Van Versus Truck for Living

I’ve decided to move further along the spectrum of minimalism by departing full-time RV life, and going into full-time van life or full-time truck life. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, so this is my risk/benefit analysis of the two options, as well as some baseline criteria.

The platform must meet the following characteristics:

  • possess high reliability
  • afford access to remote terrain (4wd)
  • have performance and dimensions allowing for daily driving
  • have extensive availability of aftermarket parts
  • ability to tow gear that does not fit in primary vehicle

Optionally, the following are ideal:

  • fit into a shipping container for potential international travel
  • covert living when in urban environments
CategoryVan (Sprinter)Truck (Tundra)
Performance on Variable Surfaces (sand, snow, fire roads, etc.)4wd costly ($60,000 base for new)4wd minimal additional cost
Rapidity of Travelgenerally slower (less power, more top-heavy, narrower)faster
Shipping Container FitHigh roof Sprinter would not fit; regular wouldwill fit, dependant upon topper/camper configuration
Gear Storagevoluminous under-bed storagelimited compared to van
Living Spacemuch better than truck, even with standard height rooflimted compared to van
Covert Urban Campingable to design for stealth campingcan, but limited (improved with pass-through window from cab to bed
Interior Aestheticsinterior design can be high-end, similar to yaughtcould be designed similarly
Towinglimited10,000 pounds
Initial Build Complexityhigher (unless used unit located that meets criterialower
Initial Costhigherlower

Overall, a van is a winner for living full-time in urban and remote environments, though cost, complexity/duration of build and lesser ability of off-road performance are major factors at this stage. At this time Oncasaurus Rex the Toyota Tundra is the winner!

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