One of the reasons I got rid of the Ford F-250 diesel is that I found it impractical for running down extensive miles of Forest Service roads seeking out hiking trails and the ever elusive one missed landsccape photo opportunity in North America.
I did do it on numerous opportunities but was never comfortable with the size of the F-250 diesel crew 4x4 on the FS trails and frequently turned back rather than risk sliding off a cliff on a narror trail. Also the rear end would jump all over the place when you went town a "wash board" road and putting me on the edge of loosing direction control of the rig.
For instance, two Sundays ago I drove over 30 miles on narrow winding FS trails in N. GA and TN in my FJ - Was in 4x4 much of othe time but never felt like the trail was too risky, where I would have in the F-250 crew cab on some of the route.
Thus, truck option for me and my type of exploring is out.
So far, I'm quite comfortable with the FJ-Cruiser and the E-1 but find the following as disadvantages when compared to the Airstream or like rig:
1. Biggest is canvas sides = no security for anything in the E-1. Must restow all camera and computer gear back in the FJ if leaving the campsite, even to go to the shower and bath house. (Carry 4x5 with collection of lenses and Canon 1Ds MK II with lenses.) Also in a rainstorm or windstorm you just don't feel comfortable inside as compared to an Airstream travel trailer.
2. Not a true 4 season rig - I'm becoming interested in doing some winter/snow/ice photography and the idea of staying in the E-1 in 15 degree night air is not real compelling.
3. Set up time at the campsite or if you are on the road and want to fix lunch - not an option that makes sense as compared to pulling into Wendy's. With the Airstream we normally fixed our own sandwich with healthy ingredients.
Advantages: Tows great without a fancy expensive hitch! Decent fuel mileage and burning gas instead of the diesel that is more expensive that any of the gas grades. Plenty of head room. Large beds. Costs a fraction of an Airstream.
Future: Continue with current set up (FJ-Cruiser with Fleetwood E-1) and try to avoid tieing up far more cash in an Airstream Bambi 16' rig. (I can just fit in the Airstream.) In short, the Airstream Bambi 16' rig is hard to resist once you've had it but I'm currently enjoying the E-1 and my savings account hopes that will continue! :-)
Closing note: I am totally satisfied with the FJ. Getting excellent mileage compared to the F-250. Around town I'm getting 18.6-19 and on the highway driving at 73-75 mph I'm getting 20.7-21. Burn mid-grade. My FJ is a 4x4 unit with all the options. It's a blast to drive and really takes rough FS trails with ease. I have about 5,000 miles on it now and it's less than 3 months old - will be taking it in today to have it's first oil change done and I'm going to use Mobile One in it. In short, I can't sing it praises loud enough. It even tows my Lund 1800 Sport Fisherman with ease.
I use -- and highly recommend -- the pop-up truck campers made by Four Wheel Campers. I've got a Grandby model on a standard Chevy 1/2 ton 4x4 pickup. I leave the tailgate down so interior length is 8 feet, interior height is 6' 4". It takes about one minute to pop up the top. ................................