|"Packy" the 2008 Honda Element|
|We are ready for adventure|
For all of its challenges we made "Packy" work. That was until we got our puppy. She's a smallish, Springer spaniel mix so she doesn't take up a lot of room, just enough that with her, the 12 pound mini-dauschund and the big yellow Labrador, the human's didn't have much space to sleep on the last outing to Lassen National Park in Northern California. That's right, you can fit two adults and 3 dogs into the back of a Honda Element camper, it's just not very comfortable :(. All along we had been talking about options for the future. I was pretty set on a pickup truck with a slide in camper, my wife, a traditional RV. We looked at both over the course of last summer and realized by the end that neither was what we really wanted.
Our requirements weren't fancy:
- a comfortable, preferably queen size bed.
- a place to store our gear inside.
- a place for our pups to stay for a couple of hours during mtn bike rides.
- a ready to go stove top for boiling water in the morning (especially when its 17F).
- a table top to sit at, eat on when the weather is inclement.
- capable of towing a small trailer with motorcycles or bicycles or both.
|From a 2 slice to a 4 slice bagel toaster|
case but quickly figured out they were cost prohibitive, so we looked at Ford, Nissan and Dodge offerings and ultimately settled on the RAM ProMaster. The ProMaster is similar in look to a Sprinter, but 6" wider across the back, making it wide enough to support a queen size mattress cross ways, which was a huge factor. It has front wheel drive, making it much safer to drive in our snowy climate in the winter. The ProMaster is a rebranded Fiat Ducato, which has been in production for quite a while but only introduced to the North American market in 2014. We tried to find a lower milage used vehicle, but being such a newly introduced model, all we found were 100,000+ mile, low top models. We really wanted the high top, it measures 7ft from floor to ceiling, so standing up is no problem. The ProMaster is reasonably affordable, priced between the Ford Transit and the Nissan NV models. It comes in two lengths, high or traditional low top and gas or diesel and is ready to build out if you can find one that hasn't had racks or a bulkhead installed at the factory.
|Bugger the 2017 Ram Promaster 1500 High Top|
So here we are, a giant empty metal box and 6 weeks until our next vacation. Let's get busy!