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View Full Version : Cargo van for comp vehicle?


Jaskew82
05-31-2012, 02:19 PM
So I have a little mazdaspeed 3 which is no good for towing and can't hold a full load of gear for comps so I was thinking of getting a cheap cargo van.

Any one use these? Thought it would be good to be able to lock up all my stuff in as needed and use the flat bed for a sleeping surface (with a cot or twin mattress.

I know a trailer would be preferable but trucks to haul them are expensive and hauling a trailer seems like it could be a P.I.T.A.

I am sure I will get an earful on why cargo vans suck, which is good because I need to know why I shouldn't use one.

Smokin' D
05-31-2012, 02:28 PM
I have a Chevy Express 3500 cargo van that is my work vehicle. It has metal shelves on both sides, so there is plenty of storage. When I use it for BBQ parties or comps I need to take out the work stuff and load up the fun stuff. Only takes about ten minutes to take out the work material, so it's not too bad. That is the only downside for me. If you are going to use it just for comps etc and leave your supplies in it, you will be fine. Pulling a trailer can be a hassle, but it is not difficult and you get used to it. I use both when I do comps. Van with the smoker on a trailer.

boogiesnap
05-31-2012, 02:50 PM
the only issue i am aware of is having an investment permanently attached to an engine. if the engine goes bad nothing moves, as opposed to trailer which can be hooked up to another engine, i.e., a rental, loaner, etc.

however, i think this really would apply more to vending and catering than competition.

SmokinGuitarPlayer
05-31-2012, 03:32 PM
We used a van last year ...bummer ... you have to LIFT everythying in and out .. like the cookers ... get a trailer with a ramp right NOW and forget the van ..that's my advice.

Jaskew82
05-31-2012, 03:34 PM
You guys will smack me in the head when I tell you my FIL offered me his 14'x7' enclosed trailer for nothing. Said I can have it outright, but I don't have a vehicle to tow that nor the inclination to deal with towing something that large.

Harbormaster
05-31-2012, 03:35 PM
I pull a small 5x8 aluminum trailer with a Chevy Venture min-van for comps.
Pretty much works perfect for us.

dosvans
05-31-2012, 03:35 PM
I started out at my first few competitions with a rental cargo van from enterprise and it worked out well. Enough space to fit all my BBQ equipment and a place to sleep. Of course, I have a trailer now which works so much better than the cargo van as far as a more comfortable place to sleep and a place to do prep.

Alexa RnQ
05-31-2012, 03:40 PM
We use a regular minivan for competitions -- a Pontiac Montana. We get everything we need into it -- 4 WSMs, 2 Caravan canopies, 3 6' tables, 2 coolers, cambro, chairs, supplies, blahblahblah.

Here are a couple of upsides of using the van: We don't have to adhere to lower speed limits for trailers in some states, and we get much better gas mileage (22mpg) than when we were towing.

Also, because space is tight, you don't find the amount of redundant or irrelevant crap creeping up in your pack -- you have to take just what you need, and not one thing more.

Ashmont
05-31-2012, 03:42 PM
Ever think of buying a used Ambulance? Has a bench seat that could be used as a single bed. Plenty of storage too!

Cast Iron Chef
05-31-2012, 03:44 PM
I rent the 5x8 U-haul trailers. 2 WSM's, a kettle and plenty of room for everything else. I pull no problem with a 6cyl Toyota Highlander.

boogiesnap
05-31-2012, 03:44 PM
i always wanted a used armored truck.

fingerlickin'
05-31-2012, 04:30 PM
You guys will smack me in the head when I tell you my FIL offered me his 14'x7' enclosed trailer for nothing. Said I can have it outright, but I don't have a vehicle to tow that nor the inclination to deal with towing something that large.


Allow me. :doh: :fish: :brick:

Rich Parker
05-31-2012, 05:27 PM
You guys will smack me in the head when I tell you my FIL offered me his 14'x7' enclosed trailer for nothing. Said I can have it outright, but I don't have a vehicle to tow that nor the inclination to deal with towing something that large.

Probably weighs around 2k empty so make sure you factor in the weight of your cookers and gear when finding a vehicle to haul it. I used a 6x12 for the first two years and had it setup to do everything with the cookers outside. It was really nice having a place to do stuff out of the weather.

Cast Iron Chef
05-31-2012, 05:54 PM
i always wanted a used armored truck.

Full of course. :thumb:

Still Smokin
05-31-2012, 05:55 PM
I am leaning towards buying a used conversion van as a dedicated vehicle, but I will also pull a small trailer. I really want a motorhome, but that cost is out of the question for now.

Contracted Cookers
05-31-2012, 06:20 PM
You guys will smack me in the head when I tell you my FIL offered me his 14'x7' enclosed trailer for nothing. Said I can have it outright, but I don't have a vehicle to tow that nor the inclination to deal with towing something that large.
you will if you buy a van

boogiesnap
05-31-2012, 07:58 PM
Full of course. :thumb:

that would be an armored truck in use.

have thought about that too. :loco:

JK justin. :becky:

Sledneck
05-31-2012, 08:23 PM
ive always used a cargo van . Better gas mileage not having to tow anything and I blow up an air mattress and sleep in it.

Funtimebbq
05-31-2012, 09:00 PM
I purchased an 04 Ford E-150 from the GSA auction. I took out the most rear seat and put all my equipment into it. That allows for up to 5 persons to travel in one vehicle. A queen size air mattress fits between the wheel wells.

Benny

Tim H
05-31-2012, 09:19 PM
We use a Chevy 3500 and get everything that we need in it (including 4 WSM's).

We also have used the van to pull a soft drink style concession trailer.

Pro's with the trailer - makes packing a LOT easier and faster, have access to a refrigferator in the trailer, more coverage from the elements, and more space to sleep.

Con's with the trailer - lower gas mileage, pain to pull and maneuver it (I don't have much experience pulling trailers and am not good at it), people are constantly coming up to us asking to buy some drinks or food:razz:

If the weather forecast looks bad, I may pull the trailer, otherwise I try to get everything in the cargo van.

TT

TELL YOU WHAT BBQ
05-31-2012, 09:44 PM
Jask - Check out the Bus depot in Hillburn - many 'mini buses' that can be adapted to suit Que needs --Hell, they bake bread in them!!
Oh yeah...tell your FIL WE will take the trailer :grin:

Brew-B-Q
05-31-2012, 10:03 PM
I have a big ol van that I borrow from my father-in-law every now and then. It is great for packing everything we want plus it can tow the smoker and gets decent mileage. That said, I wouldn't buy one just for comps. But I wouldn't buy an RV just for that either, not that there's anything wrong with that. I also have a SUV that can handle the cargo and smoker but also function as a daily driver. I only cook a handful of times per year. If you're going to do a boatload of contests, than it would obviously be different.

OtisT
06-01-2012, 11:21 AM
I rent the 5x8 U-haul trailers. 2 WSM's, a kettle and plenty of room for everything else. I pull no problem with a 6cyl Toyota Highlander.

We used to rent a u-haul trailer until we had a flat on one, about 15 minutes outside of town. We sat on the side of the highway with a WI state trooper for over 3 1/2 hours waiting to get it fixed. The trooper said he sees u-haul equipment on the side of the road almost every day. No more rentals for us. And yes, we were late for the comp.