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Camping Westfalia Style: Bay Window vs. Vanagon
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LandSailor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:41 am    Post subject: Camping Westfalia Style: Bay Window vs. Vanagon Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I have a serious quandary here. We're looking at getting a pop top Westy and had been looking at Vanagons, but my wife found a Bus that she absolutely loves and could be show worthy with a little spit-n-polish.

We're buying it for camping road trips. That's purpose #1, but it's not like we'll be going every weekend or anything.

We do actually plan to use the stove. I have several camp stoves, from the reliable ol' Coleman to a Jetboil, but there's something oddly compelling about not having to set up anything at all for a quick bite. We read a story somewhere about a couple who pulled over to the side of the road during a nasty rainstorm, popped up the top, cooked a quick bite, then got back on the road when it was over.

That sounds so awesome.

How does the experience compare when you think about actually camping in the old and newer styles? Is there any significant difference in air flow when you're driving? (We're in the desert, so it matters.)

The 84 I drove the other day had a front heater that worked very well, so I know the Vanagon has that going for it.

Thanks!
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Skoolieman
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My buddy has an 83. It is nice inside, much roomier than mine and more practical too (in his opinion). Mine is a 69. there are a lot of differences across the years, what year is the bay in question?
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LandSailor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the super quick reply!

Mid 70's, I think, so 75 or 76.

Still waiting to hear back from the owner. Come on! Isn't everyone up this early on a Sunday looking at veedubs to buy?!?!?! Smile
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bay/Mircobus ownership is more of a cult thing that Vanagon is. So you need to want or at least accept that part of owning one. You have to be willing to accept the low power and being blown all over the road that come with it, along with the general lack of heat. The Vanagon is a much more normal vehicle and is just more suited to the typical American driver. Neither are remotely close to new at this point in time and both are capable of nickle and diming you badly especially if you can't or won't do the necessary work yourself.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have both. Love my 71 bay for ease of repair. Love my vanagon for road trip comfort. I carry a lot of spare parts for the vanagon due to its idiosyncrasies .
The bay has a "cool" factor, however it's slower. On the other hand it's easy to fix. So get one of each.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

retroman wrote:
So get one of each.


There you go, problem solved. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another factor to consider being out West is elevation. Assuming you'll be heading up into the mountains, you'd enjoy the greater power with the Vanagon. Plus, doing an engine swap to a Subaru for instance seems to be much easier.

I love my Bay Window, just got back from camping in it this weekend, but when I consider the long, multi day trips I sometimes wish I had a Vanagon with Subaru engine too
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a funny question.
Vans are the Cadillac of the bus family.

I've been converted Embarassed
I LOVE my 71, but the van is go-to.
And that's not even taking "camping road trips" into account.
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LandSailor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys. I was kind of leaning towards a Vanagon since it wouldn't be a sin to add things tout and change the interior (RGB led strip lights, USB port equipped outlets, etc.) compared to a nice air cooled interior.

I spoke with a woman who rents out both kinds and she recommended going with a water cooled Vanagon for overall comfort in traveling. Essentially, "Go" with a Vanagon and "show" with a Bay Window. That seems to be the gist of it here, too.

Thanks for the advice, folks!
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ncstagger
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not so fast pardner!

This being the Bay forum and all, I heartily recommend going with a Bay.

Driving a Vanagon is cheating Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have the money to buy a late Vanagon, that's what I would do. If it's just you and your wife, a mid bay window would meet your needs as long as you don't mind taking it a little slower and possibly not having a knowledgable mechanic nearby. IF I sell my bay, a Vanagon would be my next camper.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LandSailor wrote:
Thanks, guys. I was kind of leaning towards a Vanagon since it wouldn't be a sin to add things tout and change the interior (RGB led strip lights, USB port equipped outlets, etc.) compared to a nice air cooled interior.

I spoke with a woman who rents out both kinds and she recommended going with a water cooled Vanagon for overall comfort in traveling. Essentially, "Go" with a Vanagon and "show" with a Bay Window. That seems to be the gist of it here, too.

Thanks for the advice, folks!



Get a Vanagon. I will eventually.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LandSailor wrote:
Thanks, guys. I was kind of leaning towards a Vanagon since it wouldn't be a sin to add things tout and change the interior (RGB led strip lights, USB port equipped outlets, etc.) compared to a nice air cooled interior.

"Go" with a Vanagon and "show" with a Bay Window.


A sin? You don't have to be a purest. My bay window has Sirius satalite radio, a charging station with three 12v and two USB ports for charging and a booming system.

Go? There are plenty of ways to may your bay go. Mine goes real good. Just like a normal car, as it was put here.

My vote is to get the bay not the vanagon.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Dad had a Vanagon, and I confess it was pretty cool. But you'd be giving up a lot of style and a little bit more room for just a smidge more reliability. Both will be maintenance intensive.

Fact is, you're looking at Vanagons and Bays because of the lifestyle factor. Otherwise, you'd get a Ford Van, right? If I'm right (and I think I am), then just go whole hog and get a Bay. But get a good one.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love my bay. Short of a splitty, i can think of no other vehicle on the road that is as much a celebrity. Now, in WI, buses are very rare, and so, everywhere it goes it gets thumbs up, peace signs, waves, smiles, stares, pointing, people coming up and asking questions. And, not only does it get a ton of attention, it's all positive attention. Everyone loves a bus. Everyone! Occasionally i'll get a scowling glare from some prissy bitch in a Lexus SUV, and so, I've pretty much come to the determination that if you don't get the urge to smile when a bus drives by, you are a bad person.

I like vanagons, and think they are a fine vehicle. But they just don't have that same feeling. I would most likely buy a full sized toyota camper before a vanagon westy. Way more spacious and probably more reliable.

Oh, and you can certainly comfortably camp in a bay. My girlfriend and i did for 2 months straight as well as multiple week long camping excursions. It's tight, but most certainy doable.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

richparker wrote:
LandSailor wrote:
Thanks, guys. I was kind of leaning towards a Vanagon since it wouldn't be a sin to add things tout and change the interior (RGB led strip lights, USB port equipped outlets, etc.) compared to a nice air cooled interior.

"Go" with a Vanagon and "show" with a Bay Window.


A sin? You don't have to be a purest. My bay window has Sirius satalite radio, a charging station with three 12v and two USB ports for charging and a booming system.

Go? There are plenty of ways to may your bay go. Mine goes real good. Just like a normal car, as it was put here.

My vote is to get the bay not the vanagon.

X2. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's obsolete.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LandSailor wrote:
Thanks, guys. I was kind of leaning towards a Vanagon since it wouldn't be a sin to add things tout and change the interior (RGB led strip lights, USB port equipped outlets, etc.) compared to a nice air cooled interior.

I spoke with a woman who rents out both kinds and she recommended going with a water cooled Vanagon for overall comfort in traveling. Essentially, "Go" with a Vanagon and "show" with a Bay Window. That seems to be the gist of it here, too.

Thanks for the advice, folks!


Both are equally capable of bleeding you dry. My bay has DVD screens, eight speakers, led lighting and tons of other mods that are tastefully hidden. You can modernize a bay buy an van and intend on doing the same. Count on @20k to get you a road machine in either category.

The other factor is a point of reference. A bus is a bus and a van is a van. Sitting over the front wheels has nothing to do with nomenclature.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have owned both over the years and there is something special about a bay. When I had my Vanagon Westy and was driving around and when I saw a bay I was envious. A bay has something a Vanagon does not.....Character>>>
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want a Subie powered Vanagon real bad. How great would that be?!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of us Vanagon owners think our rides have character! Cool

I'll just say that I think Vanagons are easier to drive for us short people.
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