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anybody have a campervan?

(21 Posts)
BooyhooRemembering Thu 08-Nov-12 22:43:09

i've been thinking about getting a caravan. really want to be be able to take my dcs away for local breaks like we did when i was a child. however, i dont trust myself to manage the whole towing and manouevering aspect of a caravan so i am now thinking about a campervan. this would be easier right? what do i need to know? is it very complicated to camp in a campervan? do i need a different type of driving license? what sort of van should i be looking for? (me, 2 dses and a dog) anything else i should think about?

Rottenluck Thu 08-Nov-12 23:05:30

I had a Mazda e2200 camper and drove it as a learner so no extra license needed. I found the first few nights all the stowing would feel like a massive ball ache but then it would be all down pat and no problem. The only time I envied caravans was when you decide you want to visit somewhere you can't walk to from your base. You have to pack it all away and go, unlike the caravanners who can just drive off and leave their home all set up Nicely for their return. That aside I loved every minute of it.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 08-Nov-12 23:12:50

I used to have a t25 and sold it last year. Just me and dd used to go away in it. They are lovely but I'm afraid for me the cons outweighed the pros. However if I'd had more time and/or more money I'd have kept it.

They are expensive to run, fuel costs are high, they need mot, insurance, tax like other vehicles and it adds up. On top of this repairs, body work repairs, etc. was costing me a fortune.

Fairly cramped inside, ok for two for a weekend. But a week, if the weathers crap isn't fun.

They do break down, not just engine, but electrics. I've been away on my own before unable to cook, charge phones, etc.

Packing stuff up every morning in order to drive somewhere is a real pain.

They're fun to drive, look cool, nice and warm and cosy. They're also much more sound proof than a tent so that's the pluses.

They're better than a caravan if you want to go somewhere for a night to two and then move on to somewhere else.

They can be a bugger to park when out and about. Difficult to manoeuvre, can't get in car parks with height barriers, need bigger spaces when on street parking.

I'd be tempted to do a towing course and get a caravan.

BooyhooRemembering Thu 08-Nov-12 23:21:50

"The only time I envied caravans was when you decide you want to visit somewhere you can't walk to from your base. You have to pack it all away and go, unlike the caravanners who can just drive off and leave their home all set up Nicely for their return."

good point! i wouldn't have thought of that. thanks

viva if you dont mind me asking, how much was it costing you annually to run and maintain your campervan?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 08-Nov-12 23:29:24

Insurance was about £30 a month.
Tax was about £210 a year
£50 for an mot
£100 for a service.

So that's £500 ish.

I'd say I spent £500 a year on bodywork. Van was in mint condition when I bought it, but they don't stay like that and it kept getting bits of seam rust, problems round the sill, etc. which needed sorting.

Van had other problems mainly with electrics which Dh managed to sort every time, plus he sorted the gas out for the fridge when that stopped working otherwise that would have been more bills.

One year I had to have the glow plugs changed as they dissolved, that was about £100.

At 35mpg (diesel) it was costing nearly twice as much to drive places as my car.

I'd say allow a minimum of 1k a year, with fuel costs and unexpected garage bills on top.

BooyhooRemembering Thu 08-Nov-12 23:35:44

1k a year and then you had to pay site fees on top of that? were you a member of any caravnning clubs?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 08-Nov-12 23:41:41

I was in both the caravan club and caravan & camping club. I joined both first year and renewed the caravan and camping club membership.

BooyhooRemembering Fri 09-Nov-12 00:17:33

thanks viva. dont think it would be worth me joining caravan or caravan and camping club as I'm in NI and there only seems to be one of the caravan club sites in NI and i cant find any on the C&C website.

Mum2Fergus Sat 10-Nov-12 12:41:29

On the packing up everytime you want to go somewhere...we use a driveaway awning with our Mazda Bongo so everything goes in there when we go on days out.

ThatBintAgain Sat 10-Nov-12 12:47:11

I've had campervans for years on and off and I absolutely loved them all. They are great for shorter trips and much cosier than tents, easier sleeping up away from the floor etc. However I sold mine in the end because it was quite expensive to run and fuel and we just weren't getting away in it often enough to justify it. Plus we were too skint to run two vehicles anyway. The trips we did have away the DCs are still young enough to fight and mess about all night so we didn't get much sleep and I was constantly worried they would fall out of the pop top.

Having said that, if we could afford it I'd get another tomorrow. grin They are great fun, so long as you get a good one that doesn't keep breaking!

BooyhooRemembering Sat 10-Nov-12 16:32:30

thanks for advice. i think what i'll maybe do for this year coming is take ourselves to various of the local sites with static caravans to rent for the week/weekend and just see how often we will actually be getting away. i know it isn't exactly the same experience but it will give me an idea whether we would make good use of the campervan. my sister has talked about getting a camper and i could suggest the idea of us sharing one although she is single with no kids or dogs and mightn't like the idea of sharing it with us. could lead to problems. hmm. i'll think about it.

any recomendations for what van to get?

ThatBintAgain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:09:34

Volkswagens all the way. I've always had a fab time in them and still sold them for more than I paid for them. You rarely lose money on a v-dub. Plus they're really cool. wink

BooyhooRemembering Sun 11-Nov-12 01:46:13

thanks thatbint

loubielou31 Tue 13-Nov-12 09:26:42

We love ours, we have a VW T5 so it is our second car, little run around for every day, van for bigger trips.

Day trips are also brilliant in the camper. There's nothing like stopping for a picnic somewhere gorgeous and putting the kettle on. Makes me feel all cosy on these cold winter days when I wouldn't want to sleep in it but still love using it.

You get really good at putting stuff away ready for a day out. Weekends away are easy because you don't need to take too much stuff, for longer trips and our big holiday we have a drive away awning so most of the stuff gets put in there and it gives us the extra room we need.

Also we try to stay on sites where we don't have to pack up and drive somewhere each day for a long holiday, eg within walking distance of the beach.

A campervan is more like a tent on wheels. Nothing like the comfort you'd get in a caravan but you don't have the hassle of towing.

IsletsOfLangerhans Tue 13-Nov-12 09:33:57

We have a 30 year old bay window VW - brilliant fun and great for days out/short breaks. HOWEVER, if you are considering an old VW, it really helps if you know someone who can help maintain it. DH is fab at this sort of thing, but to maintain an old-style van, unless you can weld, paint and are highly competent at car maintenance/mechanics, it will become very expensive to run. We have ours as a third vehicle and only pay £180 a year insurance plus MOT and road tax. It works out as a relatively cheap hobby for DH....

colleysmill Sun 25-Nov-12 09:32:21

We bought a vw T25 earlier this year having previously used my dads motorhome (Fiat Suntor). Caravan was never an option for us as both dh and I have cars through work so would have to pay for a tow bar every 2 years.

Initially dh was sceptical but the van is laughing known as his OW - if I lose him he's always in the van pottering. viva gave us some excellent advice (many thanks!) when we bought ours - the thread is still here if you search.

On older vans you do need good maintenance skills - dh is v good at this (we also have a classic car so not too bad at fixing engines either) and watch out for rust etc. However even in newer vans you can still get problems with rising damp (dad paid 800 quid to get his fixed) and general MOT things.

Fuel is an issue - ours drinks petrol but even though we've not had ours long we've used it loads and that's probably the biggest thing to weigh up, like our classic car they like to be run regularly and not left sitting for months on end.

Driving wise I manage it with ease and compared to a big motorhome much easier to park, although car parks with height barriers are a pain.

Honestly I can say we love it and whilst we are still in the honeymoon period we've had some really good weekends already. Just planning our first week away for next year!

colleysmill Sun 25-Nov-12 09:37:02

Oh forgot to mention the caravan club as mentioned upthread.

Sometimes on other sites you get discounts for being CC members - when we went away last summer we got 130 quid discount at a Haven site which offset the membership cost of 35 pounds a year so it still might be worth considering.

BabylonElf Thu 27-Dec-12 22:13:37

We also have a T25, we've done weekend breaks and month-long European tours in it - it's amazing, oh and there's five of us wink

It's going in for an LPG conversion in a couple of weeks, not cheap, but will have paid for itself inside 18 months smile

borisjohnsonshair Sat 29-Dec-12 21:59:48

WE have a mazda bongo, which i love, but is really expensive to run. This year alone has cost us insurance, mot, tax, plus some welding work. We bought a pop-up tent to take with us on our travels because you need somewhere to mark your pitch/dump your stuff etc. What we have decided now is that we might as well take the car, with a big pop-up tent which will be an awful lot cheaper in terms of mpg and less hassle, as you can just leave everything in the tent and take off. ok so it's not quite as sound-proof and warm as the van, but it's much cheaper.

alterntively you could get a Bongo as they're quite small and use it as your everyday car, which would only mean one lot of tax, mot etc instead of two.

zumo Thu 10-Jan-13 21:57:18

We have a Bongo as we needed to carry 6 adult size people, it was cheap as it needed work ok its not good on fuel, but at 22MPG around town and 30mpg on a run, how else could I carry six plus luggage? the advantage is two of us can go camping in it to so its the best of both worlds for us
Google Bongofury forum, loads of Bongo info, if you cover a few items they are very good work horses, just insured mine for £185 on a classic policy as its an N reg!

Rache1S Thu 10-Jan-13 22:09:58

We have a 4 berth fully converted Mazda Bongo and I absolutely love it! We have done UK weekends away and toured all around Europe in it. Yes they have running costs but the vehicle itself depreciates at such a slow rate that you will get most of your money back when you sell it on.

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