Utah Rivers
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Best Paddling Vehicle

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Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by nick on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 12:31 am

I am tentatively thinking about purchasing a new vehicle and was wanting to get some fellow paddlers insight about what the best vehicle for hauling around boats/friends/gear is. hopefully something that can be slept in semi comfortably if need be, and be capable of some less than perfect roads. Any ideas?
thanks,
nick

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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by StokedToBeHere on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 11:33 am

Honda Element.

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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by Dave on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 3:59 pm

Any crew-cab truck really. You want a bed... so you can just toss in dirty, wet toys... so you want a truck... for sure. If you can store 4 or more boats, you want room for their owners... so you get a crew cab... then you have good reason to ask for gas money - when on road trips. But, then the vehicle becomes expensive to drive everywhere else. So... if you're not worried too much about the money... I'd go with a Toyota Tundra Crew-Cab. You'll get 300K miles out of it easy, and be traveling in Style too! But if you get a tundra... get a v8. I don't know if they make that in a v6, but couldn't imagine it would do too well... the Tundra is pretty big... especially as a crew-cab... and then with 4-5 other boaters, boats and gear... for sure would want "at least" the v8.

Now if you're looking for economy... I'd say Subaru Legacy Wagon. The most fuel efficient 4wd car on the road... and comfortable on road trips.

And then something in-between... a Ford Explorer (fairly tough, but about 19 mi/gal freeway), Honda Element (not as tough, but if I remember correctly about - 24 mi/gal freeway), or a little nicer and more expensive... the Highlander (about the same gas mileage as the Element - I think).

Here's a list of my top pics for each price range - from most to least expensive...

1st - Either an FJ Cruiser or a Tundra Crew Cab
2nd - Highlander
3rd - Subaru

Also, watch some kayaking videos... about a third of the vehicles are SUV's about a third are Subaru's, and about a third Trucks with beds. You just need to know what you can afford!

Good luck!

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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by wasatchbill on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 4:15 pm

http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/2012/02/05/jackson-kayak-rv-for-sale-anyone-want-a-cool-rv/

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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by Flying_Spaghetti_Monster on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 6:25 pm

I agree with Dave. I have an extended cab silverado with a camper shell. I plane to build a trailer to carry more boats, have a tool box for gear, and a built in grill.
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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by Jeff Young on Sun 05 Feb 2012, 6:37 pm

I think the AWD Station wagon is the way to go... better gas mileage and a lower, yet very very nice roofline for racks and boats. The higher the roof the more of a pain in the ass it is to load/unload boats. If you don't paddle much, it won't bother you. Paddle a ton and you'll appreciate it. I have a Volvo Cross Country AWD station wagon and I love it. I'm not that tallest person in the world so I can sleep comfortably in the back and yet hold a ton of gear too. All my playboats and even my short play canoe fit inside the back. Some people bitch about paddle gear smell, but if you have smelly gear just store em in rubbermade containers until you get home.

To each his own.. but with gas prices the way they are, and the limited amount of actual offroading you'll do around here to go boat, you can do without a 'truck' and get by with AWD.
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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by RobA on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 2:15 pm

Dodge Caravan, there is nothing cooler and more practical than that!

Dub has a list of important accessories for the back.

I can post photos if you'd like.
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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by brianteats on Mon 06 Feb 2012, 2:23 pm

Plug for Subie wagons: Good gas mileage, better than expected road clearance and, if you have a good rack and straps(I don't)- VERY convinient for loading watercraft. Another wagon perk- if you don't want to set up camp-tent, for darkness/rain whatever, simply lay down the seats and boom-your camping high and dry.

You may want to avoid a 4-banger engine, it kinda lags when you're full of gear and people. A 6 cyl will get the job done better with only a slightly less mpg rating(like 29mpg-4cyl@ 170hp to 25mpg-6cyl@ 256hp ). So whatevers more important to you I guess.
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Re: Best Paddling Vehicle

Post by brightonb on Thu 16 Feb 2012, 8:48 pm

Such a subjective topic. Since I started paddling, I've owned an Element (currently), 2 Toyota Previas, a crew cab truck, a sedan and a nissan wagon. Hands down, my favorite was the Previa. I know they aren't made anymore, but you can get them for a good deal. I drove one for over 250,000 brutal miles mostly in Alaska. It was running well when I sold it. You can throw 4 boats inside and toss them on the ground when it's raining, so you can have 8 feet of inside sleeping. Other vans don't work the same since the Previa's back seats fold up off of the floor. They make fantastic winter camping cars, even in Ak. You can carry 7 passengers. Surprisingly decent ground clearance. Bla bla. If you plan on carrying a lot of people and their gear on most of your trips, get a big truck.

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