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gearbot

Best type of car for the cascades?

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Matt's probably right that you don't need a 4WD, but it sure is nice, sometimes. It costs a LOT more, price, maintenance, gas mileage. But it is nice not to have to nurse your car up 20 miles of bumpy road at 8mph when you wanna get out and go climbing. Driving a 4WD up the Middle Fork Road can be a gas. It feels like you're in some rally race and you're only driving 20mph! And I've probably driven to 5 or 10 spots in the last 10 years or so, to where with an inferior vehicle, I would have been walking. I've also had to walk 5 or so roads in the last 10 years because we brought someone else's (inferior) vehicle.

 

So anyway, a 4WD is a luxury. If you can afford it, go for it.

 

Definitely get front wheel drive at a minimum though.

 

And, though the clearance is nice, 2WD rear wheel-drive pickup trucks can get real squirrely on bumpy backcountry roads. You'll have to creep everywhere and risk torching your clutch with one of those.

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I have gotten just about everywhere I have wanted to go in my don't laugh...Plymouth Voyager. Yep that's right the soccer mom special.

 

Just take the seats out, get tinted windows and you are pimpin at the trailhead. Good for shaggin' milf's around town as well. It's easy to park in the city, comfortable on long road trips, it's front wheel drive, gets OK milage, holds tons of gear and flies under many a cops profiling radar. You can pick up used ones up for cheap. I prefer the old pre-1996 bodystyle.

 

If you are REALLY looking for the deluxe rig then do a conversion on one of these. You can even run bio-diesel if you want to stick it to Buch-co.

 

dodge.jpg

 

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Hey, I've gone everywhere in a Miata, with snow tires in winter. Sure, I had to dig it from under more than its height of snow, and yes, I once got the wheels off the ground because there was so much snow that got piled under the car, but nothing than a shoveling couldn't fix. It might not be the perfect car for here but it sure works, and nothing beats driving top down to the trailhead, skis on the passenger seat. It even performs better than most of the SUVs out there (a few of whom spun and ended up on their roof while I had no issue) but this is more likely due to the average driving skill around here than to the car.

 

drC

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you don't need a 4WD, but it sure is nice, sometimes.

 

 

Depends on what you do. I've shaved many miles off approaches by driving an old Soob up snowed in logging roads. Coming out the snowmodilers were looking at me like I was insane. Each of my Soobs has also made it beyond 250K and one is still going semi-strong at 267K. As far sleeping in it, less than desirable, but tolerable. Generally 4wd isn't necessary though.

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It's true that everyone tends to push what they themselves own. I've had a several cars over the years, and I've ridden in many different cars to trailheads with buddies.

 

The pick-up is convenient mobile for two, but if you've got a larger party, then you need multiple vehicles. I made long drives with three people crammed into my midget cab during my grad student dirtbag climber days. No fun. Also, a canopy is a must. I had a nice little canopy with screens on the tinted windows and a padded liner on the bed, so I didn't even need to get the thermarest out at the trailhead. Undisturbed sleep, no matter how many bugs or rain. Throw the packs in the cab, climb in the back, and start sawing logs! And Ranger Rick doesn't even notice your presence. It was a 2WD, so it was easy to get boats on and off the roof rack. Other advantages to having a crappy little rustbucket: no worries about scratching paint, getting dings, etc. Drawbacks: it was a death trap, an uncomfortable ride, handled like crap, was unrealiable, and got stuck a lot. Modern trucks are better on most counts, but they still handle poorly in icy conditions.

 

I had a 4WD Isuzu Trooper. Also a good trailhead mobile and got me up some really rough roads. Reliability took a steep drop after 140K. Toyota 4Runner or Nissan Pathfinder would be my choices in this category. SUVs and trucks suck too much gas, though.

 

Minivans are great. Heaps of gear capacity and good handling on snow and dry. Pull out some seats and sleep in the back. The Vanagon/Eurovan are nice for cushy trailhead camping but reliability is poor. Perhaps the all-time classic TH-mobile, though, is the Toyota Van (pre-Previa & Sienna). That's that little van where you sit on top of the indestructible Toyota 4-cylinder engine. The rear two bench seats fold down into a double bed. Huge capacity, great mileage and reliability! Also available in a higher clearance 4WD version. Just don't ever get in a frontal collision!

 

I've got a Subaru Forester now, and it was a toss up for me between the Outback and Forester. Forester has more clearance and handles a bit better, but is too short to sleep in. It gets up almost everything my SUV could climb with much better mileage, handling and safety. The Legacy wagon will get you to almost every TH too. I'd say any of the Subaru wagons or the Honda Element are great choices for 4 season outings.

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the element has minimal clearance and won't make it through waterbars any better than a subaru will.

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I have an old 4x4 nissan pickup and have been pretty happy with it. some say that in the snow pickups are squirrelly, but I have found that having a heavy canopy (one of those grandpa style canopies with the high roof) adds just enough weight to get through. Also, if you put your gear at the back of the bed this helps too.

 

As for sleeping in it... I sleep in the truck everywhere I go. I am tall, so I need a long bed to sleep comfortably, but for most people a standard sized bed is fine.

 

In the reliability department, the nissan is pretty good, but nowhere near as good as the toyota I used to own, toyota just doesn't make a long bed.

 

The only other complaint about the nissan is that it's clearance is much lower, and it articulates much less than the toyota's. This has been an issue at some climbing areas (it is pretty pathetic when you hear the suspension creaking over an uneven road).

 

Aside from that, I have never owned a subaru, but would worry about comfort for sleeping, and I have almost always been happy with my pickup, plus, you can carry a whole lot of stuff in a pickup (see the attachment) showphoto.php?photo=5153

Edited by Gregzore

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LOL

anyone who says they can get up anything that a 4X4 can with their soob or all wheel drive car is BS.. clearance and the power of 4 wheel drive has been proven time and time again.. matter of fact my friend who owns an outback will attest to this. he now prefers to go in my Nissan Pathfinder anytime we go AT, backcountry, etc. etc..

seriously, you do not NEED a 4x4 if you're just a soccer mom driving around Seattle or Portland or even if you are a plastic puller who ventures to Smith or 11worth. But get yourself into some soft spring snow patched back country dirt road and I can guarantee you’ll be hiking in for Miles before you even get to my truck.

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4 days, 4 people, 4 mountain bikes, 2 kayaks, alpine gear... 1984 fj-60... yeah I know it sucks gas ~14 mpg and it is not my everyday driver (Bicycle) but with a "carpool" there is not much more reliable on the road than a "toy" Yes i'm a redneck from VA but this vehicle along with LandRovers are proven vehicles for hauling people and gear to the edges. I too wonder how many 4x4 plastic boxes the "market" can absorb but concure with others sentiments that this vehicle is not a grocery getter but is a purpose built "MPV" (what toyota called it in 84) for adventure!

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Subies Rock....literally. These things will go over anything. The All Wheel drive is great for the icey roads, the higher ground clearance will take you off road (with the exception of literally bouldering with your car) and there is as much room as an Exploder, with better gas mileage and loads of little nooks and crannies to store small things. I would recommend a wagon if you are taller than 5 ft 10, as I have a Forester and it fits me perfectly (I'm all of 5'4.)

 

You can't go wrong with a ROO. rockband.gif

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You did NOT say Hummer, did you? You forgot to mention the tax credit and the necessity to own your own oil company. How cna you ACTUALLY go out into the beautiful outdoors and own one of those things? Did you NOT know that every mile you drive kills a tree? Sheesh! You must climb 'coz it makes u look kewl and its the hip thing ot do at the mo' eh boyo? boxing_smiley.gif

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