Camper Vans/Shuttle vehicles

I’m thinking a camper van is in my future. My shuttle bunny,wife, likes the idea of having a bed to sleep in and bathroom for use in the middle of the night. I can’t say I’m opposed to either of those ideas either. Unfortunately, they dont look like they’re made to haul boats, with air conditioners mounted on their roof. Anybody out there using a classb roadtrek or pleasure-way and also hauling canoes and kayaks with them?

Have used our conversion van
for same role. No AC/vents on our top, but there may be space on either side of them for boats. I think there may be Class B vans with the AC on the rear of, and integrated into the high top too. I use Yakima bases bolted through the roof with long bars that I can even extend more with 1/2" galvanized water pipe that fits inside the bars nice. Also use a 1/2" gal pipe for a cheap loading bar that fits into the yak bars and extends past the van far enough to prop one end of the boat on, then a 3-step folding kitchen stool to load the other end. Temporarily pad the bar with a swim noodle. With the bar extensions out to 102" I’ve carried 3 canoes, very well strapped down with fore and aft lines, that way over a 2K mi. trip no probs. Just thoughts. R

This doesn’t answer your question, but
have you ever thought of a small travel trailer.

There are some nice 19 footers, that have all the luxuries of home including a queen size bed, showewr lavatory, toilet, dinette, microwave, refrig with freezer, kitchen sink, range and oven and wall cabinets as well as various wardrobes for storage

We used to have one, but the one we have now is a 25 footer.

I pull it with a full size pick-up, with a fiberglass top and haul three boats on the top. All our paddling gear, snorkling gear, mountain bikes, and back/yak packing gear goes in the bed.

Leave the trailer at the campground and take off with your boat(s) of choice.

The total cost should come out less than a RoadTek or a high end camper van.

With that said, we have a friend with one of those high vans, and he some how or other gets one boat on the top.

Jack L

agree with JackL
We do the same thing – picked up a 17’ long mini travel trailer with shower, flushable toilet, two beds (couch that folds out and dinette that folds down), fridge, range, sink, AC and heat. It is under 1800 lbs and we can tow it with a 4 liter Ranger pickup carrying the kayaks on the roof rack on the truck.

This has several advantages over a Class C camper truck. For one thing, you can drop off the trailer downstresm with a bike locked inside, drive the truck upstream to the put in, float down to the camper and then one person can ride the bike back to retrieve the truck while the other paddler(s) relax in the trailer at the take out.

And you don’t have to haul all that tonnage around when you don’t need it.

We got the trailer used for $4200, but new ones, like the Forest River R-pod series, run around $10,000. I think the smallest ones with shower and toilet are around 13’ but the 17’ ones are the most practical size.

thanks for the input
all of your posts gave me plenty to think about. I’ll have to do some more research before I buy anything.

Trailer Works for me
I have a Trillium 1300, a fiberglass egg that I tow with a Ford Ranger. Mine’s pretty basic, but has everything I really need - double bed, stove, fridge, propane furnace, sink, porta-pottie. The kayaks ride on top of the Ranger. One advantage of the trailer/tow vehicle setup is that you have a vehicle that isn’t dedicated to camping.

Years ago, we had a Nissan ClubCab pickup with a slide-in camper - getting our 75 lb. homebuilt FG canoe up there was quite a production even in our mid-thirties…lol…but we had some great times in that rig with the girls when they were just wee kiddies…

A thought
Since us trailer people didn’t answer your question; you might want to go on

They have a bunch of forums and one is specifically for Class B -Camping van conversions.

Just log on and ask the question there, and you’ll get a bunch of answers and help

Jack L

Maybe front and rear hitches plus
goalpost-style crossbars for the boats? Would not work for short boats but should be good for sea kayaks.

I don’t know if that’d get the height above the AC, but it’s worth checking out. Also, don’t limit yourself to “the big two” (Thule, Yakima). Spring Creek ( sells an all-aluminum “double hitch rack” that telescopes up to 68". The rack includes a padded horizontal bar and built-in extensions to make loading easier. Their item number in the old catalog I have is 25450. If this product is anything like their kayak saddles, it will be well-made, much better than the big-name products, IMO.

Good luck, and let us know what you do. I have been admiring RoadTreks for at least 20 years.