#176 Field Vehicles

My old 2008 4Runner. Now THIS one had a bunch of room. Still not appropriate for four people and 8-10 days worth of gear.

I’ve gone to work in CRM in just about every type of vehicle you could imagine–as long as it had 4WD, of course. Sometimes those vehicles were broken down, second (or third) hand, junkers and sometimes they were brand new rentals. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what type of vehicle a company chooses to use aside from the fact that it be cheap.

There have been huge 12-15 passenger vans, Chevrolet Suburbans, Toyota 4Runners, a number of Ford and Chevy trucks, the occasional Dodge pick-up, and some smaller Nissan trucks.

The type of field vehicle that a company chooses will undoubtedly depend on where they do field work and what the schedule is. On the East Coast companies typically work Monday through Friday. Crews will often meet at either the office or the hotel and crew members can bring their own vehicles to the hotel. When that’s the case there isn’t a need for a large vehicle to carry a week’s worth of gear. A company could do with a smaller vehicle that is large enough for four people, back packs, and when needed, shovels and screens.

In areas where sessions are longer and lodging options are limited bigger vehicles are typically employed. Or at least, they should be. The best trucks have LEG ROOM in the back seat. There’s nothing more frustrating than driving back to the hotel in a cramped back seat after a day of hiking and site recording. It tells me that the company could care less about the health and well-being of it’s employes and instead cares more about the bottom line. Is there a huge difference between a used SUV and a used pick-up? I’m sure there is but to me crew welfare is worth more.

A rental I recently had the pleasure of driving...

A few years ago I worked for a company out here in Nevada that has a small fleet of older Toyota 4Runners. They typically have ample leg room in the back seat. However, this company decided that they’d shove five of us into the vehicle with all our gear for the 1.5 hour long trip back to the hotel from the field every day. On top of that they had the asinine policy of not allowing people to drive personal vehicles into the field (to the hotel). So, at least four people had to fit all their field gear, personal gear, and whatever else they needed for eight days into the small cargo area of a 4Runner. Unbelievable.

So, I want to know what types of vehicles you love, hate, or wouldn’t get into if your life depended on it. If you’re reading this on a reader of some sort and can’t see the form below, please click through to the website and fill out the form regarding vehicles. I don’t need any personal information and nothing is required. I’ll publish the results of this very informal survey when I get enough responses. 

I’ll admit, I’m going to buy myself a vehicle that will be primarily used as a field vehicle. I want to know what people like and what they don’t like. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to buy but I value the opinions of my colleagues.

Good or Bad?

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!