When you are searching for a van for 5, there is no perfect van: everything is too small.
In a perfect world, the van enables you to sleep without rebuilding the entire van, sit and word in comfortable positions and room to cook and eat. It also enables you to take your outdoor sporting gear but also has room for your solar, which enables cooking, heating, and powers your electric stuff. Right?
Well... forget it.
Your van will be a compromise in every single area.
The first thing you have to consider is your driving licence. In the Netherlands and most of Europe, you can drive a van which has a car with and a max load of 3500Kg on a normal driving licence called a B licence.
If you want to up the ante in size or weight you have to go for a C1 licence, but the van will get big and bulky and in our case, both I and Yvanka would have to get it delaying the trip and bringing extra costs.
So we have to look for van < 3500kg loaded.
The fuel and age
We looked at electric, we even looked at hydrogen, but the range is limited and you'll always be on the hunt for fuel. That meant we have to settle on Diesel, which we're not stoked with. Buying a new Diesel van has a major environmental impact since it both needs to be build and uses Diesel so we settled on an old one. We did not want it too old having a real nasty engine, so a euro 5 engine was our minimum, where we even looked at euro 6.
And finally, we needed "as big as possible" which translates into L4 (length +4) en H3 (hight +3) busses. Logical options are the Mercedes Sprinter and the Fiat Ducato since they are popular van conversions making out life easier. I love easy, but in this case, size trumps ease. And if you look at the size, the Iveco Daily is the one to beat.
Mercedes had new vans 4707 in cargo length and 2243 high brining 17m3 of cargo space to the table. The problem is that the older type H3's are only 190 in height leaving very little room to play with.
The Fiat Ducato also has 17m3 of cargo space and does have 2172 in height, but only has 4035 in length to play with.
And then there is the Iveco Daily. 2100 in height and but a whopping 5,125 in length bringing the total cargo space to 19,6m3. And 15% extra is a lot of space when you want to travel for a year.
With our goal in mind, the search was on. We found out pretty soon the search was limited. Nobody buys L3H4 versions of these busses to the used marked is small. But with the Merc being too low and the Ducato being too short in our 3d sketches the Daily was still the way to go.
We ended up having two option.
1- a very new -and expensive- 18m3 Daily measuring 4680 in length.
2- a 2011 version with 200k in kilometres and a length of 4560 which means 17m3 in space.
And even with it being smaller, we picked the latter.