So I'm looking at tow vehicles and trying to decide. I've never towed other than the harbor freight tire trailers. I have an STR S2000 that I would drive to local events, but tow it using an open trailer to further away events a) for a more comfortable ride and b) so I can have tools, extra tires, beer, etc. I live in Philadelphia, we'd probably tow to all the pros and tours on the eastern half of the US, and of course nationals.
We have no kids with no plans for them ever (do have a dog though), and my wife and I both have a 5 mile commute to work (not the same place). The plan is to have the S2000 (which will be daily driven except in winter when the roads are salted), our miata (with blizzaks), and the mystery vehicle. In general we'd drive the miata and s2000 to work, except in winter when it'd be mystery vehicle plus miata. Longer trips without towing we'd probably take mystery vehicle. Also mystery vehicle would be used for home depot runs, etc. I doubt we'll ever get much of an advantage from pickup vs. van since I don't foresee hauling anything real dirty like mulch, etc. It'd probably only get about 5000 non-towing miles on it per year. Maybe 4000 towing miles per year. So a total of 9000 miles/yr.
Budget is about $10k, so obviously we're looking used. $10k including trailer would be even better, but I'm not too hopeful about that. I might even be willing to spend a little more like $12k if it seems like a good idea.
What seems to make sense is to make up kind of a camper/RV van, although not quite as self contained as a normal class B RV. I was thinking if I could get either a 140" (middle length) sprinter or a high top regular length E-250 type van, then just toss some kind of convertible bed/bench in the back, and bolt down a small sink with a 5 gallon water bottle and just have it drain into a small jug or something that I'd drain every day since it'd be used infrequently, and have a microwave and a small electric or propane camping stove, and a portable air conditioner for hot nights. I'd stay at a campsite and plug in to 110V to be able to use the microwave and air conditioner. We wouldn't have showers or toilets because I imagine going to real water tanks plus sewage, etc, would be annoying and space consuming...so we'd use campsite facilities for that. I'd also section off a section of the van for hauling tires and cargo where it would be secure. Of course in places like new jersey I'd still have to get a hotel, but it seems like some sites (Lincoln maybe?) I'd be able to do the camping thing and save quite a bit of money.
While towing we'd just have myself plus wife (she autocrosses too), and possibly the dog depending on circumstances. The S2000 will probably weigh 2600-2700 lbs, plus the trailer. Right now I'm thinking 1500 lbs for a steel econo-trailer, although I could be convinced to go aluminum to save another 500 lbs if it'll enable a better vehicle. So about 4000 lbs and not too much wind resistance. Then I'd have a set of tires, a pop up, etc in the van, plus all the stuff I listed above. So maybe 1000 lbs or 1500 lbs conservative estimate in the van given 2 people, all the camping stuff, plus cargo (haven't gone through and added up weight so 1000-1500 is a broad guess)?
The camper van seems to make a lot of sense to me, yet I don't see anyone doing it? People usually have trucks, or there are a few with the huge self contained RVs. Has anyone tried this? Do you think it'll work out?
And for those who have thought about going this route but haven't....why? Do you think I'll get worse gas mileage? Some other disadvantage? Vans seem far cheaper than trucks.
Any input on gas mileage of different things you've towed with, particularly vans, would be appreciated.
Finally a specific question - anyone tried towing with a sprinter? I'm a little concerned it's smaller diesel won't be able to handle 1000 lbs payload plus 4000 lbs trailer.
Any recommendations or input on any of this is welcomed :)