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To sleep in a camper van on a public street

(16 Posts)
brexitstolemyfuture Sat 13-May-17 08:25:59

I've always fancied buying one and sadly I don't get to visit friends as much as I would like as hotels are expensive and most people I know don't have enough room for their family let alone a few guests.

A few friends have said it's a good idea, turn up at the camper van and kind of half stay with them - so have access to a real bathroom but don't sleep there and get in the way. Obviously for friends with a driveway or live near a campsite this is fine. But what about ones where I plan to just be on the street outside for a weekend?

Can anyone recommend a good place or good camper van referbished shop?

LakieLady Sat 13-May-17 08:34:57

We have a motorhome and have done this. I don't even think people have noticed in a couple of places. We've also camped in secluded rural car parks.

It's a bit different with a motorhome though. What would you do if you needed a wee in the night? People might object to someone pissing in a bucket and emptying it in the street.

Much to our astonishment, DP's brother and SIL have vetoed us staying overnight outside their house when we visit, on the basis that they think their neighbours might object. They've obviously gone a bit posh since they moved to rural Kent, they never minded when they lived in South London.

brexitstolemyfuture Sat 13-May-17 08:42:43

Oh I would have a toilet for sure. How many berths is yours? Motorhomes always sound huge. I'm thinking of a van than is suitable for two adults and two children.

I'm actually thinking for London it would be very good as hotels are just ridiculously expensive.

ameliameerkat Sat 13-May-17 08:43:41

I'm doing this next weekend - going to a party at my friend's house and going to sleep outside in my van so I can have a drink! There are a couple of friends staying over so no space indoors.

I converted my own van, so can't really help with where to get one..... If you just want somewhere to sleep (and you're not too tall), a minimal conversion to a Renault Kangoo/Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner could work for you - this is what I did.

ameliameerkat Sat 13-May-17 08:44:25

Ah!! Just seen your update. My suggestion won't work then grin.

brexitstolemyfuture Sat 13-May-17 08:47:43

Thanks kat, yeah I think I need something in between a van and a motorhome.

I've seen ones with a fridge that run off gas and heating powered by desiel. Being able to stand up in it is a must.

What I find difficult is finding something that is done up properly - rather than just a old builders van with a sofa in it

Giggorata Sat 13-May-17 08:58:42

I do this all the time, in my combi van, including staying over at parties & festivals. I prefer it to being in a tent, especially when I'm on my own.

Several friends have slept in vans outside my one bedroomed holiday cottage, when we all go off together. The vans become extra bedrooms. We just leave the door on the latch for bathroom, kettle, etc.

ameliameerkat Sat 13-May-17 09:04:53

If you go to a second hand motorhome company you'll find something decent for sure. There are also a couple of companies who do very nice conversions, if you had something in mind and found the right size of van.

I saw some 'interesting' conversions on my most recent trip - mine definitely compared very favourably!!

BIWI Sat 13-May-17 09:09:30

I've often wondered about this too - not so much staying with friends, but just being able to travel around the UK. Are there not restrictions about where you can park/sleep in them?

(I appreciate the logistics of needing the loo/having a shower, etc!)

LakieLady Sat 13-May-17 09:26:58

Our MH is a 4-berth (one double where the table/seats are and one double over the cab, which I would never sleep in because the headroom is very low, we use the space for storage). In terms of vehicle size, it's 5.2m long, and 2m wide, so it fits in a standard supermarket car park space. It has a lav, a shower, hot water (gas) heating (gas) and a fridge that works on gas, or from the leisure battery or van battery, or on electric hook up when on a site.

It's full height all along, so no faffing with lifting the roof. However, that excludes some car parks - 6'6" height barriers are surprisingly common.

Buying one is a minefield. Ideally, you'd want one with a recent "habitation certificate", so you know that everything works and there are no damp/leakage issues. I'd recommend joining a few motorhome forums and getting tips on what to look for. Diesel may also be an issue if you plan on using it in London, some sort of emission rule meant a lot of people in London had to sell older diesel vans a while ago. Also start looking at vans for sale online, and seeing how much they vary in price.

One of the big advantages of a motorhome over a camper is Britstops. You pay £30 for a book giving you a list of all Britstop members in the UK. They are places where motorhomers can stay overnight for free or for a nominal charge and we have stayed at some fantastic places for nothing. On a 10 day trip to Cornwall in March, we only spent 2 nights at a camp site. And we save a small fortune by being able to make a cuppa whenever we like, without having to pay rip-off Costa prices at service stations!

Ours was the best purchase we've ever made. We can go away for just a night whenever we feel like it, it takes less than 10 minutes to get ready because we keep most of what we need on the van.

specialsubject Sat 13-May-17 09:39:52

As long as you don't empty the toilet in the street (wtf?) I can't see an issue. Skanky gappies doing just that or worse is why free camping got outlawed in new Zealand. If you have a van you have a bucket, take it with you.

ImissTerry Sat 13-May-17 10:27:10

Would a small caravan not be better? You'd not only have space for a proper portaloo but also cooking facilities. They are a lot cheaper than a camper van. I know you say you want to visit people who don't live near a campsite. There aren't many places in the UK that aren't within a taxi ride of a campsite or at least a field.

brexitstolemyfuture Sat 13-May-17 11:20:45

Wow LakieLady you've really sold it to me. Yours just sounds perfect, is there a name for that kind of motorhome? If you don't mind me asking where did you get yours from for how much and have you had any issues?

Looks like a I need to join another forum. I wouldn't mind paying a bit over the odds from a dealer that has checked it out and can offer some kind of assurances.

Gas heating, 4 people and fridge is on my essential list.

A caravan kind of misses the point - I want to go away quickly and easily and just park up anywhere.

fuzzyduck1 Sat 13-May-17 13:05:00

I've had a campervans for years.
Stayed in peoples drives, laybys, campsites anywhere that's taken our fancy.
One of my favorite tricks is to go to a pub and have a few beers then crawl into the back. The landlord can hardly kick you out of the car park as you've been drinking and can't legally drive.
and don't worry you can't be done for being drunk and in charge of a campervan as it's got a built in bed.. Also don't worry about the old bill they can not move you on until the next morning once you are set for the night.
Choosing the right camper is going to be the thing I've had Transit van based one (Nice but getting a bit old), a Honda Acty Romahome even older and so small outside but huge bed for 2. The latest is a StarCraft (Kitcar) Based on a Cortina this is huge in the back for what it is and I love this one but again it's over 30 years old now. all have cost me under £1500 and have sold for more a few years later.

Price is always the deciding factor you can get a nice one for £3k up but the more you spend the better they seem to get unless they have a VW badge on then they just ask for to much money.

My advice is go for it you'll love it.

Ethylred Sat 13-May-17 15:14:03

Fuzzyduck I think I love you, you remind me of BIL, Uncle Unembarrassable.

brexitstolemyfuture Sun 14-May-17 09:27:55

Yes fuzzy duck that's exactly the kind of person I want to be. This might be my opertunity to see this county and Europe. I saw several people in vans yesterday - parked on a residential road but facing a feild. It looked like bliss.

Can you post a link to a good one for around 3k? They seem to be so expensive. I'm wondering if I should just buy a normal van and put a bed, lesuire battery and gas cooker in

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