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Small Camper Van, Trailer Tent or pop-up tent??

(19 Posts)
ninja Sun 05-Jun-11 18:58:34

Basically as of now ish it's just me and the 2 kids (2 and 8), so pitching a big tent could be tricky.

I'd really like a small camper but it'd have to be my family car too and I'm not sure if I can find one that would fit car seats .... thought about a trailer tent as there's less packing up etc.

Or am I just as well with a pop-up tent for now?

Any opinions?

wyebird Sun 05-Jun-11 21:25:18

I've just bought a popup tent from Decathlon, which has fabulous reviews on

It's the base seconds 4.2, which is surprisingly spacious and easy to erect. From the in-store demo, it should be easy to pack up too but I am yet to try this...
I got it to go camping with me (5'2" ladyperson) and my two boys, aged 2 and 4.

ninja Sun 05-Jun-11 21:29:20

Thanks - I'd thought about those in the past and now H is leaving so it'll just be the 3 of us it definitely looks a good plan.

I yearn a little bit after a van that I can keep stuff permanently in, and drive around but maybe if I were more organised I could just have a few boxes ready to go which woudn't be much nore difficult.

My sister has a trailer tent though and I think it has real mattresses [old with bad back emotion]

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-Jun-11 22:11:59

I have a vw camper van which is about as small as you can get. I wouldn't have it as my only car as it's such a pain to Park, turn round. I can't get it in the cramped car ark at work. Plus I think with two kids it would be cramped.

And they're expensive to maintain and run.

ninja Sun 05-Jun-11 22:20:35

Thanks Viva - I was thinking of something smaller, I think there are some converted small vans that people have, but it looks as if they'd have sideways seats which won't work with kids. VWs are lovely though envy

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-Jun-11 23:10:00

But something even smaller would be even more cramped. I find it a bit of a pita with just me and DD in the van at times. Either the bed is pulled out or the table is up which means there is about a 2ftx1ft gap for me to stand and cook in. Only one person can get dressed at a time, the other has to sit on the bed and wait their turn. If the dog comes with us it spends most of its time outside the van tied up as there's no room in the van (big dog) apart from at bed time.

I've got a Quercha pop up - just a square tall one that we use as an awning/toilet tent. Its very easy to put up and if I ever went back to tents I'd get one of the bigger ones with a sleeping area. Or maybe another one the same as what I've got as I think they sort of slot together. So one for sleeping and one for daytime. They are very nice.

wyebird Mon 06-Jun-11 15:43:31

The other thing about a campervan, which put me off buying one despite the fact they are cool, is that once you are on holiday, everytime you want to go somewhere you have to use it as your car, and pack up etc ...

I keep most of my camping gear in boxes ready to chuck in the car, so normally, it is just a case of finding clothes, sleeping bags, toys and food!

BelovedCunt Mon 06-Jun-11 15:46:51

i have a wee campervan, i love it. we have camped for years adn years. i got fed up with teh faff of the tent. i love rolling up to a campsite chucking some stuff out and you are ready and equally when you leave just shove stuff back in and off you go. no wet tents, cold beer in teh fridge and a loo!

we have an awning for longer trips but i am quite happy with out it.

BelovedCunt Mon 06-Jun-11 15:47:39

also when you are out and aboutyou can rustle up cups of tea, go for imprompu swims etc as you have all equipment and towels etc at the ready

RubberDuck Mon 06-Jun-11 15:50:29

Small trailer tent or folding camper would easily be towable by a family sized car and yes, real mattresses!

Pennine Fiestas are awesome for a basic folding camper and there's a decent amount of them on Ebay if budget is tight.

RubberDuck Mon 06-Jun-11 15:51:33

Oh, if you go for folding camper - awning is def worth getting. Our first one we didn't get an awning which we regretted - it would have made a huge difference to available living space.

ninja Tue 07-Jun-11 07:34:11

belovedcunt which campervan do you have?

Thanks Rubberduck - my car doesn't have a tow bar, can you just get them put on do you know? It's a 2l Renault Scenic so sould easily cope.

Just looked on ebay wow!

wyebird Tue 07-Jun-11 09:01:35

I looked into getting a towbar for my Berlingo as I nearly bought a little bubble caravan (soo cute but went for too much on eBay) and the best quote I got was £245 ...

Towbars seem to be a lot more than I remember my dad paying in his day ... then again, his were very basic and he fitted them himself.

I won't swear to this, but I think the towbar is now part of your MOT so needs to be roadworthy. I might be very wrong about this though!!

RubberDuck Tue 07-Jun-11 09:35:20

Yep, ask around. I don't think we paid that much for a towbar on our X-Trail - will ask DH. But we've got a little local independent garage so maybe we just got lucky. Worth getting done properly though.

That Fiesta looks an amazing bargain - def go see before you buy though. If you want something bigger the Conway Cruisers are gorgeous and should still be towable by a Scenic I should think - depends how confident you are about towing.

The big advantage of folding campers over a caravan is that they're less scary to tow because you can still see over the top to some degree. They're also much lighter so you can manoever them around easily on site when you get there. The Fiesta can be stored in a garage easily enough - Cruiser, you should still get in but may be very tight. Crusader/Pathfinder (the really big ones with a loo as well!) you're going to need storage or driveway space.

We have a caravan now, which I love, but I do have very fond memories of our folding campers. If anything happened to dh, I wouldn't like to tow our caravan but would totally get a Fiesta as replacement smile

RubberDuck Tue 07-Jun-11 09:56:40

Apparently I remember wrong - looked up the figures. Our X-Trail cost £308 to fit a towbar, but our old Almera's was around £200 ish - perhaps it depends on the vehicle?

RubberDuck Tue 07-Jun-11 10:04:31

This Conway Countryman (equivalent to Fiesta) looks in good nick:

RubberDuck Tue 07-Jun-11 10:05:33

(Ah, still has nine days to run - will probably get much more than that sad )

AllThreeWays Tue 07-Jun-11 10:08:32

I tow a camper trailer with a Renault Scenic, just pack and unfold, real beds and more comfy than a tent.
Mine is always packed, so I just grab food and clothes and can be off.
As someone else mention it means you don't need to pack up to go for a drive.
Camper vans are expensive and expensive to maintain.
Yes you can get a tow bar fitted

ninja Tue 07-Jun-11 16:39:58

Thanks that's great advice - I shall enjoying looking grin

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