Campervan

PepPep Posts: 501
edited 14 July in The cake stop
I've always wanted to have a campervan. For family holiday etc.
I just think they are super cool.
So far I've been put off by the cost. Purchase, tax, maintenance etc.
Anyone has cool stories to share?
Cheers,
«1

Posts

  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,885
    We've thought about one on retirement. Will probably just rent one for a week or so as a test.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 9,737
    Very trendy right now and therefore overpriced. You’ll probably get one for half price in a couple of years. I’d rent. Actually, I’d B&B or hotel.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,298
    We've got one. Bought it a few years ago when we sold our sailing yacht. It's a PVC.

    It is rather useful - like I stayed in it before RL100 a couple of times - we go away for a weekend - or just take it down to the beach where we can use it as a base.
    We've been off summer camping in it too - been to see TdF (again, useful base if you're waiting for a while) and because it's got a bike rack on the back it's quick to take it somewhere for a bike ride.
    It does have hot water, fixed bed, separate toilet with shower as well as fridge - so it is completely self contained - makes it very handy.
    About the only downside is once you've setup camp - it tends to be your only vehicle for doing distances - which makes you plan when you need (or rather, IF you need) to go out.


    Oh - you're after cool stories .. ok

    On our first summer trip away with the van, we stopped on the way back to watch the TdF - one of the mountain stages - a frenchie had reversed his car down this track just off the road - we were opposite, with a load of other vans. After they all went through we started to disperse - this frenchie couldn't get his car out - just wheelspan (despite it being dry) - I carried a tow rope, so got that out and lent it to him/another frenchie with a car to pull him out. The other frenchie revved his engine hard and slipped the clutch ... lovely smell - and got nowhere ... after 5 minutes of this I went over and with sign language told them to stop whilst I got my van ... attached my van to the rope - put Mrs Slowbike in charge giving me directions saying she's the only one I'll listen to (you can't see easily) - and 5 seconds later Mr Frenchie was back on tarmac ... :)
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,941
    We're collecting our panel van at the weekend. It's long term conversion project using a very good local coachbuilder. Campervans are their sideline after commercial builds but they're top notch IMHO. It's why we're doing it long term, gets expensive. Our budget allows so much work, enough to be usable for camping out in. It'll be our only vehicle so we've over spent to get the van right figuring take longer to get the build done.

    Personally I doubt reality of campervan life is exactly as people fantasise about. They're a big vehicle for everyday use but we're not really about just the camping. It's a bike carrier, camping kit carrier and load carrier more than a camper for us. Sick of bikes on back of car or roof. I'm the only one capable of easily lifting them up and making them safe. My partner wants us to throw bikes into a van and off.

    Anyway it'll be fun whatever we get done. More getting out to places for rides with family in new places.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,321
    I'd rather drive and stay in a hotel.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 4,179
    I'd rather drive and stay in a hotel.
    + potato
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,118
    slowbike wrote:
    We've got one. Bought it a few years ago when we sold our sailing yacht. It's a PVC.

    About the only downside is once you've setup camp - it tends to be your only vehicle for doing distances - which makes you plan when you need (or rather, IF you need) to go out.

    That's what has always put me off. And if you do go shopping in it, how many car parks can you get into.

    I recently went on a "pre-retirement" course (I now have 11 working days left, BTW :mrgreen: ), and the adviser there mentioned camper vans. It's a popular thing for people to spend their lump sums on. He'd had experiences of them being written off fairly soon after purchase, and the losses this incurred.
    The older I get, the better I was.

    Call it "booty" if you like, to me it's still a fat @rse.
  • Robert88Robert88 Posts: 2,722
    Met this guy in a campsite with a biggish van.

    Said he'd brought an entire city centre to a halt when he encountered a low bridge. Unfortunately the traffic had backed up behind him in a narrow street and he could not turn round. It was only resolved with aid of a big police operation to unjam everything and direct him to a higher bridge. I was glad I had arrived with my tent several hours before he did.
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    I've a Ford Freda (same as Mazda Bongo) that I had imported 9 years ago after touring New Zealand in a camper in 2008 and loving it. Half the price of an equivalent VW van, I had it converted to a camper in 2012 but remains a daily runner, though rarey used.

    I'm not someone who's out every weekend in it preferring longer trips and do a lot of solo camping and free camping which I find the cheapest and, for me, the best way to go as I like the solitude of the wild.

    Have been a ton of times over to Northern France and Belgium to see racing and ride and have been to most European countries over the years on road trips of up to 2 months with at least one bike on the back. Longest road trip was up to Helsinki, got a return train to St Petersburg for a few days, back to Helsinki then over to Tallinn all the way down to the Adriatic and meandering back through the Alps.

    Did a month in Norway a couple of years ago to do some of the must do drives/rides and for some small climbs - Trollstiggen and the like - and to have a go on the bike elevator in Trondheim, and last year over to Provence and the Alps for some bigger mountains. This year was a more gentle affair as went over to Ireland for Wicklow cycling and then driving/riding the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route before over to Scotland for the North Coast 500 route followed by Yorkshire Dales and Lake District on the way home.

    My van's coming up on 20 years old but still flies through its MOT without a problem and I've had no significant faults over the years. Other than the rear outer wheel arches need repairing it's sound and could go on for years, the only issue being the future availability of LPG fuel as its cheap availability is what has allowed much of my travelling in it.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,022
    Probably better spent on 20p for the swearbox s in Las Vegas.
    MF told me to say this.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,941
    Too big for carparks? A lot of vans are made to fit under 2m carpark barriers. They're not small though but if you can't park them in a parking bay then learn to drive them. There are courses in driving them.

    Or get one made up from a delica. It's bases on one of their 4x4 cars with a slightly higher body. Very capable on the rough stuff.

    In fact most Japanese imports are based on normal cars with many shared parts. It's why if your ask a jap main dealership if they work on imports they are as likely to get a bit uppity that you'd think they wouldn't. I checked with all my nearest ones, Mitsubishi, mazda, Nissan and Toyota. Not an issue.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I really like the one I have access too, but then I have the advantage of not having to pay (much) for it. Its a T5 VW transport, small enough to drive around like a normal car but it has enough space inside. Full double bed, kitchen bit and two bikes can all be loaded up inside so it's very easy moving from place to place or as day trip from your chosen camp spot.

    It doesn't really allow us to do anything a car + tent wouldn't do, but it does make everything that little bit more accessible and easier, and if that means you do stuff then it's worth it.


    I'd say it depends on you and your holiday style; if you are likely to go to one place and explore, the money would likely be better spent on Air B&B type accommodation. If you are someone who likes flexibility, going to different places and potentially leaving last minute than a van could be a good purchase.
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    Camper van............... no

    1. I don't want to have to derive a damn great van round when away, struggling to park, narrow roads, unfamiliar places
    2. When away I don't want to sleep in the car/campervan
    3. I have owned caravans, at least you unhitch them and drive a normal car

    I hate crowded or noisy sites so I go away after the schools and for that at 61, I bought a Berghause Air 4, when we are not in a Hotel we use that.
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    Robert88 wrote:
    Met this guy in a campsite with a biggish van.

    Said he'd brought an entire city centre to a halt when he encountered a low bridge. Unfortunately the traffic had backed up behind him in a narrow street and he could not turn round. It was only resolved with aid of a big police operation to unjam everything and direct him to a higher bridge. I was glad I had arrived with my tent several hours before he did.

    Happens more than you think, weekend Emmets

    I got so fed up with KNOWING I was annoying people towing I put an A3 sign on the back apologizing for holding people up ;)
  • MidnightMidnight Posts: 80
    Capt Slog wrote:
    slowbike wrote:
    We've got one. Bought it a few years ago when we sold our sailing yacht. It's a PVC.

    About the only downside is once you've setup camp - it tends to be your only vehicle for doing distances - which makes you plan when you need (or rather, IF you need) to go out.

    That's what has always put me off. And if you do go shopping in it, how many car parks can you get into.

    I recently went on a "pre-retirement" course (I now have 11 working days left, BTW :mrgreen: ), and the adviser there mentioned camper vans. It's a popular thing for people to spend their lump sums on. He'd had experiences of them being written off fairly soon after purchase, and the losses this incurred.

    Ha I retired at 50, spent part of MY lump sum of £12,000 of astronomy gear
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Retired at 50 ? I'm jealous.

    A colleague at work has just bought a second hand camper van - £46,000 !

    That buys an awful lot of b&b stays.

    I'd be tempted by the VW van option - throw 2 Bromptons in the back and you can get about too.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,941
    I know people for whom the idea of riding a bike is a nightmare activity. Everyone likes their own things. It might be good to agree to differ.

    Still wondering if anyone else is going to write a cool post about campers like the op asked or if this is a moan about campers/caravans thread now?

    Campervans aren't that big, even larger motorhomes (different category of vehicle) that need extra categories on your drivers licence seem to get into carparks in tourist locations.

    A lot of vans will get into 2m limited carparks. There's actually cars taller and bigger than most vw vans. I'm not talking about the mahoosive hummers neither.

    My van driving position felt as high up as a mates pickup for example. I've been in 4x4s too that ride close to the barrier height of carparks. I also know of van drivers with 170bhp vans that often surprise car drivers with the way they can dart around instead of holding people up.

    As far as air bnb goes, I couldn't think of anything worse. I dislike hotels, B&Bs, hostels and similar. For me a tent is preferred but a van to escape into as well is the best of options. Enough comfy seats and table to play games on of an evening in wet British summer.

    Pulling up at the van after a cold winters day out and about only to warm up quickly with the webasto heater by the time the brew is ready. Quick evening meal then back home later in the day. No late dinner at home to worry about just the lad onto bed and relax.

    Travelling down somewhere and traffic's a nightmare. No problem, just pull into a beauty spot and stay the night to continue the next day. Less stress to get somewhere.
  • bonzo_bananabonzo_banana Posts: 238
    I've watched a few videos where people have toured on bicycles and then when they got to the hotel/bb they booked the room wasn't available they'd obviously rented it to someone else. One of them was Japan as well which I tend to be think perhaps naively as more honest. Bike camping/packing seems more appealing than that but most admit I do like the idea of a motorhome where you go somewhere and then create a loop circuit that brings you right back to the motorhome on your bicycle. I can't imagine a campsite would not have the room even if you didn't have a tether point for electricity etc I would imagine there would be somewhere to park up.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 4,683
    I've watched a few videos where people have toured on bicycles and then when they got to the hotel/bb they booked the room wasn't available they'd obviously rented it to someone else. One of them was Japan as well which I tend to be think perhaps naively as more honest. Bike camping/packing seems more appealing than that but most admit I do like the idea of a motorhome where you go somewhere and then create a loop circuit that brings you right back to the motorhome on your bicycle. I can't imagine a campsite would not have the room even if you didn't have a tether point for electricity etc I would imagine there would be somewhere to park up.

    I've never had a hotel not give me my room in 30+ years of travelling. OK there was that airport hotel in Gatwick but they found it eventually. There's plenty of reasons for getting a motorhome but hotel rooms not being there for you isn't a reason.

    If you're going to use it a lot then why not. If you're using it once or twice a year then I'd rent one.
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,194
    When I win the lottery, ill be buying a Unimog with either a bliss or Unidan body on the back and touring first North America at length (and breadth) then Australia and NZ, and anywhere else I fancy too. Spec it right and plan well, you can be off grid for a few months if you want. Overkill for the UK and Europe though.

    My mate from work lives on a canal boat and has weekends away in his T5 camper. His son has been touring Europe in a camper for about 4 years (he and his partner made the correct decisions in their early 20's, as well as some scientific breakthroughs, and they each work around 10 days per year. He's 37 next week.)
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    I did see one of these Ormocars when I was touring around and stopped over in Riga;
    http://www.ormocar.de/kabinen-fahrzeuge ... tego-2013/

    Far from ideal for road touring - and definitely not a campervan - but if they were heading up to Russia ideal for their roads as well as rougher stuff.
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,194
    I did see one of these Ormocars when I was touring around and stopped over in Riga;
    http://www.ormocar.de/kabinen-fahrzeuge ... tego-2013/

    Far from ideal for road touring - and definitely not a campervan - but if they were heading up to Russia ideal for their roads as well as rougher stuff.

    This is the kind of thing I have in mind for myself.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,941
    There's other benefits if campers than holiday use. My first experience of his was on a University canoe club trip to Pembrokeshire for a surf weekend. After a serious trashing I spent some time sitting with a nice hot brew inside a camper overlooking the beach recovering. It's a popular surf beach but there was no cafe there. Sitting at a camper table chatting, playing cars with a kettle to make brews quickly while the storm develops outside was a good thing. Another day sheltering from rain with a van full while others were sat in cars steaming up. It was more social in the van.

    Our reasons to go to the expense of a van is not about the holidays but the everyday. A van can be stocked up all the time with brew kit, tinned comfort for, etc. Day out you've got a base to operate from. Eating butties with three of us sat in the front of the car is getting more difficult as our lad grows. It's about the normal weekends too.

    We live near the Lake District so visit it a lot. Right now we sometimes find ourselves caught out there late. A meal out every weekend or a cooked meal in the van? Or do you drive home hungry? Not good when you get home and young child is asleep. Wake him up for dinner or straight to bed without waking?

    Your see campervan isn't motorhome. It can be a practical vehicle for daily use. It's not true a hotel or Airbnb is a switch out for a campervan. Different things and different reasons for using them.
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,609
    I'd rather drive and stay in a hotel.

    +100.
    Also life under canvas doesn't appeal.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,941
    If only more people had that view, we'd not struggle to get onto campsites in the high season. Each to their own I reckon.

    Fresh air versus stale, air conditioned hotel air. Makes for a good night's sleep ime. But I'll not try to convince you. Don't want any more competition for those great campervan spots at the viewpoints enjoying the sunrise from the pop top lid bed.
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    Still wondering if anyone else is going to write a cool post about campers like the op asked or if this is a moan about campers/caravans thread now?
    It does appear that some people's need to be heard trumps their ability to listen to or read the question being asked.

    What's cool about campers is a tricky one as everyone's idea of what's cool will be different.To me it's that everynight you can be somewhere new in complete isolation with just nature for company and having a unique view that is priceless.

    Being in a forest in Slovenia where the fireflies were the only light at night was pretty cool or the other week off the beaten track up near Glencoe where red deer surrounded the camper, well the bucks anyway, and then settled just 10 metres away.
  • Robert88Robert88 Posts: 2,722
    When I was a student I had a VW camper, the really cool ones in orange and white. It was also really old and rusty but somehow it attained an MOT and manged to go quite often. ANy kind of hill gave it the heeby-jeebies but given time it always got to the top eventually and it was often relief that there there was fuel station not far way as it was a thirsty beast. In a strong cross-wind it was like sailing a boat, you had to make allowances for the gusts and ease the helm straight afterwards.

    One evening it was parked in a rather seedy part of town and when I returned to it some scumbag had rammed the back. The local cop shop gave me a form to fill in and chucked it on a huge pile of similar forms never to be seen again. AMazingly the insurance company met the claim in full and months later the entire back of the van was rebuilt; luckily they found some non-rusty bits to attach the new stuff to and it looked ever so smart. After graduation I sold it for twice what it had cost me, people were queuing up to buy it even.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 3,941
    The red deer thing is special. Camasunery bothy on the Isle of Skye. Sat at the window we watched as a large herd of them surrounded the bothy to reach your loch. They knew we were in there but weren't bothered by us.

    Or the walk in the lakes where I was up a dry but muddy gully near the mouth of it when a large herd of red deer pooled past. Wind was blowing intimate my face, I froze and the deer sensed something there but somehow didn't spot me. Possibly as much as 5 m away and there was 20+ deer passing. They all stopped at the gully in small groups to see what was there but none spooked.

    Then I got to the road and followed the spots of blood and saw the farmer on the quad with a large deer over the back.

    There is a decent camping spot near the village near the old Skye ferry sea front. And you can use the showers and washing facilities at the village hall. Plus get water there. Glenelg iirc.

    I think I once saw a book on best places to park up in a campervan. I bet west coast of Scotland was in it a lot.
  • john80john80 Posts: 618
    Typing from my renault trafic camper at a sailing event in carnac france. If you are going to use it then they are great, particularly the smaller ones unless you can afford a second car at home. If you are using it the odd weekend then hard to justify the outlay especially if you go box motorhome.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,701
    We had a converted LWB transit for two years while a friend was away, we went up the west coast with the dog a few times and had a great time. The best thing about it was that it looked like a thief's van from the outside so you could park in car parks which said 'No camper vans' and get smashed in the local pubs. Great fun. The best sport we stayed at was Hushinish beach on Harris, free facilities and an incredible place. Saw about 5000 deer (as always) and a golden eagle coming up an updraft as I ran along the ridge, must have been about 30m away. Probably one of the best things I've seen in Scotland
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