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Campervan owners any top tips?

(28 Posts)
CelticPromise Sun 16-Mar-14 18:36:43

We've just agreed to buy a campervan eek! DH has always wanted one (and he is adamant I must tell you it is a VW T25). We have camped a bit with a tent and hope to use the van for short spur of the moment trips and the occasional festival. I am keen to hear from anyone who has one- what's good and bad about it? What do I neeeeeed to go in it?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 16-Mar-14 20:37:36

I used to have one.

I spent so much money on various bodywork repairs I couldn't afford diesel or campsite fees. It wasn't a cheap van, cost me 5.5k. Was in good condition when I got it and good condition when I sold it, just cost a lot to keep it in good condition.

Can't really think of anything you need that you wouldn't have for camping already.

Spare fuses? Levelling blocks. Ehu cable.

An awning, there's not much space in a t25. An inverter for the leisure battery 12v socket was handy.

Aa membership?

CelticPromise Sun 16-Mar-14 20:50:59

Thanks Viva, have been reading the old van threads and seen your name a lot. Thanks so much for replying. DH is pretty handy and has wanted one for a very long time, we also have a reliable local mechanic. We are going to pay about £3500 And I hope it will hold its value even if we decide to sell it on. It comes with an awning. It's just us and DS so size should be ok for short trips. I'm not expecting it to be cheap.

IKnowAMouse Sun 16-Mar-14 20:59:48

We have one. We bought it last autumn as we were finding it really difficult to get away camping now ds is at school. We had most of the stuff we needed from camping but that hasn't stopped us spending a fortune! Awning, ehu cable, water carrier, folding bucket, other storage etc etc etc! I'm trying to ensure that everything is kept in the van at all times so we can go away with little effort, so for example I have a specific wash bag that I only use then.

We have only used it over winter so far so can't wait until some nice sunny days away smile

IKnowAMouse Sun 16-Mar-14 21:02:23

And something else! A pee bottle for ds! So much easier using it then trekking to the loos whenever he needs to go. I just empty it when I have to go, classy!

CelticPromise Sun 16-Mar-14 21:12:31

Thanks Iknow that's exactly what I wanted it for, quick trips away with minimal planning. We live in a beautiful area with hit and miss weather so we'd like to grab the good days and zoom (ok, chug) off for the night.

PurplePidjin Sun 16-Mar-14 21:15:29

Loved my T25 and was gutted to swap it for my dad's Punto when I got pregnant (my daily driver was a 1970 bug, not really the best thing with a new born when everywhere involves driving down twisty country lanes!)

They're definitely a hobby; ours was a later water-cooled one, manufactured in 1990, and the upkeep is time-consuming and can be expensive. That said, I will have another one when ds is older and able to join in with the jobs. Much easier to drive, and more comfortable than an earlier Bay or Splitscreen. There's lots that a keen amateur can attempt themselves, and forums to ask questions on that's where dp and i met

Have a look for VW clubs locally, and the big shows at places like Santa Pod - I'm gutted to be missing Big Bang and the Spring GTi fest this year, fingers crossed we'll make VW Action in September. Loads of non-car related stuff, auto jumble if you need parts, plus drag racing and monster trucks grin

VivaLeBeaver Sun 16-Mar-14 21:16:51

Mine held its value so if you look after it it should do.

Dh thankfully is good with electrics and engines so managed to sort quite a bit of stuff out.

It was fun while we had it. If we'd used it more I'd have kept it. But work and finances meant it wasn't getting used much.

We've got a caravan now. Much cheaper to keep on the road so even if we only use it a few times a year I won't mind as much.

We had a porta potti in the van for wild camping.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 16-Mar-14 21:17:39

You need to join club 80-90. Fab lot, I had some great weekends away with them.

CelticPromise Sun 16-Mar-14 22:21:47

Thankyou Pidjin and Viva again. DH is looking on club 80-90 as we speak! He is a pretty keen amateur mechanic, I used to have a beaten up old Golf that he kept on the road. Nice to hear they are easy to drive, I'm used to a small car so I'll need some practice.

Monster trucks... DS would be in heaven!

colleysmill Wed 19-Mar-14 08:10:49

Fellow t25 owner here. We had a t2 and a t25 when I was a kid and dh is a convert since we got ours.

We bought a pull out awning as its much easier for weekends away and then take the bigger drive away awning for longer trips.

Good mechanic familiar with old vdubs is essential for those jobs you can't do yourself (if you are local to me I would happily recommend the chap we use) as is breakdown cover just in case.

The 80-90 club is really good - we've been on a number of weekends away with them and you can pick up lots of tips from people that way.

Our van is always ready and loaded to go - I even have duplicate make-up kept in there so all we have to pack is food,clothes and beer. Go easy on the clothes and shoes - initially I would pack far too much and not end up wearing half of it. Less is more when your space is a premium! Invariably there is never enough beer!

I tended to always pack a scooter or balance type bike for ds when he was smaller as it makes it easier covering longer distances over grass than a buggy.

CelticPromise Thu 20-Mar-14 13:54:52

Thankyou colleysmill, I have read a few of your old posts about your van too. Good tip about the pull out awning. There is a drive away one included with the van. We are near Swansea, DH has a mechanic he trusts who I believe is some sort of VW specialist so he will have a look at her and see if she was a good deal...

I love the idea of keeping her loaded up and going off at the drop of a hat. Roll on summer!

colleysmill Thu 20-Mar-14 21:52:12

Ah campervan threads ... I can't resist them smile

The pull out awning has been fab, I wouldn't be without it now. Really useful bit of kit as a sunshade and rain shield. Ours cost about £150 on evil bay.

Sadly Swansea is a long way away from us but the Anglesey t25 meet up is supposed to be really good and well worth going too

NigellasDealer Thu 20-Mar-14 21:54:28

I used to have one and it was like pouring money down a black hole.
good fun while it lasted though, love the way other transporter drivers salute you!

colleysmill Thu 20-Mar-14 22:13:47

I think they just suck you in Nigella grin and before you know it you've spent a fortune! Our biggest expense so far was fixing a bodged wish bone job.

Mind you I wouldn't be without ours now and there's an increasing love generally for the t25s, especially as splits and bays can be really pricey.

Life is wedge shaped as they say smile

NigellasDealer Thu 20-Mar-14 22:16:33

grin oh we loved it, spent rather a lot of time sourcing smartie pattern sticky vinyl, fake grass etc., for the interior. Still miss it now! sad.

op my best word of advice is to remember the anti-freeze as the water pipes are freakishly long, with the engine being at the back and all.

workingtitle Thu 20-Mar-14 22:23:59

We have a t4 Cali, love it so much for days out and longer trips. Like others, we keep it pretty kitted out so can head off quickly. Not sure how old your DS is, ours is only a baby and useful things we have include -

Small hot water bottle
paddling pool
Mattress topper or a spare sleeping bag to sleep on top of
Non slip liner for drawers/cupboards
Thermomats - great to keep warmth in / keep the van dark in the morning.

We use Just Kampers or ebay to find stuff.

Remember to wave at all other vw campers on your way!

PurplePidjin Thu 20-Mar-14 23:18:00

My thermomats are currently doing a sterling job blacking out baby ds's bedroom window! The are THE best piece of kit, ensuring a warm and dark sleep even in the pits on race days at the Pod grin

Iggi101 Thu 20-Mar-14 23:40:32

What's good and bad? Good is camping in it, people waving at you from other vws, and I've lost count of the number of random men who aproach me in car parks to ask about the can!
Bad is driving it round town all through winter, and also the amount of money it has drained away. Had it ten years though so some expense is to be expected.

CelticPromise Fri 21-Mar-14 07:44:50

Thanks y'all.

<googles thermomats>

Good tip about the antifreeze. We don't need to use her as an everyday vehicle so we might SORN her over winter I think.

Colleys DH keeps telling me T25s are getting more popular and she might increase in value if we do a good job on her. Not convinced but it's a nice thought! I agree the older ones are soooo expensive now, crazy money.

Sid77 Fri 21-Mar-14 08:02:05

We had a T25 Atlantic pop top, love love loved it. Fun useful things are a frisbee, a bucket BBQ, tie your bottle opener to something, we put those foam camping mats over the engine bay as the rock n roll bed was a bit cold down this bottom by our feet and needed a bit more insulation. A good stereo and plenty of patience as, if yours is like ours, it won't be the fastest smile
They can cost a lot to repair, so make sure the one your buying is in good nick. We found that ours held its value, in fact we sold it to the guy we bought it from. It's a good idea to join the camping and caravan club. They have little places called certified locations, which members can stay at. They're tiny, often on farms, and are only licensed for a few people so are often quiet and tucked away. Use stayed at loads of them - often they just have a loo (we didn't bother with one in the van) but only charge a few pounds a night. Have fun - we sold ours when I was pg with DS1 and can't wait to get another when DS2 is a little bit bigger.

fieldfare Fri 21-Mar-14 08:16:49

Ours isn't a VW, it's a massive 6 berth motorhome (she is called Florence and I love her!). Main advice - keep it packed and stocked. The cupboards on ours are kept fully loaded with hot drinks makings, breakfast things, vacuum packed pasta and jars of sauce, beans etc. We've each got toiletry bags in there, and spare bedding and towels. So if we decide to flit off for the weekend I just have to pack the fridge and chuck our clothes in.

I second the camping and caravan club, there's some lovely small, tucked away sites.

Iggi101 Fri 21-Mar-14 11:34:43

Celtic, if you sorn over the winter, do you still have to pay a full year's insurance? (Thinks wistfully of a wee car I could actually park in the city)

CelticPromise Fri 21-Mar-14 21:35:16

Those campsites sound brilliant! Will def look into that.

Iggi I'm not sure actually. I suppose you'd have to insure it against theft. I haven't looked into it.

colleysmill Sat 22-Mar-14 09:42:55

We also have an old classic car that was SORNed for a bit after it failed it's mot and we still insured it for fire, theft etc even though it was garaged.

Dh says he wouldn't consider not insuring it as there are often appeals on social media for people to look out for campers that have been stolen. Too risky

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