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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions

 > Roadtrek with kids

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NewsW

US

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Joined: 02/06/2012

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Posted: 03/03/12 05:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMHO, you are best off not to buy a factory built vehicle that will have very small holding tanks --- your needs will grow faster than the the vehicle.

Option A:

A tow vehicle (perhaps a van conversion) that can be readily used as a 2nd car.

A conversion van (or your own build) lets you build small and light, and eliminate many features you don't really need in a Class B.

Then buy a trailer --- small to start, and trade up as you can afford and need.

Option B:

Jump right into a small 26ft or smaller Class C, give up idea of using it as a 2nd car.

Option C:

Real cramped Class B now, short legged tanks (not enough water, holding tank capacity) and already strapped for space from day 1.


If I were in your position, Option A is my way.

Tent camp it in a full size van, with a camp toilet.

Showers are at camp... you don't carry enough anyways.

Lots of room to move around inside.

I can give you tips as to how to do your own custom conversion.

Handbasket

Asheville, NC

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Posted: 03/03/12 06:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

troutman1971 wrote:

............ However I'm not sure if they are still making 190 V's?


Yep, the 190V is still in production. I owned a '99/'00 D190V, on the old Dodge chassis. Now they're on the Chevy chassis, and have winter-usable water & waste tanks (and no driveability issues). The only issue I had with the floorplan is sleeping length on the rear 'big' bed. The only way a 6 footer can stretch out is either diagonally or with feet hanging in the aisle. I thought seriously about building a box to put in the aisle against the end of the bed to lengthen it.

Other than that, the Versatile will sleep 4 quite handily, especially when 2 are smallish. And it'll seat eight at table, tho' it's a tad tight on knee-room at the back table, and it might be hectic for the server... .

I think you need to visit the factory website, which I think is www.roadtrek.com.

Jim, "In the pasture of life, don't be a cowpie."


'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory') www.tigervehicles.com

Bikeboy57

Huntington West Virginia

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Posted: 03/03/12 07:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Been there done that.

I wouldn't do it again. Class B for 4 was a failed experiment. It's not enough space when the weather is bad. Plus look carefully at the floor plans and make sure that when the kids beds are made that you are not land locked into the coach. Kids have different sleeping hours than the adults

Now before I get flamed, I bought another B recently. I loved it for just the adults, the kids are off to college now. I love B's, just not for four of any size.

An option to consider is pulling a pop up with a travel van.


Richard, Rhonda, Ty, and Alex
1995 Newell with 470HP Detroit Diesel
2005 Gulfstream MB G26
Subaru Outback toad
The blog wersquared.wordpress.com

Eyegor

NY

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Posted: 03/03/12 09:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've never owned a B, but have always wanted one. Do 2-4 day trips with 2 adults, 4kids in 24ft C. And yes, it usually seems to rain.
If the OP is still interested in a B, what about Sportsmobile? Lots of options so he gets exactly what they need. Kids can sleep upstairs. I only see 2 downsides:
  • Price tag if buying new
  • Although designers are great (I've sspoken with them) you are often buying sight unseen.
I don't have a problem with older vehicles so I would also be looking for an Airstream B190 or Falcon. Most folks wouldn't want one as a daily driver though.


87 Mallard Sprinter 24' Class C Ford E350 w/460 gas "The Runny Duck"
Shiny side up, Rubber side down.


1775

NY

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Posted: 03/03/12 10:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Roadtrek has replaced the Versatile models with the Simplicity (except for the 170 which is the smallest model) - and these leave out a lot of features that were found in the Versatile and are still in the Popular. The Simplicity still sleeps four using the four front seats converted into two small beds which are OK for children, but adults report them as uncomfortable. The power bench seat/bed in the rear will seat the kids during travel comfortably, in addition to the two secondary passenger seats in the front. With two children you will want the 210 model as it has added length and some added room. These are all built on Chevy chassis with a gasoline engine.

There are also models built on Sprinter chassis with diesel engines that are able to sleep four- two adults and two children.

All of these will double as a family day to day vehicle or second car. Of course,they are large and fuel mileage in the non-diesel models is not high. You can almost park them anywhere - except in an indoor garage.

You are not going to find much different - slightly but not much in any of the Class B's. You may want to look at Class C's or B+ RVs which are more suited to traveling with a family. My recommendation is to go to a Roadtrek dealer and look for yourself. Take the kids and go inside the different models. Envision yourselves spending a vacation in them - have the salesman put the beds into place and see how it all feels to everyone that will be traveling with you. There is a lot of "togetherness" in a Class B. Fine for two, probably OK for two plus two little ones, but when the kids get older, will you all still be happy inside one of these. We love it - but it is just the two of us.


Roadtrek 190 Popular 2011

Meryl and Me Hit the Road

Handbasket

Asheville, NC

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Posted: 03/04/12 05:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Huh... guess I'm not as current on RT models as I thunked I wuz... Still, I think the Versatile floorplan was available until a few years ago, so should be available on the 'gently used' market.

Jim, "Mo' coffee!"

atreis

IN

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Posted: 03/04/12 09:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

troutman1971 wrote:

Thanks for the advice so far. My girls are 3 and 5 months now so I will be looking to buy in the next two years. I'm looking for a Swiss Army type camper. I am used to lightweight tent camping so I would like an extension of that. Something that would allow for go anywhere camping and ease of my wife to drive and get ready to camp and an inside bed and simple shower. I am looking for something that would take me through the next 10 years until the girls are early teens. I think Roadtrek 170 V would be great even as a possible everyday vehicle but probably too small for camping. A Roadtrek 190 V maybe the way to go. However I'm not sure if they are still making 190 V's?


As much as I love the B's, and plan to get one in a few years ...

Can I suggest instead that for your present situation, a Sienna minivan and a 19' lightweight hybrid trailer would likely be more appropriate (not to mention considerably more economical).


2009 Trail-Sport TS21RBH
2008 Toyota Sienna


thriftydutch

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 03/04/12 09:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

NewsW wrote:

Gasoline.

No diesel.

Need ages to give specific advice.

Seat belt attachments need to be professionally done --- not just bolted to sheet metal but appropriately reinforced as per how an OEM would do it.

OEM bolt to floor normally have reinforcements on both sides.

Be sure you have multi gas detector (CO, propane, fire, etc.)

Think through the whole thing... like what if you have 1 toilet and 2 urgent needs. (emergency camp bag based toilet).

Also, auxiliary power sufficiency (plugs and output) for kids entertainment, from videos to games.

Playstation and xBox360 draw quite a bit of power, and if not properly sized, can deplete the car / coach batteries fast.

Think through water, cold drinks snacks, and also waste disposal.

Frequent disposal is best.

Flush toilets can fill up a tank fast --- use it sparingly for 4 people.

Roadtreks do not have big enough tanks for serious use --- what do you do when kids need to go and tank is full?


Need to ask yourself:

How many flushes do you have water / tank capacity for.

How fast do the tanks fill or run out of water?

How many days, how many times will you be looking for a dumping station?

How inconvenient?

Can capacity be added (if you are buying new, or retrofit used)

How does that affect the weight / payload equation

A lot of questions...



I just showed this to my wife. She said that's it,were selling the camper tomorrow. We only have a porta potti and what happens if I am sitting on the throne and you need to go. At our age we always have urgent needs.
No gas detector. My kids had no video games or xbox and they entertained themselves with license plate games etc.
If the kids need to go in a hurry there is always some bushes or trees along the road.
Thats it, all questions answered.
PS. We have 6 kids that all had a turn sleeping in the rear window of the car. If I had to brake real fast they would roll down on the floor and give me heck for waking them up.
The youngest now is 40 and the oldest is 52 and none are brain damaged.
Buy it and have a good time.


1990 L.E.R. Dodge B 250 Class B 17'


1775

NY

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Joined: 09/30/2009

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Good Sam RV Club Member


Posted: 03/04/12 11:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"PS. We have 6 kids that all had a turn sleeping in the rear window of the car. If I had to brake real fast they would roll down on the floor and give me heck for waking them up.
The youngest now is 40 and the oldest is 52 and none are brain damaged.
Buy it and have a good time."

Way back when, it was always a thrill to ride in my friend's parent's station wagon in the back on the flat with our noses pressed against the rear window looking out at the cars driving behind us. If anyone let their kids do this now they would be arrested.

We survived, but times have changed!

VE3ESN

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 03/05/12 07:04am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a 1996 Versatile (Dodge) and frequently take our grandson (11) and granddaughter (9) with us, and have been with them for up to a week. We went to Myrtle Beach State Park with them during last year's school March break, and have taken them often for other trips of shorter duration to various Ontario provincial parks and New York State Parks. We also take a bike for each of us. The kids sleep on the two front beds, and are very comfortable.

There are a few downsides: Of course it's very tight, and once the kids are down for the night, we have to remain inside the RT as well. There's a fair bit of juggling stuff to return the seats to their normal configurations in the morning and to make the beds in the evening. Inclement weather is difficult, but since the "B" is compact, it's easy to take off if need be, and spend some time elsewhere. What we do in the morning when the kids wake up is to have them spend time in the rear bed and watch TV while we reconfigure and make breakfast.

As far as replacing a minivan with a RT, you will use a lot more fuel with the RT, so that's a consideration.

Now that our grandkids are a bit older, we're going to try a tent for them, and place it under the awning. But since your kids are quite young, IMHO you have many years for them to sleep in the RT. We agree with Thrifty Dutch above, go for it and have fun!


Jerry & Susie
1996 Roadtrek 190 Versatile (Dodge 5.2 L)
FMCA F390585
Trees are being destroyed through the transportation of invasive insects and diseases in firewood. For more information, please visit www.dontmovefirewood.org


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