to trade those for the convenience of blending in, better gas mileage, ease of getting around and so forth.

(12-20-2013, 08:02 AM)Lifemagician Wrote: Have you thought of removing the seats, rather than just laying them down? I spent the best part of half a year in a Dodge Caravan, some years ago. We took out the seats, other than the front, which gave tons of room to sleep and for necessities. I don't know how the Durango compares with the Caravan, for size.

Lifey

I don't think I'll need to make any modifications. There's enough space for me to stretch out completely, and sit up in back without my head hitting the ceiling. And I'm not sure I could even if I wanted to, SUV's are designed differently from minivans. I envision a setup similar to the Subaru above with my gear on one side and me sleeping on the other. Plus, I'll be travelling alone so I can use the footwells in the passenger and rear seats for storage as well to reduce the amount of clutter in the back. My bed is going to be simple: a large folding memory foam bathmat on top of a rollup camping mat. That should provide plenty of cushioning for very little space, and can be broken down and put away easily. When all said and done, no one should even be able to tell it's being lived-in. If I find I need more space I'll look into getting a cargo container for the roof, but even that is kind of a tip-off.

p.s. those insulation panels covering the windows are nice! I'll have to look into something like that. I was planning on fashioning some curtains for privacy with black fabric and velcro, but something like that would be way more convenient.


I think there are a few things here that are a bit confusing to me. A base model Dodge Caravan for example, gets 25% better fuel economy than a Dodge Durango. Add a container on top, and the caravan looks even better fuel-wise, and 25% is huge. Due to the much lower height of the floor, you have deceptively more room inside. It is an easier vehicle to blend in with (in my opinion) because it expected to be seen in many settings, and it allows you much more space to be able to easily conceal belongings so as not to look like you're living in there.
Even many larger cargo vans are competitive with the Durango for fuel economy. If already having the Durango is the reason, then that's a good one, but no reason not to be as comfortable as possible :-)

Removing seats is NOT a structural or long term modification in most cases, at best they're designed to be removed with a couple of handles, at worst there's a few bolts or folded clips holding them in, still easily removed.
Easily replaced at a later date too!

Absolutely no way you can run a hot plate off your car. At best you'll kill your battery, at worst if you were to modify things enough to make it work you could start a fire.
Massive inverter(think 3000+ watts) and a huge battery bank.

Due to the way seats fold down when they're down, a piece of thin plywood to level it out, a camping mat(cheaper and more suitable than a yoga mat due to thickness, some are like accordions, and fold up square for easy storing).
A minimalist approach can be fun, but checking out the insides of a few vehicles, like Astros/Safaris, Caravans, Previas etc might not hurt.
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SondraRose (11-04-2017)
#14
Quote:If already having the Durango is the reason, then that's a good one

Bingo. I'd like to try out the vehicle I have before thinking about changing. If I find it doesn't suit my needs, then I'll look into something bigger. But the fact that others can make do in cars even smaller makes me think it will be adequate. It runs great and has no problems, so I'm reluctant to trade in a dependable vehicle for one that may potentially turn out to be less so.

But if I didn't have an SUV, I'd consider a minivan for the same reasons -- the combination of stealth to roominess. An SUV's main advantage is that it's designed for back country travel: 4WD, higher clearance, more power, etc, otherwise the minivan has more room. But as long as I can blend in and have enough space to stretch out, that's mainly what I'm looking for. I don't plan to hang out a ton in my vehicle, it's just to get me around and sleep in. I'm not looking for a substitute home (i.e. RV). Also, I'm not trying to cram all my worldly possessions in it, so I think it should be okay from a minimalist approach. A lot of full-time mountain climbers seem to follow this lifestyle. But again, I'm still in the planning stage, the real test is when I hit the road.

With that electricity and food becomes my next biggest concerns. I'll probably get one of these inverters:

[Image: 67957big.jpg]

A pretty nifty design and having it right in the cupholder will be easily accessible when recharging my electronics. I'll probably also get a solar charger as well for when I'm camping.

[Image: GoalZero-1.jpg]

As for cooking, I already have a small Coleman camp stove and lightweight travel size pots and pans. And I recently came across this Roadpro car stove.

[Image: DSCI0020.JPG]

It looks like it might be good for heating up food like hot pockets, burritos, or warming up canned soup and sandwiches. I'm trying to be frugal and not eat out too much, and I definitely can appreciate the value a hot meal can have to morale. Anyone have any firsthand experience with one of these?
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#15
Johnny Utah, Welcome to the group.......believe it or not everybody here want to help and they want you to thrive.

Sounds like you have put lots of thought into your journey.....good luck!!

What many of us are wanting to share with you is that we have done that been there and in some cases we just want to save you some trouble...my example is the choices you just shared....cupholder inverter....looks cheap to me and just what do you expect to power with it.......too little an inverter can destroy what you are using save $50 on an inverter and cost $500 worth of laptop!!!! The little roadpro oven is great ,but can take hours to heat and do you want to run your car for hours just to heat up soup????? Your battery will not last long if the car is not running and running down your battery too many times will kill it for good.....kiss $100 goodbye there.

But all that said, you will need to go out there and give things a try......you have found a great place to share your adventure and a great place to improve your life on the road........

I had a conversation with a lady today, she has been living in a van for a year now, she is from the east coast and thought stealth was the #1 most important part of the dweller lifestyle.....now that she has been out west and on the road for a while, stealth is really not all that important to her......she would do things different next time.....just saying

Papa
Del
WinkI hope your travels are as great as mineWink
http://www.papas-travels.blogspot.com
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#16
Thanks!

I appreciate all the feedback. I'm definitely not trying to reinvent the wheel, which is why I'm here. I want to be as prepared as I can before heading out so it's been very helpful to get tips from folks who are already out there doing it. I'm still reading through older posts so if I've brought up topics that have been discussed here previously, my apologies. I guess every newbie goes through this when they get started. I think a lot of it is trying to convince yourself that this can work before actually taking the plunge.

In addition to this site, I've started reading several homeless and on-the-road type blogs, along with watching a bunch of youtube videos. It's encouraging to see just how many other people have had similar ideas and are eager to share their experiences. I didn't realize it would be this big a community.
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BobbieH (11-10-2017)
#17
My health made me decide to keep a home near my son. The fact that he is all the family I have left is a part of that decision too to be honest. But I still want to get out and see some of the places, and maybe people, that I have been/am curious about. My van recently started acting up and they are so difficult to work on, and get such poor mileage, I bought a Blazer S10 that has just enough room with the seats in back folded down to give me a place to sleep . I think these smaller SUVs are a good thing if your not going to have to full time it but believe a small, enclosed trailer would make a full time situation very do-able.
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#18
I am about to embark on the same thing but in a 4dr Jeep Wrangler. I took the back seat out and made a plywood bed with a foam mattress on top. Down the side of my I have room for basic storage. I'm putting a Thule bin on top for golf clubs and other bits and bobs. Have tried it out and it's very comfortable.

I have just joined this site and have been a bit taken aback by all the talk of stealth - one post even said you can get arrested for sleeping in a Walmart parking lot somewhere in Texas !! I'm a police officer in Ontario and we wouldn't care less if someone was legally parked and hopped into the back for a snooze for one or maybe 2 nights.
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#19
I think it depends on where you're at, and how big a problem homelessness is in the area. Communities may enact laws to try and crack down on the homeless and free sleepers, and have local police actually enforce them. So you might get a ticket for sleeping in your vehicle or be asked to move along in some places. One of them is southern california, where I want to visit and possibly stay for extended periods.





That's why I'm trying to focus on stealth and blending in. plus, I think I'll sleep better knowing there is no reason for anyone to suspect I'm in my vehicle at night.

Here's a link to ordinances different cities are trying to pass to ban the homeless and vehicle dwellers. it's pretty eye-opening stuff.

http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publicat...ities.html

While I don't think it'll be a problem in most places, and at worst one might be asked to move along by security or police, the legal framework is in place for someone to be jailed or fined hundreds if not thousands of dollars for sleeping in their vehicles.
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#20
(12-21-2013, 05:23 PM)papas34 Wrote: The little roadpro oven is great but can take hours to heat, and do you want to run your car for hours just to heat up soup?????

Papa

WOW....good thing you're not one to exaggerate!!

An HOUR???

I used a cig-lighter plug-in hot pan in my semi truck for years. Soups, hot chocolate, & POPCORN too...all took maybe 5 mintues to heat up.
The only drawback I had was that it was too hot to hold while I ate my dinner out of it. (I started carrying a hotpad shortly after.)
"Good Times & Good Friends Make Life Better!" Big Grin
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