Motorhome Magazine Open Roads Forum: Tow/Launch Boat With Camper Van
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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions  >  General Topics

 > Tow/Launch Boat With Camper Van

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thebaker10

Wisconsin

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Posted: 09/10/17 07:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Folks,
Just joined this forum and am looking for a little info/experiences you all may have. Our family has been tent camping once or twice a year for the past few years. We recently purchased a pontoon boat and plan to take it with us on many camping trips in the future. We like the tent camping but I'm looking at other options out there as tent camping has a fair amount of setup time, etc. We have been traveling with our minivan and it works great but won't work to tow/launch the pontoon. Plan is to use our Suburban unless I come up with some other option. I'm new to all this camping stuff and recently came across the "Roadtrek" vans which seem pretty neat. Looks like you could tow/launch a boat with one and have room to sleep up to four. However, for our purposes I really don't need a toilet and kitchen. Do any manufacturers make like a "sleeping van"? Basically a van with seats that convert to beds but not all the camper stuff like toilet, kitchen, closet, etc. that takes up most of the interior room? Thanks for any info shared.

NMDriver

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Posted: 09/10/17 09:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For several trips with a boat, we would fold down the Astro Van back seats (they fold flat) put a sheet of plywood over them to cover the gap, and add a foam mattress on top of the plywood. The seats are also completely removable by pulling up on two catches. We have also gone camping that way using the floor of the van and the foam mattress.

The chief advantage to just folding down the seats is you can still use the space under the seats and behind the last seat for storage and carrying cargo. We carried a lug-a-loo toilet but mostly used the campground facilities.

The Astro could tow 6100lbs with a good Weight Distributing hitch.


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toedtoes

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Posted: 09/10/17 01:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should be able to buy a cargo van and have it installed with convertible couches, etc. My dad used to do that for a living in the 70s before the gas crunch. You could even add a small fridge without much effort. Will be a lot less expensive than the Roadtrek if you're not looking for toilet/shower.

And with a full size cargo van (or sprinter), you'll easily be able to tow the boat.


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KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 09/10/17 04:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you pulled a pontoon before? They have a lot of side area and can sway quite a bit with a cross wind, much like a travel trailer. I would want a rather stout tow vehicle to pull one.
Have you considered a truck with a truck camper? A small 8' pop-up model wouldn't weigh much and would not have a bathroom. You would likely get a sink and a small fridge which is really nice.

ryegatevt

New Hampshire

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Posted: 09/12/17 06:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I considered this topic long ago, but after thinking about it I concluded that using my usual shallow boat ramp I would have to back my already low RT 210PC so far out in the water I would probably drown the chassis, so I went back to using my pickup. Kind of a shame - it would have been fun having the Boston Whaler along...


Steve & Bev
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steveh27

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

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Posted: 09/13/17 06:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I tow my aluminum 21' StarCraft with my 20' Xplorer 230XL Class B camper van. The boat & trailer weigh just under 2,000 lbs. No problem towing long distances nor launching even by myself. Done this for 20 years.

tatest

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Posted: 09/14/17 06:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PleasureWay's Traverse on the E-series was more of a sleeper van, although it had a small kitchen area. To sleep more than two, it had to have an upper bunk under a pop-up top. Sort up like an upscaled version of the camper vans Westfalia and Sportmobile built on the VW vans for more than 40 years. If you want to tow a boat, you would be looking for a Traverse with 5.4 V-8.

Sportmobile will still do this type of conversion, on order. While they have a wide selection of conversion plans, pretty much every thing is done to customer order, furnishings can be located where structure and chassis equipment allows. There are also smaller companies that do camper conversions, sometimes as slide-in equipment. You'll find some of these, as well as DIY conversions, when shopping used vans. What you can do depends on how many people you need carry, how many you need to bunk.

These less residential camping van conversions often work better on boat ramps and off paved highways because they don't have as much stuff hanging under the van as you'll find on more residential B's.

A search on Pleasureway Traverse should take you to YouTube sales demos from dealers (2012-2013) with further links to similar packages on other van platforms, like the Active conversion on Nissan NV. Some of these will be links to European offerings, where this type of camper van is much more popular.

* This post was edited 09/14/17 06:20pm by tatest *


Tom Test
Itasca Spirit 29B


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