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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Available Space - 3 Vehicle Comparison

In the last 5 years of Brent’s Travels I have traveled between 16K and 20K miles in my approx 4 months, each year on the road.

To recap my first year of travels in 2014 I had a Class B camper below.  Years 2, 3, &, 4 (2015, 2016, &, 2017) my Vandwelling Choice was a Prius.  Finally this year (2018) was my Tacoma with a Four Wheel Camper (FWC).

Over a series of blog posts I will look at different aspects of my various Vandwelling travel choices.

If you have questions you would like answered please let me know.

Available Space, Comparison:

Class B:

Hands down the Class B campervan had the most available space.  To carry and store items and would be best for two people, but I don’t think fulltime.

I kept the rear dinette down to have a bed that was fixed, but brcase it was a side to side bed, I slept sideways.  I could not be comfortable sleeping with someone else sideways with someone next to me.

It had the bench roll-over seat to bed that was like a bed and a half wide, still not forvtwo wide, but long enough.

Then there was the bed over the cab that I wouldn’t want to have to climb in and out of every night.

Under the dinette was copious storage as floor area under the table was wide open.  Under the roll-over bench had some storage but the freshwater tank took up a lot of space.

I used to bed over the cab for storage. When my niece stayed with me she slept on the dinette and I slept on the roll-over couch bed. 

I didn’t have to make hard decisions on what I was going to take on my travels.


Without a doubt the Prius had the least sl amount of space and the only way bringing someone else with you either staying in the Prius or in a tent, exterior roof storage would be my choice.  A rear hitch carrier would be in the way all the time to access the rear hatch area.

The Prius made me think hard and design for space utilization. Every cubic inch counted.  It was not cheap to make this transition to minimalist living.  All new cooking supplies, special backpacking table and chair.

I felt great in the Prius with my inventions to allow me a place to live while carrying 6 gallons of fresh water and being able to heat hot water and wash my hair and body each day.

Tacoma/FWC Camper

The FWC does not have much storage.  I built storage so I could travel with what I needed in the camper and didn’t have to go to the truck to get it.  Building this storage gave me a platform to sleep on with the roof down too.  Again engineering.  Many FWC owners use the cab of the truck to store items for camper.  Me, I only used cab ofvtruck for those things that were not needed for camper.

The expanding section of the camper adds only living space and allows you to temporarily use the space.  The living space was great but overall not as much storage as it looks.  This includes the over the cab bunk.  This is a large double bed the way I have it set up and easily can sleep 2 and then one more on bench bed below for a total of 3.

I had to remove the manufacture supplied 4” cushions from the over the cab bed, and replace with 2” foam, so I could leave bedding (bed made).   Pillows could not be left.  Bedding (mattress pad, lower sheet, upper sheet, down comforter, and spare double blanket on 4” cushions don’t provide for enough space to close the roof.  I didn’t want to be moving bedding each time I got into the camper.

My sleeping bag was usually on the bench bed unless I had a visitor.

Available Space, In Summary:

Living on the road by myself, I have to say space consideration is not a big factor for me.  I guess if I could live 3 years of travels at 4 months a time, then it’s not an issue.

The game changer this year was the expanding space I got with the FWC camper.  It’s 6’4” tall in the camper and my bench bed I built proved to be a good gathering spot out of the cold and wind for a place to talk, watch a movie on the TV, play games, and plan the next day.  I regularly had myself and two others in the camper, but 4 is possible but tight.  I could have had 6 sitting in the Class B but not cohesively.

In the Prius, I could put one other person in the passenger seat only.  

So, for gross storage the Class B wins.  The camper’s flexibility gives it good marks.  With the Prius, more than 2 people inside, you are best go the library or a place like McDonalds to meet.  The FWC was the most versatile.

Class B - 8
Prius - 4
Tacoma/FWC - 6



  1. Interesting you would add roof storage before a hitch box on the Prius. I wonder if the hitch mount would be more aerodynamic? And how often do you need to access the hitch? Are there things you can't access from the interior?

    1. Hi Bryce,


      Q:Hitch storage Aerodynamic?
      A: possibly but it is more about functionality - I live at the back end of my Prius - it’s my living room - access to fridge and under bed storage.
      Yes you can add swing storage but it creates a tough angle of departure. Go to a gas station in Tucson and come out. There is a sharp dip as the side of the road has a hard pitch for drainage. You will drag the cage!

      Not to mention standard parking space size

      Q: How often access the hitch
      A: exactly I would not access often and use any storage for those times that you need something

      Q: things that can’t access from interior
      A: my design gives me access to all I need to live insidevthevprius but if traveling with 2 in a Prius the extra space is great. Also it is good for toys that you don’t want inside and you need secured. The top storage is secure and out of the view of others