First, let me say I just found this place and you folks have the whole overlanding thing dialed in. Congratulations. Now if I can tap in to your collective wisdom...
My wife and I are in our mid fifties (OK, I'm almost turning the clock to 59) and are in excellent health. We have recently returned to the SW after 13 years doing volunteer work in the Dominican Republic. We've always loved the desert and mountains so I bought a new AWD Highlander last year and fitted it out to camp in the back. But I quickly learned that it was a) too cramped and b) worse, no low range for any serious off-roading.
So my latest plan is a 4WD crew cab (gotta have room for the three kids when they visit but mostly just the wife and me) with shorter bed and a FWC Hawk on top. Group consensus here seems to lean toward a 3/4 ton and I'm fine with that. (Or would a 1/2 ton open up my options?)
So the big question: Where is the "sweet spot"? I can afford to buy new (maybe one of the rebated 2011's?) But this will be a third vehicle for two people and it seems a bit silly to tie up that much money on seldom driven transport. But then I hate vehicle problems and especially so in the back country.
As you can see from my sign-in we're located in Durango, CO and will be using the PU for moderate off-road stuff for isolated camping in Canyonlands and Colorado mountains. Maybe down to southern AZ and NM in the winter. No super serious stuff like Black Bear as my wife's nerves aren't up to it.
I doubt we'll put 10K per year on the PU and it will sit in our garage mostly. I just had this epiphany and am not under the gun to buy- maybe before next spring. So suggestions, observations, "what would you do", etc? My very sincere thanks in advance.
PS In my preevious 20 year life here in the SW I was a majorly addicted white water rafter so if anyone wants advice there feel free to write me. But I'm pretty much a newby to the overlanding lifestyle. My wife is a serious bird watcher and nature lover so we are looking forward to it.