High Top vs Low Top

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tomh

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How important is it to stand up straight in a van? I'm 5'10" and thinking do I need to get a high top, or not. I like the look and economy of a low top, and question how much standing I will really do in the van. On the other hand, I would hate to get a low top and be miserable? Thanks,
 

Almost There

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tomh said:
How important is it to stand up straight in a van? I'm 5'10" and thinking do I need to get a high top, or not. I like the look and economy of a low top, and question how much standing I will really do in the van. On the other hand, I would hate to get a low top and be miserable? Thanks,

IMO, that depends on how old or decrepit you are... :rolleyes:

When I was in my 30's  not being able to stand up in my van was the norm and I dealt with it. Course I could also stay hunched over for quite a while and crawling around on my knees was not a problem.

And then I got older..not old...just oldER!

A high top with full standing height was on the list of absolute must haves - way ahead of make, year, engine size, color, or condition.

And as to the mileage, there is more to getting good mileage than just the height of the van - tires, inflation, driving habits, weight, weight distribution, engine size, headwind or tailwind...lol.

I got 16 mpg on the last cross country trip from NM to MI where the first 4 days at least I had nothing but headwinds and cross winds that made driving irksome and tiring. I doubt that it would have been much better without the high top for mileage but it sure is worth it for comfort!

I no longer find bending over scrunched up for more than a few seconds to be painful on the back and with fussy knees, crawling around on them requires the use of knee pads for even the shortest times.

If I found a van I wanted but it didn't have a high top, it was getting one. I set the money aside in the budget to put one on.

Keep in mind when searching for a van that ONLY the 24" high top will give you standing room. Those mid height and 'tv tops' do NOT give you standing height...they were only meant for head room for seated passengers in comfy captains seats in the conversion vans, nothing more!
 

steamjam1

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I went from low top to high top. I'll never go back to low top. I'm 6"2 and its the only way to fly...
 

phillipaaron

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I was really concerned with not having a high top. Now it doesn't even cross my mind. I never have the need to stand for a period of time when in the van. The only time I take notice is when I have to pee.
 

66788

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After owning several high tops, I would NEVER buy a regular van again.

Looking forward to finishing my Starship Grumman Olson with a 7 foot ceiling.   That will be great.
 

steamjam1

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Well to be honest....

When I was single, a low top really didn't bother me none. It was just something I dealt with. When the G/F and the dog came along, a low top got super annoying as we were constantly climbing all over each other trying to do stuff while trying not to accidentally step on the dog, and we ended up knocking stuff over and causing general, all around chaos. And yes, we still ended up accidentally trodding on the poor dog once in a while.. :(

A high top fixed 99% of that instantly.
 

tomh

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Thank you for responding, it was helpful,  I think I will go with a high top
 

Luciano151

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Good responses. I chose to buy a low top because I mainly travel solo and because of stealth concerns. A high top does not look like an average cargo van. It looks like a camper van so it attracts more attention. I'm 5'10, but what I did to be comfortable is design everything so I don't have to set anything up. In other words my bed is already laid out. I don't have to fumble around and convert it into a bed from a sofa. That extra movement can really be trying after a while. I just hop on my bed and go to sleep. Van design is important so extra movement can be kept to a minimum.
 

VanLifeCrisis

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If you need to spend a ton for the high top, you could go for low top with the secret weapon...a rolling spinning office chair. I get in, sit down, move round, transfer to bed etc. Pants are put on while on bed. viola

Sent from my ME173X using Tapatalk
 

accrete

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tomh said:
Thank you for responding, it was helpful,  I think I will go with a high top


IMO the way to go. IF you happen to buy new, ask the dealer (usually the fleet manager is more in the know on cargo vans) if there are any incentives and possibly some upfit kickbacks. When we purchased our cargo van we were able to get quite an incentive/kickback if we added items on a pre-approved upfit list. Two things on the list at that time (2010 Chevy/GMC) were a fiberglass roof, and a vent/fan. We got both.
: ) Thom
 

introverting

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Sure wish Chevrolet would start coming out with stock high top Expresses.  The Ford Transit high top seems nice, but I'm not a fan of Ford vehicles.  The Sprinter is nice too, but way too expensive and I don't want a diesel engine (higher fuel and maintenance costs).  Of course, there is the Nissan NV, but I don't know how good they are.  Probably something I should research.

Edit:  Just briefly looked at the Nissan NV cargo van.  Price isn't bad, but it looks like it would be a pain to customize the interior.  Lots of interior cavities from the pics I saw on the NissanUSA site.
 

accrete

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introverting said:
Sure wish Chevrolet would start coming out with stock high top Expresses...

Edit:  Just briefly looked at the Nissan NV cargo van...

Totally with you on the Chevy stock high top idea. I'll be one of the first at the dealership to check them out even if ours is dialed in and working for us. I have dreams of waking up in a totally stock outside high top van (no trail bling on any future rig...I hope!) in the like-make dealer's lot before anyone gets into work having stealth camped overnight.

YMMV? BUT...I think I would be forever single if I ever drove one of those vans home from a Nissan dealership. I know I would at best be driving it alone as my wife can't even look at them without making a comment or two. To each his own but sometimes you just gotta wonder what the boyz/girlz in the design lab were on the day they drew that thing up. 

: ) Thom
 

ViaVacavi

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One reason that we really LOVE our high top is for the extra storage! We built cabinets that give us 23 CuFt. of storage space up top, and it doesn't interfere with the main standing/walking area at all (not that we stand much in there anyways). I couldn't imagine not having this storage area now
 

accrete

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Yes. When we had Van Specialties install our fiberine 24" top on the chevy cargo van we had them cut out only the area from the ?B? pillar behind the front cab back to I think it is the "D" pillar which is two from the back wall. So we have ~3 to 4ft front and rear attic space on top of the stock metal roof. Here is a shot looking back at the rear area showing the storage area.

TCLawdInteriorv2c.jpg


: ) Thom
 

debit.servus

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High-top. Being able to stand up fully or nearly stand up makes all the difference. It helps with spacial perception; a space that is 8' deep 8' wide and 6' high ceiling feels smaller than a space with a 6' deep, 8' wide and 8' high ceiling. Lastly, if I had to choose between a regular cab van with a high-top vs a extended cab van with a regular-top I would pick the regular cab van with high-top.
 

MK7

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I don't think you can stand completely, straight up in an average, hightop conversion van if you're 5'10". Even after you gut the ceiling carpet and insulation. Maybe in one of those extremely high, hightops that they use for airport shuttles and such. But these are pretty rare.
 

Almost There

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MK7 said:
I don't think  you can stand completely, straight up in an average, hightop conversion van if you're 5'10".  Even after you gut the ceiling carpet and insulation.
The 'average hightop conversion van' you're most likely thinking of, you're right, you can't stand up in them even if you're only 5' tall, nevermind 5'10"

The problem is that people keep calling the conversion vans with the nice seating and decked out interior "a Hightop", they are not! The industry name is TV top.

They are only intended to raise the roof enough to give passengers decent headroom when SEATED in the luxury seating configurations and to provide room for the tv/game/dvd console that is placed centre line just to the rear of the driving compartment.

The 24" raised roof is not as rare as you might think...there are hundreds of them sitting on vans in wrecking yards that will work quite well on the newer full size cargo vans. They are also a stock item for the companies that supply the raised roofs. Pricey when new but readily available.

Yes, the 36" high tops used on wheelchair transit vans are quite rare but not needed unless you're well over 6' tall. My 24" hightop has a standing height of 6'2" after I lost 3" to flooring and ceiling installation.
 

MK7

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Almost There said:
The 24" raised roof is not as rare as you might think...there are hundreds of them sitting on vans in wrecking yards that will work quite well on the newer full size cargo vans. They are also a stock item for the companies that supply the raised roofs. Pricey when new but readily available.

Good info, unfortunately, from watching tons and tons of ads on Craigslist, eBay, etc...for years...... there aren't many of these "REAL" hightops that you're talking about, available for sale, at a good price and in decent shape.  It's mostly the "TV TOPS".

The hundreds, sitting at wrecking yards.....well, I doubt that would do most vandewellers any good. They're full of rust, decay, mold, mildew, bugs, rodents, etc. All the mechanical parts and motor are probably seized up or stripped out by the wrecking yard. Maybe only the top itself is worth the trouble, but that's taking it off, cleaning & prepping, then cutting a giant hole in your own van to put it on. Then there's the sealing, painting, finishing, etc.  That's a lot of skill, time and $$$$.

And of course you can buy a brand new, hightop, but that's a given if money's not the issue. But money is usually, the, issue. I bet less than 5% of the people on here, have a brand new top that they bought to put on a passenger van.
 

highdesertranger

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putting a high top on is really not that hard. the biggest problem I see is transporting the high top from where you bought it to where you could do the work. highdesertranger
 

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