Viewing 39 posts - 1 through 39 (of 39 total)
  • What campervan would suit me?
  • Premier Icon Aus
    Free Member

    OK, so I have read lots of the threads here which have been really helpful, but have a few key questions I’d value some thoughts on:

    My situation – I’ve always wanted a campervan, probably from the adventurous nomadic image they conjure up! I’ve done a fair bit of camping, motorcycling Europe and NZ with a tent, camping as a family of 4 (+ 3 dogs) and I love it. We’re now at a point where I possibly have the opportunity for some short trips in the UK (2days-1 week), me and the young dog, plus a bike so a few days away, walking, cycling, chilling. Happy with the idea of wild camping and equally happy with the idea of campsites. A good day would be breakfast, coffee, big yomp or a few hours on the bike, drive to the next spot, cook a bit of pasta (simple) and have a beer. Wake up, move on. Nothing gnarly or big deal. I think Mrs A might join for a weekend away, but occasional. The van would effectively be our second car, so needs to be small/manouverable enough to get down a narrow road and tight driveway. I can cope happily with basic conditions!

    Questions:

    – So from the above, what’s the ideal type of van?

    – I reckon it’ll be a window of time with me for 3-4 years. I could (possibly) spend a bit e.g. £30k only on the thought of selling in a few years with little loss. Reality of this Vs. buying cheap and basic?

    – It’ll be predominately me, spaniel and bike. I’d like a little cooker and possibly fridge, but assume toilet/cupboards aren’t worthwhile?

    – I’ve been looking at VW options, simply because we’ve had VW cars and they’ve been good! Also, the van size if suitable for our road/driveway, and feasibly can be called in to use on the odd occasions we need another car. What others?

    – So many VW options – are there ‘generally’ good models to go for?

    – Is a conversion OK to look at (obviously depends how well it’s been done) or better to stick with manufacturer done?

    – Mileage – lots of campers have 150,000+ miles – a worry? My mileage will probably be fairly low.

    – Having a battery powered fridge sounds good to me, what’s the reality of it?

    – Is a pop-up worthwhile – if it’s only me and dog most of the time, I don’t need to sleep up top, but does it give a nice feeling of space? Worth paying more for?

    – Are there any specific mod-cons that are worth looking out for?

    – Realistically, I could do the same activity with my small tent and the estate car … so am I being daft!

    Thanks

    Premier Icon Aus
    Free Member

    My post doesn’t appear to be showing up … maybe my reply will chivvy it!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    4 of you in a VW t5/t6 isn’t going to work.

    Premier Icon Aus
    Free Member

    Hi … it’ll only ever be a max of me, Mrs A + spaniel, usually just me and spaniel

    Premier Icon piha
    Free Member

    @ Matt – Why?

    Double bed at the back and a pop top double will sleep 4. Add in a second row of seats that convert into a bed and there’s space enough. Cosy but doable.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Just experience of three of us in there a few times – anything longer than an overnight and we seemed to spend more time shuffling kit around to be able to sleep / cook / sit and chat…

    If it is only two of you, then yes much better…

    *slinks off*

    Premier Icon TheBrick
    Free Member

    That’s what I do. I just use a normal lwb vivario van that has a seats in back (DIY crew cab with windows). The lwb means I can sleep being crew cab seats.

    On my own I can put down a thick self inflating mattress and be comfy. Room for a couple of bikes inside while I sleep, roll up bed when not sleeping quickly and easily, stuff on rear seats. Bungie nets and hooks on side for stuffing stuff, hanging bags, coats etc. I take a camp stove (including coffee filter) and if its wet can cook inside but would usually move stove outside and cook out side or at least set it up inside the back with door open.

    With two I can fit a large double self inflating matrices and could fit one bike or two taking bike apart. Its a squeeze but it always is in a van this size. Now we have kids we just camp in tent if its not just me and use the van as an big car to carry bikes and camping gear easily.

    When not camping I have a largely empty van capable of taking a full sheet material, chucking bike in back etc. I see little advantage of a fitted out van of this size unless its two of you primarily camping.

    Only issue is toilet as I have to plan a poo stop in the morning as I don’t want to start leaving shit near parking spots.

    Edit: Extra point, being a normal van when I am on my own camping its less obvious I am camping. In a rural area it is but if near small town its easy to camp on quiet industrial estates for example if you arrive somewhere late.

    Premier Icon TheBrick
    Free Member

    Having a battery powered fridge sounds good to me, what’s the reality of it?

    You need a three way fridge if planning on using it off grid. Battery will only be any good while driving.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Double bed at the back and a pop top double will sleep 4. Add in a second row of seats that convert into a bed and there’s space enough. Cosy but doable.

    Curious. Do you have one. Have you done this …did it rain at all ?

    It’s the camper van equivalent of going 4 up in a 2 man tent. Survivable but not much fun

    Premier Icon chrishc777
    Free Member

    Get a SWB van and convert it yourself, that way you can build a 2 bike garage in the side and still have a rock n roll bed

    If you buy one ready made that space will be cabinets, electrics and water so you’ll have to store the bike some other way, which gets complicated

    I didn’t bother with a fridge, it’s been fine but my diet involves nothing perishable like milk so that makes it easier. They are expensive and take up space was my take home on fridges when I was building the van

    Also, whatever you do, get one of some kind, it’s awesome! Solo trips I haven’t done yet but I can imagine it being pretty good and intend to do some this summer.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    You, a dog and a bike – LWB T5/6, Vivaro, Transit Custom etc and a basic fit out with space down the side.

    If you want it carry people, 4 or 5 seats, then a Kombi / Crew Van.

    Various companies do different sleeping and cooking options to fit around seats & bikes.

    Amdro have a couple of options and my mate’s company is working on some new things for this kind of van – https://www.theplyguys.co.uk/campervans

    Or build it yourself if you’re reasonably handy, don’t underestimate how long even a simple conversion can take though.

    Electric fridge is great as long as you get a proper compressor one, and a simple leisure battery set up. Then you’re in to solar panels depending on how long you stay in one place for.

    You need to decide where on the scale you want to be on from tin tent with a comfy bed to full on camper with heating, water, fridge, built in cooker etc.

    VWs are overpriced but hold their value, everything’s expensive at the moment due Covid.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    If you have a 200W solar panel and a decent leisure battery, you could get away with running a fridge off-grid.

    If you want anything more than a cassette toilet, you’ll struggle with a SWB van.

    If you’re looking at using it all year, a heater is good to have.

    You’ll get a better return on a professional conversion than you will with a DIY conversion. One reason for the popularity of VW’s is that there are lots of conversions available, but you can get them for most popular vans.

    DVLA changed the vehicle classification rules recently such that it is almost impossible to get a DIY van conversion reclassified as a camper which will affect insurance as well as some speed limits.

    Premier Icon Twodogs
    Full Member

    Get a SWB van and convert it yourself, that way you can build a 2 bike garage in the side and still have a rock n roll bed

    The man’s got £30k burning a hole in his pocket…why would he do that?!

    For £30k you’d get a really nice relatively low mileage 2nd hand conversion that would hold it’s value. (Dare I even say “California”?)

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    Don’t think anyone has answered the pop-top question yet. You want one, (or a high top) if you intend standing up in it. Might not seem such a big deal buy cooking inside, if you go the full camper route or even getting changed.

    VWs are overpriced but hold their value,

    Jeez, you’re not wrong, I passed a 57 plate one in a dealer in Chester last night – £23k! I actually turned round to check, I really thought I’d misread it and put an extra digit on the price in my head! 23 bags of sand for a 15 year old van! Spare wheel well must be full of gold bullion.

    Premier Icon brads
    Free Member

    Adria 640

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    DVLA changed the vehicle classification rules recently such that it is almost impossible to get a DIY van conversion reclassified as a camper

    Only if your vans too small .

    With a full size van it’s possible to tick all their boxes and get the paper work changed.

    Pop tops don’t count for standing room which is where vans such as VW’s self converted fall down

    As for 30 getting you low milage VW…. Only if it’s old as ****. It’s either low milage or it’s not relatively has no business here…..

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    (Dare I even say “California”?)

    I nearly said California but the bike won’t go inside if that’s a priority. (Well it will, but not if you want to sleep in the downstairs bed).

    Only if your vans too small .

    With a full size van it’s possible to tick all their boxes and get the paper work changed.

    Possible to tick all their boxes, but still very difficult to actually get it changed to anything other than van with windows. Which doesn’t really matter.

    Premier Icon steveh
    Full Member

    @trail_rat in theory yes, in practice no. I’ve seen high top sprinters that meet all the requirements on paper refused, a number of them and none that have passed. It basically can’t be done any more. Even if you meet the list they just say it’s no exhaustive or a guarantee.


    @TheBrick
    not the case at all. It was for older units but modern compressor fridges are very low power. The one in my crafter will run in definitely spring to autumn using solar panels on the roof and occasional drives.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Strange because plenty folk have managed on the iveco self build pages.

    The ones that get rejected seem to be the ones with minimal exterior stickers.

    This was after the mid last year everything getting rejected phase.

    Premier Icon RoterStern
    Free Member

    One of these should about do you!
    https://images.app.goo.gl/3MdYn7nGRAZMz5ax7

    Premier Icon joeegg
    Free Member

    5.4m or 6m van conversion.Why no toilet ? Wild camping will gradually be clamped down on because of people using the area around their parking spot as a toilet or rubbish dump.
    Plenty of info for you on Motorhomefun in the different forum sections.

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Full Member

    So I’ve commented on the T6 questions before. I have a T6, for your needs it would be ideal.
    The pop top is a must. Even when I’m solo I still lift the top to get the extra space. I’ll also add the tent, just so I can have the table and chairs set up, keeps dirty clothing out of the van along with bags out of the way. An awning is also more convenient but loses the privacy and space for dumping gear.
    We have a 200w solar panel and a leisure battery. Using the fridge for 3 days off-grid (lights and water pump occasionally used as well), will take us down to just below 50% charge on our battery.
    Our heater runs of the diesel. Works well, but it is either hot or cold.
    I prefer campsites, generally a good vibe, toilet and shower facilities. I’ll always look for somewhere close to a pub.
    I do precisely as you describe, with a lab. He took to it really quickly.

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    I just use a normal lwb vivario van that has a seats in back (DIY crew cab with windows). The lwb means I can sleep being crew cab seats.

    With two I can fit a large double self inflating matrices and could fit one bike or two taking bike apart.

    My SWB Master with only 3 front seats easily takes a small double matress (4′) and 5 bikes.
    2 behind seats with front wheel off, one on a shelf (front wheel off) and 2 in the car with all wheels off.

    I could probably get a couple more bikes in if I didn’t leave space for the projector screen.

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    Do you need to get under height barriers?

    I’d go swb for ease of parking but more room.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/261715498984786/?ref=facebook_story_share

    This looks good for the money. Certainly looks to be a good base for 1 or 2 people.

    Shame the bikes are on the outside but if people insist on swb and low top something has to give.

    Premier Icon Twodogs
    Full Member

    I don’t know why people keep suggesting panel vans with a mattress and bucket thrown in the back (doubles as toilet and washing up bowl)…he’s got 30K to spend!

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Free Member

    There are companies who import vans from Japan (ie they will be rust free even if they are quite old) and convert them. That can be a very affordable option. A pal did it and uses his as both van and everyday around town vehicle.

    Premier Icon Matt_SS_xc
    Full Member

    Ducato mwb owner here. Gets a a lot of use. Great for extended stays, bikes etc… For 2 of us. Love it, but…
    30k, want good return on your money? T5/6 pro conversion pop top.
    No brainer. Parents genuinely lost no money on their t5 over 5 years.
    They saved a lot by buying brand new panel van and taking to a pro conversion company. And for safe money get the standard lay out with rnr bed etc… Anything else will not hold its value as well.

    Also, yes to toilet. Off grid with standard dometic electric fridge is fine with 200w upwards panel and 200ah upwards of battery and a bit of driving every couple of days.
    Eber heater essential for year round and you won’t regret it.
    Spend proper money to start with and your investment is far safer.
    Go with well known conversion for financial security

    Premier Icon Aus
    Free Member

    thanks all, really helpful and interesting. I feel nervous about ‘investing’ a large chunk of £ as fearful in 5 years, I won’t get much back (I can’t spend it (i.e. it’s not sitting happily in the bank account waiting to be spent!) without feeling reasonably confident it’s all disappeared!), but equally, I’m nervous about buying cheap, which might be a money pit with little return in 5 years.

    And helpful stuff on pop-up, toilet, bed considerations. Ease of parking and height barriers are definite pluses.

    Thanks!

    Premier Icon chrishc777
    Free Member

    DVLA changed the vehicle classification rules recently such that it is almost impossible to get a DIY van conversion reclassified as a camper which will affect insurance as well as some speed limits

    It’s true that it’s nearly impossible to re-classify the vans now (my transit isnt te-classified) but that does not affect insurance as there are now enough companies taking photos as sufficient evidence, and the speed limit thing is also a bit of a myth. The DVLA classification isn’t actually what matters

    If you’ve really got 30k to burn then get a nice T5, it will hold it’s value. But you won’t get bikes in a ready converted one easily, a DIY conversion means you will, and can be done in 4 weeks from bare van to completed, proper conversion (not just some ply and a mattress). Also means you’ll actually have something worth more than it owes you

    Premier Icon petrieboy
    Free Member

    I have a caravelle as my main car which suits my use case perfectly and in your position I would absolutely get a California. As your mileage is low, I’d say get a higher mileage one and over 5 years you’ll even it out. The underlying vans take mileage very well if they’re looked after.

    As a daily T5 driver what I’ve become super aware of is just about everywhere I go, there’s a 2 meter barrier to get through (beaches, supermarkets, scenic spots, car parks) You just don’t notice them in a car but you sure do when you’re in something big. Now a t5 slides under nicely but anything bigger simply won’t and would get tiresome very quickly

    Premier Icon bob_summers
    Full Member

    I’d get a Cali. As Petrieboy we’ve had a T5 Multivan (euro equivalent of Caravelle) and it worked fine until the boy got too big for us to sleep 3 in a bed. Now it needs a pop top fitting but that’s a homologation nightmare in Spain so selling it on to fund a Cali.
    Whether you can get a decent one for 30k in the current red hot market, I don’t know? The waiting list for a new one is running at a year atm. I saw one advertised locally, 2019 model for almost ten grand more than new…

    Cons of the Cali other than price – you’re lugging a load of stuff you don’t need (wardrobe, useless sink…) and leaving a currently highly desirable vehicle in the middle of nowhere for hours! The new ones are also more than 2m high, I measured one at the dealers and it was 2030mm at the back. Squeaky bum at many barriers…

    If not going down that route, think if you need a fridge. If it’s just for a few beers then a coolbox and a bag of ice will result in cold beer in most weather.

    Premier Icon Inbred456
    Free Member

    Campervan ownership has skyrocketed recently. Most places I know have very little stock available and is way overpriced due to travel bans abroad etc. If you can wait 12-18 months there will be a load on the market when everybody goes back abroad for their hols.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Full Member

    speed limit thing is also a bit of a myth

    You may want to consult this page and revise your opinion. Standard panel vans come under goods vehicles not more than 7.5 tonnes GVW. Unless you can point to case law that rescinds this the vehicle plate is what the enforcing authority will go by.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    Standard panel vans do, but vans that have been converted to camper vans (and fulfilling the criteria correctly) should be able to do the same speed as a car as long as they are under 3.05T unladen. Regardless of whether the v5 says Van With Windows or Motor Caravan.

    I’m not going to test it on purpose in mine but should I receive a fine through the post I’m pretty confident I won’t have to pay it.

    Hopefully you can read this, struggling to find a better resolution copy

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Anpr hasnt pung my iveco at 70 in a 70.

    But at the same time I’d rather not do 70 as fuel economy shocking.

    55 on the cruise does me

    Premier Icon stevextc
    Free Member

    Shame the bikes are on the outside but if people insist on swb and low top something has to give.

    Erm, the bikes on the outside is the biggy that has to give for me.
    My SWB I can easily sleep 2 (not close friends) and 2-3 bikes with the only fuss being removing front wheels and plugging in the airbed and that is leaving room for a big projector screen.

    I can stick another 2-3 bikes in and still sleep 2 if needed if I take off wheels and stick them across the cab on top of a picnic blanket or forgo the projector screen.

    I’m not saying a SWB is ideal but that’s what fits on my drive.
    No fixed shower, toilet or washing up or stove… but any and all can just be put in as/when needed except the shower which is a pop up external.

    I don’t know why people keep suggesting panel vans with a mattress and bucket thrown in the back (doubles as toilet and washing up bowl)…he’s got 30K to spend!

    Because the main use is 1 person + dog… and they don’t necessarily need to spend 30k for an inflexible solution… and spending on a pre-made camper is buying the inflexibility they might not ever need and gets in the way 90% of the time

    Cons of the Cali other than price – you’re lugging a load of stuff you don’t need (wardrobe, useless sink…) and leaving a currently highly desirable vehicle in the middle of nowhere for hours!

    Also it removes bike space…and all that expensive built-in-stuff liable to get damaged by stuffing bikes in.

    So a lowish milage van (25k or so) for £15k (due to Covid prices) and £2-3k for initial conversions/insulation/heating and hot water etc. leaves 2-3k to add stuff later (if found to be needed) and £10k for a new or N+1 bike if desired…

    You can also leave a lot of flexibility to add bolt/snap down modularity as needed/wanted.

    and if once a year you want to take a trip with a family of 4-5 tow bars and caravans or just rent a motorhome… ??

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Op also mentioned he wanted to captialise on the sustained value of a camper.

    A builders van or mini bus with a mattess and a bucket how ever versatile will NEVER hold its value/captial investment.

    Mate of mines put his converted T5 up forsale today. £17900 gets you 2009 with 89k

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/290330175920541/

    Think if I had 30k I’d be strongly considering a plastic pig coachbuilt.

    Still think it’s madness money but folk like small vans.

    Premier Icon steveh
    Full Member

    I’ll have a 68 plate t6 with aircon with full conversion for sale in a few weeks, £32k no vat, conversion is new, FSH. Has pop top, tested bed, leisure battery etc. In case any one reading this has decided they want one 😉

Viewing 39 posts - 1 through 39 (of 39 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.