Q: Why did you choose an SUV for travel?
A: One of the lessons I learned when I went sailing is: Go small, go now. I’ve found that people tend to wait until they have everything just right before they can convince themselves that it’s time to shove off. Often, that time never comes. So we decided to use what we had and modified it to work for us. Critically, we wanted the toughness of a truck and needed high ground clearance and four-wheel drive, knowing we wanted to go to places that might be difficult to get to. We also needed the ability to easily load and unload two kayaks. Additionally, we wanted to be able to park the vehicle in our garage. Larger vehicles, like RVs were ruled out for those reasons. Plus, most of them look silly to us.
Our Yukon XL has eight feet of space in the back that lets us comfortably sleep and stow a ton of stuff at our feet. We use a roof top carrier for extended trips. We ruled out a tent after the first time we camped in the truck and three different thunderstorms came through in one night, soaking everyone but us. We were happy to be inside during 30 to 40 mph winds that swept Baja for days. Sleeping inside keeps us off the ground and the truck is well insulated. Magnetic screens cover the windows in bug country and all four windows have rain guards that let us open windows even in rain. With its four-inch mattress and memory-foam topper, it’s way more comfortable than sleeping on the ground can be.
It also turns out to be an excellent road vehicle, comfortable and capable of long days when necessary. A 4,000-mile round trip camping journey to Baja Mexico from home delivered 18.5 mpg, nearly double what even a mid-size RV would get. The fuel savings alone is enough to afford an occasional cheap hotel room if the weather gets consistently unpleasant (or one of us says the other “needs” a real shower.
Q: Do your kids think you’re crazy living this way?
A: Nope. Most of our kids are adventurers in their own right having traveled to South America, Asia, Europe, and even the Arctic.