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Old 21-07-2018, 01:03 PM   #1
Kerr
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Campervan advice

She's got it in her head she wants a campervan. I'm not so sure about it.

Ideally it would be something of sensible size and not looking to be paying much more than £20,000. Ideally I would like it drive not too badly, be used friendly, reasonable running costs and hold it's value well.

Volkswagen vans appear to be the obvious choice, but what about things like the Nissan NV200?

It needs to have space for two and a dog.

What should I look out for? Too many of the campers appear to be self build and prices seem to be a bit on the crazy side for many of them.

Last edited by Kerr; 21-07-2018 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 21-07-2018, 01:18 PM   #2
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I'm sure you've looked at the pros and cons of campervan v caravan, but one thing my brother found, which led him to swap his camper for a caravan was the inconvenience of being on a site then having to pack everything away safely for a day out. Then, the van was a pain to drive and park in congested holiday hotspots.

Far easier to tow a van, park it up on site and use the car to get out and about.
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Old 21-07-2018, 01:29 PM   #3
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I'm towing no caravan. I have some morals.
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Old 21-07-2018, 01:41 PM   #4
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I was a motorhome owner very briefly a few years ago as I wasn’t sure about getting another caravan. At the time it was just the 2 of us and a Dog so we bought a Fiat based Swift Kon Tiki TAG axle motorhome which was a big mistake. It was massive on the outside but offered no more space inside than a single axle caravan as the space wasn’t well used. This seems to be a recurring theme among Swift group motorhomes IMO. In hindsight a much smaller van based conversion or self build would have been more suitable. I was put off getting another as the hassle of packing stuff away to explore was no fun and leaving the van set up and exploring on foot was too restrictive for us. It was sold and we went back to caravans. We now have a 3 year old and 2 Dogs who come with us in a nice twin axle caravan. We can still take the car to explore and leave the van set up (and all the driving we do on holiday is in a nice comfy well equipped car rather than a commercial van which isn’t originally designed or conceived to be a leisure vehicle, and that really shows and put me off tbh) and we can still take bikes and things if we want and there’s still plenty of space. For a van as large as ours you’d need a beefy car, but you could get by with a much smaller van which could be pulled by something more modestly sized but I don’t like building awnings so I wanted a big van and now you can get 8 foot wide vans in the UK, interior space is much increased. I found out very quickly that camper vans and motorhomes are big budget items and for me they are more compromised than a caravan.

If you are seriously considering one, I would probably stick to something smaller with a simple rock and roll bed and a row of cabinets down one side of the van. Fairly standard layout and it’s a good one. I would also recommend something you can stand up in. From talking to friends and colleagues who have campers like this I hear from those who don’t have vans you can stand up in that it’s a total PITA and that they regret not getting a taller van or paying extra for a pop top. I briefly looked at self building when buying the Fiat, but I wanted a van that was equipped like a car, with air conditioning and cruise control and I found many vans that lacked these, it was really hard to find one that had them, but not impossible. The Fiat was a coach build motorhome to it was more car like with climate control, sat nav and an automatic gearbox. I wanted something like a regular sized Ducato or a Sprinter to build on but only as I would have liked the space but I ended up with the Fiat and whilst it wasn’t a bad motorhome, I didn’t take to it and I went back to a caravan. As you are considering chnaging you’re M235i, you could buy a car to pull a caravan and a £20k budget would buy you a very nice brand new high spec 2 berth van or a mid range one with a fixed double bed. Alternatively, try hiring a camper for a weekend, see if you like it. It’s not cheap, but it may help you decide if it’s really for you.
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Old 21-07-2018, 02:00 PM   #5
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Some of the self-builds are a proper botch job. At this time of year the prices will be further inflated that bit more. The VW do the best job of looking more camper and less commercial van. I can't see £20k going very far, but that's not to say the right thing won't come up if you put a lot of time into the search. If I was having one it would be a self build/conversion as there is a lot of kit on the market and specialists to do it properly, although I'd personally be after more of a basic spec internally (with pop-up roof) rather than some of the really blingy lights and leather that many have. I'd rather have a basic conversion that was well executed.

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Old 21-07-2018, 02:03 PM   #6
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It's her more than me that wants the camper. There's no chance I'm compromising my car to tow a camper.

It's only going to be used for festivals and weekend breaks more than likely. I don't anticipate much more than that. It won't be fully loaded to cause much issues I don't think.

One with a high roof or raised roof was already a must. The rock and roll beds look quite handy.

Ideally I'd like a little shower, but that looks very rare other than big vans. I think It would be best to stay van sized.
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Old 21-07-2018, 02:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c87reed View Post
Some of the self-builds are a proper botch job. At this time of year the prices will be further inflated that bit more. The VW do the best job of looking more camper and less commercial van. I can't see £20k going very far, but that's not to say the right thing won't come up if you put a lot of time in to the search. If I was having one it would be a self build/conversion as there is a lot of kit on the market to do it properly, although I'd personally be after more of a basic spec rather than some of the really blingy lights and leather that many have. I'd rather have a basic conversion that was well executed.
100% on the botched jobs. Some look absolutely terrible and that isn't reflected in the price.

The great summer will have certainly inflated demand. I can't help but notice just how many are for sale through. I'm also surprised just how many are private sales. They either change hands a lot of too many people have buyer's remorse.

There's quite a few in the local area for sale. I don't want to make appointments with people to see their vans if it's not something I'd ultimately buy if it's nice. I'd feel like one of those difficult tyre kickers as it's me that hadn't got my plans straight.

There really isn't a shortage and £20,000 doesn't seem a bad budget to me. There is quite a lot of decent looking vans at that price. The budget could higher, but I'm not sure it's worth it for us.


It's hard putting a value on them. I can't see a valuation guide like is available for cars.
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Old 21-07-2018, 02:14 PM   #8
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You'd be better off hiring a van of a similar type that you're looking at initially Kerr.

That way, you'll be able to test before you buy and, although not a cheap break, you can see the pro's and con's and SWKB may well turn round and say it's not for her.
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Old 21-07-2018, 02:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nbray67 View Post
You'd be better off hiring a van of a similar type that you're looking at initially Kerr.

That way, you'll be able to test before you buy and, although not a cheap break, you can see the pro's and con's and SWKB may well turn round and say it's not for her.
Hiring options seem quite limited. Most of them hire out bigger and nearly new models. Most aren't dog friendly and the T&Cs on the insurance policies are frightening. I bet if people did read the terms hiring wouldn't be so popular.

Hopefully of we buy sensibly the losses won't be bad after the novelty wears off after getting bogged down in a field a few times.
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Old 21-07-2018, 04:10 PM   #10
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There are a lot second hand Campers. As people buy the wrong one.
There are several clubs and magazines that have a lot of sound information, you only realise it’s wrong for you after a couple of nights out.
Have seeing people losing your budget after 1 season because the van was not for them.
Have a look at the Adria motor homes or the VW Westfalia conversions, these companies have donkey years experience and know what they are doing.
Some people like a van conversion, some people absolutely despise them.
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