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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello from Colorado! Have been reading this forum for the last couple weeks and want to thank all members for sharing such great info. Very helpful in my decision of which van to purchase.

I design and built homes and my work vehicle has always doubled as my toy hauler, weekend escape vehicle and at least once a year as my home for a month long road trip. Mid May to mid August my whitewater cataraft and trailer are always hooked up to my truck so I can "Chase Whitewater". I love to ski, but when the snow melts, it is truly time to play! I'm happiest when I'm sleeping in my van, down by the river!

I always thought my next work vehicle would be a Sprinter Van, but the ProMaster 136 Low Roof is the final decision. The Sprinter is too tall, too narrow and too expensive. The two deciding factors on the ProMaster were front wheel drive and added width. Front wheel drive for lower floor, better handling and Colorado snow. The extra width so I can sleep across the width of the van, saving space for other uses. Need to wait until early 2018 to actually make the purchase for tax and cashflow reasons, so spending time now reading everything I can on converting and build out. I'll be retiring in 2019, so it needs to be a combo work vehicle / toy hauler now and some build out will wait until retirement.

My conversion will be stealthy, simple and flexible. As indicated by the title, I view this as a steel tent, something to keep me and my toys mobile, warm and dry. I have been camping my whole life, so I'm not interested in my van having all the comforts of home, just a dry place to sleep. When I am in my van, I will be either driving, sleeping or changing cloths and grabbing a bite to eat between adventures. This will be my base camp for exploring, not my home. My perfect retirement plan is to travel for a month and be home for a month year round. I rarely travel with less than a boat, paddleboard, hiking and backpacking gear and at least one bike. So storage & flexibility are high priorities.

Will be exploring this forum for ideas and how-to-info. And also info and questions for my purchase.
Will also be posting to the Build Forum with my hundreds of questions.

Let the Journey Begin!
 

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Welcome, Chasing, from another Coloradan with the 136" low roof! I got mine for similar reasons to you, to be a camping tent, handle snow, small enough to negotiate forest roads, and to haul bikes, kayaks & skis. We do a lot of road trips in the west and have crossed Wyoming enough times to want the lowest roof we can make do with (windy!). But to get the storage space we need for stuff (plus comfort while doing food prep and sleeping), I decided on a pop-top. Since we're not living in it or urban camping, stealth isn't an issue. I'll look forward to seeing how you decide to build yours....
 

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Why would you want to get a low roof? The high roof is one of the biggest assets of these vans.! I can assure you it will be the very best $1000 you ever spent.
 

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. . . so I can "Chase Whitewater". I love to ski, but when the snow melts, it is truly time to play! I'm happiest when I'm sleeping in my van, down by the river!
We can see you now . . . shooting the Lochsa in mid/late May . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Reason for Low Roof

Seems some people have strong opinions about the low roof vs high roof!
I joined this forum to hear others opinions and to challenge my thought process.

My thoughts for a combo: work van, daily driver and base camp for travel:

-High roof adds little value for work van, will not stack tools or material over 5' high.
-High roof adds no value for daily driver.
-When in the van, I will either be driving, sleeping, reading or working.
-Want to park in my garage and public parking garages.
-More stealthy. Looks way better, not as tall & boxy.
-Loading boats & bikes on the roof is easier with low roof.
-All my ex-girl friends are under 5'-6".
-Cheaper purchase, cheaper outfitting and cheaper gas bill.
-Easier to heat & cool.
-Wind & more wind (I also drive across Wyoming frequently.)
-Drive lots of sloped dirt roads and forested roads with low branches.
-I'm move up from a mini-van, so even the low roof will feel really high.
-I have the whole outdoors to stand up straight.
 

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I totally disagree with every point you've made!

-High roof adds little value for work van, will not stack tools or material over 5' high.

Any van you can stand up in adds much value, especially for camping but just as much for work

-High roof adds no value for daily driver.

Wrong again - high roof adds immensely to driving experience

-When in the van, I will either be driving, sleeping, reading or working.

All the more reason for a high roof

-Want to park in my garage and public parking garages.

Public parking garages are very overrated, your garage is about the only valid reason you've made

-More stealthy. Looks way better, not as tall & boxy.

Totally untrue - the low rook is seriously ugly! These vans were designed from the get go to look better with a high roof. Don't fool yourself about stealth - people aren't stupid.

-Loading boats & bikes on the roof is easier with low roof.

You don't need to put anything on the roof with a high van

-All my ex-girl friends are under 5'-6".

I'm 5'-7" and my wife is 5'

-Cheaper purchase, cheaper outfitting and cheaper gas bill.

Cheaper purchase but lower value, marginal higher outfitting cost, gas consumption is negligible

-Easier to heat & cool.

Why have to stoop over to have quicker heating or cooling? you're talking about next to nothing

-Wind & more wind (I also drive across Wyoming frequently.)

No wind problems at all with a high roof

-Drive lots of sloped dirt roads and forested roads with low branches.

You're not alone - it's never stopped me or anyone else for driving in that terrain

-I'm move up from a mini-van, so even the low roof will feel really high.

You don't know any better - poor excuse

-I have the whole outdoors to stand up straight.

It might be hard to stand up outside after crouching over in a low roof for any length of time

It seems you just have no experience with a high roof van and are therefore looking for excuses to justify your unwarranted fears. Do yourself a favor and drive one for a few days - you won't regret it! ;)
 

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Good God Man- walk tall in your high roof van! That low roof thing is a great coffin carrier but other than that? I went to a dealer and walked in both and I could stand between the ribs in a low roof but it’s so confining! I was a builder and converted to nothing lower than 9’ ceilings and I’ll tell you the extra height is a great selling point and space maker! You need it. BTW the room I am sitting in has 14’ ceilings and clearstory windows with the AZ sun lighting it on the north side of my house. Why? because I knew the height does much more than make a place to store stuff. When someone enters our house into this room they notice the space with appreciation. MsNomer, Steve, & KOV have all been in it, I hope they agree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Finally did it! Picked up a 2016 Low Roof 136 with 8,300 miles.
Was a U-Haul so it has side window, partition, some wall framing & rubber floor.

Did a 24 hr marathon.
Train to Denver Airport.
Fly to Kansas City.
Another flight to Minneapolis/St Paul.
Greyhound to the middle of nowhere Iowa.
Complete the purchase.
800 mile sprint home, arrived at 4am this morning.

First impressions: Surprisingly comfortable and road worthy.
Set cruise control at 80mph and set back and relaxed.
Quieter than I would have guessed for a tin box.

WTF? Items: -Windows do not roll down all the way (for obvious reason),
but I drive mostly with window down and arm out window.
-Radio on/off knob is not on/off but only volume?
-Shift lever, in Drive, is in my knee space, surprised I did not bump
it out of gear. I move around a lot on long drives.


Will mostly be a work vehicle for the next 18 months, but I have a few trips in April
and boating season (May-July). It is already spring in Colorado so I'm not too concerned with insulation before boating. Must have done: trailer hitch & wiring and at least a temporary bed.
Would like to get sound dampening and some lights. Electrical system, insulation & paneling can wait till fall.

Let the journey begin!
 

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You will get over the WTF items. Despite our coaching you to get a high roof you are going to love this van. It grows on you and the first impression things that bother you drop away. Glad you got the van and welcome again.
 

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LR 136 Are awesome! Enjoy and may see you in Yellowpine some day ��
 
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