I've been considering purchasing some sort of locker or rear differential. I have a 1986 Chevy Beauville G20. 3/4 ton.
Here's what I want to be able to do: drive the occasional (somewhat) steep gravel road in the Shenandoah Mountains, take non-paved country roads with no hesitation, comfortably drive camping areas, fire roads, and down to the river's edge. Move through light mud and (very) light snow. Nothing extreme that would require a 4x4. I just can't afford the conversion.
My research points me towards a driver-selectable locking differential. Drive with it open on paved roads, and flip a switch when I need max traction.
Thoughts? Am I on the right track with a driver-selectable? Any particular brands I should look at? Any brands that suck? At this point, I'm not sure what's compatible with my van, but I'll be looking into this. If anyone has bought one, I'd love to hear from you. I think this is a worthwhile investment.
ARB air locker. Expensive, but worth it. On-demand locking differential. I think you have a good plan. A locking rear axle will get you most places you want to go, unless you want to go WAY off the beaten track.