Hiking vehicles

Hiking Related – Not Trail Specific

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rally_toad
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Hiking vehicles

Post by rally_toad » Mar 06 2008 7:26 pm

What kind of vehicles do you guys all drive when your going hiking? Im thinking about investing in a 4wd high clearance Jeep or something of the sort so I could get to some places where I definitely couldnt get to with what Im driving now (73 mustang):) I saw a Jeep Grand Cherokee today for $2600 and I was thinking about checking it out. What "hiking vehicle" is easiest to drive and which gets the best gas mileage (even though I know most wouldnt be too fuel efficient.)
"Who are you guys??!!" -Farnsworth

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fairweather8588
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by fairweather8588 » Mar 06 2008 7:30 pm

I drive a '99 Jeep Wrangler, and I beat the crap out of it. Gas mileage isn't very good, it can be kinda loud sometimes, but there isn't any other car that I'd rather drive. Even a stock wrangler will get you to almost all TH's in AZ under normal conditions
No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength

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mttgilbert
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by mttgilbert » Mar 06 2008 8:34 pm

I drove a lightly modified jeep for a couple years. It was my primary vehicle and it just wasn't that practical. I loved it and it was tough to part with it but in the end I decided to go with a 2 wheel drive Tacoma. I have the prerunner so I got a little extra clearance, upgraded suspension, a lot of skid plates, and a locker in the rear. I opted out of the four wheel drive because with the jeep I think less than 10% of my miles were actually four-wheel miles. Just having the extra weight of the transfer case (and having to overcome all the lower gears on highways) really reduce mileage, and the cost increases significantly with the extra equipment. I haven't found myself limited without 4x4, especially when I have the option to engage the rear axle. I have found a lot of the features of the truck have been really useful for getting to the trailheads, and they've been pretty useful when I basecamp out of the truck. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly vehicles that could go farther, I am somewhat limited in where I can go. Really though, driving skill (which I'm not claiming to have) goes a lot further than raw power, extra articulation, and even extra drive wheels will when put in the hands of the inexperienced. The farther you can go, the farther you are from help when you get stuck (I learned this the hard way a couple times).
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PrestonSands
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by PrestonSands » Mar 07 2008 12:33 am

Rally_toad, if that Grand Cherokee you saw runs good, I say get it!

My full size, '95 Chevy truck (2wd) gets me most places I want to go. Gets 16 mpg, and rides comfortably. Clearance has never been an issue. The lack of weight on the rear axle gets it stuck frequently, though. (Chapman and Fraley will testify to that!)

I've heard nothing but good things about the Toyota tacoma prerunners. Chapman swears by his.

If all goes well, I'll be driving a Chevy Z-71 4x4 next week. \:D/

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big_load
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by big_load » Mar 07 2008 1:03 am

I get most places in the standard 2wd rental car, although I've had to avoid some trailheads due to clearance. I rented a Wrangler twice in CO and was able to get through a couple spots that would have been tough on a mule, but it was a real pain on the highway, especially in the wind. I know quite a few people who swear by the Nissan Xterra, but I've never tried one myself.

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fricknaley
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by fricknaley » Mar 07 2008 5:10 am

The lack of weight on the rear axle gets it stuck frequently, though. (Chapman and Fraley will testify to that!)
I wasn't going to say a word. :--:
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PaleoRob
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by PaleoRob » Mar 07 2008 6:38 am

I guess it all depends on what sort of trails you want to access. I'm fairly happy with my 2x4 Explorer, but there are several trails/roads I can't really consider feasible options at the moment, because they need a bit more clearance/4x4. I used to have a '93 4x4 Explorer, got 20mpg on the highway, and got me everywhere I ever wanted to go when I had it. I kick myself all the time for trading it in for a 2003 Jetta wagon...even though the mileage is better. I drive a 2007 4x4 F-150 for work, and am pretty pleased with it. It gets me up the Paria Plateau and back down again, so I can't complain.
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JoelHazelton
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by JoelHazelton » Mar 07 2008 7:41 am

I'm gonna drive my Sentra until I've taken it everywhere it'll go, at which point I'll probably invest in something better. I always tell myself that there's no use in spending a bunch more money on a gas guzzling, expensive vehicle when there's still plenty to see out of my low clearance, two-wheel drive car. Then again, I'm really, really, really, really, really cheap.
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Grasshopper
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by Grasshopper » Mar 07 2008 12:49 pm

This can be a sensitive topic since most all of us do love our ride to the THs, but the "final word" in my semi-expert 4x4 opinion :) is: Matt Gilbert has the ideal TH ride in his Toyota- Tacoma Prerunner 4x2 with back axle locker!

If I could do it without taking a major loss (which I can't & won't), I would part with my very $highly modified$ '92 Jeep Wrangler-YJ and do exactly what Matt has done. The Tacoma Prerunner has excellent clearance with stock P265x16x10'' tires and a very well designed drive train with a cleanly designed undercarriage(very little hanging down to get in the way of rocks, ruts,etc..) and buying it with or installing an aftermarket "on/off" locker in the back axle adds a whole new level of security for those occasional AZ 4x4 TH back roads and buying a 4x2 will give you better gas mileage and less insurance costs than owning a 4x4 and now you can buy a sweet four door version if you need more passenger or inside cargo space!

IF you just can't go with a truck, then my second choice would be the Nissan Xterra full 4x4 version. Also an excellent choice but my second choice..
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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RedRoxx44
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by RedRoxx44 » Mar 07 2008 2:02 pm

Depends on what you want to do. "The rougher the road the finer the filter" I forget who to contribute this quote to.
4x4 for me all the way. Where my Jeep has taken me--
The Maze in Canyonlands
2000 feet above the Dirty Devil RIver in Utah on an old mine road
Rubicon trail, Johnson Valley Ca Jeep trails etc.
Down the Turkey Track and up Boulder Alley Anza Borrego ( and down and up Heart Attack Hill)
The amazing Los Coyotes Indian Reservation California
Over a rock slide that had happened that day in New Mexico ( gotta get to that TH)
To Power Hill TH Galiuros

Some of this is just driving but the most is to get me to a hiking destination very few people can get to, and the solitude and discovery that brings for me.

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te_wa
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by te_wa » Mar 07 2008 2:14 pm

hint: never make a 4x4 your primary vehicle. or at least, have a backup plan.
:D

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CosmoTopper
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by CosmoTopper » Mar 07 2008 2:20 pm

My 2 cents:
Currently I am using a Jeep Liberty 4X4 and previously it was a Jeep Wrangler 4X4. However, I am considering this to be my last TH vehicle with this kind of mileage 15-22. I am considering my next vehicle to be a hybrid of some sort, maybe not even 4X4 :o Maybe the next generation after Prius but something in the high 40 mpg. I can always walk some distance to a trailhead. These are just some thoughts that I have been mulling over.

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Grasshopper
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by Grasshopper » Mar 07 2008 2:58 pm

te-wa wrote:hint: never make a 4x4 your primary vehicle. or at least, have a backup plan.
Exactly my problem now.. owning what is a very capable recreactional "second" vehicle having to be used as a "primary" vehicle with no affordable backup plan! :roll:
This is why I recommend that for one that enjoys the outdoors, IF you can only own one vehicle, that Matt's Tacoma- Prerunner is an "all-around" excellent choice.
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")

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djui5
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by djui5 » Mar 07 2008 3:53 pm

I drive my Corolla almost everywhere. There are a few places I've been that it wouldn't go, like the Tortilla Trailhead :sl: Also on the East side near Iron Mountain. I either use the MIL's Cherokee or my friends Xterra. I'll tell ya, those Xterra's are amazing offroad. I was really shocked at how well they perform. Almost like a Wrangler, almost :) Speaking of which, I hope to get a Wrangler this summer as an offroad vehicle. :D

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Davis2001r6
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by Davis2001r6 » Mar 07 2008 5:14 pm

I'm in the same situation, gone in circles a few times now.

96 Honda Accord and then bought a 87 Wrangler beater (didn't trust it that much) and it sucked to drive anywhere on the road, even driving up to browns peak my Honda was more comfortable.

Got rid of both of those and got a 00 Jeep Grand Cherokee - loved the thing, but 16-18 MPG was TOO expensive when I drive 30k miles per year (ok maybe I'm down to 28k/year),

Got rid of it and have an 05 Honda Civic - Love it as well and get 35MPG with a heavy foot, but lack TH access to some places I really want to go.

So like MikeInFH says I need a 4x4 as a secondary vehicle. I search CL daily but just haven't found the perfect fit for me.

My required list:
4x4
AC
Be capable of sleeping in the back of (ie: seats fold down flat/flat enough)
Dependable enough for me to drive 500 miles w/o fear of breaking down on the highway
4 Person seating and I'm not talking the "extended cab" p/u truck.
Cost <4k

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PaleoRob
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by PaleoRob » Mar 07 2008 5:52 pm

davis2001r6 wrote: 4 Person seating and I'm not talking the "extended cab" p/u truck.
You'd be surprised how roomy the back seat of the F-150 super crew is. I've even slept on it.

I would love an Xterra. We looked at one in 2006, almost made the leap, but decided that we shouldn't until our finances were more secure... :? The Escape Hybrid comes in a 4x4, but doesn't have the clearance of something like an Xterra. In my case, I also need to be able to two 3-4 thousand lbs, so the Escape won't cut it. I know GMC has a hybrid Silverado 1500, but I prefer the F-150, based on experience with both at work. Hopefully Ford'll come out with a hybrid Explorer/F-150...or Nissan a hybrid Xterra. With gas edging towards 4-5 bucks a gallon, I bet it's on the horizon...
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

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wallyfrack
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by wallyfrack » Mar 07 2008 7:18 pm

The problem is a reliable 4wd with the Cost < 4k. If you get one tell us where you stole it. :o

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Davis2001r6
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by Davis2001r6 » Mar 07 2008 8:10 pm

You'd be surprised how roomy the back seat of the F-150 super crew is. I've even slept on it.
SuperCrew yes / Supercab NO. Some of the older trucks (like 96 Ram extended cab) have sufficient room as well as some newer ones too, but they are way above that 4k price tag. Plus I would really like to be able to sleep inside (think SUV) and I'm not a fullsize truck fan. Like smaller (Tacoma/Ranger size) and only the new ones come in 4dr.
wallyfarak wrote:The problem is a reliable 4wd with the Cost < 4k. If you get one tell us where you stole it. :o
Thats why I've been looking for months and haven't pulled the trigger on anything.

If you look on craigslist there is a 91 Cherokee for $3800 thats build pretty nice, but the guy said the AC is out otherwise I may have picked that one up.

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te_wa
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by te_wa » Mar 07 2008 8:40 pm

found mine at
kbb (kelly blue book site)
:D

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DarthStiller
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Re: Hiking vehicles

Post by DarthStiller » Mar 07 2008 9:50 pm

I have a 2006 Xterra I bought brand new that I absolutely love. I needed a 4 dr vehicle since we have two rugrats now, so its the perfect combo vehicle for that kind of family transport thing and being able to 4x4. I have actually been surprised at how well it goes off road. Ask Hoffmaster how it handled the road to the Tortilla TH (like buttah). Grasshopper can also vouch for how it handled the road out to the Horrel Spring TH. I followed him out in his rig until the road faded away and we were basically driving through the trees. it kept up with his wrangler the whole time.

the mileage for gas prices now isnt the best, so I drive my wife's 1990 civic to work, which gets way better mileage. for that matter though, any SUV you buy will have that problem.

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